Unity and Unlimited
The First Prohibition
BABEL RISING! Page 4
From The Main Message of
Bread Upon The Waters Ministry
As stated in the "The Tower" page, God confused the languages at Babel to disrupt human unity and thus limit human creativity. From this we derive the concept that God will not allow mankind to live in unity with unlimited communication - at least not for long - apart from His Lordship prior to the Second Coming of Christ. Right now, as stated, we are in a state of increasing violation of this prohibition. This is not a local situation, as it was at Babel. The whole world is involved in it.
The basis of the problem, again, is that we are created in God's image collectively as well as individually. This is implied in Genesis 1:27:
"So God created man in His own image;
in the image of God created He him;
Male and female created He them."
Notice that in the context of this verse, the words "him" and "them" mean the same thing. They both refer not to Adam as an individual, but to the whole human race. This, again, implies that we are created in His image collectively as well as individually. This truth is illustrated by the fact that the Church is the Body of Christ, with Christ being the Head, and each Christian functioning as one of the many "members", which is to say "organs". See I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and I Peter 2. As has been noted by others, the Church is a spiritual organism.
As it happens, the unsaved world actually functions the same way, yet without most people ever being conscious of it. Look at it this way: walk into your kitchen. Look around at all the things that are there, the utensils, the appliances, the dishes, the foods, etc. Now imagine that all the things in your kitchen that were manufactured and distributed by other people just suddenly disappeared. The odds are that you would be standing on bare ground, buck naked! Even the kitchen and your clothes would vanish! The material things that make up your kitchen, yes, even most of the material side of your entire life, are the products of human creativity and unity. They are the products of the human race functioning as a body without even realizing it. And this is the unity that can threaten God's plan of salvation. This unity is world wide, and it is growing. And we can communicate like never before. These things have to be becoming problems to God.
The Communication Problem
It is true that we do not have all one language. There are over 1400 spoken languages in this world. Yet most serious communication for purposes of science, government and business is done in only about a dozen. The meetings of the General Assembly of the United Nations (which, by the way, is becoming increasingly powerful) are translated instantly into only five. And so many people are multilingual that language differences are no longer a real barrier to serious communication.
Furthermore, we do have two languages that are universal. One is mathematics. A student learning algebra or calculus will learn the same things whether he is learning in New York or New Delhi, in Beirut or Beijing. Much serious communication, especially for the purposes of business, science and government, is done in terms of mathematics, with the transmission and analysis of enormous quantities of data.
In recent decades we have given ourselves another universal language: binary code. This is the language that all computers use to receive, store, process and transmit data, regardless of the architecture, operating system or programming language any particular computer may be using. Binary code makes it possible for any computer to communicate with any other computer, given the proper connections, hardware, and software. The result is the Internet, by which you are probably reading this. Computers and Internet have given us a massive increase in our ability to communicate. They put an ocean of information literally at the fingertips of anyone who has Internet access.
Computers are doing far more for us than that. Gordon Moore, Chairman and one of the founders of Intel, went on record in Fortune magazine a couple of years ago saying that computers are doing for our minds what machines did for our muscles. The development of machines made us effectively many times stronger and faster than we are. They gave us far more effective stamina, and enabled us to be far more precise in our measurements and work. Computers are giving us far greater, and more accurate, memories. They enable us to perform calculations at a speed that the human mind cannot begin to approach. They enable us to be effectively far more creative than we naturally are. And of course, they vastly enhance our ability to communicate. The social impact of this has probably not even begun to take full effect.
The biggest current wave of innovation in computers is speech technology. We will soon have computers that can be operated entirely by voice, making the mouse and keyboard, and eventually even the screen, obsolete for most purposes. And the computers will be able to talk back to us, not with a few pre-recorded messages, but with complex, synthesized speech. A person will be able to ask his computer for information on a particular subject. The computer will search the Internet for information on that subject, and give the person a summary of what it has found. Research projects that once took weeks or months will be done in minutes.
Software is already available that translates written text into other languages. It is getting better. It is already becoming possible for a person browsing the Internet to download a Web page or .ftp file written in any language and then with the click of a mouse or verbal command have it translated into a language he can read.
Another aspect of this is computer telephony, that is, using computers and the Internet to make long distance phone calls. Software is also already on the market that can translate speech into other languages. It, of course, is also getting better. In ten years, it should be possible for a person in the United States who doesn't speak Arabic to call someone in Saudi Arabia who doesn't speak English. The person in Arabia will hear the American speaking Arabic, and the American will hear the Arabian speaking English. Computers, if not robots, like "C3PO", as in "Star Wars", may become a reality within ten years.
In the article referred to above, Gordon Moore also said that in ten years we will have computers that can instantly translate any language into fifty others. (Note that this man became a billionaire by always being right. His famous "Moore's Law", for example, has accurately predicted the rate of advancement in computer power.) When such computers become common, we will have completely overridden what God did at Babel. And then some! We are giving ourselves means of communication that the people of Babel could never have dreamed of. In fact, no one had dreamed of it a century ago.
It is amazing how fast this technology is developing. As this writer was writing the short book that is the basis of this Web page, he had occasion to walk past the print shop where he had the first piece of Christian literature he ever wrote for distribution printed about 27 years ago. He had typed the literature, a crude tract, on an old, beat up mechanical typewriter that could barely produce readable type. He had the printing done on an early Xerox machine that produced copies that were worse. At that time, although there were much better typewriters, only the most expensive copiers were better, and there were no personal computers.
When this writer began planning this ministry, 100 megahertz computers were the high end. The "BABEL RISING!" book was written with a 166 Pentium. This writer now uses a 400 megahertz Pentium II, and it is far short of the state of the art. His computer offers hundreds of scalable fonts. He can put a wide range of full-color graphics and tables into his documents. When he puts something on paper now, he prints it out on an inkjet printer that produces professional quality results, including full color, photo-quality images. When he makes copies, he does it on a copier that produces copies that look better than the originals. Or he can make a Web page like this, and put it on the World Wide Web, which didn't exist in 1973.
There is nothing unusual about this. Tens of millions of other people can do the same, and that is what is most astounding.
Another aspect of this is that it is becoming possible to put more and more computing and communicating power into smaller and smaller spaces. There are now small "palmtop" computers that are far more powerful than the first IBM PCs. And we have, of course, cellular phones. The Internet can be accessed via a cell phone. You can "surf the Web" while riding in a taxi or relaxing at the beach. Another barrier to communication has come down.
This change took place in about 25 years. What will the next 25 years bring?
A simple demonstration of our power to communicate: This writer was walking down a street in New York City during the period in which he was working on this Web page. A man collapsed unconscious on the street in front of him. Just a few years ago, someone would have had to go searching for a pay phone to call for help. As it happened, the man had barely hit the pavement when another passerby pulled a cell phone from his pocket and made the call right there. A police car was there less than two minutes later. Again, just a few years ago, it would have taken longer than that just to make the call.
And by the way, a mere century ago, although there were primitive telephones, it might have been very difficult to even find one.
The limits God imposed on us at Babel are to all practical purposes gone.
What happens now?
The Unity Problem
Again, there is increasing unity. Although we still hear about "wars and rumors of wars", the conflicts that are taking place are mostly confined to the Third World and underdeveloped areas. They involve relatively few people, and relatively small areas of the earth's surface. They also produce relatively few casualties. More people have been dying of AIDS in the past several years than have been dying as casualties in war. There is very little chance of a major war between the major powers. This is illustrated by the fact that the nations of the European Economic Communities are combining their various currencies into one, the "Euro", which is about to go into circulation. There will never be, at least in the foreseeable future, a repeat of Word War II. The recent Millennium Summit in NYC demonstrates a general willingness among the nations of the world to work together for peace.
No major nation is really interested in fighting any other. The goal of modern international relations is doing business and making money. In fact, this writer has seen in print, in the financial media, the slogan "Make Money, Not War!" Just about all of the major powers are scaling back their military expenditures, and focusing on capital investments to improve business. There is so much international investment and economic interdependence that if there was a major war, no matter who won militarily, economically everyone would lose!
In a little-known verse of Scripture, Ecclesiastes 10:19 (NKJV), we find this astonishing statement, yet a highly relevant truth:
"A feast is made for laughter,
And wine makes merry,
But money answers everything."
The bottom line, then, is when the time comes that people think that there is more money to be made by pursuing peace then by pursuing war, wars will end. It appears, seriously, that that time has come.
Another manifestation of this unity is the construction of the Freedom International Space Station, which has begun as this page is written. It consists, at this writing, of two modules, one made and launched by Russia and one made and launched by the United States. These two nations were threatening each other with nuclear holocaust just a little more than a decade ago. Now they are working in unity to achieve space travel. More will be said about this in the page on the Third Prohibition.
Again, when this was written, this writer was working for a major international investment bank. The company was founded, and has its corporate headquarters in, the United States. It has a branch office in Beijing and a liaison office in Moscow. This would have been unimaginable when this writer was in high school. Today, it is not really even remarkable.
One practical reason for this is the fear of the consequences of a major war. Especially, fear of nuclear war. Years ago, the late Chairman Mao actually went on record saying that an atomic war would be good for China. He was being openly hostile to both the United State and the Soviet Union at the time. Then China exploded its first hydrogen bomb. It can be shown from history that a major change in Chinese foreign policy quickly followed. The leaders of China had seen what the H-bomb could do, and it had to have frightened them very deeply. They had been pursuing a course of action such that either the United States or the Soviet Union could have easily exterminated them, and the other side would have said, "Thanks, I needed that".
A number of scholars have noted that far from wiping out the human race, nuclear weapons, by the fear of war they have engendered, have actually had the long-term effect of bringing about the greatest movement toward peace that this world has ever seen. Nuclear weapons sent an urgent message to scholars and statesmen, yes, and the leaders of big business, too, everywhere:
"Mankind must eliminate war,
Or war will eliminate mankind."
The leaders of the world have been listening.
The "megatrend", worldwide, is not toward Armageddon. It is toward increasing peace and unity. The only real threat to world peace at present is fundamentalist Islam. It is unlikely at this time that even Muslim terrorists could precipitate a major war. Terrorism, even attacks with nuclear and biological weapons, yes, but a war between the major powers, no. And if they go too far, they could precipitate vengeance against themselves that would crush their movement. So they are likely to practice some restraint, contrary to what some teachers of Prophecy say. The "megatrend" toward peace can be expected to continue, especially as more and more national leaders realize that it is to their advantage to "go with the flow". The "hitlers", the "qaddafis" and the "saddams" are an endangered species.
The limitations that God placed on us at Babel are history.
He confused the languages then. What will He do now?
What, Scripturally speaking, is most likely to happen to the world is the Great Tribulation. But, of course, the unity and unlimited communication we increasingly have are just the beginning of the problem. These things will interfere with God's plan of salvation by way of what we will do with our collective creativity given these things. As stated in the previous page, the people of Babel would have soon given themselves extended lifespans, at least, and would have started to spread humanity throughout the universe. As we said, these are things the Lord will not allow us to do, no matter how sinful we are otherwise. Yet we are trying, and progress is being made. God must step into history again and stop us. Soon!
We have not yet examined the Scriptural basis of these prohibitions.
We will begin to do so in the following page:
Extended Life Spans And Biological Eternal Life
The Second Prohibition
Contact Author, William D. Brehm: firstname.lastname@example.org