Part 2 – Prideful Desire
Is the Internet the modern-day Babel? That is the topic that this series is tackling. My goal is for us to develop a discerning look into our hearts as we live in this technological age.
In Part 1, I covered the gift of technology and how God has made us as creative people. We built the Internet and it is a testament to the image of God that exists in all of us. The Internet today is our brick and tar. What we do with the Internet will determine if we will follow the faults found in the tower of Babel.
Here, we get into the heart of the men at Babel. Let us take a closer look at these men said to themselves:
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”
Many times, we focused upon the tower as a sign of pride. I want us to closely examine the following phrase. It says that they wanted to make a name for themselves. They wanted to be remembered for their greatness. This is an exaltation of man and his inventions.
These men want to make a name for themselves because they didn’t want to be dispersed. In other words, they didn’t want to follow God’s commandment to be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over all the earth (Gen 1:28). In this one commandment, God is saying that we are created in His image, and that by spreading across the earth, we are making His name great. But instead here at Babel, they wanted to stay in one place and make a great name for themselves. This is not just saying that they want to do something so great that they are recorded in history books. This is a direct rebellion against God’s authority.
Consider who gave you your name. Your parents right? We don’t think about our names in the same way the people of old do. Back then, your name is your identity. It represents all of who you are. But here’s the thing: you don’t give yourself your own name. Your name is assigned to you by someone who has the authority to. And God gave Adam his name—Adam, the first father of humankind.
God is the ultimate authority. He is the only person in the Bible who gave Himself His own name. We don’t get to name God. In fact, we only know His name because God Himself revealed it to us. Therefore, God will always carry the name above every name. We are saved according to His name.
Yet, in this modern-day, people are constantly trying to make a name for themselves, especially on the Internet. There is an innate, sinful need to create new identities. It makes us feel like we are in control, like we have authority over our own lives. This is not a new phenomenon. Humans have been fighting God for control since the Fall, when Eve desired and ate the forbidden fruit. Before the internet boom, social identities were formed on playgrounds, parties, and movie theaters. But now, technology is being built specifically targeting those human desires for self-autonomy.
More than that, the big tech companies have a greater belief in their products. It’s called techno-optimism: “the belief that technology and technologists are building the future.” These companies do not deny it; they believe that technology is the key to making the world a better place. As Christians, we can heartily agree that human inventions have improved our state of living. But what we need to understand is that these companies are not just promoting their products; they are saying that we don’t need religion, government, or any other kind of outside help to improve our lives. We have our technology.
The tower of Babel was more than just constructing a really tall building. The tower represented the human heart that believes man can live apart from God. That man can create his own name. Just like the tower itself, the Internet is not morally evil. But we can use these tools for evil, when we sought to build our names and our lives apart from the Living God. How do you understand your heart intentions when you sign on?
This is Part 2 of 3. Read Part 1: Brick and Mortar. We will publish part 3 soon!