Communication between God and Manby Rit Nosotro
Change Over Time essay
Describe a Biblical worldview of communication problems and advances since the earliest records until today.
Summary: Ever since God created the world, man has sought to communicate. However, after Adam and Eve sinned, man could no longer communicate with God. Yet, God had a plan for this problem and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to bridge the gap between God and man. After the Tower of Babel, man had trouble communicating with his fellow man. Man now had to find new ways to communicate. Early on, written languages were developed. Later on, the writing process was facilitated by the invention of the printing press. Eventually, communtion became even easier with the invention of the telegraph which led to the telephone and eventually to the invention of the Internet. Each of this inventions came along in God's perfect timing in preparation for when Christians "shall see Him face to face".
Imagine a world where everyone spoke the same language. Although it seems nearly seven billion people are building that future, it was the world of the ancient past that experienced a universal language. Suddenly, new languages emerged. Isolated populations developed writing as diverse as Aryan Sanskrit pressed into clay or Incan Quipi, tying knots in a rope to communicate ideas. Communications have changed drastically over the years. Now messages are sent by telephone wire, radio wave, and fiber optic cables. A global network offers overnight packages and speed of light communication. What does scripture say about man's communication with his fellow man and his creator? How have advancements in technology allowed for the development of a global economy and the spread of the knowledge of God?
In scripture, we see that God had created speech before man came on the scene. By the word of His mouth, he spoke, and the things of the earth were created. When God had created the first man, it was not good for him to be alone, so God created women. The first recorded words of Adam are ""This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." (Genesis 2:23) Man and woman spoke the same language and perfectly understood each other because sin had not yet entered the world.
When Satan tempted Eve at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he immediately began by undermining God's word and authority by saying, "Has God indeed said, "You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" (Genesis 3:1) With further trickery and false communication from "the father of lies" (Satan), Eve ate of the fruit and offered it to Adam. It was from this sin that the most tragic communication breakdown ever occurred. God had walked with Adam in the garden and now when he sought Adam out, Adam and Eve hid. When God questioned them, Adam replied, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself." (Genesis 3:10) For the first time, man's prefect communication with God was flawed, never to be the same again on this earth. Forevermore, man was to be separated from God by this gap, know as sin. A holy God could not have intimacy with unholy man. It would require a perfect mediator, or go between, but the whole world had been corrupted, so who could bridge this gap?
As man multiplied again after the global flood of Noah's time, "the whole earth had one language and one speech" (Genesis 11:1). Man began to try to build a tower to "make a name" for themselves and reach the heavens. Yet scripture gives this account of the miraculous end to such folly. What does the Tower of Babel story imply about a worldwide language of English?
But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth."Even through secular anthropology, the development of languages can be traced back to this Mesopotamian region on the plains of Shinar. Man had undergone the second detriment to his ease of communication. Not only was there was no mediator between God and man, now man could not even communicate with his fellow man. Efforts to alleviate the problems began immediately. Various religions were developed which vainly strove to reestablish communication with God by trying to be good enough. Humanity also began the long creative process to regain flawless communication with each other.
During the harsh years as "the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth", communications of these wandering tribes included the use of drums, smoke signals, cave paintings, and using sticks to press symbols into clay. It is no wonder the oral tradition of storytelling kept alive a version of Noah's flood in every culture on earth. Sometime around 3000 B.C., the Egyptians began to use hieroglyphics, a picture language which left records of communication for the rest of the world. Carving in stone left a nearly permanent record, with the likes of the Rosetta Stone. Likewise, writing in clay provided records that lasted several millennium. For example, the great library of ancient Elba was burnt which unintentionally hard fired thousands of near eastern documents to be discovered in the 1970s, one of which even mentions the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The use of hieroglyphics signaled the beginning of a new era of communication--that of written records. The use of paper and ink began to spread in the early centuries after Christ. Around 450 A.D. block printing began in Asia. Printing presses were developed throughout the world in varying time periods. While clay type was used in China as early as 1041, a practical printing press was not developed in Europe until 1450, by Johannes Gutenberg who first used it to print the Bible. Printed material rapidly developed along with literacy which was instrumental in bringing about the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.
Methods of transporting various printed or hand-written documents varied, eventually including the use of the pony express in early America, and carrier pigeons in World War I. As soldiers sent messages, the bird would fly to their trained destination, delivering the important information. In World War 2, rare Indian langauges, such as Apache, were used to send secret messages.
However, as time moved forward, advances would once again be made in oral communication. In 1844 Samuel Morse invented the telegraph, and messages could be transported quickly. His first message hailed the advancement of modern technology as he sent words without the aid of humans or animals, but rather, a machine. With Alexander Graham Bell's development of the telephone came an even greater advancement towards faster communication, in 1876. Now words could again be spoken instead of printed, but those words could be heard hundreds of miles away. The 19th century, with the assistance of steamships and improved communications, saw the increasing advancement of Christian missions into Africa and Asia.
During the twentieth century, radio and television began to homogenize a global culture but it was the computer that revolutionized global communication. With the rise of the Internet and email, instant messages may be sent to millions just a click away. Further aiding the process of rapid communication is the ever-growing worldwide language of English. Man is returning to his ways of having one language as in the days of Babel. Every country increasingly has speakers of English. It is mandated study in India and China which together account for a third of the world's population. English, with all it's spelling inconsistencies, has become the global tower that children everywhere are being shoved into as soon as they begin to babel.
Communication has always been of great importance. Chapter one of Genesis explains how God created through His words. Since man was created in the image of God, communication is also important to humans. Adam and Eve's miscommunication of God's command (Genesis 3:3) led to the first sin of man and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. More importantly, it led to the breakdown of the communcation between man and God. Later, God confused the languages of man as a result of disobeying His command to scatter and building the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11). As a result, man had trouble communicating with his fellow man. From that day on, man has been trying to erase the communication barrier between people. However, man could not fix the barrier between himself and God. However, God fixed this problem by sending His Son to die for man and become the mediator between God and man. (I Timothy 2:5)
As our age expands technological advances to every corner of the globe, the first and greatest communication problem remains unsolved for billions. Although the solution was provided over 2,000 years ago, communication with God still eludes those who refuse to accept the solution. Man fell away from perfect communion with God, yet God still pursued man and sought to restore the relationship once again. Jesus Christ, the perfect, sinless Son of God, was born of the Virgin Mary, and lived an entirely righteous life. His life ended as he was crucified on a cross. As He paid the death penalty through His perfect sacrifice, He bridged the chasm as the Mediator between God and each man who would only believe. He rose again on the third day according to the scriptures, and is now seated at the right hand of God, making intercession on our behalf. Communication with the Divine occurs as His "Spirit bears witness with our Spirit, letting us know we are sons of God" (Rom.) Also, when we fail to know how to pray, He makes intercession "with groanings that cannot be uttered". Man must recognize the significance of the following words, and fall at the feet of Jesus, repenting of his sin and being born anew. Then, and only then, we he receive fulfillment and perfect communication once again.
"Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." - Hebrews 7:25
The New King James Version Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982.
Gilbert C. and Scott P. Early Communication. June 19, 2005. <http://library.thinkquest.org/5729/earlycomm.htm>
Blake S. and Joshua G. History of Communications. June 19, 2005. <http://library.thinkquest.org/5729/timeline.htm>
Carrier pigeons. August 17, 2002. June 19, 2005. <http://www.firstworldwar.com/atoz/carrierpigeons.htm>
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