The meaning of the Tower of Babel episode in Genesis 11 proves to be continually elusive for both biblical scholars and pastors. While the results of this momentous event in world history seem obvious, owing to the racial and linguistic diversity present in the world today, the reason for God's judgment over the unified peoples who attempted to build together is far less clear. This has even led some to question the justice and wisdom of God, considering the challenges posed by racial division throughout history. As with most questions of biblical interpretation, however, the key to interpretation lies within the unity of the text itself. The Babel passage stands as the climax to the primeval history section of Genesis and, therefore, relies heavily on the literary themes and motifs which are presented in earlier chapters. Relying on these clues along with supplemental material from the contemporary cultures of the Genesis account, this study will probe the meaning of the Babel narrative in light of man's descending spiral into sin, just before God decisively re-enters history to begin his redemptive master plan.


Douglas R. Osselaer is a Master of Arts in Theological Studies candidate at the Rawlings School of Divinity, Liberty University Online. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Historical Theology from Moody Bible Institute in 2012. Douglas and his wife Heidi have two daughters, Elinor (4) and Josephine (2), and they live in Indiana where he teaches at an alternative high school for at-risk teens.