Genesis 8-11

Jason Barrett
These chapters serve to narrow down the story from the universe in the creation account, and then the world at large, to the man who will be at the heart of God’s work – Abraham.

The rainbow in ancient times was believed to be the bow of the gods, a weapon. At the end of the flood, we see that God sets aside his weapon for good, placing the rainbow in the sky.

Despite the new start, humans stumble right out of the gate. By chapter 11, humans are attempting to do the opposite of what God wants. They seek to huddle together rather than moving out as priests into creation.

God confuses their language, thwarting the plans of humanity that would go against God’s desire to pull us out of our human condition. With humanity scattered, God’s weapon set aside to never be used again, God takes a new approach. He will not war against humans, rather he will seek out a faithful human through which God can weave his plan into the course of history.

We will see that when God’s plan reaches its fullness in the work of Christ, on the day of Pentecost, the language confusion at the Tower of Babel is reversed. The miracle in Acts 2 is not just a speaking miracle, but it is a miracle on people’s ears as they are able to hear across the language barrier.

The book of Genesis divides neatly into two parts: Genesis 1-11 has told us four major stories (Creation, Sin, Flood, and Babel), now Genesis 12-50 will tell of the first four major figures in the history of God’s people (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph).