Wednesday, October 14, 2009

God comes down

For some reason I got thinking about the tower of Babel incident in Genesis 11. It's an interesting story about how humanity thinks more highly of itself than it ought and the great reality check that comes from seeing God's perspective. I actually think it's quite funny too.

You see here we have humanity spreading out and populating the earth. In it's self-obsessed preoccupation, the great human race decided to build a tower that reaches up to heaven. A monument to self. God, on the other hand, can't even see clearly what humanity is up to. He needs to go down to have a look at the great monument to self-realisation. You see the irony. Human beings think they can reach up to the heaven, but in truth they can't get anywhere near. The gap between them and God is so big that their efforts are hardly visible, but they can't see it.

But here's the wonderful truth hidden away in the story. The only way the gap between humanity and God can be closed is not through human beings going up but through God coming down.

Now I haven't sat down and read through the first 11 chapters of Genesis before writing this post, but I was just wondering if this marks a change. How often did God come down in those first chapters? I know he came down in Genesis 3, but I can't think of any more examples off the top of my head.

So does Babel represent a a change in the dynamic of God relating to humanity? I know he visits Abraham later and there's the Captain of the Lord's army in Joshua and of course the relationship between Moses and God. As I' may have mentioned before, the Tabernacle is another wonderful expression of God's heart to live among the people. The boundaries to the courtyard etc are not their to separate the people from God, to prevent access, but rather to allow a holy God to do what he desires, to live among his people even though they are far from holy.

And so it is with Jesus. He comes not separate us further from God but to draw us closer. He comes to us that we might come to him. God continues to come down.

Anyway, I bet if I read Genesis later I'll find out I've wandered up the proverbial garden path, but maybe not!

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