Review: Babel, Genesis of Cosmic Thought Part 2
Genesis Lesson #064
August 25, 2004
Genesis 11:1-9 describes the tower of Babel, and it is the rebellion at the tower of Babel—man uniting with one language against God—that gives the reason for the scattering that occurs in chapter ten. Babel, then, becomes a picture or a type of what happens to mankind in rebellion against God, that the nations of human history cannot survive unless they are in obedience to God. This is the principle. Babel sets up and begins to crystallize what the Bible calls the world system. This world system is that which dominates human history. It dominates all nations, all peoples, that are in rebellion against God. And in contrast to that God calls out one individual, Abram. It is through Abram that God is going to work to counter the world system. Through the promised seed of Abraham, Jesus Christ, God is going to provide a salvation that will in turn come back to redeem the world. What happens with God's judgment on the tower of Babel is in grace. God begins to work through one individual because nations, the peoples, in their volition have turned their backs on God.
Romans chapter one is a picture of what happens historically and what took place after the flood. Eight people came off the ark. They knew what happened, had witnessed the flood. They had witnessed the fact that God had closed and sealed the door on the ark. God protected them and preserved them. When they came off the ark they were witnesses to the covenant that God made with Noah—a verbal, audio covenant. Shem, Ham and Japheth all know that, and yet, within just three or four generations their descendants were setting themselves up in antagonism to God, shaking their fists, as it were, at God, and creating alternate deities. This is what happens to the human heart that is sinful and wicked above all things—Jeremiah 17:9.
Romans 1:18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Romans 1:19, "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them.
Romans 1:20 "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Romans 1:21 "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Romans 1:22 "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Romans 1:23 "And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things."
This is the beginning of idolatry. They begin to worship that which is in the creation rather than the creator. And it doesn't have to be limited to some idol made of stone, wood or metal, it can be the worship of some kind of intellectual ideal or process, or something abstract.
Romans 1:24, "Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:
Romans 1:25, "Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen."
This is the breakdown. In every single system of human thought, including the most sophisticated scientific theories today, buys into a form of monistic pantheism where the universe itself becomes God. So they are worshipping, deifying something in the creation. The consequence of that is that there are three stages of divine discipline, where God, as it were, pulls back the restraints and gives man over to the consequences of his rebellion. We see that these are signs of judgment.
Romans 1:26, "For this reason God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:"
Lesbianism and homosexuality is all a part of God's judgment on a culture for their rejection of God. It is not that for which we will be judged, it is God's judgment on the culture.
Romans 1:28, "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting."
Perversion and all manner of sins are listed after that.
Romans 1:32, "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."
Man knows at his very core that he is accountable to God: "knowing the judgment of God." They not only know that they engage in things that are deserving of death but they also approve of those who practice them. This is the backdrop of what happened historically in that period between Noah and Abraham. What this is, is the establishment of the cosmic system, and this becomes solidified at the tower of Babel. So throughout the Bible there is a battle that culminates eventually in Revelation between Jerusalem, the city of peace, and Babylon, the confusion created by human viewpoint paganism. This is the struggle that we have down through history and is not resolved until the Lord Jesus Christ comes back at the second advent. Babylon represents what the Bible calls worldliness or the world system, and this becomes solidified in Genesis 11 in all of its dynamics. It has a political structure: the tyranny of Nimrod. Every political system, other than that which was originally designed by God is the theocracy of Israel, is going to deteriorate into tyranny eventually. Every political system is going to deteriorate because it comes out of this cosmic thinking.
1 John 2:15 is a crucial text for understanding the world system: "Love not the world [cosmic system], neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world [cosmic system], the love of [for] the Father is not in him." In other words, you can't love the world and God at the same time. This is the same thing that James writes about in James chapter four: "Friendship with the world [cosmic system] is enmity [hostility] with God. Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the cosmic system makes himself an enemy of God." These are mutually exclusive ways of thinking.
1. Cosmos in its negative sense has to do with an arrangement or system of thinking that is arrayed against God.
2. Satan is the ruler of the cosmic system. As such cosmic thinking reflects the kind of thinking exemplified by Satan at the time of his fall. John 12:31; 14:30.
3. The whole world lies in the power of the evil one and thus is under his influence and cosmic thinking. 1 John 5:19.
4. Satan as the ruler of the cosmic system was judged on the cross. John 16:11. Cosmic thinking has been judged or condemned by what Jesus Christ did on the cross. Cosmic thinking asserts independence from God; Jesus submitted Himself to God. It is fearful of God; Jesus loves God the Father. Cosmic thinking is antagonistic to God whereas Jesus Christ totally fulfilled everything God planned; He was obedient to the point of death. The cosmic system is the expression of Satan's agenda.
5. The cosmic system has its own way of thinking. It may be manifested in a number of different ways but they are all manifestations of the same basic arrogance and hostility towards God. In cosmic thinking you have an ultimate view of reality and all of these systems of thought, all these religious systems, can all be boiled down to one basic view of reality.
6. Man has always sought to establish his authority for his knowledge/truth apart from revelation, either in terms of reason or experience or mysticism. But reason, experience and mysticism are set over against revelation, so that rationalism is used to denigrate the Bible, empiricism is used to try to destroy biblical truth. But it never does, it always destroys itself in history. This is not to say that there is something wrong with empiricism or rationalism, but empiricism and rationalism must operate under the authority of Scripture.
7. A way of thinking, i.e. whatever mode of thinking one adopts, produces a lifestyle that is consistent with it. So every cosmic form is going to produce certain lifestyles that are consistent with it. We call those lifestyles culture. The core of every culture is the idea of religion. What made western European history different was Christianity. Christianity changed the dynamic. If it hadn't been for the infusion of Christianity and Bible doctrine in the early church age which changed the trend of western Europe, western Europe would have been just as animistic and pagan as everybody else.
8. The elements of cosmic thinking are three. a) Arrogance. It is creaturely centered. b) Fear, dread of judgment. That in turn motivates antagonism, hatred for the Word of God and the desire to destroy Christianity and the truth of the Word of God. This is why James says, "Friendship with the world is hostility toward God." They are not compatible at all.
9. Therefore the believer is to extricate himself from the morass of cosmic thinking in his soul. At the point of salvation a person's soul is loaded with cosmic thinking. It is our job as a believer to be reeducated. Romans 12:2, "Be not conformed to this world [the modes of cosmic thinking] but be transformed by the renovation of your thinking."
This is the mission, and what God is going to do through Abraham. At the end of Genesis eleven the world is in a state of collapse, almost the same condition as before the flood (minus the demonic infiltration), and there were just a few people who were believers.