Friday, June 13, 2008

When the tower of Babel is destroyed, the text says “we will destroy the tower”, who is we?

In Genesis 11:7, the text actually says “we will go down and confuse their language…”. God did not destroy the tower, but he did confuse their language and so construction was abandoned. This does bring up an interesting point though. The text does say “we” when referring to God. It also happens in Genesis 1:26 and Genesis 3:22 as well.

There are three views. In a Jewish mindset (both the author and audience of Genesis were Jewish) “us” probably refers to God and His angels. A second possibility is “we” is the plural of majesty. This was the way kings were referred to in medieval times. The problem I see with this view is it takes medieval practice and reads it back into Genesis. The third possibility is this is a reference to the trinity—The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I believe this to be problematic because the concept of the Trinity wasn’t developed at the time of the author Moses’ writing. This does not rule out the possibility that Moses had some idea of a plurality within the unity of one God.

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