In Modernism we celebrated Babel - uniting without reference to God to seek security and significance in human 'progress' without reference to God. In Modernism-post, forced to recognise the impossibility of realising that vision, we celebrate the incoherence and diversification which frustrates our plans: in short, we celebrate the curse on Babel.
There is an alternative to the stark extremes of Modernism and Modernism-post. The Christian can recognise the vanity of Babel's ideal and acknowledge both the grace and the judgement inherent in the curse. God showed grace in allowing us to live despite the antitheist (humanistic) ambition of Babel; he showed grace in effectively dispersing us to fulfil his commission to fill the earth and subdue it, faced with our refusal of his command; he judged in frustrating the project for exclusively homocentric unity, security and significance. Misunderstanding, non-communication and confusion of expression are not good. We can recognise all this and look forward to the complete reversal of the curse - and not just its reversal to return to vain-glorious humanism, but the fulfilment of unity in created diversity, security and significance centred on God: being to him a name, a praise and a glory. Of this we have a foretaste in the church: his people gathered from all languages scattered across the earth, united and brought to God in Him whose name is above every name.
A Little Manual for Knowing - a review
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