From: Heaven on Earth
As the decades pass into centuries, chaos and ungodliness gain the upper hand until evil fills the world. God’s kingdom plan for humans to rule as his vice-regents seems to be a dismal failure. God decides to take action.
The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the Earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the Earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the Earth the human beings I have created – people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord. (Genesis 6:5-8)
A destructive flood rids the Earth of wickedness. In an act of compassion God spares Noah’s family, the last from the Godly line of Seth, along with a small remnant of animals. As he did with Adam, God commissions Noah, a “new Adam,” made in God’s image, (Genesis 9:6), to “be fruitful and multiply, abound on the Earth and multiply in it,” (v. 7). Noah’s family becomes the fountainhead of a new humanity, but they fail miserably in this role. Noah plants a vineyard, gets drunk, and lies unclothed in his tent. When he discovers that Ham, his youngest son, has gazed on his nakedness, he places a curse on Ham’s offspring but blessed the other brothers, (vv. 25-27).
In a sense, history repeats itself. A division takes place within the ruling family, separating the brothers.
Instead of obeying God’s mandate to multiply and spread across the face of the world, humans settle in one location. They build a city and a tall tower and determine to make a name for themselves, lest they be “scattered abroad upon the face of the whole Earth,” (Genesis 11:4). This action, which is exactly the opposite of what God wants, is humankind’s prideful attempt to create its “own kingdom independently of God.” In the midst of the people’s disobedience, God takes the initiative to scatter them throughout the Earth, forcing them to abandon their construction plans. “Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the Earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the Earth,” (v. 9).
As kindred tongues geographically band together, they naturally conduct commerce, barter with their neighbors, protect themselves from internal and external dangers, settle boundary disputes, and so forth. Such interactions involve friendly cooperation at the start, but eventually the people need to form governmental structures. At first, perhaps they need only a sheriff or a judge. But in time, the population increases, and problems associated with numerical growth result. The people must enact laws, collect taxes, and develop infrastructures. Apart from the guiding voice of God, these societies take many forms, including democratic, communistic, socialistic, dictatorial, capitalistic, and communal.
The people also form religions around gods or elemental spirits (demons?). They believe these spirits speak to them through priests and enable them to survive in an intimidating and chaotic world. Eventually, hostilities arise, and nations fight wars, conquer lands, take prisoners, sign peace treaties, develop military budgets, ad infinitum. Internal strife takes place with national borders, including exploitation of the weak, corruption, riots, civil wars, and the like. Throughout history, the story remains constant; only the names of faces change.