Thursday, August 18, 2016

Breaking the language barrier and what it could mean for the future

Waverly Labs in New York has created an in-ear device that translates languages in real time. “The Pilot is a wearable device for two people that translates in real time as they speak, right into each person’s ear. A smart earpiece language translator connects to an app for downloading and toggling languages. Waverly Labs says the earpieces will work overseas and offline, huge advantages for travelers who need to communicate in areas lacking internet access. The Pilot is expected to retail for around $300 when it hits the market around spring 2017.”

This reminds me of the universal translator on “Star Trek” that “deciphered and interpreted alien languages into the native language of the user,” although I am pretty sure the Pilot will not allow us to be able to translate any fictional alien races that may be floating around out there.

By the time of Genesis 11:1-9 in 2242 B.C., 106 years after the Flood in 2348 B.C., the world will still speaking one language. The people migrated on a journey eastward and settle in the plain or valley of Shinar, also called Babylonia (Genesis 11:2). Since they migrated as one, this was a violation of God’s command to disperse throughout the earth. Thus, the people were operating in opposition to God. They continued in their opposition to God in Genesis 11:4 when they started building a city and a tower for themselves whose top they intended t reach into the heavens. The motivation given is so that they could make a famous name and reputation for themselves so that they would not be scattered into separate groups and dispersed over the surface of the entire earth as the Lord instructed. So the people weren’t just ignoring the command of God originally given to Noah after the Flood (Genesis 9:1, 7). They were wilfully sinning against the Creator. So the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people had built and said they were one unified, united people all speaking the same nne language. God’s conclusion was that the city and the tower were just the beginning of what the people would do in rebellion against Him and no evil thing they imagined would be impossible for them (Genesis 11:5-6). God’s solution was to scatter them abroad over all the surface of the earth which meant they stopped building the unholy city and Tower of Babel. Babel is a word similar to the Hebrew word “balal” meaning “confuse.” It was named that because it was there that the LORD confused the language of the earth and caused them to spread out in groups based on language over the whole earth (Genesis 11:8-9). To this day, we are all separated by different languages.

Philologist Max Mueller speaks about the common origin of all languages when he said, “We have examined all possible forms which language can assume, and now we ask, ‘Can we reconcile with these three distinct forms, the radical, the terminational, the inflectional, the admission of one common origin of human speech?’ I answer decidedly, ‘Yes.’”

This is not to say that it is evil for people to speak with only one language. If it were, God would have created different languages much earlier on. Acts 17:26 says that God started with one man (Adam) and from that common origin of one source and one blood made all the nations of people that live on the earth. The word for “nations” in Acts 17:26 is the word “ethnos.” Today, we would call the “nations” referred to here ethnic groups. God only divided the people and the languages after the people used their united efforts to disobey God and try to make themselves superior. So according to the account of the Tower of Babel and Acts 17:26, all ethnic groups that exist today came from this common origin in order to stop them from uniting to accomplish evil ungodliness.

In the future during the Tribulation before the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Antichrist will institute a one world government with himself as the head of it (Daniel 2:41-42; 7:16-24; Revelation 13). He will establish a one world currency (Revelation 13:16-18) and a one world religion (Revelation 17). I know of no Scripture that prophesies that there will be only one language during that time, but with The Pilot technology or something like it, perhaps even more advanced, uniting the world under one language would not be necessary. Being able to break down the language barriers would make global governance and communication easier for re-creating the evil and ungodly environment that led to the events in Genesis 11:1-9.

Again, this does not mean that The Pilot technology that will be marketed by Waverly Labs is evil in and of itself any more than being financial transactions easier through technology would be. Progress is not evil. It is when that progress is humanistic (leaving out God or in direct opposition to God) that it becomes evil. So we should all look forward to what this new technology could do for the world. At the same time, Christians should be aware of what this might mean for the future as it relates to the timetable for the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.