The biblical narrative of Babel and Babylon has been the subject of much theological reflection and interpretation. The story of Babel, found in Genesis 11, describes how humanity attempted to build a tower that would reach the heavens and make a name for themselves. God responded by confusing their languages, scattering them across the earth, and thwarting their ambitions.
-- Babel stands for human pride, arrogance, and self-sufficiency, which leads to rebellion against God. It represents the height of human ambition that seeks to rival God and establish a kingdom on earth apart from Him. The tower of Babel was an attempt to reach the heavens, but it was a false and futile endeavor. It symbolizes the human desire to replace God, to determine one's own destiny, and to be the master of one's own fate. Babel is a warning against the idolatry of human achievement and the danger of pursuing one's own glory instead of God's.
-- Babylon, on the other hand, is a city that features prominently in the Old Testament, particularly in the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah. It was a symbol of human rebellion against God, idolatry, and oppression.
Not unlike Babel, Babylon stands for the corruption of human power, wealth, and influence. It represents the perversion of God's creation, the exploitation of the weak and vulnerable, and the seduction of the nations by false gods. Babylon was notorious for its arrogance, wickedness, and cruelty. It was a center of pagan worship, characterized by sexual immorality, idolatry, and materialism. Babylon was a city that exalted itself above God and oppressed God's people. It symbolizes the human tendency to use power for selfish purposes, to worship idols instead of God, and to oppress those who are weaker.
-- Babylon the Great, in the book of Revelation, is the culmination of human rebellion against God. It is a symbol of the world system that opposes Christ and His kingdom. It is a city that is drunk with the blood of the saints and the martyrs, that deceives the nations with her sorceries and seduces them with her wealth and power. Babylon the Great is a false bride who entices the world with her beauty and wealth, but who ultimately leads them to destruction. It is a warning against the seduction of the world and the dangers of compromise with the world's values.
The identification of Babylon in the book of Revelation as a symbol for a world system rather than merely a literal city is supported by several factors, including the use of apocalyptic language and symbolism, the universal scope of Babylon's influence, and the emphasis on Babylon as a spiritual and moral force rather than a physical location. Additionally, the book of Revelation identifies Babylon as "the great city that rules over the kings of the earth" (Revelation 17:18), indicating that Babylon is more than just a physical location, but a metaphor for a global system of power.
What these three cities have in common is the rejection of God's authority and the exaltation of human power, wealth, and influence. They represent the corruption of God's creation and the perversion of His purposes. They are warnings against the idolatry of human achievement, the seduction of worldly values, and the dangers of rebellion against God.
Is Babylon the Great (in Revelation) the globalization of the spirit of Babel?
We would argue that there is a clear continuity between Babel and Babylon, as they represent the human rebellion against God and the corruption of His creation. Babylon is the culmination of Babel, in the sense that it represents the final rebellion of the world against Christ and His kingdom. The globalization of the spirit of Babel is the attempt to create a world system that is independent of God, that exalts human power and achievement, and that opposes Christ and His gospel. The globalization of the spirit of Babel is the attempt to create a human kingdom on earth that rivals God's kingdom in heaven. It is a warning against the dangers of secularism, humanism, and the rejection of God's authority.
Positively, the tower of Babel can be seen as a precursor to the Pentecost event in Acts 2, where the Holy Spirit descends upon the disciples and gives them the ability to speak in different languages. This event marks the beginning of the spread of the Gospel throughout the world, which is the opposite of what the people of Babel had intended to do. While the tower of Babel represents humanity's rebellion against God and its attempt to establish its own power and authority, Pentecost represents the reconciliation of humanity to God and the establishment of His kingdom on earth.
The people at Babel sought to prevent their dispersion across the earth, in direct disobedience to God's command to fill the earth and subdue it. In contrast, at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to speak in different languages, which allowed them to proclaim the Gospel to people from different regions and cultures, fulfilling God's command to make disciples of all nations. And while the Tower of Babel represents humanity's disobedience and attempt to establish its own power and authority, Pentecost represents the fulfillment of God's plan for humanity, where people from all nations and cultures come together under the authority of Jesus Christ.
The Spirit of Babel @Monergism