Pangea Day – The Tower of Babel and The Healing Of The Nations

Posted on May 13, 2008


On May 10, 2008, an international media event called “Pangea Day” was seen on over “one million screens,” (according to the website). Their purpose? To bring the world together through film.

Pangea Day is a global event bringing the world together through film. Why? In a world where people are often divided by borders, difference, and conflict, it’s easy to lose sight of what we all have in common. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that – to help people see themselves in others – through the power of film. [1]

This reminded me of “the healing of the nations” in Revelation 22 and I thought it worth considering how the Biblical narrative plays into events like these. What does this kind of event tell us about ourselves? Is “Pangea” Day, biblical? Revisiting the Genesis story helps to shed light.

The Tower of Babel of Genesis 11 tells a story of how the scattering of the nations came to be. Their goal, to “make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth” was not necessarily displeasing to God, but rather threatening.

If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. [2]

This seems odd. After all, shouldn’t the Creator of the universe have a decent sense of security regarding pride of place. What endeavors could humanity possibly accomplish together that would warrant such a drastic intervention?

In context, humanity was commanded to “fill the earth,” a spreading of God’s image and blessings. But instead of following the command given to ADAM (אדם-humanity) to “be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth,” which was a way of God spreading his image and blessings around, humanity decided to pursue their own glory and achievement. Remember their motive — to “make a name” for themselves. Add to that the existence of a tower, and you have a solidified vision of establishing a long-term monument, not to God (אלהים), but to man. Again, the story of Babel explains how pride and vainglorious ends are in opposition with the original intended order.

Revelation dreams of a day when the depravity of humanity is reversed, and that Genesis order is truly restored. Listen to Revelation along side key elements of Pangea Day’s Mission & Purpose.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, [pd: In a world where people are often divided by borders] bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations [pd: difference]. No longer will there be any curse [pd: and conflict]. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him [pd: its’ easy to lose sight of what we all have in common.] They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads [pd (seeks to overcome that): to help people see themselves in others]. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light [pd: through the power of film]. And they will reign for ever and ever. The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place. [3] (italics mine)

I may be over alluding a bit, for sure. But I don’t think it’s a far stretch to say that deep in the psyche of humanity lies a very real sense of connectedness with the rest of the earth coupled with a sense of disunity and distance. And so it ought not surprise us, and in fact delight us, that globalization is allowing a “re-convergence” of humanity to occur in new and phenomenal ways. Revelation simply describes what we all wish to realize.

Perhaps we ought to think spiritually about gatherings like these, to be very careful to avoid building a name for ourselves, to monument humanity over the greater unifying spirit of the Creator. We may be wise in heeding the cautions of the Genesis story; that the reason to come together is to bear the image of God and the fullness of his blessings to the world, all of it. Genesis 11 commissions that to us, as “all the earth” (כל-הארץ) shows up five times in the narrative as a key phrase. You etymological fans are ahead of me already for we see one last parallel with the name “pangea” meaning “all the earth.”

[1], viewed 5/12/2008
[2] Genesis 11:6
[3] Revelation 22:1-6 (NIV)