God fears usurpation.
Gods have been around as long as there have been people. Although these gods changed from culture to culture, similar themes were always addressed in the religious myths. The gods of some cultures had a common fear; they were afraid of losing their position of power over mortals. The Hebrew God shows this fear in the Tower of Babel story.
The Tower of Babel story is important to the Bible as a whole. At this point in the Hebrew Bible, all of the people on earth are Noah’s descendants and thus speak the same language. If God had never changed the languages at the Tower of Babel, the Bible would have ended there. Without the Babel story, the rest of the events in the bible do not unfold because God’s people never would have left Shinar. The story is not only important to the whole work of the Bible but also individually.
Individually, this story can be interpreted a few different ways. A literal reading of this story would explain how languages came about and that aspiring to reach heaven and become equal to God is out of line. Reading the Tower of Babel story again and with a more critical eye, you might wonder why God even bothers stopping the Babylonians in such a roundabout way. The task of building a tower to heaven is surely impossible, but God is clearly afraid of something. He recognizes that together the mortals are capable of much more than he expected, and if they continue to work collectively on such things, they will begin to achieve them. To avoid this, He causes them to speak different languages so they may not work together. This is not the only time God has protected himself from the mortals in a peculiar way.
In the story of Adam and Eve, there is a similar occurrence of God’s self-preservation. Once Adam and Eve eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge, God starts acting out of fear again. Before banishing them, He says, “The man has now become like one...