Why did God punish people of Babel for building a tower?
Those sentences which are colored in orange are from Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati book Satyarth Prakash (The Light of Truth) and those which are colored in black are Jerry Thomas’s response.
"And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech,. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. And Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. God to, let is go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city." (Genesis 11:1, 4 – 8.) C. All men must indeed have been very happy when the whole world had one language, but what shall we say of this jealous God of the Christians who confounded their speech and destroyed the happiness of all. He did as most criminal thing. It is not worse than anything that Satan has ever done. Did not he even beat Satan in this? Thais also shows that the God of the Christians lived on the top of some mountain as Sinai and was not wishful of their welfare. Let alone God, even an enlightened man would not do such a thing. How can then such a book be the Word of God? Answer: It seems that this Maharishi who is ignorant of the method of interpretation but filled with an equal amount of arrogance may speak any boastings and uncivil language against the Most Holy God.
Let us examine the verse part by part and see what the error is:
Genesis 11: 4 (first part) And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city.”
The Holy Bible itself interprets the error in such attitude leaving no room for mere speculation.
James 4: 13-16 -“Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that but now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.”
The first grave error as per the Holy Bible clearly teaches is that they boasted in arrogance.
Genesis 11: 4 (second part) – and a tower whose top is in the heavens.
This part of the verse is clear in itself. This is an open rebellion against the God to reach up to heaven.
The Holy Bible itself gives an example of such rebellion against God in the similar language.
Isaiah 14: 12- 14 "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [How] you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.'
Genesis 11: 4 (part 3)- let us make a name for ourselves.
This verse again highlights that their actions were self-evidently sinful and that it is done through selfish ambition.
It is not that the God would not want men to achieve some ‘name’. It has to be done in humbleness and obedience.
In the very next chapter, Genesis 12, God blesses Abram (later Abraham) with the same blessing:
Gen 12:1-2 Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.
In fact, the unblemished and perfectly pure and holy pattern set by LORD Jesus Christ explains this point thoroughly. In being obedient to the point of death, LORD Jesus Christ is exalted to the heavens- a stark contrast to the people at Babel.
Philippians 2:3-11– Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, [and] coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to [the point of] death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Genesis 11: 4 (part 4) “lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth."
This is in direct contradiction to the explicit commandment God gave in Genesis 9: 1 which was given along with blessing.
Genesis 9:1- So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.
The sins of the people of the tower of Babel were arrogance, open rebellion against the Holy God, selfish ambitions and clear disobedience to the Word of God.
If Maharishi calls such a state as very happy, probably that might have been according to his value systems. However, that is an outright sinful behavior by the lofty Biblical standards.