Minimalist Bible: Tower of Babel

Written by Chad -

God has given me the idea to pursue a personal design project of creating minimalist posters to share the awesome stories of the Bible. If you missed out on previous posters, don't worry, I have created a landing page where you can easily catch up. Check it out here.

This poster series comes from a story that we have all heard from our childhood—Noah's Ark. I'm excited today to reveal Tower of Babelpart seven of a seven part series.

Tower of Babel comes from Genesis 11:1-9 (NLT) which says, "At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there. They began saying to each other, 'Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.' (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) Then they said, 'Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.'

But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building.  'Look!' he said. 'The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.' In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the Lord confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world."

Man, the people that followed Noah totally missed the point after the great flood. Instead of focusing on the Lord, they went right back to focusing on themselves. They set out to construct a giant tower so everyone around would see it and honor their exclusive clique. In those days, this type of tower was most often built as a temple, but these people had no intention of honoring God with their structure. The act of building the tower wasn't what made God angry—it was the motivation behind building it. The people bumped God off of the #1 spot so that they could become famous instead. The Lord brought frustration and confusion onto the people and spread them out because He wanted them to depend on Himself rather than on other people.

Unfortunately, this same thought process is still with us today. We like independency and achievement. We like to build our own towers of career success, knowledge, athletic abilities, possessions, money, popularity, and even the accomplishments of our children. The list could go on and on... Once we allow something worldly to bump God off the #1 spot, confusion and frustration may set in. Sure, it might feel good for a while, but we always want more, more, more. The problem is, the "more" doesn't satisfy. Only God truly satisfies and fulfills us.

I know this to be true because I've been there. My tower was comic books. When I was learning to read, my mom bought me a comic book because I refused to read any of the children's books. Once I got my little hands on that comic, I wouldn't let go. I loved the adventure and the art. My love for comics became a passion and I started a collection. I fed the collection at local shops and even the small conventions. The thrill of the hunt to complete the holes in my collection and the pure excitement of the stories were exhilarating! Even my wife saw how much fun I was having and supported my hobby.

A couple years ago though, I had this uneasy feeling fall upon me. I noticed that comics were becoming more of an obsession for me than a hobby. I would even withdraw from my wife or tough situations by reading comics. Just like that, I had turned my passion for comics into an idol—the #1 spot.

The suckerpunch that brought me to my knees was a time when a former youth group student of mine called me out of the blue. I was excited to catch up with him, but the conversation went in a completely different direction. He was calling me just to see what my thoughts were on the latest superhero film and to ask me a few questions about the characters. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the conversation, but I selfishly wanted it to be something more meaningful. I wanted to see what he was up to and how God was moving in his life—not to be the phone-a-friend for comic trivia. It hit me: I wanted to be known as "the guy who loved God," not as "the comic book guy".

So, I quit cold turkey after that phone call. I called up all my comic vendors to cancel my subscriptions. This was extremely difficult for me! I still loved the art, the writing and the stories in general. From a very young age, comics were what motivated me to become an artist—how could I just give up that part of my life? I started by asking God to take over that #1 spot again. Through extended times of prayer and asking for forgiveness, God came back with an answer for me. He gave me a new spin on the passion I had always known and craved. He challenged me to share HIS story in a cool, artful way. I began filling my notebook with ideas and sketches for the greatest adventures ever written. God had given me the Minimalist Bible project.

Are comic books bad? Nope. But like the people we read about in Genesis, my motivation for collecting and reading comics had turned into a selfish hobby; a worldly tower. Now, I am striving to use my creativity and passion for art to make God's name famous—not mine.