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Carlos Caso-Rosendi

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Credence Clearwater Revival (the other CCR) put out Cosmo’s Factory in the summer of 1970.  In it there was a song, Who’ll Stop the Rain. It was a popular song at that time. Admittedly, those were not the greatest lyrics but I’d like to use the theme because it is linked to the story of the Tower of Babel. Back in the 70’s, many of us were on the impression that we were living the last minutes of history. We all feared a global nuclear war. Historians now tell us that we dodged that bullet a few times. I know that if God was not in control, nuclear weapons could have been used. They may end up being used one day and that is a terrifying perspective but that is not my point today. The song was popular that summer, few here in BA could understand the lyrics but it was a pleasant tune and we hummed along. I imagined it was talking about some inevitable universal calamity that we could all see coming and yet no one could stop.

Long as I remember the rain been comin’ down
Clouds of mystery pourin’ confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages tryin’ to find the sun.
And I wonder still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.

I went down Virginia seekin’ shelter from the storm
Caught up in the fable I watched the tower grow
Five year plans and new deals wrapped in golden chains.
And I wonder still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.

I does not sound that bad when compared with some of the nihilistic pop songs of today. There is that not-so-oblique reference to the Tower of Babel, John Fogerty was talking to a young public that still had a tenuous connection to Christianity. That country is gone for the most part, there is a sizable number of young people that have no idea who won World War II — don’t even ask them if they ever opened a Bible, or heard a sermon on Genesis chapter 11 (hint: it is not about U.S. bankruptcy law.) Fogerty  wrote the song on the way back home from Woodstock.

Perhaps the people of Shinar could still remember the Universal Flood. The lesson was fresh in their minds: if you fail to follow God’s natural law, God will allow nature to teach you a lesson. Adam learned that when God asked him: “What have you done? … Cursed is the ground because of you.”

Eviction from Eden led the first man to the harsh reality of fighting nature every second of his life. Suffering, decay, and death came upon him just like they come upon us. The descendants of Noah decided they had enough of this punishment business and decided to build a tower so high that reached Heaven. It was a stupid idea. Mankind has always been great at conceiving stupid schemes. Perhaps their ziggurat was meant to save a few of them in case there was another flood. They may have thought they could reach what they imagined “Heaven” was, some better place up there in the blue sky. In any case, that is the oldest record of a large group of people pursuing Utopia. Notice that the word ziggurat sounds quite close to our English word for security. I wonder if there is a faint etymological connection.

Forward a few thousand years to the mid 19th century and meet Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the bearded  prophets of Communism. What they lacked in philosophical wit they compensated with facial pilosity. They did not propose the construction of yet another tower but they were seeking to crown the ideological tower that had been growing since the days of Luther. When they arrived at the scene, the tower had several levels. There was the Lutheran base, built more or less on the Schism of 1054, and a number of rehashed old heresies. On top of that wide plateau there was the Illuminism story with its French, English, Scottish, and German terraces. Above  those there was the French Revolution level, nicely painted red with the blood of the victims of the Terror.

When Marx and Engels arrived, the Socialists were busy building the fourth story. Both thinkers rolled their sleeves up and started laying bricks up there, their beards aflutter in the winds of history. That is when they coined the term “The Worker’s Paradise” which was — in case you never heard of the concept — a cheap, sort of Levittown version of Eden, still under the curse of labor and death but graced with no moral limitations. Our hairy philosophers did not live long enough to see the tower finished — back then, no one knew that the tower will never be completed, pretty much like the the Tower of Babel, that never reached Heaven. Others joined the project: Adorno, Marcuse, Gramsci, Derrida … too many to list here! The tower is now magnificently tall. No paradise yet but plenty of martyrs, millions of them along with enormous amounts of wealth destroyed in the pursuit of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the destruction of oppresive patriarchy, the pursuit of unlimited abortion, and — most importantly — absolute sexual freedom.

The tower is meant to reach the place where God is. Many believe that the tower will replace God and allow mankind to storm Paradise by building a world of absolute pleasure for the lucky ones on the top floor.

The first tower project was abandoned when something went wrong with the communications system. That is why the new builders are very concerned with what they call the “political correctness” of language.  You can be a pansexual, totalitarian visionary with plenty of unwashed facial hair … but you must mind your language or they will send you back to the lowest levels. The verbally incorrect end up there in a place called “the Gulag” making mud bricks for the glorious members of the Nomenklatura inhabiting the top floor.

Mankind has been building towers since the days of Adam. The long road of History is littered with the bones of many thousands of paradise makers. None of them ever realized that Nature cannot be defeated. Throw anything at it and it will bounce back twice as fast and thrice as heavy. But they keep trying and … suffering the consequences.

Would-be everlasting dynasties, empires where the sun never sets, thousand year Reiche, and a variety of other utopias have kissed the canvas ignominiously but Nature is still there, pervaded and animated by the Logos. Who is the Logos? Well, He has many names. One of them is “the Alpha and the Omega” — a name that appears in the first verse of Genesis as a mysterious “aleph-tav”. You see, in Revelation 22:13. towards the end of the Christian Bible, the Logos says:

“I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

That information reached us in Greek where the alphabet begins with “alpha” and ends with “omega” but in Hebrew — the language of the Logos, I presume — the fist letter is aleph and the last letter is tav. You know tav already. It looks like the Greek letter tau, or our English tee, the cross. The two letters appear in Genesis 1:1 but they are not translated. They are just sitting there like a signature or a presence between the word God (Elohim) and the Hebrew word for Heavens (shamayim).

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Logos was there at the beginning of Creation and also later, when the men of Shinar were building the Tower of Babel. I have good reason to believe he does not like the builders of Utopian structures.  We learned that from one of his followers, a man named Peter, whose name coincidentally means “rock” or “stone”. When summoned by the religious authorities of his time (who were busy hauling big rocks and building a fine Temple that was later destroyed by the Romans) Peter said:

Rulers and elders of the people!  If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed,  then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

Peter is talking about Jesus, the same who is said to be “the Alpha and the Omega”. When Jesus — the Logos, the Author of Life — entered time and presented Himself to His people … the builders of the Temple nailed Him to a tav, a stauros, a Cross. Little did the builders know that the Cross was not the end of Logos but the end of History. From that moment the clock has been ticking and every tick brings the world closer to its final liberation from the travails imposed on mankind by Utopian builders.  The present human efforts to build the last Utopia will come to naught. A reality more beautiful, more solid, with more life than anything men can imagine will impact and dissolve the present nightmare one fine day.

Human Utopia cannot defeat death. Even in the unlikely event that something resembling the worker’s paradise could be built on earth, it will be for ever out of reach for the many that gave their lives to build it. Only Christ can offer a Paradise accessible to every human being. His Paradise is available even to those who have died. We can trust in His promise because He resurrected fro, the dead, and the first thing He did when He came back to life, was to remove the heavy stone placed there by the builders to keep Him separated from us.

The lesson is clear: no tower is strong enough to defeat what Logos built into Nature. A new day is dawning and no one can stop the rising sun.

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