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|Rise of Babel|
Rise of Babel is the story of a united, independent humankind that existed after the creation of the Tower of Babel. From the biblical story of Genesis, the Tower of Babel was a gigantic tower built toward the heavens in defiance of God by a united humanity, led by their ruler Nimrod. According to the story, God responded to this defiance by destroying the Tower, scattering humanity, and causing mankind to speak a variety of different languages. This led to the modern world's existence of multiple languages, nationalities, and cultures. But what if the Tower never fell? What if humanity was never divided? What if Babel continued rising?
Excerpt from Genesis 11
The Tower of Babel
1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. 3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The LORD said, “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. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” 8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
The story of the Tower of Babel is an early religious explanation for the division of humankind. Similar stories also exist in other cultures and religions across the globe. It idealizes a time before history where humanity was united and at peace. It is the idea of the continuity of this unity that is so tantalizing. This althist is based on the idea of a continuing united human race and what it might possibly achieve. Please remember, this althist is religious in no way, shape, or form nor is it intended to instill any religious beliefs in others. It's merely an exercise in intellectual curiosity.
Note: This time line utilizes the chronology of James Ussher, a Biblical scholar of the 17th century. These dates, worked out from dating Biblical events of undisputed secular calendars, work out to 244 years longer than the Hebrew (Jewish) calendar and follows biblical events. Events, such as the existence of Adam and Eve, occur in this world, although such events are explained somewhat more rationally and are made to fit into a secular worldview. Though the Hebrew calendar begins in 3760 B.C. when God is believed to have created the Earth, the date of 4004 B.C. will be used in this time line. All events are labeled some time after this event, which is referred to year 1, with the epoch Anno Mundi (A.M.), or "in the year of the world."
Point of Divergence
The point of divergence, or POD, of this time line occurs in approximately 1830 B.C., or 1802 years after the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. As per the story in the Book of Genesis, a united humanity arrived in the land of Shinar around 1750 A.M. Humanity had grown substantially since surviving a catastrophic flood. Records that have come down to the present differ somewhat, but most indicate a very small number survived to repopulate the lands to which they migrated. As a result, civilization as we know it arose in the then lush lands along the banks of the Euphrates River. This land was called Shinar.
Once they arrived in Shinar, mankind began the creation of a great tower, the Tower of Babel, as an act of defiance against God. Humanity, led by Nimrod, sought to challenge the absolute authority of God and show the strength of their race. According to Genesis, God had told Noah and his family to spread out to populate the whole earth, but now was faced with a defiant act of self-determinism. In wake of this, He caused all the many family groups to speak different languages, which prevented them from cooperating to construct the tower. As a result, the tower was abandoned or destroyed. (Interpretations of this passage differ. Some view the tower as being destroyed by God, which resulted in humanity being scattered and creating different languages. Others believe God merely created new languages and the tower was voluntarily abandoned. Either interpretation works with this althist.) The POD is when God, always sovereign over humanity, decides to allow the Tower to be built and never destroys it. Mankind would continue in a united effort to prove itself superior. With one language, and a united purpose intact, the future would be quite different for mankind.
Differences from OTL
It is hard to imagine a world with about 3500 years "head start" on the one we know. However, to start with, the humanism that disregards the existence of God prevails. Man becomes a "god" unto itself, determining its own destiny on the earth and into the inhabitable planets in that part of the galaxy reachable by the bounds of the laws of physics.
Though common consensus is that mankind rose slowly out of Africa, and certainly to have reached as far as the icy regions of what we call Chile in South America, by the date of 4004 BC, the time line assumes a population that remained close to its origin near the headwaters of the Euphrates River for much longer, spreading out only as necessity and its sense of destiny dictated.
Religion would arise, even believers in the "one true God," but not at the expense of progress. And progress, the Nimrod regime determined early on, was to be the destiny of all of mankind. Mankind would pierce the heavens, and one day, possess the lands beyond the clouds. Though a class system would most certainly arise, it would be managed well, sharing the good that the earth could provide with everyone so that no one would complain.
In spite movements among the people to live lives unencumbered by the progress toward the ultimate goals of the upper classes, by the present day the dream of Nimrod and his supporters largely prevailed through time. Today, Year of Mankind 6015, mankind is known to be dwelling in star systems as far away as 2000 light years! Our moon is an independent world, as are terraformed Venus and Mars. Several of the moons of the gas giants provide an endless supply of natural resources for the Solar system's population of over ten billion people. The populations in other star systems, by the reports that have reached earth, consider themselves a different species.