The First Skyscraper

Answer for Students
Unit 01 - Bible Firsts

TEXT: Genesis 11:1-9; 1 Corinthians 3:9-15

A dramatic occurrence took place on the building site that day when work was halted on the first skyscraper.

Skyscrapers are tall, impressive buildings reaching high into the sky. The tallest one in the United States is the One World Trade Center in New York. It is 104 stories high! A lot of time and effort goes into planning and building a structure that tall.

The Bible tells us about a group of people who decided to build a tower so tall it would reach high into the heavens. After the great Flood, God had commanded the people to replenish the earth. Some of the people obeyed God, but there was one large group of people who were not willing to be separated from one another. They moved to the land of Shinar—a beautiful, fertile valley watered by the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. At that time, everyone in the world spoke the same language. As these people talked among themselves they decided to build a city with a tall tower. They thought if they did that, other nations would see how great they were, and they wouldn’t have to be scattered to many different places on the earth.

Soon they began to build. Some men formed the clay and baked the bricks. Some gathered material to use for mortar, while others carried the bricks to the bricklayers. They all worked hard as the first skyscraper began to rise.

One day God came down to see the city and the tower. He was very displeased. These people were trusting in their own power, not in God. He decided to confuse their language so they could not understand one another’s speech. Imagine! All of a sudden the people began to speak in different languages. What a mix-up that must have caused. When the bricklayer called for more brick, the man beside him could only shrug his shoulders. When he wanted mortar, no one knew what he was saying. Oh, the gesturing and the shouting! What confusion!

It was impossible to build with everyone speaking different languages, so they had to give up. After trying so hard to make sure they would always be together, the people had to take their families and possessions and find new homes in different parts of the world. Their plan failed because they had ignored God’s command and had done things their own way.

Do you know people who try to ignore God’s Word and do things their own way? Here’s a story of someone who thought rules weren’t for him.

One day Owen and Carter were riding their bikes to school. Owen was very arrogant and proud and did things his way—legally or illegally. As the boys rode, Owen said, “Hey, Carter, I found a short cut to school. It’s this way and it’ll get us there five minutes faster!” As they turned the corner, Carter saw the street sign—ONE WAY.

“Hey,” he yelled, “this is a one-way street and we’re going the wrong way!”

“I know,” said Owen, “but it’s a short street and so much faster. Who cares, anyway? We can go on any street we want. I dare anyone to try to stop us.” Suddenly, a big truck was heading right for them. As they swerved away, they heard tires screeching. They missed the truck by inches!

When they stopped to catch their breath, Carter said, “That was too close for me! I’m turning back and getting off this street.”

“Ah, you big chicken! That truck driver just didn’t know how to drive.” Owen shouted.

“Well, you can be too proud and stubborn to go back if you want, but I’m getting out of here.” And with that Carter turned and took the regular route to school. He got to class just as the tardy bell rang.

About an hour later, Mr. Peterson, the principal, entered the classroom and asked to talk to Carter.

“Did you see Owen this morning?” Mr. Peterson asked. Before Carter could answer, Mr. Peterson continued, “Owen is in the emergency room and the police are coming here to talk to you. Someone said they saw you with him just before the accident. The police want to ask you some questions.”

Thoughts began racing through Carter’s mind. What happened? He was so glad he had turned around and gone the right way.

What do you think happened to Owen? And why?