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Exposing Adventism - Promoting Ellen White without using her name (Tower of Babel story)

The Bible states that the people said, "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."

Ellen White states, among other things, that the purpose of the tower was to escape another flood, as well as to "discover reasons for the flood."

The fact that Ellen White adds non-biblical content to the story of the tower of Babel given in Genesis 11:1-9 is one thing. Adventism has a vested interest in promoting their unique biblical interrpretations derived from Seventh-day Adventist prophetess, Ellen White, by whatever means possible. What you are about to see is a deliberate attempt to deceive the public.

Cultural and Evangelical Adventists will claim that they are not influenced by Ellen White's teachings. And yet every Adventist has been taught from childhood up that the tower of Babel was built to escape another flood. Where does this notion come from, if not Ellen White? The Biblical account in Genesis 11:1-9 makes absolutely no mention of it being built to escape another flood. A moment of thought will immediately reveal why such a notion would be ludicrous. It was built on a plain in the land of Shinar. If they were trying to escape a flood that had just exceeded the mountain tops they certainly would not pick a low spot to build it!

In typical fashion, as shown in the quotation from Spiritual Gifts, Volume 3, Page 96, Ellen White adds all manner of embellishments without any Biblical foundation. She states:

  • "They reasoned that they would secure themselves in case of another flood, for they would build their tower to a much greater height than the waters prevailed in the time of the flood"
  • "People dwelt in the tower. Rooms were splendidly furnished, decorated and devoted to their idols."
  • "Those who did not believe in God, imagined if their tower could reach unto the clouds they would be able to discover reasons for the flood."
  • "the Lord sent two angels to confound them in their work."

The first assertion demonstrates the height of absurdity. Genesis 7:19-20 states:

19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.

20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.

For Ellen White's account to make any sense at all, the tower of Babel, built on the plain of Shinar, would have had to have been built taller than the highest mountain in the world after the flood! Mt. Everest is 29,000 feet high. Mt. Ararat (where Noah's ark landed) is 16,854 feet. By comparison, the world's tallest building, Burj Dubai in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is 12% the height of Mt. Ararat, at 2,063 feet. Perhaps Ellen White's vivid imagination was fueled by her vinegar (plus hard wiskey) addiction that almost killed her.

So what about our Cultural and Evangelical Adventist friends who resolutely maintain that they go by the Bible only, and they have not been influenced by Ellen White's fantasies? Do they attend a Seventh-day Adventist church? Do their children attend the Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath School? Do they have at home either the blue 10-volume "The Bible Story" series (by Arthur S. Maxwell), or the "My Bible Friends" series (by Etta B. Degering)? The Bible Stories series used to provide the foundation for the weekly Sabbath School stories in the children's divisions.

The Bible Story series is published by the official Seventh-day Adventist publishing house, Review and Herald, and is advertised as "The most complete and accurate set of Bible stories ever written for the family." After you read the acount provided below you will be able to determine how honest (or dishonest) official Seventh-day Adventist statements actually are.

The My Bible Friends series is also published by the official Seventh-day Adventist publishing house, Review and Herald, and is advertised as "Richly illustrated and beautifully written, these books are definitely the premium set of Bible stories for younger children."

Let's see whether "The Bible Story" series "accurately" presents the Biblical view, or whether it substitutes Ellen White's view.

Here is just one excerpts from The Bible Story, Volume 1, page 124-130:

Part Three, Story 7

The First Skyscraper

"By the end of the first century after the Flood, Noah's family had grown into hundreds of families and lots and lots of children. There may well have been half a million people on earth.

One of the big questions all these people talked about was where to live. Should they divide up and go away to some distant, unexplored part of the world, or should they stay near home? Most of them decided they would rather keep together. Nobody wanted to go too far from great-grandfather Noah who, you will remember, lived for 350 years after the Flood.

Many times they must have talked about the beautiful world that Noah and his sons had known before the Flood, and how it was destroyed because of sin. What a wonderful story Noah could tell of those days!

Nobody doubted the Flood then. They were too close to it. And if anybody questioned whether the story of the ark was true, he could climb Mount Ararat and see for himself.

One day somebody raised the question, How do we know there will not be another flood that will drown us as our forefathers drowned?

"But there's the rainbow," someone replied. "When we see that we are to remember God's promise that He will never again destroy the earth by a flood."

"But it isn't reasonable to trust our future and our children's futures to rainbows," argued another. "We should do something about it and make ourselves safe in case another flood comes."

And so "they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime they had for morter. 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."

The idea caught on. Led by Nimrod, "the mighty hunter," everybody was soon helping to make bricks or carry them to the building site. Everybody, that is, except Noah and some others who remembered God's promises and trusted Him to keep them.

To build a tower to reach above the clouds was a very great task and must have taken a long time and lots of hard labor. But gradually it began to take shape. Week by week and month by month the world's first skyscraper rose above the Plain of Shinar.

As it grew higher and higher, with long lines of people patiently carrying the bricks up steep ramps, everybody felt pleased. Now they could build a large city around this tower and have a safe refuge should another flood come upon them.

But God was not pleased. He does not like His word doubted, any more than you or I do."

So there we have it. There is no need to read Ellen White's books directly. Seventh-day Adventist authors have picked up her story line, and added it to the Biblical account to create a "hybrid" story that will certainly confound any non-Adventist Bible scholar. Since most Adventist parents who read this story book to their children for evening worship will have been raised themselves on Ellen White's "Conflict of the Ages" series they will just "assume" that this account agrees with the Bible. That is how Adventists can say with a straight face, "We are people of the Bible", little knowing that what they are regurgitating is not from the Bible at all, but instead from Ellen White's overactive imagination. Those who are aware of the discrepancy chalk it up to the reasoning, "Well. That is what the Lord showed her." End of discussion.

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Unless otherwise noted, all original material on this ExposingAdventism.com website is 2007-2008 by Gilbert Jorgensen. Careful effort has been made to give credit as clearly as possible to any specific material quoted or ideas extensively adapted from any one resource. Corrections and clarifications regarding citations for any source material are welcome, and will be promptly added to any sections which are found to be inadequately documented as to source.