Was the tower of Babel built to escape another flood?

Apparent Conflict

Ellen White: Yes

“The dwellers on the plain of Shinar disbelieved God's covenant that He would not again bring a flood upon the earth. Many of them denied the existence of God and attributed the Flood to the operation of natural causes. ... One object before them in the erection of the tower was to secure their own safety in case of another deluge. By carrying the structure to a much greater height than was reached by the waters of the Flood, they thought to place themselves beyond all possibility of danger. And as they would be able to ascend to the region of the clouds, they hoped to ascertain the cause of the Flood” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 119).

Bible: No

“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 and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth’” (Genesis 11:4).


It is not a contradiction to give more information or details than the previous account (that is one of the purposes of prophets). Ellen White in no way denies or contradicts what the Bible says; she is just giving more information. All subsequent prophets would be "contradicting" Moses if we judged them this way.

Principles Employed

3: Seeing the bigger picture helped us to recognize that the two statements don’t actually contradict each other.


TODO: Link to principles overview page