Why does God put up with our tall buildings and yet punished the building of the Tower of Babel?
The Tower of Babel was like our modern skyscrapers today. The post-flood civilization was small and inhabited an area in Lower Mesopotamia. We believe that the Tower of Babel was near the city of Babylon. This city was part of Nimrod’s kingdom (Gen. 10:8-10). Therefore, it appears that the tower was built as a part of his kingdom. The account of the building and destruction of the tower is recorded for us in Genesis 11:1-9. Genesis 11:4 reveals the motivation or purpose for the building of the tower.
They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (NASB) Gen. 11:4
Nimrod and his people built a great city and a huge religious tower. We believe that the tower was a type of ziggurat. Ziggurats were common during the Akkad dynasty. They were religious symbols. The Akkadians believed that the gods lived on top of the ziggurat. Nahum M. Sarna states,
On its heights the gods were imagined to have their abode. Constituting the obvious channel of communication between the celestial and terrestrial spheres, the sacred mountain was looked upon as the center of the universe, the “navel” of the earth . . . The most famous ziggurat of all, the one at Babylon, is the focus of the present narrative. It was known as the e-temen-an-ki, “The House of the Foundation of Heaven and Earth.” In the flat, alluvial plain of Lower Mesopotamia, the ziggurat constituted a man-made sacred mountain in miniature . . .  The Tower of Babel was a religious tower. It may have served as the center of their worship. Joshua 24:2 reveals that from at least the time of Terah, the father of Abraham, the ancients served and worshipped other gods. The tower was probably a religious focal point for the antediluvians. Since this is the first false religion of record, God confused their language and caused them to scatter.
Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth. (NASB) Gen. 11:9
Why does God “put up with our tall buildings”? The answer is that generally our skyscrapers are not symbols or centers of false religious worship. The Tower of Babel was the center of false religious worship. Today, people worship philosophies, scientific theories, and practices that are anti-God. There is only one true God and only one true faith. That is the message of the following passage,
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. (NASB) Acts 4:12
1. Nahum M. Sarna. Genesis, The JPS Torah Commentary. Jewish Publication Society, 1989, p. 82.