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Archaeology supports the Bible (Creation Magazine LIVE! 7-06)


If the Bible records historical events accurately, then there ought to be archaeological evidence for it. This week on Creation Magazine LIVE – archaeology
supports the Bible. Welcome to Creation Magazine LIVE!
My name is Richard Fangrad. and I’m Thomas Bailey. This week on Creation Magazine LIVE our topic
was actually suggested by a viewer. Now, typically, we look at scientific evidences for biblical
creation (that’s what we do at CMI, generally) and its related subjects, but there are other
evidences for the accuracy of the Bible as well. That’s right. Archaeology provides powerful
support for the inerrancy of Scripture, and that’s what we’re going to look at today.
Just to illustrate how archaeological discoveries support the total accuracy of the Bible, we’re
going to reference an interview with an archaeologist. You can read the whole interview at creation.com/clifford-wilson Yes, this will be fun. We’re just going to
highlight some portions of it as we dive into the topic of archaeology and the Bible today.
The late Dr Clifford Wilson has a considerable background in archaeology. He has a Bachelor
of Arts and a Master of Arts from Sydney University (in Australia, obviously), and a Bachelor
of Divinity (which was post-graduate, including Hebrew and Greek) from Melbourne College of
Divinity, and a Master of Religious Education from Luther Rice Seminary. His Ph.D. is from
the University of South Carolina and included top marks for field work in archaeology. So there you go. Wow! He was asked, “What was your most interesting
‘hands-on’ experience? And he responded, “I think it was at Gezer, where we excavated
over a period of quite a few days. All we were going through in one area was a whole
lot of black ash, and it was very discouraging. Professor Nelson Glueck – a very important
archaeologist who gave the world the idea of Solomon’s mines – suggested that we ought
to do more sieving. So we sieved, and we found evidences of a civilization which had Egyptian and
Canaanite artefacts with a Solomonic wall nearby. The team found little god-figures
and the like; I was in charge of that area. All the excavation leaders were very excited
because they realized the ash was from the time when the Egyptians had burned the city
of Gezer and then handed it over to Solomon as a wedding present when he married the Pharaoh’s
daughter.” Cool! And then he was asked, “That was, of
course, consistent with the Bible?” And he said, “Very much so – the burning is referred
to in 1 Kings 9:16.” And then he makes a very interesting comment about the Bible as an
accurate historical record. He said this, “I found it interesting at that time that
here were some of the world’s leading archaeologists – G. Ernest Wright of Harvard, for instance.
They weren’t so much pleased about proving the Bible, but rather that they had found
something in history they could now peg their hats on, as it were. What impressed me was
that the Bible was taken by them as an acceptable textbook, reliable in its historical statements.
They were very pleased that they had something that fitted into acceptable history. And that
history was in the Bible.” Interesting. That’s an amazing insight into the world of
archaeology. Even non-Christian archaeologists recognise the historical reliability of the
Bible. Dr Wilson was asked, “Have you found in your researches in archaeology anything
that has contradicted the biblical account in a definite sense?” And he said, “There
have been plenty of claims that things contradict the biblical account, but the Bible has a habit of
being proved right after all. I well remember one of the world’s leading archaeologists at Gezer
rebuking a younger archaeologist who was ‘rubbishing’ the Bible. He just quietly
said, ‘Well, if I were you, I wouldn’t rubbish the Bible.’ When the younger archaeologist
asked ‘Why?’, he replied, ‘Well, it just has a habit of proving to be right after all.’
And that’s where I stand.” That’s such a great story! So the more experienced
archaeologist had to take the new guy aside and settle him down about the Bible not being accurate. That’s right. This interview gives us a sort of ‘sneak peek’
inside the world of archaeology, and specifically biblical archaeology, and it shows that
the Bible accurately records history. The people, events, dates, the geography and other
details have been confirmed by other historical records and the artifacts from archaeology. Yeah. And it’s another way that we as Christians
can be assured that we haven’t been taken in by some wacky idea, or a cult, or as the
Apostle Peter says, “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” You see, a large part of the Bible is eyewitness
history. The writers wrote down what they saw, as Peter did here. He’s saying, ‘I was
there, I know what I saw’. In some cases, the events that the Bible records leave traces
that can be found today (like the burned city of Gezer that Dr Wilson mentioned), and when we find those things, it provides evidence for our faith. And we’ll be right back. Goosebumps form when we our skin gets cold. According to some evolutionists, we develop
these bumps on our skin at the base of body hairs because we are supposedly related to
hairy ancestors, for which they served a purpose. Since humans have minimal hair, they often
dismiss goosebumps as a ‘non-functional relic’ of our supposed evolutionary past. However, human goosebumps are not useless.
Even with the small amount of hair we have, when it stands on end, it helps to conserve
body heat by trapping more air. Also, the muscles associated with goosebumps help squeeze
oil onto the skin and the hairs help prevent the oil glands from becoming clogged. Moreover,
the muscle contractions generate heat, of which more can be generated by shivering. Goosebumps, therefore, do not necessarily
support the idea we are related to hairy animals. But they do provide evidence for a common
designer, using the ‘goosebump concept’ in many different creatures. To find out more from Creation Ministries
International visit our website CREATION.com. If you’ve just tuned in, this week we are talking about
how archaeology supports the Bible. We did a show a couple years ago about
different kinds of faith. There’s blind faith, there’s reasonable faith, there’s irrational
faith, and a few others, and many people think Christianity is a blind faith, but it isn’t.
It’s a faith that’s supported by evidence. It’s a reasonable faith. That’s right. By studying the evidences that
support Christianity, those things that we can observe and examine today, and if the
Bible is right about those things, then it gives us confidence to trust the Bible when
it describes things that we cannot test and observe, like what the requirements are for
getting into Heaven, for example. Yeah, and that makes sense. Jesus said, “If
I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell
you heavenly things?” The Bible describes ‘earthly things’ like people, events and locations
that, if they were significant enough to leave a mark that could last for many years, archaeology
may be able to confirm those details there in scripture. See, the Bible claims to be the Word of God,
and He is outside of time, and knows all things. Yes, it is accurate to say that it was written
by people. This is what is called ‘dual-authorship’. Peter described it this way, “knowing this
first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For
no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were
carried along by the Holy Spirit.” OK. So then, the biblical text must be correct
about all that it records because it’s actually the Word of God. And archaeologists find things
that support what the Bible says. It’s a great time to be a Christian! There’s continually
more support for God’s Word, and Dr Wilson, in this interview, recalls his interaction with other
archaeologists who reach that same conclusion. He said that, “Professor Nelson Glueck, who
I suppose would be recognized as one of the top five of the ‘greats’ in biblical archaeology,
gave a marvellous lecture to 120 American students who were interacting with the Arabs.
He said, ‘I have excavated for 30 years with a Bible in one hand and a trowel in the other,
and in matters of historical perspective, I have never yet found the Bible to be in error’. That’s great. He continues, and in this next,
more lengthy, response it shows how archaeology can actually correct faulty ideas about the
Bible. In this case it was the idea that Moses didn’t write the Pentateuch (the first five
books of the Bible). There’s a popular notion, still around today, called the Documentary
Hypothesis which claims that these books were written by at least 5 different people and
gradually came together over a number of centuries. He says this, “Professor G. Ernest Wright,
Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Studies at Harvard University, gave a lecture at that
same dig. He made the point that (because of the researches associated with the Hittites
and the findings of Professor George Mendenhall concerning what are called the Suzerainty
Covenant Treaties between the Hittite kings and their vassals) it had become clear that
the records of Moses, when dealing with covenants, must be dated back to the middle of the second
millennium BC. That’s about 1500 BC. Also, that those writings should be recognized as
a unity. In other words, they go back to one man. That one man could only be Moses. Then he adds this interesting report, “I went
to Professor Wright later and said, ‘Sir, this is very different from what you’ve been
putting out in your own writings.’ He looked at me and said, ‘Clifford, for 30 years I’ve
been teaching students coming to Harvard to train for the Christian ministry; I’ve been
telling them they could forget Moses in the Pentateuch, but at least in these significant
areas of the covenant documents that are there in the Pentateuch, I’ve had to admit that
I was wrong.’ He continues, “They were two scholastic giants.
One says, ‘I’ve excavated for 30 years and I’ve never found the Bible to be in error’
– basically that’s what he was saying. The other says, ‘For 30 years I’ve been wrong.’
It’s rather sad, isn’t it, that a good man such as Professor Wright had been so swept
along with the ridiculous documentary hypothesis that he had taken a wrong stand for so long.
Let me stress that Professor Wright was a man of the highest integrity.” That’s amazing. It illustrates the importance
of dealing honestly with both the biblical text and the evidences. In the search for truth,
ultimately, both of them will say the same thing. We’ll be right back. What are the theological consequences of adding
‘millions of years’ to Genesis? How does it impact doctrines such as the Gospel, sin,
the atonement? Refuting Compromise is the most powerful biblical
and scientific defence of a straightforward view of Genesis. Loaded with scientific support
for a recent creation in 6 real days, it demolishes all attempts to twist the biblical text in
order insert ‘millions of years’, bringing clarity into an area usually mired in confusion.
Must reading for Bible college students and anyone involved in church leadership or teaching. Get your copy at CREATION.com On this week’s episode we’ve been reading
parts of a fascinating interview with archaeologist Dr Clifford Wilson, the late Dr Clifford Wilson,
and we’ll keep doing that but we’re not going to go through the entire interview (don’t
have time for that). You can read the whole thing, which was originally published in our
Creation magazine, and it’s now available on our website at creation.com/clifford-wilson
— you can see the link there. Part of history is dates. And this is where
history students groan… But dates are important. If you take the dates out of history you end
up with, ‘once upon a time’… a fairy-tale. That’s basically it, yes. And that’s what
many people think that Bible is, so one of the ways to guard against that (take note
Sunday School teachers), is to reference the dates when the events recorded in the Bible took place.
It’s a simple little thing that we can do. And dates are obviously a big part of archaeology
too. Archaeologists want to date their findings to fit them into history. But if we think
about a creation date, the Bible clearly promotes recent creation date around 4000BC. But Dr Wilson
didn’t always trust that date, and in the interview, he mentions what first got
him thinking about a recent creation. He says this, “Well, many years ago I was
lecturing at a college in the United States and declaring that the earth could be as old
as you would like to have it – millions or billions of years – and a student came to
me and asked me to read some research papers by Professor Tom Barnes. And that led me on
a search. I even found myself with the scientist who had done the investigation for Professor
Barnes’ arguments about the depletion of the earth’s magnetic field. This person was associated
with one of the biggest institutions in America. I asked him about his conclusions. He said,
‘Well, it’s not a matter of my conclusions, it’s the institution I represent.’ And he
made it quite clear that he would personally recommend (and could not flaw) Dr Barnes’
arguments. However, the institution was not prepared to accept them, because this would
mean accepting that the earth was young – just a few thousand years rather than billions
of years. And their argument was, ‘We know that Professor Barnes is wrong.’ We ‘know’ – simply because of the establishment
belief, it seems.” Wow! Isn’t it interesting that evolutionists
and people who believe in a very old earth are always quick to say that it’s the science
that leads them to their conclusions? But when they come across science for a recent
creation, it’s swept under the rug! Yes, and there’s lots of it. So the millions of years
isn’t really based on science then, is it? Dr Wilson mentioned research done by Professor
Thomas Barnes on the Earth’s magnetic field. Now, he was referring to measurements
made since way back in 1835 that show that the magnetic field of the Earth is decaying
at 5% per century. Archaeological discoveries actually support
that. They show that the field was 40 percent stronger in AD 1000 than it is today. Here’s
the conclusion: The magnetic field could not have been decaying for more than 10,000 years,
or else its original strength would have been large enough to melt the earth! OK! And that’s just one of hundreds of scientific
evidences for a recent creation. And this one seems to have had, obviously, a big
impact on Dr Wilson. He mentioned another example where the dates
fit the Bible but didn’t fit ‘the establishment’. He said, “…in the excavations at Gezer to
which I have referred, on the last day of two particular digs, we actually found a cache
of Philistine pots, which were about 150 years out, based on the argument that the Exodus
took place about 1290-1270 BC (which is the date taken by many modern scholars). They
are plain wrong, by the way. The evidence from Dr Bryant Wood today is being taken
very seriously these days: he has done a great deal of work to show that Jericho fell about
1400 BC, which gives you an Exodus date of about 1440 BC. So these particular Philistine
pots just shouldn’t have been there on this accepted theory. And they didn’t know what
to do with it, so they just went quiet on it. That’s what happens from time to time.
My own experience is that if the Bible says something is accurate, well, be very slow
to suggest otherwise, because it does have a habit of proving to be right after all.” Great stuff. And we’ll be back with more after
a short break. Helium gas is renowned for its ability to
diffuse through materials quickly. Why is it, then, that we find an abundance of helium
in certain rock crystals – that it has not managed to escape from them? This has significant implications for the
dating of rocks using radioactive decay. That’s because helium is formed when some radioisotopes
decay, and therefore lots of helium suggests lots of decay has occurred. Moreover, if lots
of decay has occurred, it also suggests that the rock is very old. However, Nuclear Physicist Dr Russell Humphreys
realised that lots of helium trapped in the rock crystals that had not had time to diffuse
out means that the rocks were actually young. Dr Humphreys concluded that nuclear decay
rates must have been dramatically faster in the recent past, and that is why rocks that
are actually only thousands of years old are commonly wrongly dated using radioisotope
decay as millions or billions of years old. To find out more from Creation Ministries
International visit our website CREATION.com. Our subject this week is, archaeology supports
the Bible. And we’ve been reading excerpts from an interview done in 1992, published
in Creation magazine, with the Australian archaeologist Dr Clifford Wilson. Yes. Dr Carl Wieland, who is sort of the ‘grandfather’
of Creation Ministries International and he started Creation magazine on his typewriter
back in 1978; he’s the one who conducted this interview. And at one point he asked Dr Wilson,
“Dr Wilson, we are often told that religion has evolved – that people started off worshipping
spirits, then there were lots of gods, then fewer gods, and eventually came the idea of
one true God. Can you tell us if this is confirmed in the archaeological records of the civilizations
with which you are familiar?” Dr Wilson responded, “At the time just after
the Flood, we find a record of three gods – the god of the earth, the god of the sky,
and the god of the waters. And fairly soon after that you’ve got hundreds of gods in
ancient records. You start with the concept of monotheism (one God), leading up to polytheism
(many gods). It does not start with dozens of gods. And even at Ebla, although there
are some 500 gods there, there is also in ancient Canaan the concept of a ‘great one’,
Lugal, who was associated with creation. Later the word Lugal came to mean king.” Carl asked him, “So that would be consistent
with what Paul tells us in Romans, that people abandoned the worship of the one true God
and turned to the worship of other things?” Dr Wilson said, “Absolutely. The specific
reference to only three gods just after the Flood may, in a vague way, be associated with
the Trinity, because it does seem that Satanic forces are prepared to offer a parody of spiritual
realities. The Canaanites had three main gods. They had El, the father, Baal, the son, and
Asherah, the mother who is the wife of El (and also the mother of Baal, according to
some scholars)… So when the Israelites got away from Jehovah, they were offered the worship
of the Canaanites and their three gods without all the problems of being a holy people and
so on. It seems to be a parody on the Trinity, which of course is not fully revealed until
New Testament times. But the demonic spirits have always known about the Trinity.” Isn’t it interesting that archaeology can even speak to
something as complex as the triune nature of God and the patterns in which people fall away from God.
Archaeology supports the Bible. That’s the bottom line. And we could reference
other archaeological finds that support the Bible against the skeptics claims. For example,
before 1906, there was no evidence outside the Bible for the Hittites, and many historians
thought they were entirely fictional. But in 1906, archaeologists digging in Turkey
discovered the ruins of Hattusas, the capital city of the Hittites. The Bible is right again. Yeah – there you go! The Ebla tablets, dated
around 2300 BC, use the name ‘Canaan’, which many critics disputed was used that far back.
The Bible is right again. The Dead Sea scrolls, one of the greatest archaeological finds of
all time, includes the book of Isaiah. It’s nearly identical to the Masoretic text of
Isaiah copied nearly 1,000 years later. That’s evidence that Scripture was reliably copied
through the centuries. It provides us with confidence that the text hasn’t been significantly
altered over that enormous period of time. Of course, as Christians, we at CMI believe
the Bible is a lot more than just a reliable historical record (in fact, we believe it
is the inerrant, inspired Word of God), but our statements about the Bible’s historical
reliability are supported by archaeological evidence, among other things. That’s right. In the time we have left here,
we’re going to look at an email that came in through our website creation.com and we’ll
comment on that, after a short break. Creation Ministries International staff, many
from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, have produced thousands of articles now available
in a massive online database. Some of the topics covered include: ” The feasibility of Noah’s Ark and evidence
for a global flood ” Scientific arguments that explain observations
in astronomy within a ‘young earth’ time frame. ” Recent discoveries that support dinosaurs
fitting with Biblical history. ” Evidence from biology that shows that the
type of change that is observed in living things has absolutely nothing to do with evolution. Got questions? Get answers at CREATION.com. People often write into the website if they
can’t find what they are looking for in the more than 11,000 articles on creation.com.
Today’s feedback article comes from C. O. in the USA who writes, “Thank you so much
for your ministry. I have a quick question – is it possible in an atheistic worldview
for morality, reliability of our mind, etc. to exist, thus making our argument (as a Christian)
on which makes the more sense? Because as I’ve researched, I often hear them saying
that evolution could account for morality, reliability of our minds, etc. And though
I think that Christianity provides a more plausible answer, I’m confused as to whether
or not the naturalistic worldview can offer any explanation. Can you help me understand
this? Thank you!” OK, that’s a good question. And one of our
speakers, Keaton Halley responded – and we’re not going to get to the entire response, we’ll
just highlight a few things here. He wrote, “I do not think it is possible to account
for true (objective) morality or reliable minds apart from God, but that doesn’t stop
atheists from trying. In other words, atheists do sometimes offer explanations; it’s just
that those ‘explanations’ aren’t any good.” Ouch! He continues, “Regarding morality, some atheists
have argued that natural selection has hard wired us to act in certain ways that are conducive
to human flourishing. Okay, but even if we grant that claim, it would only explain what
is, not what ought to be. Indeed, evolutionists admit that some of the predispositions natural
selection has supposedly ingrained in us would be immoral to act upon, and we are free to
resist those impulses. … This shows that evolution would not provide a transcendent
standard by which to judge our behavior; at best it would only give us subjective morality
– which is really no morality at all. What real morality requires, by contrast, is a
proper eternal and immutable authority. A bit later Keaton says this: “Often, atheists
misunderstand the challenge, so they respond by saying that they clearly can recognize
what is moral without belief in God. This is irrelevant. Yes, atheists can correctly
identify many things that are right and wrong. But our argument is not that you need belief
in God to acknowledge morality, or even to act morally. It is that God must exist in
order for morality to exist. This is a question of ontology (being), not epistemology (knowing).
[And I really like this next line here] Atheists can know what is moral, but only because
atheism is wrong.” Wow! That’s something to think about, right? And that goes on, you can read the entire
thing online there. Ultimately, in order to have moral law, there needs to be a moral
law giver, and this is all over our website, you can look for articles there on morality.
If there is no ultimate law giver, then you can’t have an ultimate morality, a standard
of laws of right and wrong. You can make up whatever you want if there’s nothing above
humans to set what’s right and what’s wrong. That’s right. The best you can do really is,
majority rules, or something like that, right? Yes, and that would fit with evolution – if
‘might makes right’, if it’s ‘the law of the jungle’, the strong eliminate the weak, and
so on, then you can see that kind of morality coming from evolution. And that could lead
to… I mean, why should it be wrong to kill the less productive members of society – based on
evolution and the morality that comes out of that? That’s right, and I think we have some evidence
of that in past regimes, such as Nazi Germany, for example, they had some ideas that they
considered to be right in their government… See where that led. Yes, Hitler saw himself as helping evolution
eliminate the ‘less fit’ varieties of humans, as he saw it. And so there’s a morality that
could come from that particular view. CREATION.com, Creation magazine, Creation
Magazine LIVE! … Creation magazine is really where we get a
lot of the content for this show from, as we did with today’s topic – the interview
where we looked at Dr Wilson, and so on. And you can browse a free digital issue online.
Go to creation.com/free-mag and you can flip through it there online. If you like it, you
can subscribe and get a digital and a print issue to your home. It goes out to over a
hundred countries all around the world. It’s changed thousands of lives and we hope this
show does that for thousands of people as well. See you next week.

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