Monday, July 12, 2010
Is the Bible True? Proving the credibility of the Word of God through archeology
I firmly believe that the Bible is the eternal, infallible, inspired word of God. I don’t believe that there is a single error contained on any of its pages, and as a Christian, this is a matter of faith. The Bible claims to be the very words of God (II Timothy 3:16), so I believe that it is.
But to say that I believe the Bible is true because the Bible says it is may sound like circular logic. This might seem like a politician saying that we can trust him because he has never lied to the people; it is ultimately still a matter of faith.
And that is a good thing. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that it is impossible to please God if we don’t have faith, and Jesus Himself said to Thomas, “You believe in the Resurrection because you have seen me, but blessed are the ones that have not seen me and still believe (paraphrase of John 20:29).”
So faith certainly plays a big role in our spiritual walk, but our faith only goes so far with an agnostic or a spiritual skeptic. What do we do when these people have genuine questions but are not yet prepared to put their faith in the Bible? If they ask us, for example, to prove that God created this world, and all we can tell them is that the Bible says He did, what do we do if they say, “How do you know the Bible is true?”
After all, when a scientist lists pages and pages of data about Carbon 14 dating, fossils, and missing links, we may sound a little naïve by only being able to say that the Bible says so.
So without downplaying the importance of faith, here are six simple findings from archeology that help to affirm the validity of the Bible.
#1. Noah’s Ark. Yes, the actual ark from the story of Noah (Genesis 6-8) has been reportedly discovered. In fact, all you have to do is go to Google images and type in “Noah’s ark found” and you will find thousands of images of the ark. Now there is still a little debate on this topic, as several people have found fragments of what appears to be wooden structures, but one, at the top of Mount Ararat, matches the biblical description in its dimensions. Oh yeah, the Bible also says that the ark came to a rest at the top of Mount Ararat. Check out this story: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/04/27/noahs-ark-found-turkey-ararat/
#2. The Hittites. Throughout the Old Testament the Hittites are listed with many of the other “ites.” They are mentioned as early as Genesis 15:20, and there are at least 21 other references to this people group. For years critics of the Bible have scoffed at these references since there is no known record of their existence. In fact, it wasn’t until 2006 that there was ever a shred of evidence confirming their existence. A recent archeological dig has unearthed a tablet where Ramses the Great bragged about his army defeating the Hittites. This might not seem like a big deal, but if the Bible is wrong about the existence of these people, then doubt would be cast on all of its pages, especially the ones that contain the teachings of Jesus. Discover the Hittites for yourself here: http://www.prevailmagazine.org/how-archaeology-proves-the-bible/
#3. The city of Ur. The Bible records that Abraham was from the land of Ur, but just like with the Hittites, the city of Ur had long been unfounded by historians. That is until the discovery of not only a tablet mentioning the city’s name, but also the genealogy of Abraham was discovered. The genealogy matches the list recorded in Genesis 11:18-26. Read the story at this website: http://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/archeology.htm
#4. The Pool of Siloam. One of the most random and humorous accounts in the recorded life of Jesus takes place near the Pool of Siloam. In John 9:1-7 Jesus gives sight to the blind man by spitting in the dirt, making mud, and telling him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam. As soon he did the blind man received his sight. The only problem with this story is that the Pool had continually evaded excavators. But a recent finding has uncovered this very Pool where this remarkable miracle occurred. Like with Noah’s ark, you can find pictures at Google images, and you can read it for yourself here: http://www.s8int.com/page34.html
#5. The Library of Nineveh. The city of Nineveh is mentioned several times in the Bible, but it is most famous for being one of the chief cities in the life of Jonah. In that story Jonah finally agrees to go preach the message of salvation there, and the entire city comes to know God. But many critics have accused this of just being a biblical fish tale because there is no record of the existence of that old city. They are singing a different tune now after the discovery of the Library of Nineveh. This is not a library with selves of books, but rather a collection of tablets that all deal with the city of Nineveh. Among the chronicles in this library is a tablet that refers to the city’s founder as Nimrod. Aside from being an awesome name, biblical scholars know that Genesis 10:10-11 cite Nimrod’s family as settling Nineveh. Don’t take my word for it, read it here: http://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/archeology.htm
#6. The Walls of Jericho. Someone recently told me that there was no way I could prove the Bible; he said, “How can anyone ever prove the walls of Jericho?” That seemingly random challenge was a quick backfire. The walls of Jericho refers to the large walls that surrounded the ancient city, and that were utterly destroyed by the rag tag bunch of Israelite soldiers. God told them to march around the wall, then blow their trumpets, and the walls would fall. They were then to take the city, but the spoil belonged to the Lord. That was a significant command because in those days a soldier’s pay was the spoil; he would take clothes, food, money, or anything else he wanted after they took the city.
Archeology has revealed that the large walls that once surrounded the city did fall inward all the way around, as if an earthquake caused them to all fall at once, but that is not the best part. Other discoveries have shown that the city was relatively well preserved; money has been discovered there, as well as sealed jars that once contained grain, and there are remnants of other types of valuables. If there were an earthquake or if any army invaded, everything would have been taken. Unless, of course, that the God of the army told them not to take the spoil (Joshua 6). Look up pictures on Google images and read about the discoveries at http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v21/i2/jericho.asp
These have only been six simple findings to help prove the validity of the Bible. There are scores of other things that can be listed, like goblets with King David’s name inscribed, for example. The Bible contains literally thousands of names, dates, cities, rulers, and genealogies that could be used to discredit it, but instead, they continually affirm what the Bible says. There still has not been a single one of these things ever proven to be false, which certainly cannot be said of the Koran, which contains more errors than my 9th grade algebra homework.
All of these validated cities and names aid in giving the Bible credibility. If the Bible is wrong about the existence of the city of Ur, then the crucifixion account may be wrong. But if it is right about thousands of details, while batting 1.000, then it is much easier for a skeptic to believe the account of the crucifixion.
Archeology has helped us confirm many of the claims of the Bible, including the Bible’s own claim to be true.