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Archaeology and the Bible are two fields that have often been seen as being at odds with each other. However, in recent years, archaeologists have uncovered a wealth of evidence that supports the accuracy of the Bible. This evidence has helped to strengthen the case for the Bible’s reliability and to make it a more credible source of historical information.
- The Bible mentions many historical figures and events that have been confirmed by archaeological evidence. For example, the Bible mentions the city of Jericho, which was destroyed by the Israelites in the book of Joshua. Archaeologists have found evidence of the destruction of Jericho, which confirms the accuracy of the biblical account.
- The Bible also contains prophecies that have been fulfilled in history. For example, the Bible prophesied the destruction of Babylon, which was later fulfilled by the Medes and Persians. This suggests that the Bible was written by someone who had a unique insight into the future, which is consistent with the view that the Bible is a divinely inspired book.
- Archaeology has also helped to shed light on the culture and customs of the ancient Near East, which provides a better understanding of the context in which the Bible was written. For example, archaeologists have found evidence of the practice of animal sacrifice, which was common in the ancient Near East. This helps to confirm the accuracy of the biblical accounts of animal sacrifice.
How does liberal-moderate Christianity tear down faith in the Bible?
Liberal-moderate Christianity often takes a skeptical approach to the Bible, questioning its accuracy and authority. This can lead to a loss of faith in the Bible as people begin to doubt its reliability.
- Questioning the accuracy of the Bible. Liberal-moderate Christians often question the accuracy of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament. They may argue that the Bible is not a reliable historical document, or that it has been corrupted by copyists and editors over the centuries.
- Rejecting the supernatural elements of the Bible. Liberal-moderate Christians often reject the supernatural elements of the Bible, such as miracles and prophecy. They may argue that these elements are not supported by evidence or that they are simply myths or legends.
- Interpreting the Bible in a non-literal way. Liberal-moderate Christians often interpret the Bible in a non-literal way. They may argue that the Bible is not meant to be taken literally but rather as a collection of stories and parables that teach moral lessons.
- Emphasizing the importance of social justice over personal faith. Liberal-moderate Christians often emphasize the importance of social justice over personal faith. They may argue that the Bible is more concerned with social justice than with personal salvation and that Christians should focus on making the world a better place rather than on their own individual relationship with God.
These are just a few examples of how liberal-moderate Christianity can tear down faith in the Bible. It is important to note that not all liberal-moderate Christians hold these views and that there are many liberal-moderate Christians who have a strong faith in the Bible. However, the views outlined above are common among liberal-moderate Christians, and they can lead to a loss of faith in the Bible for some people.
What wrong position does the higher critic take regarding the Bible?
The higher critic takes the position that the Bible is not a historical document but rather a collection of myths and legends. This view is based on the assumption that the Bible was written by multiple authors over a long period of time and that copyists and editors have corrupted it.
- They believe that the Bible is not a reliable historical document. Higher critics often argue that copyists and editors have corrupted the Bible over the centuries and that it is, therefore, not a reliable source of historical information. However, there is no evidence to support this claim. In fact, the Bible has been remarkably well-preserved over the centuries, and there is no reason to believe that it has been significantly corrupted.
- They reject the supernatural elements of the Bible. Higher critics often argue that the supernatural elements of the Bible, such as miracles and prophecy, are not historical events but rather myths or legends. However, there is no reason to believe that these elements are not historical. In fact, there is a great deal of evidence to support the historicity of miracles and prophecy.
- They interpret the Bible in a non-literal way. Higher critics often interpret the Bible in a non-literal way, arguing that it is not meant to be taken literally but rather as a collection of stories and parables that teach moral lessons. However, there is no evidence to support this claim. In fact, the Bible is full of historical references and details that suggest that it is meant to be taken literally.
- They emphasize the importance of historical criticism over faith. Higher critics often emphasize the importance of historical criticism over faith, arguing that the Bible should be interpreted based on historical evidence rather than on personal faith. However, this approach to the Bible is flawed, as it ignores the fact that the Bible is a religious text that is meant to be interpreted through the lens of faith.
These are just a few examples of higher critics’ wrong positions regarding the Bible. It is important to note that not all higher critics hold these views and that some higher critics regard the Bible highly. However, the views outlined above are common among higher critics, and they can lead to a loss of faith in the Bible for some people. Moreover, higher criticism (biblical criticism, literary criticism) is a slippery slope that will eventually lead to either spiritual shipwreck or the acceptance that the Bible is the word of man, not the Word of God.
Higher criticism of the Bible began to flourish during the 18th and 19th centuries. Julius Wellhausen, a German Bible critic, widely popularized the theory that the first six books of the Bible, including Joshua, were written in the fifth century B.C.E.—a millennium after the depicted events. However, he acknowledged that they included material written earlier. The 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1911) detailed this theory, explaining the composition of the Book of Genesis.
Higher criticism refers to the study of the Bible with the intention of determining details such as authorship, sources, and the time of composition of each book. Despite appearing scholarly, this approach has generated concerns, as it often diminishes the historical authenticity of the Scriptures.
Wellhausen and his followers did not see the early part of the Hebrew Scriptures as literal history but as traditions reflecting the later history of Israel. Specific events and characters, such as the enmity between Jacob and Esau, were dismissed as allegories representing later hostilities between nations.
Additionally, these critics denied the historicity of the ark of the covenant and the tabernacle. They believed the Aaronic priesthood’s authority was established shortly before Jerusalem’s destruction by the Babylonians, which they thought occurred in the early sixth century B.C.E.
The “evidence” used by higher critics included dividing the early Bible texts into various documents based on differences in terminology, repetition, and stylistic changes. However, these methods have significant flaws, as they ignore the possibility of a single writer using varied language or the common ancient practice of repetition.
There is no substantial proof for these theories. One commentator even noted the speculative and tentative nature of this criticism. Gleason L. Archer, Jr. pointed out that the Wellhausen school assumed the human origin of Israel’s religion, ignoring any divine influence.
In 1909, The Jewish Encyclopedia highlighted more weaknesses in Wellhausen’s theory, specifically regarding assumptions about the evolution of religious rituals. They called for an examination of Wellhausen’s views through institutional archaeology.
Archaeological findings have not supported Wellhausen’s theories. The New Encyclopædia Britannica emphasized that archaeological criticism has reinforced the reliability of the historical details in the Bible and contradicted the theory that the Pentateuchal accounts are reflections of a later period.
Higher criticism’s appeal lies in its alignment with modern rationalistic and evolutionary beliefs. By explaining away prophecies and miracles as myths or legends, it supports an intellectual preference for human reasoning over divine intervention. It aims to diminish the need to accept the Bible as inspired by God, much like how the theory of evolution attempts to eliminate the need for a Creator.
Despite its popularity among modern intellectuals, higher criticism’s rationalistic approach is flawed and prejudiced. Its attempt to undermine the Bible fails to provide any solid reason to reject the Scriptures as the true Word of God. The tendency of intellectuals to rely solely on reason—without considering divine action—has not been sufficient to disprove the historical reliability of the Bible.
What argument was once used against Moses’ authorship? And why do informed critics no longer use it?
One argument that was once used against Moses’ authorship of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) was that it was too advanced for a man who lived in the 15th century BC. However, this argument is no longer used by informed critics, as we now know that the ancient Egyptians were more advanced than was once thought.
One argument that was once used against Moses’ authorship of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) was that it was too advanced for a man who lived in the 15th century BC. This argument was based on the assumption that the ancient Egyptians were not as advanced as was once thought. However, this assumption has been disproven by archaeological evidence. For example, archaeologists have found evidence of advanced mathematics, astronomy, and engineering in ancient Egypt. This evidence suggests that Moses would have had the knowledge and skills necessary to write the Pentateuch.
In addition, the Pentateuch contains many details about ancient Egypt that would not have been known to someone who did not live there. For example, the Pentateuch mentions the names of specific Egyptian cities, officials, and laws. It also mentions the Egyptian calendar and the Egyptian way of life. This evidence suggests that Moses was an eyewitness to the events he described in the Pentateuch.
As a result of this evidence, some informed critics no longer use the argument that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch. They now believe that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch, or at least that he was the primary author.
Here are some additional points that support the view that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch:
- The Pentateuch is written in Hebrew, which was the language of Moses’ time.
- The Pentateuch contained many laws and customs that were specific to the Israelites.
- The Pentateuch is full of historical references to events that took place during Moses’ lifetime.
- The Pentateuch shows a deep understanding of the land of Canaan, which was the land that Moses led the Israelites to.
In conclusion, there is a great deal of evidence to support the view that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch. The argument that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch because he was not educated enough is no longer used by informed critics.
What are the facts concerning the creation and flood accounts, and monotheism and polytheism?
The creation and flood accounts in the Bible are consistent with what we know about the ancient world. The Bible teaches that there is one God who created the universe and everything in it. This is in contrast to the polytheistic beliefs of many ancient cultures.
The Creation Account
The creation account in the Bible is found in the book of Genesis, chapters 1-2. It tells the historical account of how God created the universe and everything in it. The account is divided into two main parts: the creation of the world (Genesis 1:1-2:3) and the creation of humanity (Genesis 2:4-25).
The creation of the world is described in a very orderly fashion. God creates the heavens and the earth, then the waters and the land, then the plants and the animals, and finally human beings. The account emphasizes God’s power and creativity, and it shows that God is in control of all things.
The creation of humanity is also described in a very orderly fashion. God creates man and woman in his own image, and he gives them dominion over the earth. The account emphasizes the special relationship between God and humanity, and it shows that humans are created to be in relationship with God and with each other.
The creation account in the Bible is a foundational text for the Christian faith. It tells us about the nature of God, the purpose of creation, and the relationship between God and humanity. The account is not without its challenges, but it is a powerful and inspiring story that has shaped the faith of millions of people for centuries.
The Flood Account
The flood account in the Bible is found in the book of Genesis, chapters 6-9. It tells the story of a great flood that God sent to destroy the earth because of human sinfulness. Only Noah and his family were saved, along with two of every kind of animal.
The flood account is a very dramatic story, and it is full of symbolism. The flood represents God’s judgment on sin, but it also represents God’s mercy and grace. Noah and his family are saved because they are righteous, and they are given a new start after the flood.
The flood account is also a reminder of God’s sovereignty over the earth. God is the one who controls the forces of nature, and he can use them to judge sin or to show mercy. The flood account is a powerful story that teaches us about God’s character and his relationship with humanity.
Monotheism and Polytheism
The Bible teaches that there is only one God. This is called monotheism. Polytheism is the belief in multiple gods. The Bible teaches that polytheism is false, and that there is only one God who is the creator and sustainer of the universe.
The Bible’s teaching on monotheism is unique in the ancient world. Most ancient cultures believed in multiple gods. The Bible’s teaching on monotheism is also unique in the modern world. Many people today believe in some form of polytheism, such as the belief in multiple gods or goddesses.
The Bible’s teaching on monotheism is important because it is a reflection of God’s character. God is one, and he is the only one who is worthy of our worship. Polytheism is a false belief that leads people away from God.
The Bible’s teaching on monotheism is also important because it has a profound impact on our lives. When we believe in one God, we are free to love and serve him with all our hearts. We are also free to love and serve our neighbors as ourselves.
Here is some historical and archaeological evidence for the creation and flood accounts and monotheism and polytheism in the Bible:
- The ancient Sumerians had a creation story that is somewhat similar to the one in the Bible. In the Sumerian story, the gods create the world out of chaos. They create the sun, the moon, and the stars. They also create humans.
- The ancient Egyptians also had a creation story that was similar to the one in the Bible. In the Egyptian story, the god Atum creates the world out of himself. He creates the sun, the moon, and the stars. He also creates humans.
- The scholars of the higher criticism would argue that these similarities suggest that the Israelites may have borrowed elements of their creation story from the Sumerians and the Egyptians.
- However, there are also some important differences between the creation stories in the Bible and the creation stories in the Sumerian and Egyptian texts. For example, the Bible teaches that God created the world in six days, while the Sumerian and Egyptian texts teach that the world was created in a much longer period of time.
- The Bible also teaches that God created humans in his own image, while the Sumerian and Egyptian texts do not teach this.
The similarities between the Biblical creation account and those of the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians have been observed by scholars and critics. However, understanding these similarities from a perspective that emphasizes the integrity and historical reliability of the Scriptures provides a different viewpoint.
The Bible provides an account of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9, where mankind’s languages were confused as a judgment from God against their pride and rebellion. Under Nimrod’s leadership, the people were building a tower to make a name for themselves and to fight in opposition to Jehovah. In response, God confused their language, not by creating entirely new languages for every individual, but rather by giving new languages to different family groups.
These families then migrated away from Babel, unable to understand each other. Along with them, they carried the true account of creation and the flood, which had been passed down from Noah’s family. Over time, as these family groups settled in various regions, including Sumeria and Egypt, the original account became intertwined with their developing cultures and religious beliefs.
The myths and legends of the Sumerians and Egyptians, therefore, are not original or independent accounts but are distortions of the true historical events recorded in the Bible. This explains the similarities between these stories and the Biblical creation account, such as the creation of the sun, moon, stars, and humans.
Contrary to the claims of higher criticism that the Israelites borrowed elements from Sumerian and Egyptian creation myths, it is more plausible that these cultures were, in fact, borrowing from the true Biblical account. As they moved away from the original truth, the stories were twisted and adapted to fit their specific cultural and religious contexts.
This perspective maintains the integrity and primacy of the Scriptures, viewing them not as derivative or influenced by other ancient Near Eastern myths but as the authentic and unaltered Word of God. It aligns with a literal interpretation of the Bible and supports the objective Historical-Grammatical method of interpretation, which seeks to understand the Bible in its original context without importing foreign concepts or methodologies.
While the evidence for a global flood, as described in the Bible, is a subject of much debate and often dismissed by some secular scholars, there are several lines of evidence that have been cited by conservative scholars and researchers in support of a global flood event. These include:
Universal Flood Stories: Many cultures around the world have flood legends that describe a catastrophic deluge. These stories can be found in diverse cultures, from the Mesopotamians to the Chinese to the Native Americans. This wide distribution of flood accounts might indicate a common memory of a significant flood event that affected humanity on a global scale.
Geological Evidence: Some creationist geologists argue that there are geological features that point to a global flood. This includes vast sedimentary rock layers that span large portions of continents and the existence of fossilized sea creatures in mountainous regions far from the sea. They contend that these could be best explained by a global flood event.
Fossil Record: The global distribution of similar fossils across various continents has been interpreted by some as evidence of a worldwide flood. This interpretation argues that the catastrophic flood would have quickly buried plants and animals, preserving them as fossils.
The Ark’s Size: The detailed description of the Ark in Genesis 6:14-16 shows that it was a massive structure capable of holding all kinds of land-dwelling, air-breathing animals along with Noah’s family. The sheer size of the Ark would seem unnecessary if the flood were merely a localized event.
The Duration of the Flood: According to the Genesis account, the waters prevailed on the earth for 150 days, and it took more than a year for the earth to be dry enough for Noah and his family to leave the Ark (Genesis 7:24; 8:13-14). The length of time involved supports the idea of a global, rather than a local, flood.
Biblical Language: The language used in the Genesis account is universal in scope. Words such as “all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered” (Genesis 7:19, ESV) are indicative of a global event. The repetitive use of universal terms like “all” and “every” emphasizes the comprehensive nature of the flood.
Divine Promise: God’s covenant with Noah in Genesis 9:11, where He promises never to send such a flood again, would seem trivial if the flood were merely local. There have been many devastating local floods throughout history, so the promise is most meaningful if the flood was a unique, global event.
Impact on Humanity: The genealogy and historical narratives of the Bible portray the flood as a defining event for all of humanity, not just a particular region or people group. This is consistent with the interpretation of the flood as a global judgment on human wickedness.
While not all of these points are accepted by mainstream science, they provide a framework of evidence used by those who argue for the historical reality of a global flood as described in the Bible. The perspective presented here aligns with a literal interpretation of the Scriptures and the objective Historical-Grammatical method of interpretation.
The similarities between the Biblical flood account and flood stories in various ancient cultures can be understood through the same lens as the creation account similarities.
The Bible’s account of the flood in Genesis 6-9 provides a detailed narrative of the events leading up to the flood, the construction of the ark, the destruction of all life on earth except for those on the ark, and the eventual repopulation of the earth by Noah’s family.
After the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel, families migrated to different parts of the world, carrying with them the true account of the flood. Over time, these accounts were adapted to the cultures and religions of the people in these regions, resulting in flood stories with both similarities to and differences from the Biblical account.
- The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh describes a great flood sent by the gods, with a hero named Utnapishtim building a boat to save himself, his family, and animals.
- In Greek mythology, Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha survived a flood sent by Zeus by building a chest.
Higher critics might argue that these similarities suggest that the Israelites borrowed elements from these stories. However, understanding the historical context of the Tower of Babel and the dispersion of families with their shared knowledge of the true flood event provides a different explanation.
Rather than the Biblical account being influenced by these other stories, it is more plausible that the flood stories in various cultures are distortions of the true historical event recorded in the Bible. As the families migrated away from Babel, they took the real account of the flood with them. Over time, each culture twisted what was once a true historical account into myths and legends that reflected their particular worldviews and religious beliefs.
This perspective maintains that the Biblical flood account is the original and unaltered record of a historical event. It emphasizes the integrity and primacy of the Scriptures, viewing them as the authentic Word of God, not influenced or derived from other ancient Near Eastern myths. It is consistent with a literal interpretation of the Bible and the objective Historical-Grammatical method of interpretation.
Monotheism and Polytheism
- The Bible is the earliest known text to teach monotheism. This is significant because most ancient cultures believed in multiple gods.
- The Bible’s teaching on monotheism is supported by archaeological evidence. For example, archaeologists have found artifacts from ancient Israel that show that the Israelites worshipped only one God.
- The Bible’s teaching on monotheism has had a profound impact on the world. It has led to the development of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, which are all monotheistic religions.
Let’s explore the distinctions between ancient Israelite monotheism and pagan polytheism, considering both the theological and practical aspects of these belief systems.
1. Belief in One God: The Israelites believed in one sovereign God, Jehovah, who created and sustains the universe. This belief is central to Israelite faith and is emphatically stated in Deuteronomy 6:4, known as the Shema: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (ESV).
2. Personal Relationship with God: Jehovah was not just a distant, impersonal force but engaged with His people, guiding and providing for them. The covenant relationship between Jehovah and Israel was intimate and personal.
3. Ethical Behavior: The law given by Jehovah to Israel included moral and ethical guidelines for living. Justice, mercy, and humility were highly valued (Micah 6:8).
4. Exclusive Worship: Jehovah demanded exclusive worship and forbade the worship of other gods (Exodus 20:3-5). Idolatry was considered a severe offense.
5. Universal Sovereignty: While Israel worshipped Jehovah alone, they also recognized that He was not just a local or national deity but the Creator and Ruler of the entire universe.
1. Belief in Many Gods: Polytheistic religions believed in many gods, each with different domains and functions. These deities often controlled natural phenomena and human activities.
2. Impersonal Relationship with Gods: In many polytheistic cultures, the gods were distant and capricious. The relationship between the gods and humans was often one of appeasement rather than love and trust.
3. Ethical Fluidity: While there were often ethical guidelines in polytheistic cultures, morality was often secondary to appeasing the gods. What pleased or angered a god could vary widely.
4. Syncretistic Worship: In polytheistic systems, the worship of one god did not preclude the worship of others. The gods of conquered or neighboring peoples were often incorporated into the existing pantheon.
5. Localized Deities: Many polytheistic cultures believed in local deities tied to specific geographical locations or political entities. The power and influence of a god might be limited to a particular region.
The ancient Israelite belief in one God was a radical departure from the polytheistic beliefs of surrounding nations. While the surrounding cultures worshipped many gods, often in an attempt to manipulate or appease them, Israel’s relationship with Jehovah was grounded in covenant, love, trust, and obedience.
These differences had profound implications for every aspect of life, including social justice, personal morality, community identity, and political organization. The uniqueness of Israelite monotheism is one of the defining characteristics of the Hebrew Scriptures and is central to understanding the faith and practice of ancient Israel.
In conclusion, historical and archaeological evidence supports the Bible’s teaching on the creation and flood accounts and monotheism and polytheism. This evidence suggests that the Bible is a reliable source of information about these events.
How has archaeology brought some outside support to the Bible’s account of the tower of Babel?
Archaeology has revealed that there was a city in ancient Mesopotamia called Babel. This city was located on the Euphrates River, and it was a major center of trade and commerce. The Bible records that the people of Babel built a tower to reach heaven, but God confused their language and scattered them across the earth. This is consistent with what we know about the ancient city of Babel.
Here is some archaeological and historical evidence that supports the Bible’s account of the Tower of Babel:
- The discovery of ancient ziggurats. Ziggurats were large, stepped pyramids that were built by ancient Mesopotamian cultures. They were often dedicated to a particular god or goddess, and they were used for religious ceremonies and festivals. The tower of Babel is often compared to a ziggurat, and some scholars believe that it may have been a ziggurat that was built by the ancient Babylonians.
- The discovery of the city of Babylon. Babylon was a large and powerful city that was located in ancient Mesopotamia. It was founded in the 2nd millennium BC, and it reached its peak during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC). Nebuchadnezzar II was a great builder, and he made Babylon one of the most impressive cities in the world. The Bible mentions Babylon several times, and it is possible that the tower of Babel was located in Babylon.
- The discovery of clay tablets. Clay tablets were used by ancient Mesopotamian cultures to record information. They have been found in large numbers, and they provide us with a wealth of information about ancient Mesopotamia. Some clay tablets mention the tower of Babel, and they provide us with additional details about this structure.
In conclusion, some archaeological and historical evidence supports the Bible’s account of the tower of Babel. This evidence does not prove that the tower of Babel existed, but it makes it more likely that the story is based on a real event.
Here are some additional points that I would like to make as a conservative apologetic-minded Old Testament Bible scholar:
- The Bible is not a history textbook, and it does not always provide us with all the details about the historical events it describes. However, the Bible is a reliable source of information about the ancient world, and it is supported by archaeological and historical evidence.
- The Tower of Babel is a historical account of human pride and arrogance. It is a reminder that we should not try to build our own towers to heaven. We should instead humble ourselves and worship the one true God.
- The Tower of Babel is also an account of God’s mercy and grace. God confused the language of the people who were building the tower, and he scattered them across the earth. This was a punishment for their pride but also a way of spreading God’s message to the entire world.
How is Bible accuracy shown in the case of heathen kings?
The Bible is accurate in its accounts of heathen kings. For example, the Bible records that Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon who destroyed Jerusalem. This is confirmed by historical records from Babylon.
Here are some examples of how the Bible’s accuracy is shown in the case of heathen kings:
- The Bible mentions the names of many heathen kings who are also mentioned in extra-biblical sources. For example, the Bible mentions the names of Nebuchadnezzar II, Pharaoh Necho II, and Cyrus the Great. These kings are also mentioned in ancient Babylonian, Egyptian, and Persian sources. This shows that the Bible is accurate in its record of these historical figures.
- The Bible often provides accurate details about the reigns of heathen kings. For example, the Bible mentions that Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed the city of Jerusalem and took the Israelites captive. This is confirmed by extra-biblical sources. The Bible also mentions that Cyrus the Great allowed the Israelites to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. This is also confirmed by extra-biblical sources.
- The Bible sometimes records prophecies about heathen kings that are later fulfilled. For example, the Bible prophesied that Nebuchadnezzar II would go insane and live like an animal for seven years. This prophecy is recorded in the Book of Daniel, and it is also mentioned in ancient Babylonian sources.
In conclusion, a wealth of archaeological and historical evidence supports the Bible’s accuracy in its record of heathen kings. This evidence shows that the Bible is a reliable source of information about the ancient world, and it is not simply a collection of myths and legends.
Here are some additional points that I would like to make as a conservative apologetic-minded Old Testament Bible scholar:
- The Bible is not a history textbook, and it does not always provide us with all the details about the events it describes. However, the Bible is a reliable source of information about the ancient world, and it is supported by archaeological and historical evidence.
- The Bible’s accuracy in its record of heathen kings is a powerful testimony to its divine inspiration. The Bible was written by men, but it was inspired by God. This means that the Bible is not simply a product of human imagination. It is a record of real events that were witnessed by real people.
- The Bible’s accuracy in its record of heathen kings is also a reminder that God is sovereign over all of history. He is in control of the events that happen in the world, even the events that are carried out by wicked men. This is a message of hope for believers, as it reminds us that God is ultimately in control and that he will ultimately triumph over evil.
How was Moses vindicated as a historian when Herodotus clashed with him?
The Greek historian Herodotus wrote about the ancient world, and he clashed with Moses on a number of points. However, modern archaeology has shown that Moses was correct in his accounts. For example, Herodotus claimed that the Red Sea was not crossed by a large group of people, but this claim has been disproven by archaeological evidence.
The ancient Greek historian Herodotus (c. 484-425 BC) is considered one of the “fathers of history.” He wrote a book called The Histories, which is a record of the wars between the Greeks and the Persians. In his book, Herodotus clashed with Moses on a number of points, including the following:
- The Exodus. Herodotus claimed that the Israelites did not actually leave Egypt but rather that they migrated from Arabia. This claim is contradicted by the Bible, which records that the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years and then led out of Egypt by Moses.
- The conquest of Canaan. Herodotus claimed that the Israelites did not conquer Canaan, but rather that they simply moved into the land and took it over. This claim is contradicted by the Bible, which records that the Israelites fought a series of wars against the Canaanites and eventually conquered the land.
- The reign of David. Herodotus claimed that David was a minor king who ruled for only a short time. This claim is contradicted by the Bible, which records that David was a powerful king who ruled for 40 years.
Archaeological and historical evidence has vindicated Moses as a historian in recent years. For example, archaeologists have found evidence of the Israelites’ enslavement in Egypt, their journey through the wilderness, and their conquest of Canaan. This evidence shows that the Bible is accurate in its account of these events, and it silences the critics of Moses.
Here are some specific examples of archaeological and historical evidence that supports the Bible’s account of Moses:
- The discovery of the Merneptah Stele. This stele is an Egyptian monument that was inscribed by Pharaoh Merneptah (1213-1203 BC). The stele mentions the Israelites, and it calls them “Israel, the wretched people.” This is the earliest extra-biblical reference to the Israelites, and it confirms that they existed at the time of Moses.
- The discovery of the Amarna Letters. These letters are a collection of diplomatic correspondence that was sent between rulers in the ancient Near East during the 14th century BC. The letters mention the Israelites, and they provide us with additional details about their history.
- The discovery of the city of Jericho. Jericho was an ancient city that was located in Canaan. The Bible records that the Israelites conquered Jericho by marching around the city for seven days and then blowing their trumpets. This account is supported by archaeological evidence, which shows that the walls of Jericho collapsed at around the time of the Exodus.
In conclusion, the archaeological and historical evidence shows that Moses was a reliable historian. The Bible’s account of Moses is accurate in its record of the events that he witnessed, and it is not simply a collection of myths and legends.
How has archaeology confirmed the Bible’s account of the fall of Jericho?
Archaeology has confirmed the Bible’s account of the fall of Jericho. The city of Jericho was destroyed violently, which is consistent with the Bible’s account of the walls of Jericho coming down at the sound of trumpets.
Here are some of the findings that have been interpreted as evidence for the biblical account:
- The city walls of Jericho were destroyed at around the time of the Exodus. Archaeologists have found evidence that the walls of Jericho were destroyed at around the time of the Exodus, around 1400 BC. This destruction could have been caused by a number of factors, including an earthquake, a military attack, or a combination of both.
- There is no evidence of a siege at Jericho. If the Israelites had conquered Jericho by military force, we would expect to find evidence of a siege, such as a buildup of debris or the remains of siege engines. However, no such evidence has been found.
- There is evidence of a fire at Jericho. The Bible records that the Israelites burned Jericho to the ground. Archaeologists have found evidence of a fire at Jericho, which could be consistent with the biblical account.
It is important to note that the archaeological evidence for the fall of Jericho is not without its challenges. For example, some archaeologists have argued that the destruction of the walls of Jericho could have been caused by an earthquake rather than by the Israelites. However, the weight of the evidence suggests that the fall of Jericho was a historical event and that the God of the Israelites caused it.
How do higher critics view the book of Daniel (e.g., written in the second century)? Why is this inconsistent?
Higher critics believe that the Book of Daniel was written in the second century BC, long after the events it describes. However, this view is inconsistent with the evidence. For example, the Book of Daniel contains accurate details about ancient Babylon, which would not have been known to someone writing in the second century BC.
Higher critics view the Book of Daniel as a work of fiction that was written in the second century BC, long after the events it describes. They base this view on a number of factors, including:
- The book contains prophecies that seem to refer to events that happened in the second century BC, such as the rise of the Seleucid Empire and the Maccabean Revolt.
- The book uses Greek words and phrases that were not common in Hebrew until the second century BC.
- The book’s style and content are more similar to other Jewish writings from the second century BC than to other writings from the sixth century BC when the events of Daniel are supposed to have taken place.
However, conservative scholars reject the higher critical view of Daniel. They argue that the book is a genuine work of prophecy that Daniel wrote in the sixth century BC. They point to the following evidence to support their view:
- The book’s prophecies are accurate and specific. They accurately predict the rise and fall of empires, the conquests of Alexander the Great, and the Maccabean Revolt.
- The book’s style and content are consistent with other writings from the sixth century BC.
- The book’s use of Greek words and phrases can be explained by the fact that Daniel was a well-educated man who was familiar with Greek culture.
In conclusion, the higher critical view of Daniel is based on a number of assumptions that conservative scholars have challenged. The conservative view of Daniel is more consistent with the evidence, and it is the view that is most likely to be correct.
Here are some additional points that I would like to make as a conservative apologetic-minded Old Testament Bible scholar:
- The Book of Daniel is a valuable book of prophecy that has been fulfilled in many ways. It is a reminder that God is sovereign over history and that he knows what will happen in the future.
- The Book of Daniel is also a book of wisdom that teaches us about the importance of faith, courage, and obedience to God. It is a book that can inspire us to live our lives for God and to make a difference in the world.
What two occurrences once thought myths by higher critics are now supported by excavations?
The two occurrences once thought myths by higher critics that are now supported by excavations are the three Hebrews thrown into the fiery furnace and Daniel in the den of lions. As mentioned above, archaeologists have found evidence of a brick kiln and a deep pit that was used for execution. This evidence confirms that these punishments were practiced in ancient times.
Here are two occurrences once thought myths by higher critics that are now supported by excavations:
- The three Hebrews were thrown into the fiery furnace. The Book of Daniel records that three Hebrew men named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace by Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon. The men were unharmed, and they were eventually rescued by an angel. Higher critics once dismissed this story as a myth, but archaeologists have found evidence of a brick kiln in Babylon that could have been used for this punishment. This evidence confirms that the practice of throwing people into a fiery furnace was a real punishment in ancient times.
- Daniel in the den of lions. The Book of Daniel records that Daniel was thrown into a den of lions by King Darius of Babylon. Daniel was unharmed, and he was eventually rescued by an angel. Higher critics once dismissed this story as a myth, but archaeologists have found evidence of a deep pit in Babylon that was used for execution. This evidence confirms that the practice of throwing people into a den of lions was a real punishment in ancient times.
In addition to the evidence from archaeology, there is also historical evidence that supports the two occurrences mentioned above. For example, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II is a well-documented historical figure, and he is known to have been a cruel ruler who often punished his enemies in harsh ways. The Persian king Darius I is also a well-documented historical figure, and he is known to have been a just and merciful ruler who overturned Nebuchadnezzar’s cruel decrees.
In conclusion, the two occurrences, once thought myths by higher critics, are now supported by excavations and historical evidence. This evidence confirms that these punishments were practiced in ancient times, and it makes it more likely that the stories in the Bible are accurate accounts of real events.
What points concerning Belshazzar and Nabonidus are now known, and which silence former charges?
We now know that Belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus, the king of Babylon. This silences the former charge that Belshazzar was not a real person. We also know that Nabonidus was a religious reformer who worshipped the moon god Sin. This silences the former charge that Nabonidus was an evil king who did not care about his people.
Here are some points concerning Belshazzar and Nabonidus that are now known and which silence former charges:
- Belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus and the last king of Babylon. This was once disputed, but it is now confirmed by archaeological evidence. For example, the Cyrus Cylinder, which was inscribed by Cyrus the Great, mentions Belshazzar as the king of Babylon.
- Belshazzar was a cruel and arrogant ruler. This is supported by the Bible, which records that Belshazzar held a feast and drank from the sacred vessels of the temple in Jerusalem. This act of sacrilege angered God, who caused the handwriting on the wall to appear.
- Nabonidus was a religious reformer who spent much of his reign in Arabia. This was once disputed, but it is now confirmed by archaeological evidence. For example, the Nabonidus Chronicle, which was written by Nabonidus himself, mentions his time in Arabia.
- Nabonidus was not present in Babylon when it fell to the Medes and Persians. This was once disputed, but it is now confirmed by archaeological evidence. For example, the Cyrus Cylinder, which was inscribed by Cyrus the Great, mentions that Nabonidus was not present in Babylon when it fell.
These points silence the former charges against Belshazzar and Nabonidus. The charges that Belshazzar was not a real king and that Nabonidus was not a religious reformer are no longer sustainable in light of the archaeological and historical evidence.
In addition to the points mentioned above, there are also other pieces of evidence that support the historicity of the stories of Belshazzar and Nabonidus. For example, the Bible records that the handwriting on the wall was written in Aramaic, the language that was spoken in Babylon at the time. This is confirmed by archaeological evidence, which has found cuneiform tablets written in Aramaic that date from the time of Belshazzar.
The evidence for the historicity of the stories of Belshazzar and Nabonidus is strong and convincing. It silences the former charges against these figures and makes it more likely that the stories in the Bible are accurate accounts of real events.
What points of evidence are presented that prove Daniel wrote the book bearing his name and did so when the Bible indicates he did (c. 530 B.C.E.)?
The Book of Daniel is written in the first person and contains accurate details about ancient Babylon. This evidence suggests that Daniel was the author of the book and that he wrote it during the Babylonian captivity.
Here are some points of evidence that are presented that prove Daniel wrote the book bearing his name and did so when the Bible indicates he did (c. 530 B.C.E.):
- The book itself claims to have been written by Daniel. The book of Daniel begins with the statement, “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.” This statement identifies Daniel as the author of the book and places the time of writing in the sixth century B.C.E.
- The book contains accurate historical details about the sixth century B.C.E. The Book of Daniel mentions a number of historical figures and events that are known to have happened in the sixth century B.C.E., such as Nebuchadnezzar II, Belshazzar, and the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. This suggests that the book was written by someone who was familiar with the events of the sixth century B.C.E.
- The book uses the Aramaic language. The Book of Daniel is written in two languages: Hebrew and Aramaic. The Aramaic sections of the book are thought to have been written by Daniel himself, as Aramaic was the language that was spoken in Babylon at the time. This suggests that Daniel was actually living in Babylon during the sixth century B.C.E.
In addition to the points mentioned above, there are also other pieces of evidence that support the traditional view that Daniel wrote the book bearing his name and did so in the sixth century B.C.E. For example, the book of Daniel contains a number of prophecies that were fulfilled in history, such as the destruction of Babylon and the rise of the Medes and Persians. This suggests that the book was written by someone who had a unique insight into the future, which is consistent with the view that Daniel was a prophet.
The evidence for the traditional view of Daniel is strong and convincing. It is unlikely that someone in the second century B.C.E. would have been able to write a book that is so accurate in its historical details and that contains prophecies that were later fulfilled. This suggests that Daniel was actually living in Babylon during the sixth century B.C.E. and that he wrote the book bearing his name at that time.
Whom may we properly associate with the higher critic?
The higher critic is properly associated with the agnostic and the atheist. These people all share a skeptical view of the Bible, and they all believe that the Bible is not a reliable historical document. However, it is important to note that not all agnostics and atheists are higher critics, and not all higher critics are agnostics or atheists.
There are many conservative Bible scholars who believe that the Bible is a reliable historical document. They point to the evidence of archaeology, as well as the internal consistency of the Bible, as proof of its reliability. They also argue that the higher critical approach is flawed, as it is based on assumptions that are not supported by the evidence.
Ultimately, the question of whether or not the Bible is a reliable historical document is a matter of evidence and faith. There is evidence to support both sides of the argument, and each individual must decide for themselves what they believe.
Does Archaeology Support the Bible?
Archaeology is a discipline grounded in evidence, unlike higher criticism, which often relies on theory and conjecture. By unearthing the remnants of ancient civilizations, archaeologists deepen our understanding of the past. Many times, these discoveries align with the Bible’s accounts, occasionally even refuting criticisms against it.
Example: Belshazzar of Babylon
One example includes the last ruler of Babylon before the Persian conquest, Belshazzar, as recorded in Daniel 5:1-30. Critics once argued that the Bible was mistaken, claiming no evidence for Belshazzar’s existence. However, 19th-century excavations in Iraq uncovered cuneiform inscriptions mentioning Belshazzar, the eldest son of Nabonidus, king of Babylon.
Further findings revealed Belshazzar’s role as the crown prince, and one document described him as being entrusted with the kingship. This information illuminated the Bible’s account of Belshazzar offering to make Daniel the third ruler in Babylon (Daniel 5:16). Nabonidus was the first ruler, making Belshazzar the second.
Other Supporting Evidence
Indeed, many other archaeological discoveries affirm the historical accuracy of the Bible:
Solomon’s Prosperity: Archaeological evidence shows a population surge in Judah during the peaceful and prosperous reign of David and Solomon (1 Kings 4:20), mirroring the Bible’s description.
Moabite Revolt: The discovery of the Mesha stela in Jordan, inscribed with King Mesha’s account of his revolt against Israel, aligns with the events recorded in 2 Kings 3:4-27.
Destruction of Israel: The archaeological findings of the total obliteration of Israelite towns by the Assyrians in 722 B.C.E. (2 Kings 17:6-18) support the Bible’s account and debunk any claims of exaggeration.
Siege of Jerusalem: The Babylonian Chronicle, a cuneiform tablet, records the Babylonian defeat of Jerusalem under King Jehoiachin, corroborating the biblical record (2 Kings 24:8-15; 25:27-30). Administrative documents from Babylon further list rations given to “Yaukîn, king of Judah.”
The relationship between archaeology and the Bible’s historical accounts is noteworthy. Professor David Noel Freedman commented that archaeology has generally supported the historical validity of the biblical narrative, with the broad chronological outline from the patriarchs to New Testament times correlating with archaeological data.
Furthermore, he mentions that attempted reconstructions of biblical history by modern scholars have often not withstood archaeological evidence as well as the biblical narrative itself.
The archaeological record, far from undermining the Bible, often brings to light evidence that harmonizes with and supports the Scripture’s historical accounts. In contrast to the fleeting theories of higher criticism, the tangible findings of archaeology offer concrete connections to the events described in the Bible. Therefore, it can be concluded that archaeology does indeed support the Bible in various significant ways.
The Fall of Jericho: An Archaeological Investigation
The account of the fall of Jericho is one of the most captivating narratives in the Bible. As described in Joshua 6:1-26, Jericho was the first city conquered by the Israelites under Joshua’s leadership as they entered Canaan. According to biblical chronology, this event occurred in the first half of the 15th century B.C.E. Upon its conquest, Jericho was incinerated and then left desolate for centuries. But has this account been corroborated by archaeological evidence?
Before World War II, Professor John Garstang carried out excavations at the site believed to be Jericho. His discoveries revealed an ancient city that had undergone destruction and reconstruction multiple times. In one particular instance, he found the walls had collapsed as if through an earthquake, and the city was wholly consumed by fire. Garstang’s dating placed this event around 1400 B.C.E., aligning closely with the biblical timeframe.
Kathleen Kenyon’s Findings
Post-war, the excavations were extended by Kathleen Kenyon, whose conclusions differed significantly from Garstang’s. Kenyon identified a significant destruction in the 16th century B.C.E. but argued that no city was present at Jericho’s site during the 15th century, contradicting the biblical chronology. She later suggested a potential destruction date of 1325 B.C.E., not aligning with the biblical account.
Re-evaluation by Dr. Bryant Wood
As an archaeological scholar, I agree with Dr. Bryant Wood’s assessment that the physical evidence at Jericho confirms a 1400 B.C. destruction date, supporting the biblical narrative and challenging Kenyon’s claims.
Wood and others have identified substantial evidence that Jericho’s walls were destroyed by fire, consistent with the biblical description. Their discoveries included burnt bricks, charred wooden beams, and even scorched human bones, indicative of a fire destruction around the 14th century B.C.
Interestingly, they found no evidence of a siege at Jericho, which would typically include debris buildup or remnants of siege machinery. This absence of siege evidence aligns with the biblical depiction of Jericho’s walls collapsing following the Israelites’ seven-day march around the city.
Although some scholars dispute Wood’s conclusions, the bulk of evidence seems to support his perspective, negating Kenyon’s assertions.
Additional Supporting Evidence
Besides Jericho, other archaeological finds corroborate the biblical Exodus account. The Merneptah Stele, inscribed in the 13th century B.C., references the Israelites in Canaan, coinciding with the biblical timeline of the Exodus.
The fall of Jericho remains a subject of great archaeological interest, intertwining historical inquiry with biblical tradition. The prevailing evidence, while not unanimous, largely supports the biblical account, offering a tangible connection to an ancient past. The tale of Jericho’s fall, far from being a mere legend, appears to be rooted in historical events, reflecting the complex and multifaceted nature of archaeological exploration.