Friday, November 21, 2008

Archeology Verifies The Bible (Again)

I try to highlight new finds that support the claims of the Bible whenever I run across them. [By the way, many thanks to those of you who have forwarded me articles etc. that serve that purpose. I greatly appreciate it] But honestly, especially when you consider scientific evidence that is consistent with the Biblical worldview, it is almost impossible to keep up with them.

The best place to keep informed of the scientific data is at Reasons To Believe's website. Hugh Ross, Fuz Rana, Jeff Zweerink, Dave Rogstad, and Ken Samples (the RTB Scholar team), or one of their invited guests, update this site every day with new scientific evidence. Yes, that's right, I said every day. They call this feature Today's New Reason To Believe (TNRTB) and, quite frankly, I am appalled that I haven't ever mentioned it on here before. If you've got a lot of time on your hands, they have an archive of past articles that you can check out or search for topics that may specifically interest you. You can link to the archive HERE.

That said, I wanted to offer a couple of other stories that are not scientifically related. The first concerns an archaeological find in south Jerusalem.
An Israeli archaeologist has discovered what he believes is the oldest known Hebrew inscription on a 3,000-year-old pottery shard -- a find that suggests Biblical accounts of the ancient Israelite kingdom of David could have been based on written texts ... He said the relic is strong evidence that the ancient Israelites were literate and could chronicle events centuries before the Bible was written. This could suggest that some of the Bible's accounts were based on written records as well as oral traditions -- adding credence to arguments that the Biblical account of history is more than myth.
Another take on this same story is HERE.
archaeologists digging in Israel at the site where David is believed to have slain Goliath have unearthed evidence that may give credence to the biblical story.
This one is interesting because many maintain that the Biblical history we have now is nothing more than fairy tales that were passed down via the "telephone game" and are therefore unreliable. Not so.

First, the "telephone game" analogy is fallacious. In the telephone game, one person whispers to the next in private. The oral traditions of the Hebrew culture worked in a very different way. These were public stories, most of which formed the basis for the entire theocracy they lived in. In other words, these were more than just stories. They were a vitally important part of their culture. The stories were repeatedly retold in public and, because of their (literally) religious importance, there was no tolerance for misstating facts. It was not just frowned upon to do so, it was heretical. Someone was going to call you on it.

Second, this archaeological find pushes the date at which the Hebrew history was put in writing back to long before it was thought to have begun. This not only renders the dismissal of oral history as being unreliable, it also undermines the case made by those who reject the Biblical account as being only oral. The jury is still out on a complete study of the find, but it seems that it could serve as a find similar in impact to the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls near Qumran beginning in 1947. The scrolls found there contained the entire Old Testament (minus the book of Ruth) including a complete scroll of the book of Isaiah. They were dated to 100 B.C.

So what?

The Dead Sea Scrolls served two vitally important purposes. First, the prophecy contained in passages like Isaiah 53 was so precisely accurate regarding the details of Christ's messianic mission that "scholars" insisted that it must have been made up after the fact for the sole purpose of legitimizing the Christian story. Up to that point, the earliest known copies of the book of Isaiah were dated to about 1000 A.D. The Scrolls proved, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the text of Isaiah was exactly the same before Christ was born as it is today. Secondly, the Scrolls gave concrete evidence to support the detail and accuracy of the oral tradition and the care and precision with which the scribes had copied and preserved it throughout centuries of Hebrew history.

This most recent find seems that it may be able to serve a similar purpose by giving us evidence that these stories were recorded accurately and legitimately 3000 years ago -- and thereby undermine the claim that some "scholars" have made that the story of David and his kingdom were fabricated more recently.

The second story is less controversial but no less important. This find -- the remains of King Herod’s sarcophagus -- appears to be further proof that another important Biblical character (this time from the New Testament) has proven to be valid ...
Analysis of newly revealed items found at the site of the mausoleum of King Herod at Herodium (Herodion in Greek) have provided Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeological researchers with further assurances that this was indeed the site of the famed ruler’s 1st century BC grave.
Once again, the Bible is supported by actual historical evidence -- further extending a trend line of trust that has never yet been broken.

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