Why I Believe the Bible #18A (Old Testament Archaeology)
Another area which provides ample evidence for the reliability of the Bible is archaeology. As archeology has grown as a science over the last 100 to 150 years, the number of finds of ancient artifacts has grown exponentially. While not everything referred to in the Old Testament, has been supported by an archaeological find, there has never been a discovery that has contradicted anything found in the Old Testament. Nelson Gluek, who is considered one of the three greatest archaeologists of all time is quoted as having said:
“I’ve been accused of teaching the verbal, plenary inspiration of the scripture. I want it to be understood that I have never taught this. All I have ever said is that in all of my archaeological investigation, I have never found one artifact of antiquity that contradicts any statement of the Word of God.”
“As a matter of fact, however, it may be clearly stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a single biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible.”
Over the next couple of weeks, we will look at several of the archaeological finds supporting the Old Testament. We will begin this week with examples of several Biblical tales previously scoffed at as obviously untrue which archaeology has since proven to be true. Next week we will look at other people groups and stories revealed in the Old Testament which have since been proven true by archaeological finds.
The Hittites are mentioned over 250 times in the Old Testament. Scholars used to doubt their existence until 1906 when the Hittite capital of Boghazkoy was located 90 miles east of Ankara. Enough Hittite artifacts have since been uncovered to fill a museum.
Sodom & Gomorrah
Many of the stories of Genesis are often scoffed at by skeptics of the Bible, and the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is no exception. Scholars claims that the cities never even existed until the remnants of all five cities mentioned in Genesis 14 were uncovered.
The Account of Noah and the Flood
This is another widely scoffed story from the Old Testament. Even many Bible believers find themselves “stretching” the meaning of the text to discount this story. Archaeology however provides some support for the Biblical account. Over 200 different accounts of a major flood have been found in ancient literature. A Sumerian lists of kings includes the phrase, “After the flood had swept over the earth.” The Gilgamesh Epic tells the saga of a Babylonian Ling which includes a flood story. The best known copy of this epic was found at Nineveh. The popularity of the flood story argues for historicity of the Old Testament account. Furthermore, “fossil graveyards” have been found throughout world indicating mass burials consistent with the flood narrative.
Critics of the Bible claimed the name of “Canaan” was never even used in Biblical times and therefore reference to it in the Bible proved that the Bible as inaccurate. That was, until, the Ebla tablets were discovered in the 1970s in Nothern Syria. These tablets dating from 2,300 B.C. name Canaan along with the 5 cities of Genesis 14 mentioned above.
The Israelites in Egypt
The end of Genesis recounts how Israel and his sons travelled to Egypt and Exodus recounts to story of how the Israelites left Egypt. However, many scholars doubted that Israelites were ever in Egypt. Again, that belief was shattered when archaeologists found the Merneptah Stela tablet in each which mentioned Israel.
The Date of Moses Law
In the book of Exodus, Moses presents God’s laws to the people of Israel. Critics previously argued that no culture was advanced enough to have laws like that, and that it was therefore impossible for Moses to have written the Law. Since that time, several law codes predating the dates of Moses amongst ancient societies.
Many skeptics have doubted the very existence of Israel’s most well-known King. A monument discovered near Tal Dan in 1993 mentions the victory over King David recounted in 1 Kings 15:20. This monument confirms the existence of King David.
King of the Babylonians
Daniel 5 indicates that Balthazar was the last King of the Babylonians. Everything else previously uncovered by archaeologists indicated that Nabonidus was the last King giving critics another reason to question the reliability of the Bible. Archaeologists then found a Babylonian Chronicle indicating that Nabonidus had removed himself for a 10 year period and left Balthazar in charge of the Empire. Prior to this discovery, the only place Balthazar was ever mentioned was in the Bible.
The archaeological evidence clearly supports the Old Testament. Nothing has ever been found to contradict one Old Testament reference. Furthermore, this post details numerous examples where critics were sure they had proven the unreliability of the Old Testament only to have archaeology prove that the Bible was 100% accurate. Next week we will look at additional archaeological finds supporting the Old Testament account.