Summary: True faith doesn’t require science to agree, but we shouldn’t be surprised that so much of it DOES! Here’s a look at some of what man has ’dug up’ in recent years. Link included to formatted text and a very necessary PowerPoint Presentation.
Bible Proofs from Archaeology
[Please go to the link at the very bottom in order to see the ’very necessary’ PowerPoint slideshow used to present these facts with.]
Jesus’ existence and resurrection can be proven, and we’ve looked at that in other messages. So what about further proofs that the Bible is the true Word, inspired of God? The last 2 messages have gone into the many evidences from within the Word of God and without, whether from science, medicine, history, or fulfilled prophecies. We’ve looked at the miracles of the Bible’s origination, preservation, and circulation as well. It has been compelling. But here’s one more truckload of proofs to add to the scale: Archaeology.
Over the years there have been many criticisms leveled against the Bible concerning its historical reliability. These criticisms are usually based on a lack of evidence from outside sources to confirm the Biblical record. Since the Bible is a religious book, many scholars take the position that it is biased and cannot be trusted unless we have corroborating evidence from extra-Biblical sources. In other words, the Bible is guilty until proven innocent, and a lack of outside evidence places the Biblical account in doubt.
This standard is far different from that applied to other ancient documents, even though many, if not most, have a religious element. They are considered to be accurate, unless there is evidence to show that they are not. Although it is not possible to verify every incident in the Bible, the discoveries of archaeology since the mid 1800s have demonstrated the reliability and plausibility of the Bible narrative. Here are some examples.
• The discovery of the Ebla archive in northern Syria in the 1970s has shown the Biblical writings concerning the Patriarchs to be viable. Documents written on clay tablets from around 2300 B.C. demonstrate that personal and place names in the Patriarchal accounts are genuine. The name "Canaan" was in use in Ebla, a name critics once said was not used at that time and was used incorrectly in the early chapters of the Bible. The word "tehom" ("the deep") in Genesis 1:2 was said to be a late word demonstrating the late writing of the creation story. "Tehom" was part of the vocabulary at Ebla, in use some 800 years before Moses. Ancient customs reflected in the stories of the Patriarchs have also been found in clay tablets from Nuzi and Mari.
• The Hittites were once thought to be a Biblical legend, until their capital and records were discovered at Bogazkoy, Turkey. Many thought the Biblical references to Solomon’s wealth were greatly exaggerated. Recovered records from the past show that wealth in antiquity was concentrated with the king and Solomon’s prosperity was entirely feasible. It was once claimed there was no Assyrian king named Sargon as recorded in Isaiah 20:1, because this name was not known in any other record. Then, Sargon’s palace was discovered in Khorsabad, Iraq. The very event mentioned in Isaiah 20, his capture of Ashdod, was recorded on the palace walls. What is more, fragments of a stela memorializing the victory were found at Ashdod itself.
What does archaeology mean to these subjects? It shouldn’t be necessary to believe by faith, but many require more science behind their beliefs, and all of us appreciate seeing more external proofs…so, here it is:
• Archaeological evidence demonstrates the historical and cultural accuracy of the Bible.
• The Bible’s message of a loving Creator God who interacts in the affairs of mankind and has provided a means of salvation stands in sharp contrast to the pagan fertility religions of the ancient world as, revealed by archaeology.
• Archaeological findings demonstrate that the Biblical prophets accurately predicted events hundreds of years before they occurred -- something that lies beyond the capability of mere men.
The most documented Biblical event is the world-wide flood described in Genesis 6-9. A number of Babylonian documents have been discovered which describe the same flood.
The Sumerian King List (pictured here), for example, lists kings who reigned for long periods of time. Then a great flood came. Following the flood, Sumerian kings ruled for much shorter periods of time. This is the same pattern found in the Bible. Men had long life spans before the flood and shorter life spans after the flood. The 11th tablet of the Gilgamesh Epic speaks of an ark, animals taken on the ark, birds sent out during the course of the flood, the ark landing on a mountain, and a sacrifice offered after the ark landed.
The Story of Adapa tells of a test for immortality involving food, similar to the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Sumerian tablets record the confusion of language as we have in the Biblical account of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). There was a golden age when all mankind spoke the same language. Speech was then confused by the god Enki, lord of wisdom. The Babylonians had a similar account in which the gods destroyed a temple tower and "scattered them abroad and made strange their speech."