Following are some of the reasons why this does not shake our faith in God and His Word:
1. Bible critics have repeatedly been proven wrong and the Bible proven right.
Bible critics have been proven wrong repeatedly, whereas the Bible has been confirmed right repeatedly.
For example, in 1869, Hermann Schultz said, “The time, of which the pre-Mosaic narrations treat, is a sufficient proof of their legendary character. It was a time prior to all knowledge of writing” (Old Testament Theology). Secular archaeologists now date writing to the middle of the 4th millennium BC, which is 1,500 years before Moses!
When William Albright began his research in the 1920s, he believed that there was no highway from Mesopotamia to the east of the Dead Sea on which an army could travel as described in Genesis 14, but he himself discovered the ancient King’s Highway and reported it in The Archaeology of Palestine and the Bible, 1933.
In the 19th century, skeptics claimed that Ur, the birthplace of Abraham, was a myth. Yet in 1922, Ur was located by Leonard Woolley and excavated over the next 12 years. A treasure trove of artifacts were unearthed, dating to before the time of Abraham. The “Ur Room” at the British Museum is filled with artifacts from Abraham’s birthplace.
In “The Bible Critics Were Wrong,” (report on wayoflife.org) we give 13 examples.
2. The biblical account is not the type of thing that would have been recorded by the Egyptians.
The Egyptians did not record defeats in their monuments. Israel’s sojourn in Egypt presents Egypt’s pharaohs in a bad light: as dependent on foreign wise men (Joseph), as murderers, as enslavers, as petty tyrants, as deceived worshipers of empty gods, as defeated by a tribe of shepherds. It is not surprising that this account has not been found documented in Egypt’s ancient temples and tombs!
Egyptologists make the same mistake that archaeologists in general have made since the modern field began. They assume that lack of evidence for the biblical account is evidence against it. This was a prominent tactic used by liberals in the 19th century. Since, for example, they had no extra-biblical evidence of writing dating to earlier than about 1000 B.C., they claimed that the biblical account of writing in ancient times was wrong, and since there was no extra-biblical evidence for camels in Palestine in Abraham’s day, the Bible must be wrong, and since there was no extra-biblical evidence for the Hittites or Ur or the Philistines or King David, etc., they must not have existed.
Yet in all of these cases and many more, archaeology has subsequently provided extra-biblical evidence for the things once denied. The argument from silence was proven to be bogus.
The problem is that silence is still used to discredit the Bible. One must give liberals credit for persistency! Like one positive-minded woman once said when challenged as to what good thing could be said for the devil, “He’s always on the job.”
3. The biblical account is not the type of account that would have been invented by any ancient people.
On its very face, the Bible’s history is not man-made.
The Pentateuch purports to describe Israel’s early history, and it is a history of a people who doubt God repeatedly, sin against God perpetually, a weak people who become enslaved to a powerful king, a people who are chosen by God but are never worthy of Him, a people whose best leaders are highly imperfect. It is a history that does the opposite of glorifying Israel. People don’t invent such a history! No ancient people wrote such a history. The Babylonians, Egyptians, Elamites, Hittites, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, etc. invented histories of a glorious past, noble, even divine leaders, a powerful, superior people.
4. The Bible prophesies of end-time skeptics who willfully disbelieve Scripture
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:3-7).
Bible prophecy describes an explosion of apostasy at the end of the church age. Peter identifies the “last days” with a widespread rejection of the Bible’s teaching about creation and the global Flood. This was fulfilled beginning in the 19th century. Skepticism was in the air. It was the dawn of theological liberalism, Humanism, Unitarianism, Marxism, Darwinism, Psychology, and the New Age.
Consider some descriptions of the skeptical atmosphere of that time:
“Every thinking man I have met with is at heart in a state of doubt, on all the great points of religious faith. And the unthinking men ... are in as complete a state of practical unbelief” (Thomas Huxley, cited from Adrian Desmond, Huxley, p. 160).
“[It was a time] when speculations about the origin of species were most rife, when even the orthodox doctrines were being modified and complicated until it was hardly possible to know where orthodoxy ended and heresy started” (Gertrude Himmelfarb, Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, p. 234).
“The unspiritual condition of the churches … and the alarmingly prevalent skepticism, infidelity, and atheism among the masses of the people in Germany, Switzerland, and Holland is, without doubt, almost wholly attributable to the advocacy of these criticisms by a large majority of the prominent pastors and theological professors in those lands. The same condition of affairs is measurably true in England, Scotland, New England, and in every community where this criticism is believed by any very considerable number of people and openly advocated” (L.W. Munhall, The Highest Critics vs. the Higher Critics, 1896).
“The flood-gates of infidelity are open, and Atheism overwhelming is upon us” (George Romanes, 1878, cited from Ian Taylor, In the Minds of Men, p. 371).
“Attendance at places of worship is declining and reverence for holy things is vanishing. We solemnly believe this to be largely attributable to THE SCEPTICISM WHICH HAS FLASHED FROM THE PULPIT AND SPREAD AMONG THE PEOPLE” (C.H. Spurgeon, Sword and Trowel, November 1887).
Since the late 19th century, skepticism has spread like wildfire, both in secular and Christian circles.
The prophecy in Peter’s second epistle describes the skeptic’s motive. It is to “walk after their own lusts,” meaning to live according to one’s own desires without submitting to God’s authority.
The very existence of the skeptics is evidence for the Bible’s divine authority, for they were described in its pages 2,000 years ago, long before they existed.
Willful skepticism explains why scholars can look at the same evidence and come to entirely different conclusions.
5. There is strong evidence that the traditional Egyptian chronology is defective
It is the traditional Egyptian chronology, in particular, that doesn’t fit the Bible record and that is used by skeptics to flail the Bible, but the traditional chronology has great problems.
According to the traditional chronology, the Old Kingdom dates from the 30th to the 22nd century BC (c. 2980-2475), the Middle Kingdom from the 22nd to the 16th BC (c. 2160-1580), and the New Kingdom from the 16th to the 11th BC (c. 1580-1090).
Thus according to the Egyptian traditional chronology, Egypt’s Old Kingdom began in 2980 BC, which would have been about 600 years before the Flood of Noah’s day (2348 BC) by biblical chronology. This is impossible because all evidence of the Old Kingdom, including its pyramids, would have been destroyed.
According to Egyptian traditional chronology, Israel’s Exodus would have been in the 1200s BC, because they tie the name of the city of Raamses mentioned in Exodus 1:11 with Ramses II, whom they date to the 1200s.
But the Bible dates the Exodus to 1493. 1 Kings 61 says that Solomon began building his temple 480 years after Israel left Egypt. “Solomon began building the temple in the 4th year of his reign (2 Ch. 3:1-2). Solomon’s reign lasted 40 years (1 Ki. 11:42, 2 Ch.. 9:30), and Ezekiel tells us that there were 390 years between the division of the monarchy and the fall of Jerusalem (Ez. 4:4-5). Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC (maybe 587). Adding that up, we get 586 + 390 + 40 – 3 + 480 = 1,493 BC. That was the approximate date of the exodus” (“Egyptian History Is Wrong,” Rebuildbiblicalworldview, Sep. 17, 2015).
Since traditional Egyptologists claim that Israel’s Exodus from Egypt would have occurred in 1200 BC, they can say that they find zero evidence for such an event.
But there is a serious and growing call for revision of the traditional chronology. This is summarized as follows: “For years, the popular media has mocked the biblical accounts of Joseph, Moses, the Passover, and the Exodus as being completely incompatible with standard Egyptian chronology. Year after year, we have been told by numerous scholars that events recorded in the books of Genesis and Exodus are nice legends devoid of any historical or archaeological merit. However, a new wind is blowing. An emerging pool of scholars, representing diverse backgrounds, has been openly calling for a drastic reduction in Egyptian chronology. Such a reduction would serve to line up the historical and archaeological records of Egypt and the Old Testament. Surprisingly, there is a substantial amount of evidence to warrant a significant reduction of Egyptian history. And by doing so, the reliability of Genesis, Exodus, and the entire Old Testament will have to be reconsidered as a viable source of historical truth” (Daniel Anderson, “Egyptian history and the biblical record,” Jan. 23, 2007, Creation.com).
Traditional Egyptian chronology is built upon two faulty fundamentals: Manetho’s history and the Sothic Cycle theory. Both have serious flaws. A summary of these flaws is found in chapters 24 of The New Answers Book 2 published by Answers in Genesis. It is available for free online at answersingenesis.org. In brief, Manetho was not writing a chronology of Egyptian history. “It was not a succession of kings occupying the throne one after the other, but several kings reigning at the same time in different regions.” Also, Manetho lists the some of the same kings as different kings because of variation of spellings. Thus, to add up the years of the kings’ reigns from Manetho gives a false chronology. There are even greater problems with the Sothic Cycle.
When the Egyptian chronology is reconstructed, there is evidence for Israel living in and exiting Egypt in the biblical timeframe, as we will see.
Some of those calling for the chronological revision have high credentials in Egyptian scholarship.
- Alan Gardiner, author of Egypt of the Pharaohs (1966), published by Oxford University Press, said, “What is proudly advertised as Egyptian history is merely a collection of rags and tatters” (p. 53). Gardiner was one of the premier Egyptologists of the 20th century. His Egyptian Grammar is considered one of the best works in the field of hieroglyphs.
- Donovan Courville, in The Exodus Problem and Its Ramifications (1971), proposed a revised chronology.
- David Rohl, in Test of Time: The Bible from Myth to History (1995), posits Ramses II in the 10th century BC, some 350 years later than the traditional date. Dr. Rohl is not a Christian, but he believes the biblical record is historically accurate. He believes that Joseph and Moses were historic figures.
- Peter James and four other scholars, in Centuries of Darkness: A Challenge to the Conventional Chronology of Old World Archaeology (1991), call for a reduction of hundreds of years in the length of ancient Egyptian dynasties. James calls the traditional chronology “a gigantic academic blunder.” The manuscript of this book was read and critiqued by over two dozen scholars before publication. The sympathetic foreword to the book was written by Dr. Colin Renfrew, professor of archaeology at Cambridge University. It was republished in 1993 by Rutgers University Press.
- David Down and John Ashton, in Unwrapping the Pharaohs (2009), propose a revised chronology that harmonizes Egyptian and Old Testament history. Down has done archaeological research in Egypt, Israel, and the Middle East for half a century. This book is available for free reading online at answersingenesis.org.
The “Rameses” (“Raamses”) mentioned in the Pentateuch (Ge. 47:11 and Ex. 1:11; 12:37; Nu. 33:3, 5) is not necessarily a reference to Ramses II, as most archaeologists assume. “Because Exodus 1:11 says that the Hebrew slaves built the city Ramses, early Egyptologists assumed that Ramses II was the pharaoh who oppressed the Israelites. On that basis, most scholars assign Ramses’ traditional date to the Exodus and ignore the Bible’s testimony. The name Ramses should not restrict the oppression to the 19th dynasty because this name is not unique to the 19th dynasty. Ramses, which means ‘son of Ra—the sun god,’ was a name commonly used to honor pharaohs. For instance, Ahmose, the founder of the 18th dynasty, was also called Ramses, as was a later 18th dynasty king, Amenhotep III. Archaeology of the 18th and 19th dynasties [c. 1580-1205 BC] shows no evidence of enslaved Israelites because the Hebrews had left Egypt centuries before. Scholars should neither assume that Ramses II was the pharaoh of the oppression nor assign his date to the Exodus” (The New Answers Book 2, Answers in Genesis, chapter 24).
6. When the Egyptian chronology is shifted, there is evidence for the biblical events
Egyptian chronology aside, there is evidence for the following, among other things:
There is evidence that a large group of non-Egyptians lived in Egypt and were enslaved by the Egyptians and left in a hurry. There is the dramatic painting of slaves in the tomb of Rekhimire, dating to the 15th century BC. The slaves are building a ramp and making bricks for the workshop of the Temple of Amun at Karnak. The inscription says “captures brought off by His Majesty for work at the Temple of Amun.” “Semites and Nubians are shown fetching and mixing mud and water, striking out bricks from molds, leaving them to dry and measuring their amount, under the watchful eyes of Egyptian overseers, each with a rod” (“Were Hebrews Ever Slaves in Ancient Egypt?” Haaretz, Apr. 14, 2016). There is evidence of foreign slaves in the excavations at Kahun and Gurob in the 12th dynasty. At Kahun. Flinders Petrie found remains of large numbers of buried babies, sometimes three in a box. At Kahun, the slave town was suddenly abandoned, with possessions left behind.
There is evidence for Joseph.
- There is evidence at Avaris, which has been excavated for over 40 years under the direction of Manfred Bietak. It is located in the region of the biblical Goshen where Israel settled ().
- The very name “Avaris” might be connected with Joseph. “Prof. Manfred Bietak has been digging at Tell el-Dab’a in Egypt for over 40 years. He has identified it as “Avaris”, the ancient Hyksos capital. Avaris is smack dab in the middle of the area the Bible calls “Goshen” i.e., the area that the Israelites lived in prior to the Exodus. The word “Avaris” means nothing in Egyptian. But, in the Torah, Joseph is repeatedly called a “Hebrew”; “Ivri” in the Hebrew language. He is also repeatedly and curiously called “Ha Ish”; “The Man”. In other words, the word “Avaris” may very well be related to Joseph, the “Ish Ivri”, or the “Hebrew Man” (Genesis 39:14). All this is lost in translation when Joseph is simply called a “Hebrew”. Put differently, the so-called Hyksos capital seems to be named after Joseph the “Ish Ivri” i.e., Avar-Ish” (Simcha Jacobovici, “Statue of Biblical Joseph Found: Story Covered Up,” SimchajTV, Feb. 18, 2014).
- A statue found at Avaris might be that of Joseph. “Between 1986 and 1988, Prof. Bietak found the remains of a monumental statue that seems to have belonged to a non-Egyptian ruler of Avaris. Although only fragments remain, the archeologists estimate the original size of the seated figure to be 2 meters high and 1.5 meters in depth i.e., about one and a half times life size. Over the statue’s right shoulder you can still see his ‘throw stick’ i.e., the symbol of his rule. On the back – remarkably, as with the Biblical Joseph – you can still see evidence that this ruler was wearing a striped garment, made up of at least three colors: black, red and white. He was found in a tomb. The tomb was empty. This may be as a result of looting, but one can’t help but recall that the Biblical narrative explicitly tells us that when the Israelites left on the Exodus, they took Joseph’s bones with them (Exodus 13:19). In other words, in order to fit with the Biblical narrative, any tomb of Joseph in Egypt would have to be empty. They call the statue the ‘Asiatic’ i.e., he is not Egyptian, rather he is a man who comes from the area of Canaan/Israel. They might as well call him the ‘Ish Ivri’” (Ibid.). “Dr. Charles Aling was one of my professors, years ago, and is presently the Chair of history at the University of Northwestern, and President of the Near Middle-East Archaeological Society. Aling told me, personally, that he thinks that the statue - as well as the palace - is very probably that of the biblical Joseph” (Scotty Roberts).
There is evidence that the Egyptians used bricks mixed with straw. These have been found in many places in Egypt and are on display in many museums. Some are stamped with royal seals. The British Library has 20 that are stamped with the royal seal “House of Ramses II.”
There is evidence for the brass mirrors mentioned in Exodus 38:8, which were brought out of Egypt by the Israelite women and used in the construction of the laver in the Tabernacle. “And he made the laver of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the lookingglasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.”
There is evidence of Pharaoh’s court magicians described in Exodus 7:11-12, 22; 8:7, 18-19; 9:11. They were called “heka” or “lector-priests” and there are images of them in some of the tombs, including the tomb of Rekhmire. They used serpent magician wands or staffs. One was found in the coffin of Mentuhotep in Thebes. It is topped with the image of a cobra. The tomb of Sennufer has a depiction of magicians holding serpent wands. The Tomb of Seti I has an image of Thoth holding two serpent wands. There is an account in the Tale of Pharaoh Cheops Court of magicians turning a wax crocodile into a real one, which is reminiscent of Ex. 7:12, “For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.” Further, the “finger of God” mentioned in Exodus 8:19 was probably a reference to the finger of Horus, which was part of their magic rituals. The image of two fingers was worn as a talisman. It was supposed to refer to magic power of Horus.
There is evidence that Egypt underwent a time of terrible trouble. The papyrus poem “Admonitions of Impuwer or the Lord of All” portrays a devastated Egypt “haunted by plagues, droughts, violent uprisings—culminating in the escape of slaves with Egypt's wealth. In short, the Impuwer papyrus seems to be telling the story of Exodus from the Egyptian point of view, from a river of blood to the devastation of the livestock to darkness” (“Were Hebrews Ever Slaves in Ancient Egypt?” Haaretz, Apr. 14, 2016).
There is evidence that Jericho was destroyed in the way described in Joshua. The ruins of the ancient city are still sitting there in the midst of the modern city of Jericho as a silent witness to biblical history. The site holds evidence for the following: the walls fell down in the exact way described in the Bible so the attackers could go straight forward into the city (Jos. 6:20). One section of the wall did not fall and a few of the houses on the wall were not destroyed, as we would expect from the account of Rahab (Jos. 2:15; 6:17). The city was burned (Jos. 6:24). The city was full of valuable, recently harvested grain, which points to a very short siege, as described in the Bible. This also tells us that the conquest of Joshua occurred at the time described in the Bible, which was in the spring after Passover. The grain harvest in the Jordan Valley is in the spring. The fact that the grain was left by the conquerers fits the Bible’s statement that Joshua cursed the city and forbad the people to plunder it (Jos. 6:18).
There is evidence that Hazor was destroyed in the way described in Joshua. The city was a major city of 200 acres as befitting the Bible’s description of it as “head of all those kingdoms” (Jos. 11:10). There is evidence of fierce burning dating to the time of Joshua (Jos. 11:13). The heat of the burning was so great that it cracked the heavy stone slabs. There is also evidence of broken idols from that event. (For more about Hazor and its destruction see Bible Times & Ancient Kingdoms, PowerPoint #10 “Hazor and Her Times.”)
There is evidence that Israel was a recognized people in the land of Canaan in the 13th century, which is the time of the Judges. This is found in the Merneptah stele, a 7.5 foot tall monument erected by the Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah to celebrate a military campaign in Canaan. It was discovered in 1896 at Thebes and is in the Egypt Museum. It reads: “Canaan is captive with all woe. Ashkelon is conquered, Gezer seized, Yanoam made nonexistent; Israel is wasted, bare of seed, Khor is become a widow for Egypt. All who roamed have been subdued.” The reference to Israel having no seed is a reference to the destruction of the nation’s food supply. Though brief, the inscription is highly significant. It proves that already during the period of the Judges Israel was a nation of some importance. Otherwise, the proud king of Egypt would not have mentioned her and boasted of his victory. It confirms the description given in the Bible of how that Israel was often harassed by neighboring nations because of her sin. The Merneptah stele also refutes the view that Israel did not enter the land of Canaan until about 1230 BC, which is two centuries later than the Bible’s timeline of about 1450 BC. It also refutes the “12th century emergence theory” which claims that Israel emerged from the Canaanite people in about 1150 BC (instead of entering the land from Egypt in the 15th century).
7. This issue must be viewed from the wider picture of the historical evidence of other parts of the book of Genesis
In the 19th century, Julius Wellhausen, one of the most prominent German scholars, called Genesis a “glorified mirage” (Prolegomena to the History of Israel, 1878).
But since then a lot of evidence has been amassed for the historical reliability of Genesis.
Consider Genesis 1. The account of creation is not opposed to any established scientific fact. The theory of a billion-year-old earth remains a theory that is predicated on evolutionary presuppositions, whereas many scientific methods of dating point to a young earth. The account of creation in Genesis 1 is scientifically accurate in every point that can be tested. Plants and animals being made to reproduce after their own kind is observable science. Man being a different kind of creature than the animals is observable science. The world being a perfectly fit environment for man is observable science.
Consider Genesis 6-9. The evidence for a global flood is massive. First, the massive layers of sedimentary rock that cover the earth point to a global flood. About three-fourths of the earth’s land area has sedimentary rock as the bedrock, ranging in thickness from a few feet to 40,000 feet or more. Sedimentary rock is laid down by flowing water, and the amount of water necessary to have created the rock that exists throughout the earth would fit the Bible’s description. Second, the massive fossil graveyards point to a global flood. For example, the Burgess Shale in British Columbia contains countless thousands of marine invertebrates, that have been preserved in exquisite detail, “with soft parts intact, often with food still in their guts” (Andrew Snelling, Earth’s Catastrophic Past, Vol. 2, p. 537). It is obvious that they were buried in an unusual and catastrophic manner. Third, sea creatures on the tops of mountains point to a global flood. A whale’s skeleton was found on top of the 3,000-foot Sanhorn Mountain on the Arctic Coast and a mile high on California’s coastal range. Clusters of gigantic fossilized oysters were found atop the Andes Mountains in South America. Clam fossils have even been found on the summit of Mt. Everest. Ammonite fossils (sea animals of the octopus family), some with a diameter up to six feet, can be seen at 12,000 feet in the Himalayans in the Kali Gandaki River in Nepal.
Consider Genesis 10. If the book of Genesis is largely myth and if the Pentateuch was not pieced together until hundreds of years after Moses, as liberals claim, then we should expect Genesis 10 to contain very little if anything that could be verified as sound history. Yet archaeologists have found the case to be exactly the opposite. Archaeologist William Albright, who was not a strong Bible believer, testified, “The Table of Nations remains an astonishingly accurate document” (Recent Discoveries in Bible Lands, 1955, p. 72). Henry Rawlinson, who contributed much to the unlocking of ancient cuneiform writing, said that Genesis 10 “well deserved to be called the most authentic record that we possess for the affiliation of nations” (The Seven Great Monarchies of the Ancient World, vol. 1). The names “Nimrod” and “Asshur” appear throughout ancient secular histories, and Nimrod is associated with Babylon, whereas Asshur is associated with Nineveh, just as Genesis recounts. Ancient Babylon was called “the city of Bel-Nimrod.” Asshur is mentioned in connection with Nineveh and the Assyrian Empire throughout ancient history. Though Nimrod and Asshur were deified and mythologized, there is no reason to believe that these men did not first exist as the real human founders of Babylon and Nineveh as described in Genesis 10. Further, there is clear archaeological evidence for the very cities mentioned in Genesis 10. “And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah” (Ge. 10:10-11). In a stunning confirmation of the accuracy of Bible history, five of these cities are known to archaeologists, and they date to the very time described in Genesis. Four of the cities have been located and excavated. These are Babylon (Ge. 10:10), Erech or Uruk (Ge. 10:10), Nineveh (Ge. 10:11), and Calah (Ge. 10:11). Accad (or Akkad or Agade) has not been located, but it is mentioned extensively in ancient documents. Archaeology has confirmed that Accad was a kingdom dating to the time after the Flood. It was the heart of the Akkadian Empire founded by Sargon the Great in the third millennium BC. Accad’s importance is also evident in that it gave its name to the Akkadian language that was the international trade language of ancient Mesopotamia for nearly 2,000 years until the Persian Empire
Consider Genesis 11. Ur of the Chaldees mentioned in Genesis 11:28-31, was unearthed beginning in the 1920s. We now know a great deal about its walls, houses, sewer system, agriculture, commerce, gods, temples, kings, soldiers, chariots, burial techniques, and many other things. (See Bible Times & Ancient Kingdoms, PowerPoint # 7 “Ur of the Chaldees.”
Consider Genesis 14. William Albright began his career convinced that Genesis 14 was legend because he knew of no line of march to the east of the Jordan, but he disproved this by finding evidence of the ancient King’s Highway which ran southwest from the Euphrates River to Damascus, where it turned south and ran east of the Jordan River and Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba, and from there west to Egypt. And though archaeology has not found evidence of the specific attack of the kings mentioned in Genesis 14, it has found evidence of other Mesopotamian kings attacking Canaan in those days. Sargon of Akkad in Babylonia raided Canaan in the latter part of the third millennium BC, which was before the time of Abraham.
Yahdun-Lim, king of Mari, raided kings in Canaan in about 1820 BC, which was about the time that Abraham died (Garrett and Kaiser, Archaeological Study Bible). Archaeology has found that Elam (Ge. 14:1) was a kingdom that flourished beginning in the third millennium BC and eventually gave rise to the Medo-Persian Empire. The capital city was Susa, and the kingdom was often called Susiana. (Susa is the biblical Shushan, Nehemiah 1:1; Esther 1:2). The city Ellasar (Ge. 14:1, 9) was discovered and its temple of the sun god Shamash was excavated. Archaeology has found that the name “Chedlorlaomer” was a typical Elamite name for that time. The name “Arioch” (Ge. 14:1, 9) is mentioned in tablets discovered in the ancient cities of Mari and Nuzi, and “Tidal” was a common name used by five known Hittite kings.
This is only a sample of the extra-biblical evidence that supports the historicity of Genesis.
8. This issue must be viewed from the wider picture of evidence for the Bible as a whole
The Bible proves itself to be the Word of God in a thousand ways, and the Word of God is absolute truth. The Bible tells us exactly when and how the nation Egypt began. Nothing that archaeology has proven (as opposed to theorizing) has contradicted the Bible’s account of Egyptian history.
Our faith is not based on human scholarship, which would be a very shaky foundation, indeed! Human scholarship is never settled. It is based on partial evidence. It is prone to bias and manipulation. It is subject to the whims of human character.
The Word of God, on the other hand, is forever settled in heaven (Ps. 119:89). It is sure, faithful. It depends on the infallible God, not fallible man.
Consider a few of the evidences that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
There is the evidence of its perfect unity (one Book that speaks with one voice, yet 66 individual books written by about 40 authors over a period of nearly two millennium); its fulfilled prophecy; its scientific accuracy; its uncanny description of man’s character; its candor in describing man’s faults, including those of its “heroes”; its unique doctrine of salvation (by God’s grace instead of by man’s works); the unique Person of Jesus Christ; the evidence for Christ’s resurrection. (See The Bible’s Proof, available in print or as a free eBook from www.wayoflife.org.)
The Bible proves itself to be the Word of God by its soul-searching, convicting power. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). It has been said that the Bible can “read the fine print on man’s soul.”
The Bible proves itself to be the Word of God to those who come to it sincerely. God gives enough proof to satisfy any reasonable person who is willing to submit to the truth, but not enough to convince the proud skeptic who is bent on unbelief. People are not the same when it comes to the reception of the truth. In Acts 13:7-8 there is Sergius Paulus, a prudent man who desired to hear the word of God, and we have Elymas who withstood the word of God. In Acts 17, we have the Jews at Thessalonica who rejected the Word of God and the Jews at Berea who “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
Renowned Harvard law professor Simon Greenleaf observed:
“Christianity does not profess to convince the perverse and head-strong, to bring irresistible evidence to the daring and profane, to vanquish the proud scorner, and afford evidences from which the careless and perverse cannot possibly escape. This might go to destroy man’s responsibility. All that Christianity professes, is to propose such evidences as may satisfy the meek, the tractable, the candid, the serious inquirer” (The Testimony of the Evangelists).
The believer must not be discouraged by the willful skeptic and must not waste a lot of time with him. Jesus instructed His people not to cast pearls before swine (Mt. 7:6).
I see no evidence that the skeptic Egyptologists have studied the Bible for themselves. They are not experts in the Bible. They have rejected the Bible without having taken its claims seriously. They have not studied the evidence for biblical inspiration. They make infantile mistakes, such as claiming that the Bible says cities were burned throughout Canaan during Joshua’s invasion, when it says that only three cities were burned, Jericho, Ai, and Hazor. And those are the very two where evidence of burned have been found!
9. This issue must be viewed from the perspective of the person of Jesus Christ.
This issue must be viewed from the perspective of the person of Jesus Christ. If He is who He claimed to be, the eternal Son of God, the promised Messiah, the issue of Old Testament authority is settled.
Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, and His resurrection alone gives infallible witness to this claim. The evidence for Christ’s resurrection is irrefutable, as we have shown in this book. Consider just four of these evidences: First, there is the amazing candor of the Gospel accounts. When someone invents a religion, he glorifies its leaders, but the four Gospels paint the founders of Christianity as very weak (e.g., Peter denying Christ thrice; the disciples fleeing and hiding; Thomas and others doubting Christ even after He appeared to them). Further, if men had made up the accounts of Christ’s resurrection in the Gospels, they would not have said that the women were the first to believe. In that day women had no authority in the eyes of society. The account of the women believing first is not something that would have been written unless it actually happened and unless the writers were committed to recording the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This striking candor is powerful evidence that the Gospels are true, unvarnished accounts. Second, the resurrected Christ was seen by hundreds of eye witnesses, most of whom were still alive with Paul interviewed them a couple of decades later and wrote about it in the first epistle to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 15:1-8). Third, the resurrection dramatically changed Christ’s disciples. Before the resurrection they were fearful and in hiding, whereas after they saw and touched Him they became bold and were willing to suffer and die for their faith. Fourth, the enemies of Christ have never produced His body; the tomb remains empty to this day. As George Hanson rightly says, “The simple faith of the Christian who believes in the resurrection is nothing compared to the credulity of the skeptic who will accept the wildest and most improbable romances rather than admit the plain witness of historical certainties. The difficulties of belief may be great; the absurdities of unbelief are greater” (The Resurrection and the Life).
Christ taught that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. He quoted from every part of the Old Testament as the Word of God. Some of the Old Testament people and events that Christ referred to are the creation (Mk. 13:19), Adam and Eve (Mt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6-7), Cain and Abel (Mt. 23:35; Lk. 11:50-51), Noah and the flood (Mt. 24:37-39), Abraham (Jn. 8:39-40), the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Lk. 17:28-29), Lot’s wife turning to salt (Lk. 17:32), Moses and the burning bush (Mk. 12:26), manna from heaven (Jn. 6:31-32), the brazen serpent in the wilderness journey (Jn. 3:14-15), Jonah and the whale (Mt. 12:39-41; Lk. 11:29-32), Nineveh repenting at Jonah’s preaching (Lk. 11:32), Solomon and the queen of Sheba (Lk. 11:31).
Of the authority of the Old Testament, Jesus said,
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Mt. 5:17-18).
In this passage Jesus taught that the Old Testament is perfect even to the very letters.
He further said that “the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). He was saying that nothing written in the Scripture can be set aside or ignored. It is authoritative to every detail; it is a chain with no weak links.
On Christ’s authority alone we would trust the Bible and reject the skeptics. Let them huff and puff. They have nothing but their own fallible opinion with which to disprove that Christ is the Son of God or that the Bible is the Word of God.
Those who sincerely seek Christ will find Him, and those who find Him have all of the evidence that they need.
“He that believeth on the Son of Go hath the witness in himself…” (1 Jo. 5:10).
10. This issue must be approached by faith in God.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6).
Those who depend upon the human mind and resources can never please God. They cannot know the truth. He must be sought by faith.
This is not blind faith. This is faith in the living God. The Bible never tries to prove the existence of God for the simple reason that the evidence is everywhere. It is shouted from every corner of the creation. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Ro. 1:19-20). Man’s very heart and conscience witnesses to the existence of a holy God to whom he is accountable. “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Ro. 2:14-16).
Note that the God in whom I must believe is a rewarder. He is not a severe God. He is a Father and a Saviour. He made man and has provided for man’s every need, including eternal salvation through His own Son.
He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Man must seek God. He must stop and pay attention to God. He must listen to God. And when he seeks God he finds him, because God is there, drawing him. Adam hid from God, but when God called Adam, he came, and he was saved through faith in the blood of the sacrificial victim which pointed to “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Joh. 1:29).
11. True faith is evidence and substance.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).
Faith is evidence, because true faith is based upon God’s infallible Word. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Ro. 10:17). We see this throughout Hebrews 11, which recounts the saints of old who lived by faith. A prominent teaching of this chapter is that faith is based on God’s Word. This was true of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sara, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, and Samuel. Consider Noah. His faith was based on God’s warning of the coming flood and God’s instruction about building the ark. Noah believed’s God’s Word, and in believing, his faith became evidence and substance. His faith is what connected him with God’s Word and brought the reality of God’s Word into his daily life. His faith was the substance that produced the ark that saved his family. The Word of God in itself is evidence and substance, but it is not evidence and substance in my personal life without faith. Faith is the bridge that connects me with the Word of God. It is the hand that reaches out to take hold of the Word of God.
So the Word of God is evidence, and faith is evidence.
This is true for whatever the Word of God says. Consider Genesis 1. The Word of God says the world was made in six days, and when I believe that, my faith becomes the evidence and substance of that in my own life. Faith fills my heart with evidence and substance, with confidence and assurance, with light and hope.
The Word of God says many things about Egypt, and when I believe God’s Word, my faith becomes the evidence and substance of those things in my life. The skepticism that permeates the field of Egyptology seems ridiculous to me.
True faith in God’s Word is exceedingly powerful.
Faith is not blind. It is not a leap in the dark. It is not self-deception. It is not wishful thinking. It is not an emotional crutch. It is not mysticism. It is not a feeling. It is not a religious experience.
It is faith that leads a scholar like Clifford Wilson, Ph.D. in psycholinguistics and former director of the Australian Institute of Archaeology, to say, “I know of no finding in archaeology that’s properly confirmed which is in opposition to the Scriptures. The Bible is the most accurate history textbook the world has ever seen” (“Archaeologist Speaks Out,” Creation, 1998).
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