Archaeology and the Bible: Part two

Archaeology has confirmed the reliability and historicity of the Bible time and time again, and this is what we’d expect if the Bible really were God’s word and revelation. Skeptics have long sought to demonstrate that the Bible is mythology, legend, made-up, inaccurate, and written by ancient people who were superstitious, ignorant of the truth, and gullible.

So I think it’s exciting when new discoveries support the Bible’s claims and overturn old, secular narratives. Part 1 of this series provided a brief overview on four discoveries made at Gezer, Ebla, Jericho, and on King Belshazzar, and this part will continue with some additional overviews.

5: Flood legends: One of my favorite archaeological evidences for Noah’s flood is the existence of flood legends from hundreds of cultures around the world. If there really was a global flood, and the only survivors were Noah and his family, then their descendants would have passed knowledge of this historical event from generation to generation.

The Hawaiian legend (the Kai-a-kahinarii) tells us that Nuu built a large boat to save his family, including his three sons and their wives, from the coming flood that was punishment for sin. The boat landed on Mauna Kea, and it was there that Nuu sacrificed a pig and offered a coconut to thank the moon. But the creator descended on a rainbow and revealed that it was he who saved them.

The Pawnee people tell of giants offending the creator, Ti-ra-wa, who drowned them in a flood that covered the mountains. And after that he made the first man and woman.

In the Aztec legend, the people were wicked and no longer worshiped the gods. This angered the gods, and Tlaloc, the god of rains, decided to destroy the earth with a flood. He warned the devout Tata and his wife Nena, and told them to hollow out a great log. They did this, and entered it, and that’s when the rain began. Eventually the rain ended, and they landed safely on dry ground, on a mountain called Colhuacan.

I would argue that, with so many flood legends around the world sharing certain similarities with the Biblical account, this is evidence that there really was a global flood.

6: There’s evidence that the early Chinese knew about the Genesis account and passed it along from generation to generation. It can be demonstrated that “elements of some Genesis accounts may be found together in certain Chinese characters”.

For example, the word for ‘boat’ contains elements of ‘vessel’, ‘eight’ and ‘people’. This is significant because Noah’s ark was a vessel in which eight people were saved. Of course, we can’t know exactly what the inventors were thinking when they created the symbol, but if Noah’s flood were a real event, then this would be a valid explanation as to its origin, especially when we realize that China appeared not long after the flood.

In the book, God’s Promise to the Chinese, there are hundreds of examples, but I’ll provide one more, and that is the word for ‘garden’, which includes the words for ‘dust’, ‘breath’ ‘two persons’, and ‘enclosure’. This is significant because God created Adam from the dust of the ground, breathed the breath of life into him, and placed Adam and Eve within an enclosure, call the Garden of Eden.

7: Exodus: There’s strong archaeological evidence supporting the Bible’s claims regarding Egypt, the existence of Joseph and his rule, the Israelites living in the land, their enslavement, plagues, and the Exodus. The documentary, Patterns of Evidence, highlighted these discoveries, as does the book, Unwrapping the Pharaohs. Papyrus documents, inscriptions and texts are consistent with the Bible’s claims, and ancient historians such as Josephus, Herodotus, Manetho, Africanus and Eusebius have provided historical documentation consistent with the Bible.

One such papyrus is translated as:

“… Plague stalks through the land and blood is everywhere … Nay, but the river is blood. Does a man drink from it? As a human he rejects it. He thirsts for water … Nay, but gates, columns and walls are consumed with fire…Nay but the son of the high-born man is no longer to be recognized … The stranger people from outside are come into Egypt … Nay, but corn has perished everywhere…Everyone says ‘there is no more.”

It’s also significant that the mummy of Neferhotep I was never discovered because the Bible explains that he and the Egyptian army are at the bottom of the Red Sea. The Bible further explains why his son never succeeded him, and that’s because of the plague of the first born. Archaeologists have even found evidence of the sudden departure of the people living in the city of Kahun, where they abandoned nearly everything, just as the Bible describes.

8: The naming of cities: It’s interesting the influence of Biblical names throughout history. Noah’s grandson Mizraim, for example, is the name for Egypt, and modern Egyptians still call themselves Misr, from which it is derived. While the spelling may vary over thousands of years, the meaning is still the same. This can be seen in the writings of Eusebius, the famous 4thcentury AD historian, who wrote:

“Egypt is called Mestraim by the Hebrews; and Mestraim lived not long after the flood. For after the flood, Cham (or Ham), son of Noah, begat Aeguptos or Mestraim, who was the first to set out to establish himself in Egypt, at the time when the tribes began to disperse this way and that…Mestraim was indeed the founder of the Egyptian race; and from him the first Egyptian Dynasty must be held to spring.”

The historian Josephus wrote about Abraham’s visit to Egypt, saying:

“He communicated to them arithmetic, and delivered to them the science of astronomy; for before Abram came into Egypt they were unacquainted with those parts of learning; for that science came from the Chaldeans into Egypt.”

Abraham came from Ur of the Chaldees, and archaeological evidence indicates that this city was discovered to be the first civilization known for their superiority of astronomy and math, and invented writing. All this coincides with an increased expertise in Egyptian pyramids during the reign of Pharaoh Khufu, when Abraham would have been in Egypt.

Of course, it’s impossible to validate every claim as to its truthfulness one hundred percent, but the archaeological evidence does indeed support the Bible’s claims. The archaeologist Dr. Clifford Wilson once heard two other archaeologists discussing the reliability of the Bible, and the younger one was disparaging the Bible. The older archaeologist said, “Well, if I were you, I wouldn’t rubbish the Bible.” The younger asked, “Why”? And the older replied, “Well, it just has a habit of proving to be right after all.”

Leading archaeologist, Professor Nelson Glueck concurs: “I have excavated for 30 years with a Bible in one hand and a trowel in the other, and in matters of historical perspective, I have never yet found the Bible to be in error”.

There are so many other significant archaeological finds that I’ll continue to provide examples in future segments.

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