The next issue to be discussed will be the three age system. You all know what it is, Stone, Bronze, and Iron and you are probably aware that archaeologists have added to those categories over the years. They have sub-divided those three and have added many more.
In fact, according to one list found in the archaeology Study Bible, there are 18 archaeological areas and if you do a quick search you will find that chart has competitors. For this discussion, we will focus solely on the three ages mentioned above and here is what Bad archaeology has to say about them:
The question of chronology was becoming an arena of fierce debate in the early years of the nineteenth century in both geology and archaeology. The geologists had a relative chronology, based on the principle of stratigraphy, but the archaeologists were still unable to sort remains of the prehistoric past into any sort of chronological order or even, in some cases, to date monuments accurately within historic periods (high medieval homestead moats in England, for instance, were often thought to be Danish fortifications of the ninth century).
This was the problem facing Christian Jurgensen Thomsen (1788-1865) when he was appointed curator of the Danish National Museum in Copenhagen in 1816. His array of prehistoric objects could not be placed in any sort of order based on date. He hit on an ingenious solution. He recognised that some of the museum’s collection had come from sites where the only finds were made from stone; some came from sites where bronze was also used, while others came from sites where iron, stone and bronze were used. He suggested that those sites with only stone tools were the oldest, labelling this the Stone Age, those with bronze and stone tools belonged to a Bronze Age, while those with iron belonged to an Iron Age (http://www.badarchaeology.com/?page_id=116)
One of the problems with that chronological classification is the assumption that the sites only with stone tools and weapons did not have access to Bronze or Iron at the time. They may have but decided to avoid such weapons and tools for fear of what might come. Much like New Zealand of today.
They live in the supposed Nuclear Age yet refuse to have anything to do with nuclear weapons or tools. does this absence mean that new Zealand’s culture is older than say India’s, who possess nuclear power? Of course not but according to the logic applied by Mr. Thomsen, it would.
We cannot date societies by the weapons they used because we do not know what choice went into their possessing one item over another. For all we know, they made have had a religious ideology prohibiting modernizing, much like the Amish and some Mennonites have today.
Another problem with the three age system is the idea or implication that there were stages in development that had some distinct boundaries. One day everyone was in the stone age and then magically the next, everyone was in the Bronze Age and then from the Bronze Age one day to the Iron the next. Life doesn’t work that way. (http://archaeology.knoji.com/the-threeage-system-of-archaeology-stone-age-bronze-age-and-iron-age/)
We know that different societies developed differently than others. Some were quicker while others dragged along content with their lifestyle and saw no need to develop into a ‘modern civilized’ civilization.
Again using the modern Nuclear Age as an example, we have several nations with nuclear capability and power. Not only do they use nuclear power to produce much-needed electricity but they also turn that good tool into a weapon for evil. Just like guns , nuclear power can be used for both good and evil and many nations use the former to justify their developing the latter.
We all know that America and Russia have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world several times over and it is by the grace of God that they haven’t used them yet. Throughout all this mad rush to gain a military advantage over another country, we still have stone age tribes existing today. Not only the ones in Brazil and the Amazon forest but also in the Irian Jaya/New Guinea area of South-East Asia.
Thus the idea of distinct periods with distinct time frames is misleading. We do not know the hows and whys some ancient nations developed slower than others. We can guess but I doubt it was not for the lack of knowledge of the materials available.
The final problem of the three age system to be discussed is its restricted application. it does not work outside of Europe and some parts of the Middle East:
The three age system has been difficult to apply fully outside Europe. Cultures developed at different rates or missed out some of the stages of development altogether. Amazonian tribes in South America remain in the Neolithic for example, while there was no Bronze Age south of the Sahara and people living there went straight from using stone to iron.
It also soon became apparent that the switches from one age to another did not happen quickly or decisively. Flint tools remained in use in a limited fashion into the Iron Age in Europe and early metal items often appear in what should technically be the Neolithic (http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Three-age_system)
But like many archaeological and scientific ideas, this one is hard to replace as many archaeologists cling to it like a life-preserver. This system makes it easier to dismiss different locations as being inhabited at the time the Bible says it was. Kathleen Kenyon used the system to say that Jericho was uninhabited at the time of the Israelite conquest. Steven Collins uses it to dismiss the southern location for Sodom in order to justify his misleading northern location theory.
Thus the three age system becomes a professional tool to support one’s false theories and fight the truth. Its purpose, then, switched from categorizing a supposed chronological development process of humanity to an excuse to dismiss credible and viable events that took place in history. Usually this is done against the biblical record as the three age system is promoted to a position of authority that archaeologists depend upon to fight the truth of the Bible.
What this means is that when archaeologists or scholars say that Abraham lived in the Middle Bronze Age and Sodom was inhabited only in the Early Bronze Age thus Lot was not in Sodom and it was not destroyed as the Bible says, we can ignore them and dismiss that type of claim.
The three age system has no bearing on what took place in the Bible and does not make the Bible false just because an archaeologist invokes those eras on the minute evidence unearthed, which may contradict what the Bible is saying. The three age system is a false tool with no bearing in the reality of the past.
The Bible says that Lot was in Sodom and it was destroyed by fire then Lot was there and Sodom was destroyed by God who used fire to bring the destruction. The three age system means nothing and can be ignored especially when applied to biblical people and events.