Can Archaeology Illuminate The Bible?- 2

02 Feb

Continuing the series looking at Dr. Dever’s lectures on How Archaeology Can Illuminate The Bible. Again there is no particular order except hopefully in order of importance

#1. Edom & Moab came into the story but non-existent until the 9th c. BC…Philistines came later and Camels were not domesticated 1000 years after Abraham.

When I said that Dr. Dever was dishonest in his use of archaeology it also means that he will take the most convenient way to use the field in his opposition to the biblical record. By convenient I mean he will take the most plausible conclusion and adopt that instead of using his head and thinking about mitigating factors surrounding the inclusion of certain people and animals in the biblical record.

For Moab, we know that Lot was the father of that nation via his unwanted relationship with his daughter. But regardless of where these nations arise in the archaeological record, those remains do not really pinpoint their actual origin as a people.  It is easy and convenient to say that these nations did not exist prior to the 9th century but it is hard to verify that type of conclusion. We cannot pinpoint the exact rise of any nation except the Israelites.

The same for the Philistines. We do not know exactly when their first people migrated to the Promised land, there are no records detailing these events. I am not sure if the Philistines were part of the Sea Peoples or not, but even if they were, that does not mean early groups or individuals did not move to a new land. What reason brought them to Abraham’s area is anybody’s guess but archaeology cannot eliminate such movements.

As for camels, the evidence suggesting that they were domesticated 1000 years after Abraham is weak and based more on assumption than any fact. Archaeologists like to point to first discovered as the original instead of thinking that their discovery is just the first of its kind and their evidence is situated somewhere in the middle of the domestication record.

Archaeology cannot eliminate Abraham from being the original camel domesticator. He could have seen the future and the need for tame camels and was the first to venture into that field. To rely upon archaeology solely to tell us about the past means one wants to be deceived and has no interest in the truth.

#2. Archaeology supplies external information not easily corrupted.

For a man of Dr. Dever’s experience, this is a rather naive position to take.  Archaeology is very easily corrupted as tomb robbers disturb artifacts and remove them from their resting places. But it isn’t only the fault of the tomb robbers that archaeology gets corrupted. Archaeology may supply information but how that information is handled is where the corruption enters the field. If an archaeologist misidentifies an artifact or a building then the information is corrupted and it is very difficult to return to the uncorrupted news those discoveries bring with them from the past.

#3. Angels abuse Lot’s daughter…Ancients had no historical dead reckoning…Archaeology can ferret out the real history of the Bible

Obviously archaeology cannot do that and it i snot the ancients who have a problem with history as Dr. Dever messes up the story of Lot and the angels. His abuse of the biblical record undermines these type of claims he makes. Archaeology cannot ferret out the real history of the bible because there is so little they can verify.  Then there is the question of will archaeologists believe the real history or not? We already know that they do not because the southern location for Sodom is dismissed as many scholars and others jump on board with Dr. Collins and his northern location even though the archaeological record says differently.

Modern archaeologists are the ones with the problem of historical dead reckoning because they alter the past due to the incomplete evidence they use to draw their conclusions and their mis-identification of ruins and artifacts. They are guessing most of the time concerning their discoveries and are not contemporaries who know exactly what an item is or why it was invented or used.

This is also demonstrated by Dr. Dever’s words, ‘Abraham’s battle with the kings is not history at all.’ You can’t take someone seriously when they make these unrealistic and unsupportable judgments.

The real history of the Bible is found in the Bible

#4. In the 15th Dynasty there was a group of Asiatic rulers who arose and challenged the Egyptians. 3 of the 6 kings had Asiatic names including one with the name Jacob…Material culture comes from Southern Palestine

These facts do not mean that they were belonging to the Israelites. They did not have a monopoly upon names, they were not the only Asiatic people in existence, they were not the only people from Southern Palestine. There were the people called the Amalekites who fought the Israelites after they came out of Egypt who could have easily taken advantage of the Egyptian loss of their Pharaoh, army and first-born sons.

It just doesn’t have to be the Israelites.

#5. Abraham familiar with poytheistic religions…wealthy town dweller…wealthy city…Bible stories takes place along fringes of fertile cresc.

Why Dr. Dever brings this up makes no sense because people in any century know about different religions. This fact doesn’t set Abraham apart from anyone else nor does it mean he took those beliefs and applied them to his own. Just because Abraham moved does not mean he was a nomad or part of a great nomadic tribe which moved its livestock to different pastures throughout the year.

Abraham could have been a free range herder who just moved his animals across lands no matter who owned them. But his movements are not frequent so I doubt he was such a person. he just moved to new areas as he wished and those movement shad nothing to do with nomadic calls. The same with people who live in cities. Such a situation doesn’t make the city wealthy or a towns person above low or middle class. These type of conclusions tell us that archaeology cannot ferret out the real history of the Bible.

The field cannot make specific designations based upon the information given in the bible or by what it uncovers in the dirt.

#6. No word for History in the Hebrew Bible…Biblical authors were not historians

So? God uses other words to refer to historical passages in the Bible. Another convenient argument on Dr. Dever’s part as he knows that history is in the eye of the historian and that what passes for history today is merely an individual’s interpretation of the facts.  But God was not writing a history textbook, he was having his people record certain events for his purpose, all true, all historical but with a different focus in mind.

I do not like it when people like Dr. Dever decide to argue apples when we are talking oranges. The Bible is full of real history but it is not an exhaustive reference laden work, it is a book where we take God’s word for it because faith is the key. People who cannot use faith demand that God meet their demands instead of humbling themselves and meeting God’s.

This is the key when dealing with archaeologists and others who disagree with the Bible. They will make subtle arguments like this knowing that they are off topic and distort the reality of the bible. The Bible is not a science textbook either but as one person once said, when the Bible touches on science it is correct and infallible. The same with history. Archaeology cannot provide much insight to history because there are so many areas we cannot dig up, have not dug up or have been lost to time and its natural activities.

When discoveries are made that look like biblical characters, secularists make large assumptions. Like the tomb of the supposed Hyksos ruler which contains a statue of a man with a coat of many colors. Secularists forget that Joseph’s coat was torn off him by his brothers and returned to their father (Gen. 37) so how would anyone know to put that coat on a statue? More likely, the Hyksos people also had coats of many colors and the statue doe snot refer to Joseph at all. it is not like Joseph or Jacob had a monopoly on that type of garment.

The assumptions made by archaeologists ruin any aid the field of archaeology can bring because they usually make the wrong ones. Like saying the biblical writers adapted the Egyptian story of 2 brothers. Why would they do that? What would they gain by doing so? People would soon find out that the story would not be true and the biblical writers would lose their audience.

Archaeology could be of some use if the information was read correctly and applied to the right situations but too often archaeologists and bible scholars let their unbeliefs influence what they read and they go with those false directives. But as it stands, we need more honesty, objectivity and truth from the secularist for that to happen but let’s not hold our breath because they are deceived and have no interest in proving the Bible true.


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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in academics, archaeology, Bible, history, science


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