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Discussing Archaeological Issues & The Bible

The quotes we are using today come from different threads in the archaeology forum on CARM. We will provide links to each thread that we quote from so you can see the whole discussion and make up your own minds about what we are about to say

#1. http://forums.carm.org/vb5/forum/secular/general-secular-and-apologetic-topics/archaeology/4337908-gobekli-tepe

The ruins are estimated to be 12,000 year old. This site may wind up causing a rewrite of some history books.

Ancient structures like Gobekli Tepe cause problems for people, especially Christians, because those who do the dating, do not allow for the interruption of the global flood. Of course the secular dating systems are off, including the pottery one because there are just too many problems involved with each one. We won’t go into those problems here but one example is the fact that no one knows how an artifact was placed where it was found. Assumption is not a good thing no matter how scientists use it. Then in the case of buildings, like Gobekli Tepe, there is just too much information lost to make a proper identification of its purpose and design.

Most archaeologists go for the temple explanation but everything from the past cannot be a temple, a goddess or cult site. It is unrealistic to even propose such ideas when nothing is known about the discovery. The words ‘I don’t know’ are better than lying or misrepresenting a discovery.

#2. http://forums.carm.org/vb5/forum/secular/general-secular-and-apologetic-topics/archaeology/73164-new-reserch

We need to be cautious. We cannot extrapolate from this evidence that literacy was commonplace.

Neither can we to do to say that illiteracy was the norm. The evidence shows that the ancient world was very literate despite what some scholars claim in their studies and comments. We have libraries full of thousands of works, we have archives filled with business, government and legal activities and we have myriads of pottery with writing on them by common folk. Far too many to be written by a handful of scribes some scholars say existed at that time. The supply of scribes would not be great enough to (even by ancient population estimates) handle the writing tasks credited to them. To say that the ancient world was illiterate is simply being an ostrich and sticking ones head into the sand.

We have thousands upon thousands of public ancient monuments so if the ancient world was illiterate, who were they writing these monuments to? No those who champion an illiterate past do so in error.

Christopher Rollston advises caution.

Christopher Rollston may be an expert in his field but he does not bring the truth nor is he guided by the spirit of truth. We have talked to him in the past and he is not providing anyone with a clear picture of the past.

It is that celebrating minutiae that I have come to expect from Christians. Remember all of the commotion a few years ago when a chunk of pottery was found with the name ‘David’ on it, and suddenly we had proof that the bible was correct?

Non Christians distort what believers claim and say so we must be careful in our assessment of artifacts and discoveries. With that said, the name David on a piece of pottery may not prove King David but if it dates to the 10th century, then it confirms that the name David was used at that time so the Bible is shown to be correct because it used a name that was used in the time period its pages recorded. Also non Christians will reject any evidence supporting the Bible but that is because they are deceived an influenced by evil.

#3. http://forums.carm.org/vb5/forum/secular/general-secular-and-apologetic-topics/archaeology/60894-flood-myth

According to archaeological investigations

Unbelievers like appealing to archaeology and other sciences because in most cases those fields tell them what they want to hear. They already know that archaeology is limited but that limitation supports the unbelievers desire and point of view so they will ignore the weaknesses of those research fields and use the information provided for their own benefit. They will also dismiss the results from the same research fields when those investigation support the Bible.Hypocrisy is great in the unbelieving world. The believer cannot elevate archaeology or other research fields above the Bible and think that those areas of study know more than God or the Bible. They would be elevating deception and blindness above the truth and that would be wrong.

Unbelievers will misuse historical information deceptively, you must be careful and know the topic you are discussing or you could have your faith hurt by what the unbeliever says.

There are over 500 flood legends in over 200 different lands. Do you think all of those people got it from Gilgamesh?

The person who asked this question asked the right one. Of course they did not get their legends from the Babylonians or Gilgamesh.They got them from their memories after being told about the flood by Noah and his family. As they strayed from God so did their memories and their unbelief led them to alter the truth and create fictitious flood legends. we find them all over the world because the memory of the flood was carried with the people as they dispersed from Babel. There is no other answer for why so many flood myths exist in the ancient world.

#4. http://forums.carm.org/vb5/forum/secular/general-secular-and-apologetic-topics/archaeology/4101586-ancient-but-local-chinese-flood

Some Chinese geologists claim evidence for an ancient flood of the Yellow River.
Claim is a large landslip in a narrow gorge blocked the river, and created a very large lake. Flood resulted when the blockage eroded and the water was released in large flood.
Major difference is that floodwaters remained and resulting mud and sediment had to be drained.

It may just be a local flood. We can’t be certain because we do not know what the evidence for a global flood looks like or where it is to be found. There has only been one global flood and probably hundreds of thousands of local ones so any evidence for Noah’s deluge will be distorted, altered, wiped out and so on.it is hard to find evidence for something when natural disasters, wars, construction, traveling and other activities have gone over the evidence repeatedly for thousands of years.

 

Archaeology In Brief

#1. http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-interpretation/christian-apocrypha-the-lost-gospels/?mqsc=E3872705&utm_source=WhatCountsEmail&utm_medium=BHDWeek%20in%20Review%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=E7W218

Today scholars of the Christian apocrypha are challenging this view of the loss and rediscovery of apocryphal texts,” explains Burke. “It has become increasingly clear that the Christian apocrypha were composed and transmitted throughout Christian history, not just in antiquity.”

This would not be news as believers know that false teaching continued long after the 1st century as we endure it today

“It has become increasingly clear that Christianity began as a multitude of voices, each one declaring itself right and others wrong,” states Burke, who rejects the idea that these gospels were “lost” through intentional suppression by the “winning” tradition, the Roman Church.

The first half is not true. Christianity began with one voice, Christ’s and carried on via his disciples and future believers. The other voices are false teachers and not a part of Christianity at all. They should not be identified as Christian. The last half is correct. The ‘lost gospels’ were identified as false teaching and relegated to the few people who accept them over the truth.

#2. http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-near-eastern-world/the-gobekli-tepe-ruins-and-the-origins-of-neolithic-religion/

On a hill known as Göbekli Tepe (“Potbelly Hill”) in southeastern Turkey, excavations led by Klaus Schmidt uncovered several large megalithic enclosures that date between 10,000 and 8000 B.C.E., the dawn of civilization and the Neolithic age. Each of these circular enclosures, which many have described as Turkey’s “Stonehenge,” consists of 10 to 12 massive stone pillars surrounding two larger monoliths positioned in the middle of the structure. There are no village remains at or near the Göbekli Tepe ruins, suggesting that the unique site was a ceremonial center exclusively used for the practice of the Neolithic religion of local hunter-gatherer groups

We will disagree. Every time an archaeologist cannot explain a building, figurine etc., they automatically call it a temple, cult site or a goddess. This practice is a good example of eisegesis and should be ignored. As far as we can tell Gobekli Tepe is a pre-flood remain and may serve other purposes since many other buildings cold have been destroyed that would have helped in identifying its purpose.

#3. http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/lilith/

For 4,000 years Lilith has wandered the earth, figuring in the mythic imaginations of writers, artists and poets. Her dark origins lie in Babylonian demonology, where amulets and incantations were used to counter the sinister powers of this winged spirit who preyed on pregnant women and infants. Lilith next migrated to the world of the ancient Hittites, Egyptians, Israelites and Greeks. She makes a solitary appearance in the Bible, as a wilderness demon shunned by the prophet Isaiah. In the Middle Ages she reappears in Jewish sources as the dreadful first wife of Adam.

Lilith has nothing to do with Adam or the Garden of Eden. Links to those two are pure fantasy.

#4. http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/artifacts-and-the-bible/sold-10-commandments-stone/

An early copy of the 10 Commandments sold for $850,000 last November.

Dated by some to c. 300–500 C.E., this marble tablet may be the oldest stone copy of the 10 Commandments—even though it displays only nine of the traditional 10 Commandments from Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5.1 The 10 Commandments stone omits the command to not take the Lord’s name in vain (Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11) and includes instead a charge to build a temple on Mt. Gerizim. Although this addition is likely unfamiliar to many Christians and Jews, it reflects the particular religious beliefs of the Samaritans. The tablet, which is written in the Samaritan script, likely adorned a Samaritan synagogue.

That is a lot of money for a piece of stone. Note that this set of commandments doe snot belong to the Jewish temple or the any Christian Church.

#5. http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/hebrew-bible/how-was-the-bible-written-during-and-after-the-exile/

The Hebrew language has evolved over time. Even during the course of writing the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), Biblical Hebrew changed, which is apparent when you compare early Biblical texts with late ones.

How was the Bible written during and after the Babylonian Exile? Did the Biblical authors continue to use the Hebrew language even though they were living in lands where Hebrew was no longer the common language? In his article “How Hebrew Became a Holy Language,” published in the January/February 2017 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Jan Joosten explains that Biblical Hebrew did not go out of use. Rather the Jewish population continued to use it—and even attached a new reverence to it.

Most likely this is correct. People do not start to lose their native language to about the second or third generation in a new land.

#6. http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-interpretation/the-adam-and-eve-story-eve-came-from-where/

The Hebrew word that is traditionally translated as “rib” is tsela‘. Ziony Zevit, Distinguished Professor of Biblical Literature and Northwest Semitic Languages at American Jewish University in Bel-Air, California, believes that this translation is wrong, as do many scholars. It was first translated as “rib” in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible from the mid-third century B.C.E. However, a more careful reading of the Hebrew word for “rib” in the Adam and Eve story suggests that Eve was created from another, very different, part of Adam’s anatomy—his os baculum (penis bone).

We will go with the word ‘rib’ for there is no real evidence to contradict what earlier translators have recorded and for a possible argument, referring to the penis bone would tend to make women feel that they are only for sexual pleasure and nothing else.Then the change in translation comes from a subjective perspective not from anything concrete.

 

The Search Goes On

http://www.christianpost.com/news/archaeologists-to-search-for-ark-of-the-covenant-10-commandments-at-unexplored-jerusalem-site-175066/

Archaeologists from France and Israel are reportedly planning on embarking on a mission in August to search for the Ark of the Covenant, which is believed to contain the stone tablets bearing the 10 Commandments handed to Moses by God.

According to MailOnline and The Times of Israel, the researchers are set to excavate the ancient site of Kiryat Ye’arim outside Jerusalem, which is one of the last remaining unexplored locations in the region.

“The place is important for several reasons,” said Professor Israel Finkelstein, from Tel Aviv University. “It’s a large, central site in the Jerusalem hills that hasn’t been studied until now.

“It may be the only key site in Judah that hasn’t undergone a systematic archaeological excavation.”

The Bible mentions Kiryat Ye’arim on a number of occasions, describing it as a Judahite town situated near Jerusalem during the period of the judges and King David, also known as the Iron Age.

Don’t hold your breathe that they will find anything or anything soon.If minimalists are involved, do not expect to be told the truth either.

 

Take With A Grain Of Salt

http://patternsofevidence.com/blog/2017/02/16/copper-smelting-site-from-the-time-of-king-david/?utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Thinker55CopperCamp&utm_term=&utm_content=&utm_campaign=Thinker55CopperCamp&inf_contact_key=d06c7f13641adee8e57c208a33cd1bb16b7d8f9fa7387289657d912c53eac741

We are not sure if that link will work or not so we will copy and paste much of the article here:

COPPER SMELTING SITE FROM THE TIME OF KING DAVID

After the exciting discovery of a wall that once stood 16.5 feet tall and hundreds of meters long and a gatehouse at a site known as “Slaves’ Hill,” coupled with previous finds, archaeologists believe that the mining camp in the Timna Valley dates to the 10th century BC (conventional dating). This would place it in the biblical era of King David and King Solomon in the southern part of the contentious border region between Israel and the Kingdom of Edom. It would also substantiate the biblical story of the capture of Edom in the time of King David.

And David made a name for himself when he returned from striking down 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. Then he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom he put garrisons, and all the Edomites became David’s servants. And the LORD gave victory to David wherever he went. – 2 Samuel 8:13-14 (ESV)

Led by Erez Ben-Yosef of Tel Aviv University, archaeologists think these features show that the settlement, “had a highly organized defense system and depended on an impressive network of long-distance trade”, as noted in Live Science.

The area is known for its rich resources in copper and had been mined for hundreds of years. Previous evidence shows that the miners ate well, which suggests that they were respected for their craft. According to an article, published in 2014, Live Science reported:

The archaeologists said they think that whoever was running this mining camp was importing food and saving the best cuts of meat for the metalworkers, not the people who were doing auxiliary tasks, such as cooking the food, crushing the ore and preparing the charcoal, nor slaves who might have been working in the actual mines.

“What we found was that the guys working at the furnace, which is supposedly very hard work with very high temperatures above 1,200 degrees Celsius [above 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit], these people were treated the best,” Ben-Yosef said. “They were highly regarded. It goes together with the need for them to be highly specialized and very professional.”

In 2014, during the excavation, Ben-Yosef and his team focused on the only entrance on the top of the mesa leading into the camp. It is believed that the mine was thus able to keep tight control of the flow of people and products in and out of the mining camp. Copper was very valuable to the way of life.

Copper is the main component of bronze, which was used extensively by King Solomon and his successors in their building projects. The ongoing use would have required some type of source. While the evidence suggests the workers here were Edomite, it is unclear who employed them.

…He also took away all the shields of gold that Solomon had made, and King Rehoboam made in their place shields of bronze, and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king’s house. – 1 Kings 14:26-27 (ESV)

Also of possible importance are the number of sling stones found near the site. They could be evidence of the battle mentioned in 2 Samuel 8:13, the researchers noted.
“While there is no explicit description of ‘King Solomon’s mines’ in the Old Testament, there are references to military conflicts between Israel and the Edomites in the Arava Valley,” Ben-Yosef said in a statement.

As reported in Breaking Israel News, the Bible describes a battle between the Edomites, a semi nomadic tribal confederacy, and King David’s army in the Arabah (also spelled Arava) Valley. The historical accuracy of this account is debated, but the discovery of elements of a sophisticated fortification at Slaves’ Hill suggests that copper might have been the resource at stake during military struggles in the region, Ben-Yosef said.

Ben-Yosef continued, noting that, “Copper was a rare product and very challenging to produce. Because copper — like oil today, perhaps — was the most coveted commodity, it landed at the very heart of military conflicts. The discovery of the fortification indicates a period of serious instability and military threats at that time in the region.”

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. – Deuteronomy 8:7-9 (ESV)

Inside the gatehouse, rooms were found that archaeologists believed were used as stable for donkeys. The researchers found intact dung piles outside both rooms of the gatehouse. After the dung was investigated, the contents revealed that rather than being fed straw, the donkeys were fed hay and grape pomace (the skins, pulp and stems of grapes). They believe that this is further evidence of trade as these would have likely been delivered from the Mediterranean region, hundreds of miles away. “The food suggests special treatment and care, in accordance with the key role of the donkeys in the copper production and in trade in a logistically challenging region,” Ben-Yosef said.

“We have plenty of archaeological proof to determine that the miners who worked the Timna mines weren’t humble slaves, as had been assumed, but rather expert miners who oversaw the complex, demanding work by apprentices,” said Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef of Tel Aviv University, who headed the biblical archaeology team that uncovered the wall” He added, “Today, we are discovering more and more evidence of a concentrated, hierarchical society that interacted extensively with its neighbors, which matches up with texts from the Bible and other sources.”

We know the people who made the film Patterns of Evidence, where this story came from and while we like the movie we worry about how people like the producers of that film influence unwary believers.

 

Quotes From Billy Graham

The following quotes have been taken from his World Aflame book.

pg. 47-8 — And as Carl Henry says: In his desire to control the universe, man repeatedly puts himself in God’s place but the idea of God’s Son as a substitute in man’s place he dismisses as incredible nonsense

pg. 48 — From many universities come these ideas: First, man is only an animal; Second, existence is a chemical accident; Third, the struggle for survival has made man what he is; Fourth, morality and standards of conduct are derived only from a sociological context; Fifth, man lives in and for this world only and any further thought is unscientific.

pg. 51 — In a bull session at Harvard, a student observed: Does it not seem strange that millions should be spent trying to create life or to discover its origin? Is not our number one problem to care for the life we already have?

pg. 51 — Either man began nowhere and is looking for someplace to go or he began somewhere and has lost his way.

pg. 83 — There is a strong movement… to recast the Christian message in order to make it acceptable to modern man.

pg. 83 — Karl Barth…in a scathing denunciation of these demythologizers says… In trying to make Christianity plausible for skeptics they have succeeded only in making it meaningless.

pg. 88 — The inescapable implication of a counterfeit is that the real thing exists. No one ever counterfeited a seventy-five dollar bill. Every counterfeit bears witness to the reality of the currency it captures

pg. 127 — Ask the scientist and he cannot give an answer. I have asked a number of scientists questions concerning life after death an most of them say ‘we just do not know’.Science deals in formilas and test tubes. There is a spiritual world that science knows nothing about.

pg. 141 — At birth our sex is settled, the very frame of our body is already determined.

As to the second to last quote, all we can say is that scientists need to be evangelized not have their theories accepted. Science, especially secular science, does not know more than God. For the quotes from page 83, even today we have people trying to change the christian message to make it more attractive to unbelievers. IF you change God’s message then you are not bringing God’s message to the lost. Finally, the last quote reminds us that transgender issues are not a 21st century problem ut has existed for a long, long time. The gender one was born as is the gender they are, anything else is a product of deception.

 

It’s A Cave

Archeologists announced this week that they have discovered a 12th cave, which may have once held hidden scrolls from the Second Temple period. http://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/12th-dead-sea-scrolls-cave-is-discovered.html

It is a possibility it was a 12th cave but lets not read into anything since the evidence is not there to support the conclusion

“The jars were all broken and their contents removed, and the discovery toward the end of the excavation of a pair of iron pickax heads from the 1950s, stored within the tunnel for later use, proves the cave was looted,” he said.

Yes it was looted but who knows what those jars held. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here and make declarations that may not be accurate.  One of the complaints I have had from atheists is that believing archaeologists and investigators kick over a rock and call it a holy discovery. Christians are known for jumping the gun on many supposed discoveries and fail to do their work properly as they are too intent on proving the bible true or some other biblical agenda and then do sloppy work embarrassing themselves and the church.

Right now the cave is a disappointing discovery that could have held more scrolls

Gutfield said that even though no scrolls were found, the evidence is clear that scrolls were once stored in the cave.

“Those findings include the jars in which the scrolls and their coverings were hidden, a leather strap for binding the scroll, a cloth that wrapped the scrolls, tendons and pieces of skin connecting fragments, and more,” he said.

That is the other thing, archaeologists assume too much and think every discovery is virgin, meaning it is as they think it is untouched for centuries and as they conclude. They do not consider other possibilities when examining their find. In this case we may tend to agree with them but we will only go as far as saying it is a possibility and only a cave until proven otherwise.

If there were other DSS in that cave, we may already have them but their discovery is not germane to the faith. Our faith rests upon Jesus and God’s word not more DSS.

 

Ancient Medicine

There is a new article out on ancient medical practices over at BAS

http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/daily-life-and-practice/medicine-in-the-ancient-world/

The following is the best line of the article:

Similar in some ways to the modern spa

If you study the ancient world a lot then you will realize how similar it was to the modern world. The archaeologist and scholars who try to make the ancient world out to be vastly different from the modern world are only fooling themselves and those who believe them.Yes ancient people invoked gods to help them but then so do many modern religious groups outside of the Christian world.

The attempt to make the ancient practitioners out to be hocus pocus witchdoctor types is erroneous as we know that there were solid medical practices in the medical field long before history came to the modern age. The modern world has witchdoctor types and many quacks who peddle any type of cure in order to make a buck. the ancient world would be no different

By examining the bone regrowth around the surgical hole in the skull, scientists are able to determine how long the patient survived after undergoing the procedure. Some patients died immediately, some lived only a few weeks, but others seem to have healed completely.

Just like today.

 
 
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