Does Archaeological Evidence Prove The Bible? How Do Archaeological Discoveries Relate To Events In Scripture?
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Archaeology is the study of non-perishable debris, the rubbish man has left behind him that has survived the ravages of time. The initial motivation for digging up ancient civilizations was the desire for buried treasure.
Today, however, the most modern scientific methods are used to recover the study the remains of the past in order to achieve a better understanding of ancient people and their practices. The Middle East, particularly the Palestinian area, is the subject of many archaeological excavations because of its continuous history.
It is important to note that archaeology without history is meaningless. All that archaeology can tell us is a sequence of cultural development, not give us an exact chronology. History gives us the chronology, the events, people, places.
What archaeology has done in the past 100 years is to verify some of the history contained in the Bible. For instance, two of the cities mentioned in the Bible, Sodom and Gomorrah, have been for many years considered mythological.
However, recent excavations at Tell Mardikh, now known to be the site of Ebla, uncovered about 15,000 tablets. Some of these have been translated, and mention is made of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Other archaeological verifications include proof that there was a ruler named Belshazzar; the Hittites not only existed but also had a vast empire; King Sargon also ruled; and the matters that touch upon history in the Book of Acts are demonstrably accurate. So far, the findings of archaeology have verified, and in no case disputed, historical points of the biblical record.
While archaeology can verify history and shed light on various passages of the Bible, it is beyond the realm of archaeology to prove the Bible is the Word of God. At present, archaeology is an improving science, with limited data available, but even with its limitations this discipline is very helpful in illustrating that many biblical passages are historically accurate.
One cannot stress too strongly the importance of the Bible giving an accurate historical picture. Christianity is a historical faith which claims that God has broken into history with many mighty acts.
Although the miracles recorded in Scripture cannot be scientifically tested or repeated due to their nature, persons, places, and events can be investigated historically. If the biblical writers were incorrect in their historical picture, serious doubt would then be cast upon their trustworthiness in areas which couldn’t be verified.
Putting it another way, if the authors of Scripture are accurate in their accounts of the things that transpired, it then follows that they cannot be ruled out of court because they happen to mention things out of the ordinary.
ADDITIONAL REFERENCE SOURCES
Donald J. Wiseman and Edwin M. Yamauchi, Archaeology and the Bible, Zondervan Publishing Company, 1979
Josh McDowell, More Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Campus Crusade for Christ, 1975, pp. 17-22, 301-322
Joseph Free, Archaeology and Bible History, rev. ed., Wheaton, Scripture Press, 1969
Clifford Wilson, Rocks, Relics and Biblical Reliability, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1977
Clifford Wilson, Ebla Tablets: Secrets of a Forgotten City, San Diego, Master Books (Division CLP), 1979