Reason #16 The Archaeological Evidence in Favor of the Biblical Record
The trustworthiness of Christian scripture has been freshly substantiated by the many discoveries of archaeology.
One of the great differences between Christianity and other religions is that Christianity is actually grounded in history—with real people experiencing real conditions in real places. The Germanic tribes have their Thor being sired by Odin somewhere in the tree-shaped universe, wherever that is, and no one can say exactly when Odin, Thor, and their colleagues did any particular thing on earth or elsewhere. Egyptian paganism has its beloved Isis putting her dismembered husband back together, making him not quite dead and not quite alive, and then giving birth by him to Horus, but no one can say when, precisely, any of this happened or whether it might have happened only in a metaphorical way between Isis as the sky-goddess and Osiris as the god of the underworld. Even Mormonism has its non-historical heroes like the Nephites and Lamanites living in non-historical North American places like Zarahemla and Cumorah.
But the Christian Bible is nothing at all like this. In it we read about places that can be visited by tourists even now—Jerusalem, Babylon, and Bethlehem—and people who are mentioned in history—Abraham, David, and Jesus. Of course, skeptics are very careful not to credit the Bible with any more correctness than what is absolutely forced upon them by archaeology. But even then, the Bible shows itself to have an uncanny reliability when it comes to history.
Dozens of archaeological discoveries have substantiated unlikely biblical accounts. Beyond substantiation for an untold number of general customs, conditions, and geo-political situations, there are many archaeological discoveries that substantiate the authenticity of very specific persons and events in the biblical record.
- · The authenticity of Abraham. An engraving on the wall of the great temple of Karnak in Upper Egypt (circ. 925 B.C.) depicts King Shishaq (also named in 2 Chronicles 12:2) striking down his enemies, and this engraving lists “the field of Abraham” as one of his conquered territories. This attests to the existence of Abraham (and even the story of him buying a field from the Canaanites in Hebron, Genesis 23:17).
- · The authenticity of the Table of Nations (Genesis 10). Archaeologist William Albright said this list of ancient nations in Genesis 10 “remains an astonishingly accurate document.” He said that it “shows such remarkably ‘modern' understanding of the ethnic and linguistic situation in the modern world, in spite of all its complexity, that scholars never fail to be impressed with the author's knowledge of the subject." To be more specific, Albright writes in Recent Discoveries in Bible Lands: “The tenth chapter of Genesis has long attracted students of ancient Oriental geography and ethnography. It stands absolutely alone in ancient literature, without a remote parallel, even among the Greeks, where we find the closest approach to a distribution of peoples in a genealogical framework. But among the Greeks the framework is mythological and the peoples are all Greek or Aegean tribes. Many of the names of peoples and countries mentioned in this chapter have been discovered on the monuments for the first time: e.g., Tubal—Tabal; Meshech (properly Moshech with the Greek Bible), Mushke; Ashkenaz—Ashkuz; … Togarmah—Tegarama; Elishah—Alashi (Alashiya); Tarshish—Tarsisi; … Cush—Egyptian (E)kosh, Assyrian Kusi; … Phut—Putu; Seba and Sheba—Saba; Dedan—Ddn; Accad—Akkadu; Shinar—Shanghar; … Asshur—Assur (Babylonian Ashshur); Rehoboth—Rebit Ninua; … ; Calah—Kalkhu; Pathrusim—the inhabitants of Patorese (Upper Egypt); Caphtorim—the inhabitants of Caphtor—Kaptara; Heth—the land of the Hittites, Khattu; the Amorites are the inhabitants of Amurru, etc. In this list we have not included the numerous names of places and peoples which were already known from Graeco-Roman sources, upon all of which the monuments have shed much additional light.”
And the list goes on. Even in spite of our culture’s anti-Christian sentiments and an entrenched guilty-until-proven-innocent approach to the biblical narrative, the Bible keeps gaining witnesses in its favor from the world of archaeology. “With every turn of the archaeologist's spade we continue to see evidence for the trustworthiness of Christian Scripture.”