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The Bible and women

Let’s talk about one of the most famous and used attacks made towards the bible, so repeating that many people really thought of bible as a misogynist book…

One reason commonly given by the skeptical community for its rejection of the Bible and Christianity is the way that women are purportedly viewed in the Scriptures. According to these secular apologists, the Bible writers viewed women as inferior creatures who are less valuable than men and do not deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

 

Evangelist-turned-skeptic, Charles Templeton, summarized this view well when he wrote, “The Bible is a book by and for men. The women in it are secondary creatures and usually inferior” (1996, p. 177). In addition, the God of the Bible and various Bible writers are accused of hating women. In his book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins stated that the God of the Bible is “misogynistic” (2006, p. 31). Dan Barker made a similar assertion when he wrote: “Although the bible is neither antiabortion nor pro-family, it does provide modern antiabortionists with a biblical basis for the real motivation behind their views: the bible is not pro-life, but it is anti-woman. A patriarchal system cannot stand women who are free” (1992, p. 212, italics in orig.). Famed skeptic Christopher Hitchens wrote:

A consistent proof that religion is man-made and anthropomorphic can also be found in the fact that it is usually “man” made, in the sense of masculine, as well…. The Old Testament, as Christians condescendingly call it, has woman cloned from man for his use and comfort. The New Testament has Saint Paul expressing both fear and contempt for the female (2007, p. 54).

Is it true that the biblical treatment of women presents an immoral code of ethics and falsifies the idea that the Bible was inspired by a perfectly moral Creator? Certainly not. In fact, just the opposite is the case. The Bible’s treatment of women is in perfect accord with truth and legitimate moral teaching. The accusations leveled against the Bible in this regard are vacuous and cannot be used in any legitimate way to militate against either the morality of God or the inspiration of the Bible. On the contrary, it is the teachings and logical implications of atheistic evolution that cannot hold up under the scrutiny of reason.

The Darwinian View of Women

Atheistic Darwinism is plagued by a host of problems regarding morality. In fact, it has been conclusively demonstrated that without a belief in God, concepts such as good and evil, moral and immoral, have no meaning (see Butt, 2008). Only a supernatural, moral Creator can explain the very existence of morality in man. Therefore, any attempt to question the morality of the God of the Bible based on atheistic ideas is fraught with error and self-contradiction from its inception.

Furthermore, the logical implications of Darwinism lead the honest thinker to the conclusion that equality for all humans is illusory. Not only did Charles Darwin admit that Darwinian evolution implies that certain races of people are inferior to others, with equal candor he concluded that women are inferior to men as well (see Lyons and Butt, 2009). In his monumental work, The Descent of Man, Darwin wrote:

The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by man’s attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman—whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands…. [T]he average of mental power in man must be above that of woman…. [M]an has ultimately become superior to woman (1871, pp. 873-874, emp. added).

According to Darwin, males had evolved to a higher level than females. As evidence of his conclusion, he simply stated that males “attain to a higher eminence” in everything that they take up when compared to females. Using this line of reasoning, it would be impossible to condemn men for treating women as inferior, because, if men have the mental or physical ability to treat women as inferior, it must mean that men are stronger or more fit to survive and rule. It is ironic that the atheistic community, which is so enamored with Darwin, is suggesting that the Bible’s view of women is immoral. In reality, if their view of atheistic evolution is true, then all male-dominated societies are such because males are more able to dominate. And since survival of the fittest is desired, one must conclude that a male dominated society, in which women are viewed as inferior to men (as Darwin put it), must be at least one very prevalent natural order of things.  Even if the skeptical community is right concerning its accusations about the Bible’s “mistreatment” of women (which it is not), how could the Bible be accused of maintaining an immoral stance, when that stance coincides perfectly with the Darwinian view of the “natural order of things?” In truth, those who propound atheism and Darwinian ideals have a much more thorny problem with the logical implications of their ideas as they relate to women, than those who teach that the Bible is the inspired Word of a perfectly moral God.

The Value of Women According to the Bible

When they use the treatment of women in their attack on the integrity of the Bible, most skeptics make blanket statements about the Bible’s position, without presenting anything resembling a balanced handling of the topic. For instance, Templeton wrote: “Women were associated with evil and weakness. Indeed, Israelite males sometimes thanked God in the synagogue that they had not been born women” (1996, p. 184).

Such generalized statements are designed to appeal to the emotions of a 21st-century audience, but they simply do not accurately represent the true sentiments behind the biblical texts. For instance, using the type of reasoning in which we cherry-pick verses without adequate explanation, we could say that men are treated unfairly in the Bible because husbands are told that they must be willing to give their lives for their wives, while the wives are never commanded to make such a sacrifice (Ephesians 5:25). In addition, we could accuse the Bible of mistreating males, because, throughout its pages, men are told they must work to provide food for their entire households, while women are not held to such a standard (Genesis 3:17-19; 1 Timothy 5:8). Such indiscriminate statements should be viewed by the honest observer as suspect, and a more complete and accurate picture of the biblical view of women should be sought.

Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that both the Old and New Testaments present a picture of woman that appraises her worth as equal to that of the man. While it is the case that the Bible presents different roles for men and women, it is not the case that men are valued more than women. A look at various biblical passages confirms this truth.

Wisdom as the Portrait of a Woman

The book of Proverbs, written primarily by King Solomon, is a literary genre known as Wisdom literature. The main theme of the book is the concept of wisdom. The writer stated: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom” (4:7). To further stress the importance and value of wisdom, he penned: “For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her” (8:11). Building on the idea of the immeasurable value of wisdom, the writer of the book of Job stated: “But where can wisdom be found? It cannot be purchased for gold, nor can silver be weighed for its price. It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire…for the price of wisdom is above rubies…. Nor can it be valued in pure gold” (28:12-19). It is clear that the Bible writers viewed wisdom as a personality trait of inestimable value.

What picture, then, was used to personify this trait of such value? Throughout the book of Proverbs, the idea of wisdom is personified by a woman. The text reads: “Wisdom has built her house” (9:1); “Does not wisdom cry out, and understanding lift up her voice? She takes her stand on the top of the high hill” (8:1-2). The most illustrative picture of the virtue of wisdom that the Proverbs writer could conjure was that of a woman (Willis, 1993, p. 37). How then can the Bible writers be so misrepresented as to suggest that they did not value women, when wisdom, which is “the principle thing” according to Proverbs, is portrayed as a woman? Additionally, the Proverbs writer stated, “A gracious woman retains honor” (11:16). The inspired writer also included a lengthy section (31:10-31) in which he extolled the worth of a virtuous woman who is clothed in “strength and honor,” who “opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household.” Needless to say, you do not hear these passages about wisdom personified as a woman and the value of virtuous women in the jaded rants of the modern skeptic.

God’s Attitude Toward His People as Illustrated with Traits of a Woman

While it is true that God does not have a specific gender as humans do (see Thompson, 2000), it is the case that God sometimes illustrates some of His personality traits by comparing them to personality traits possessed by certain categories of people. For instance, it is a well-known fact that the God of the Bible often compares the love that He has for His created humans with the love that a father has for his biological children (1 John 3:1-2). If the God of the Bible were truly sexist, it would be obvious that comparisons between God and any human being would be confined to the masculine gender. A truly sexist god would never compare Himself to a woman.

Yet the Bible records instances in whichthe God of Heaven compares traits that He possesses to similar traits found in women. For instance, John Willis noted: “A most compelling piece of evidence that OT writers had a high regard for women is that they describe God as a mother” (1993, pp. 37-39). Willis then mentioned at least three passages as examples, including Isaiah 66:12—“For thus says the Lord…. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

Furthermore, if it truly were the case that the apostle Paul was a misogynist, was afraid of women, and had contempt for them, it would be unreasonable to imagine him comparing himself to a woman. Yet in 1 Thessalonians 2:7 he wrote: “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So affectionately longing for you.” Surely a misogynistic man who is “afraid” of women would never describe himself in such feminine terms. Such examples as these bring to light the fallacious idea that the Bible writers hated women or viewed them as inferior to men.

Women Made in the Image of God

Many skeptics insinuate that the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib to be a helper for man manifests a view that woman is less valuable or inferior to man. Recall the claim of Hitchens when he wrote: “The Old Testament, as Christians condescendingly call it, has woman cloned from man for his use and comfort” (2007, p. 54). Supposedly, the fact that Eve was Adam’s helper somehow “proves” inferiority.

The problem with this line of reasoning is at least two-fold. First, it completely ignores the stress that the Bible places on women being made in God’s image exactly like man. Genesis 1:27 states: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him, male and female he created them.” Contrary to many religious groups and male chauvinist thinkers, from the very first chapter, the Bible insists that both male and female were made in God’s image, and both deserve to be treated with the dignity that is inherent in that composition.

So what of the word “helper”? Is it true that a “helper” implies that the person he or she is helping is viewed as superior or of greater worth? Such an incorrect position is impossible to maintain in light of the clear biblical teaching regarding those who help others. For example, in John 15:26, Jesus explains that the Holy Spirit was going to visit the apostles after His resurrection. He stated: “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” Using the skeptic’s reasoning, we would be forced to conclude that the Holy Spirit is inferior to the apostles, since He is referred to as “the Helper.” Such a conclusion is obviously absurd. [NOTE: It is understood that the skeptic will not concur that there even is a Holy Spirit. This example, however, is used only to show that the Bible consistently maintains a picture of “helpers” and “helping” that in no way insinuates inferiority or less value.]

In Philippians 4:3, Paul urged the receiver of his epistle to “help these women who labored with me in the gospel.” Did that mean Paul viewed the one who received his letter as inferior to those women with whom he had labored? Not in any way. Furthermore, Jesus Christ Himself stated that He came into this world not “to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45). Would that imply that since He was “serving” or “helping” mankind, He was inferior in some way to humans? Certainly not. The concept of “helping” or “serving” carries with it no inherent meaning of inferiority.

Many Examples of Worthy Women in the Bible

In an attempt to bolster their misrepresentation of the biblical view of women, skeptics often “count noses” and insist that far too much biblical “press” is given to narratives whose central figures are men, while not enough time is given to women. In addition, many in the skeptical community insist that if God truly viewed women as equal, they would have been granted equal positions of leadership in both Old Testament times and in the ministry of Jesus. Dan Barker stated: “Jesus upheld the Old Testament view of women. Not a single woman was chosen to be among the 12 disciples or to sit at the Last Supper” (2008, p. 179).

Such statements are plagued with dishonest selectivity. When the entire biblical picture is viewed objectively, it is easily seen that women in both the Old and New Testaments played vital, powerful roles in God’s plans for the national rule of Israel, and for the spiritual Kingdom established by Jesus Christ. And, while space is lacking in this article to adequately list and describe each of these women, a few of the most notable will be addressed.

Deborah

The fact that women attained prominent, powerful positions in Israel militates strongly against the skeptic’s accusation that the biblical view of women is sexist. For instance, the book of Judges relates the story of Deborah, a prophetess and the recognized judge and ruler of the Israelite nation during her lifetime (Judges 4:4). A close look at the narrative shows that Deborah was the woman who commissioned Barak, a man, to lead the Israelites in battle against the foreign forces. When the time came for action to be taken, it was Deborah who said to Barak: “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?” (Judges 4:14). After the battle was won, and Sisera, the opposing general, was killed by a woman named Jael, Deborah and Barak composed and sang a victory hymn. Throughout the hymn, Deborah is mentioned as the leader of Israel who, with Barak’s help, defeated Sisera and Jabin. The text says: “Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7). “And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah” (5:15).

Using the skeptic’s logic, should we conclude that the Bible views all men as inferior to women since Deborah was a female leader of Israel at the time? Should we conclude that since Deborah’s story is recorded in a book that claims inspiration, such a claim is negated because, based on the Deborah narrative, whoever wrote the Bible hates men, shows contempt for them, and treats them as less valuable than women? Such reasoning is obviously flawed.

Once it is shown that the story of Deborah exalts women to an equal position with men, however, the skeptic is forced to back peddle and attempt another tactic. While it cannot be denied that the story of Deborah manifests an exalted view of women, the skeptic contends that such stories are few and far between. If God and the Bible really viewed women as equal in worth to men, then the Bible would have just as many stories about women rulers and leaders as it has about men.

This faulty assertion can be answered in two ways. First, how many examples would the Bible need to provide of the Gospel being preached to Ethiopians to prove that the Bible writers considered them just as valuable as Jews, and just as viable candidates to hear the Gospel? Would anyone contend that in order for the God of the Bible to be vindicated of bigotry against Ethiopians, the text must contain just as many conversion stories about Ethiopians as it does about Jews? Certainly not. When the book of Acts records that Phillip the evangelist delivered the Gospel to Candace’s Ethiopian treasurer (8:26-40), that one example is sufficient to provide evidence that all Ethiopians are just as valuable to God as all Jews, Arabians, or Egyptians.

Furthermore, let us apply the skeptic’s reasoning to a brief history of the United States of America. Were we to attempt to relate the history of our country, spending our time dealing with the Presidency, how many stories about women would we be able to include who have ascended to the presidency? To date, our nation has inaugurated 44 presidents, and not a single one of them has been a woman. Using the skeptic’s accusations as a springboard, should we insist that the ancient nation of Israel had a more “enlightened” and elevated view of women than does the United States in the 21st century? Moreover, would we despise and accuse of sexism those history writers who spent the majority of their texts focusing on the men who held the office of President? Such thinking flies in the face of common sense and could only be concocted by those who refuse to deal honestly with actual history and the biblical text.

Huldah, the Prophetess

Second Kings 22 records the life and reign of Josiah, the righteous king of Judah. In the course of his attempts to eradicate idolatry from Judah, he made a focused effort to repair the temple of God that had fallen into a state of disrepair. He commissioned Hilkiah, the high priest, to collect money to be used to clean out and repair the temple. During Hilkiah’s labors to revamp the temple, he stumbled across a copy of the book of the Law of Moses. Having read it, he sent it to Josiah, who listened to the words of the Law and was heartsick because the nation of Israel had wandered so far from God’s commands. Josiah commanded Hilkiah and several of the other religious leaders to “go, inquire of the Lord for me, for the people and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found” (2 Kings 22:13). The text then states: “So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. (She dwelt in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter.) And they spoke with her” (22:14). After speaking with her, Huldah delivered a message from God to Josiah through these officials.

Not only did these leaders in Israel seek out a woman prophetess, though she was married, there is no indication that the advice or counsel of her husband was sought. The envoy journeyed to a woman’s house to hear a message that the Lord related to a woman. Also notice that Josiah was recognized as one of the greatest rulers that Judah ever had, yet this  passage shows that he sought the counsel of a woman of God. Here again, the narrative about Huldah undermines the skeptics’ assertion that the Bible views women as inferior.

Various Women in the Bible

Much could be said concerning women of prominence in the Bible, such as Esther, about whom an entire book is written. She ascended to the queenly throne of Persia and heroically saved her people. A lengthy section relating the selfless sacrifice of Ruth for her mother-in-law (Naomi) would further undercut the skeptics’ argument, especially in light of the fact that Ruth is listed in the genealogy of Christ as the great grandmother of Jesus. Moreover, the faith of Hannah and her prayer for, and subsequent birth of, Samuel, one of the greatest prophets to ever live in Israel, would go far to put to silence the skeptics’ assertion that women are viewed as inferior by the Bible writers. Attention could be directed to Lydia, the seller of purple whom Paul and his companions found praying by the riverside, or Priscilla, who helped her husband Aquila teach the eloquent Apollos the Gospel of Christ  (Acts 18:26). Additional information refuting the skeptics’ claim could include the faith of Jochebed, or the leadership skills and prophesying of Miriam, or the courage of Rahab, or the faithfulness of Jesus’ mother Mary, or the good deeds of Dorcas. One wonders how many examples of women in exalted positions the skeptical community would need in order to be satisfied that the biblical treatment of women is not sexist. Unfortunately, no matter how many examples are given, the skeptical answer about this and so many other things is, “Just a few more than we have.” In reality, the biblical examples of how the God of the Bible views women are more than sufficient to refute the tenuous complaints of the naysayers.

Numbering, Genealogies, and Traveling Groups

Certain practical matters must be properly considered in order to achieve an accurate picture of the biblical view of women. Some people who read the biblical text are struck by the fact that some of the genealogies only include the names of the men in the family. As Templeton wrote: “In the long list of Adam’s descendants over the hundreds of years that intervened before the Great Flood, not one female is so much as named” (1996, p. 178, italics in orig.). Furthermore, it is often the case that, when counting or listing the numbers of people involved, the Bible generally only counts the males. These instances have been viewed as sexist and discriminatory against women.

Upon further inspection, it becomes apparent that such accusations fail to take into account certain practical aspects and the cultural context. For example, Templeton mentioned the genealogy in Genesis five as an example of a “sexist” view, but he failed to mention the genealogy of Jesus Christ that is listed in Matthew 1:1-17 in which the women Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Mary are mentioned. Additionally, the text states: “And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ” (1:16, emp. added). The prepositional phrase “of whom” relates back to Mary, thus indicating that Jesus was the biological son of Mary. Would it be proper to use this genealogy to insist that God has a lower view of men, since the text specifically mentions that the Christ descended biologically from a woman? No. And neither can the “male genealogy” idea be used to sustain the false accusation that the Bible views women as inferior. Add to that the fact that even today in 21st century America, the majority of wives assume their husbands’ last names and daughters assume their fathers’ last names, and are thus recorded in modern genealogical records [such as Annaka Harris, the wife of Sam Harris, or Juliet Emma Dawkins, daughter of Richard Dawkins (Periera, n.d.)], and the skeptics’ charge becomes manifestly erroneous.

In a similar vein, biblical numbers often only included the men. For instance, Numbers 1:2 states: “Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male individually” (emp. added). Is this numbering an example of biblical sexism, or evidence that the Bible writers thought women of so little value they did not need to number them? Not in any way. The simple, practical aspect of this numbering system had only to do with able-bodied men who went out to war. As the text explains: “according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war”(1:20, emp. added). In the same way that we could not use such numbering systems to insist that the God of the Bible, or the Bible writers, devalued children under 20, or old men past the age of battle strength, we could not use this method of numbering to disparage the biblical writers’ view of women. And, while the skeptic might attempt to argue that it was sexist for women to be excluded from military service in Bible times, a simple response could be that it was unfair to men to force them to be numbered for military service, while women were exempt from such. Would it be fair to state that since men were “serving” their women by providing military protection, their “service” shows they were inferior? To ask is to answer.

Other practical matters, including such simple concepts as travel and sleeping arrangements, must be factored into this discussion. For example, Dan Barker was quoted earlier in this article as saying: “Jesus upheld the Old Testament view of women. Not a single woman was chosen to be among the 12 disciples or to sit at the Last Supper” (2008, p. 179). While this statement is true, the skeptic Charles Templeton offers an extremely plausible reason for this:

The New Testament frequently reveals Jesus’ concern for women…. There were no women in Jesus’ band of apostles, but there would have been compelling reasons for this. Jesus and the disciples travelled frequently, often daily, invariably on foot. Often they slept out in the open. In the circumstances it would have been impossible—and potentially scandalous—for a woman to be a part of that male group (1996, pp. 184-185, emp. added).

Even a cursory consideration of certain practical matters that relate to numbering, genealogies, and travel arrangements serves to defeat the skeptics’ claim that the Bible devalues women.

Was Jesus Rude to Women?

Those who are antagonistic to the Bible sometimes accuse Jesus of being rude to others, especially his own mother. Christopher Hitchens quipped: “Jesus makes large claims for his heavenly father but never mentions that his mother is or was a virgin, and is repeatedly very rude and coarse to her when she makes an appearance, as Jewish mothers will, to ask to see how he is getting on” (2007, p. 116, emp. added). Richard Dawkins commented in a similar vein: “Jesus’ family values, it has to be admitted, were not such as one might wish to focus on. He was short, to the point of brusqueness, with his own mother” (2006, p. 250, emp. added).

A more thorough analysis, however, reveals that what these writers are attempting to label as rudeness was nothing of the sort. In his article, “How Rude!?”, Eric Lyons effectively demonstrated that the way Jesus addressed His mother was neither rude, nor disrespectful (2004). Jesus’ statements in response to His mother are in perfect accord with the biblical injunction to honor one’s parents. Only a misunderstanding of the original languages and phrases used, and a cynical approach to the text, could lead a person to accuse Jesus of rudeness in these instances. His statements to His mother coincide completely with the fact that the Bible’s overall treatment of women presents them as neither inferior nor superior to men, but as equals.

Galatians 3:28—The Golden Text of Equality

The apostle Paul is often demonized as a woman-hater who feared the opposite sex and held them in contempt. The skeptical attitude toward Paul is summed up well in Templeton’s statement: “To judge by his epistles, the apostle Paul was a confirmed misogynist” (1996, p. 185). Such statements conveniently overlook one of the boldest statements of gender and race equality in all religious literature. In Galatians 3:28, Paul wrote: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (emp. added). About this verse, Jan Faver Hailey wrote: “Common exegesis understands Paul here to be advocating that access to God is open to all through faith in Christ, without regard to race, social standing, or gender” (1993, p. 132, emp. added). To insist that Paul was a misogynist in light of his statement in Galatians 3:28 runs counter to evidence-based reasoning.

So why do some aver that Paul hated women, even with Galatians 3:28 in view? The main reason for this assertion is that Paul consistently maintained that, while men and women are equal in God’s sight, they have been given different duties and roles. The skeptical community mistakenly equates the concept of different roles, with the idea of different status. As Templeton wrote: “In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul states unequivocally that men and women have a different status before God” (1996, p. 186, emp. added). Allegedly, since Paul instructs men to be elders (Titus 1:5-9), and to lead publically in worship (1 Corinthians 14:34-35; 1 Timothy 2:8-15), and husbands to be the “head” of their homes (Ephesians 5:22-24), then he must view women as less able, less valuable, or inferior to men. [NOTE: See Jackson, 2010 and Miller, 2005 for biblical expositions of these verses.]

Is it true that since the Bible assigns different roles to the different sexes, their status or worth must be unequal? Certainly not. In Titus 3:1, Paul explained to Titus that Christians were supposed to be subject to rulers and authorities and to obey the government (see also Romans 13). From that statement, is it correct to conclude that Paul views all those in governmental positions to be of more value than Christians? Does this passage imply that, because Christians are to obey other humans who are in governmental positions, Paul sees those in governmental positions as mentally, physically, or spiritually superior to Christians? Not in any way. The mere fact that Christians are to obey those in the government says nothing about the spiritual status or value of either party. It only addresses different roles that each party plays.

Again, in 1 Timothy 6:2, Paul instructs Christian servants to be obedient to their own masters. Does this imply that Paul believed masters to be superior, or to be of more inherent worth than servants? No. It simply shows a difference in roles, not of status. Logically speaking, different roles can never be used to support an accusation that such roles necessitate different value or status.

Furthermore, while the skeptic is quick to seize on Paul’s ordination of men as elders and leaders in their homes, those skeptics neglect to include the responsibilities involved in such roles. Husbands are called upon to give their lives for their wives (Ephesians 5:25), physically provide food, shelter, and clothing for their families (1 Timothy 5:8), and to love their wives as much as they love themselves (Ephesians 5:25). While much is said about the “unfairness” of Paul’s instructions, it is productive to ask who would get the last spot on a life boat if a Christian husband and wife were on a sinking ship? The Christian husband gives himself for his wife in such instances. Is that fair that he is called upon to accept the sacrificial role of giving himself for his wife? Is she more valuable than he because God calls upon him to protect and cherish her and die for her if necessary? No. It is simply a difference in assigned roles, not in status or worth.

References

Barker, Dan (1992), Losing Faith In Faith—From Preacher to Atheist (Madison, WI: Freedom from Religion Foundation).

Barker, Dan (2008), godless (Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press).

Butt, Kyle (2008), “The Bitter Fruits of Atheism: Parts 1 & 2,” Reason & Revelation, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3740 and http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3762.

Darwin, Charles (1871), The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (New York: The Modern Library, reprint).

Dawkins, Richard (2006), The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin).

Hailey, Jan Faver (1993), “‘Neither Male and Female’ (Gal. 3:28),” Essays on Women in Earliest Christianity Volume 1, ed. Carroll Osburn (Joplin, MO: College Press).

Hitchens, Christopher (2007), god Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (New York: The Twelve).

Jackson, Wayne (2010), “Women’s Role in the Church,” http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/169-womans-role-in-the-church.

Lyons, Eric (2004), “How Rude!?” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/593.

Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2009), “Darwin, Evolution, and Racism,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240063.

Miller, Dave (2005), “Female Leadership in the Church,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2694 .

Pereira, Oliver (no date), “Descent of Richard Dawkins from Edward III,” http://humph rysfamilytree.com/Royal/Notes/dawkins.txt.

Templeton, Charles (1996), Farewell to God (Ontario, Canada: McClelland and Stewart).

Thompson, Bert (2000), “Is God Male?” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/162.

Willis, John T (1993), “Women in the Old Testament,” Essays on Women in Earliest Christianity Volume 1, ed. Carroll Osburn (Joplin, MO: College Press).

by Apologetics Press staff writer Kyle Butt, M.A.

Biblical Archaeology: Factual Evidence to Support the Bible

Archaeological finds that contradict the contentions of biblical minimalists and other revisionists have been listed above. There are many more, however, that corroborate biblical evidence, and the following list provides only the most significant discoveries:

A Common Flood Story. Not just the Hebrews (Gen. 6–8), but Mesopotamians, Egyptians, and Greeks all report a flood in primordial times. A Sumerian king list from c. 2100 BC divides itself into two categories: those kings who ruled before a great flood and those who ruled after it. One of the earliest examples of Sumero-Akkadian-Babylonian literature, the Gilgamesh Epic, describes a great flood sent as punishment by the gods, with humanity saved only when the pious Utnapishtim (AKA, “the Mesopotamian Noah”) builds a ship and saves the animal world thereon. A later Greek counterpart, the story of Deucalion and Phyrra, tells of a couple who survived a great flood sent by an angry Zeus. Taking refuge atop Mount Parnassus (AKA, “the Greek Ararat”), they supposedly repopulated the earth by heaving stones behind them that sprang into human beings.

The Code of Hammurabi. This seven-foot black diorite stele, discovered at Susa and presently located in the Louvre museum, contains 282 engraved laws of Babylonian King Hammurabi (fl. 1750 BC). The common basis for this law code is the lex talionis (“the law of the tooth”), showing that there was a common Semitic law of retribution in the ancient Near East, which is clearly reflected in the Pentateuch. Exodus 21:23–25, for example, reads: “But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot…” (niv).

The Nuzi Tablets. The some 20,000 cuneiform clay tablets discovered at the ruins of Nuzi, east of the Tigris River and datable to c. 1500 BC, reveal institutions, practices, and customs remarkably congruent to those found in Genesis. These tablets include treaties, marriage arrangements, rules regarding inheritance, adoption, and the like.

The Existence of Hittites. Genesis 23 reports that Abraham buried Sarah in the Cave of Machpelah, which he purchased from Ephron the Hittite. Second Samuel 11 tells of David’s adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. A century ago the Hittites were unknown outside of the Old Testament, and critics claimed that they were a figment of biblical imagination. In 1906, however, archaeologists digging east of Ankara, Turkey, discovered the ruins of Hattusas, the ancient Hittite capital at what is today called Boghazkoy, as well as its vast collection of Hittite historical records, which showed an empire flourishing in the mid-second millennium BC. This critical challenge, among many others, was immediately proved worthless — a pattern that would often be repeated in the decades to come.

The Merneptah Stele. A seven-foot slab engraved with hieroglyphics, also called the Israel Stele, boasts of the Egyptian pharaoh’s conquest of Libyans and peoples in Palestine, including the Israelites: “Israel — his seed is not.” This is the earliest reference to Israel in nonbiblical sources and demonstrates that, as of c. 1230 BC, the Hebrews were already living in the Promised Land.

Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. In addition to Jericho, places such as Haran, Hazor, Dan, Megiddo, Shechem, Samaria, Shiloh, Gezer, Gibeah, Beth Shemesh, Beth Shean, Beersheba, Lachish, and many other urban sites have been excavated, quite apart from such larger and obvious locations as Jerusalem or Babylon. Such geographical markers are extremely significant in demonstrating that fact, not fantasy, is intended in the Old Testament historical narratives; otherwise, the specificity regarding these urban sites would have been replaced by “Once upon a time” narratives with only hazy geographical parameters, if any.

Israel’s enemies in the Hebrew Bible likewise are not contrived but solidly historical. Among the most dangerous of these were the Philistines, the people after whom Palestine itself would be named. Their earliest depiction is on the Temple of Rameses III at Thebes, c. 1150 BC, as “peoples of the sea” who invaded the Delta area and later the coastal plain of Canaan. The Pentapolis (five cities) they established — namely Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gaza, Gath, and Ekron — have all been excavated, at least in part, and some remain cities to this day. Such precise urban evidence measures favorably when compared with the geographical sites claimed in the holy books of other religious systems, which often have no basis whatever in reality.10

Shishak’s Invasion of Judah. First Kings 14 and 2 Chronicles 12 tell of Pharaoh Shishak’s conquest of Judah in the fifth year of the reign of King Rehoboam, the brainless son of Solomon, and how Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem was robbed of its treasures on that occasion. This victory is also commemorated in hieroglyphic wall carvings on the Temple of Amon at Thebes.

The Moabite Stone. Second Kings 3 reports that Mesha, the king of Moab, rebelled against the king of Israel following the death of Ahab. A three-foot stone slab, also called the Mesha Stele, confirms the revolt by claiming triumph over Ahab’s family, c. 850 BC, and that Israel had “perished forever.”

Obelisk of Shalmaneser III. In 2 Kings 9–10, Jehu is mentioned as King of Israel (841–814 BC). That the growing power of Assyria was already encroaching on the northern kings prior to their ultimate conquest in 722 BC is demonstrated by a six-and-a-half-foot black obelisk discovered in the ruins of the palace at Nimrud in 1846. On it, Jehu is shown kneeling before Shalmaneser III and offering tribute to the Assyrian king, the only relief we have to date of a Hebrew monarch.

Burial Plaque of King Uzziah. Down in Judah, King Uzziah ruled from 792 to 740 BC, a contemporary of Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah. Like Solomon, he began well and ended badly. In 2 Chronicles 26 his sin is recorded, which resulted in his being struck with leprosy later in life. When Uzziah died, he was interred in a “field of burial that belonged to the kings.” His stone burial plaque has been discovered on the Mount of Olives, and it reads: “Here, the bones of Uzziah, King of Judah, were brought. Do not open.”

Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. King Hezekiah of Judah ruled from 721 to 686 BC. Fearing a siege by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, Hezekiah preserved Jerusalem’s water supply by cutting a tunnel through 1,750 feet of solid rock from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam inside the city walls (2 Kings 20; 2 Chron. 32). At the Siloam end of the tunnel, an inscription, presently in the archaeological museum at Istanbul, Turkey, celebrates this remarkable accomplishment. The tunnel is probably the only biblical site that has not changed its appearance in 2,700 years.

The Sennacherib Prism. After having conquered the 10 northern tribes of Israel, the Assyrians moved southward to do the same to Judah (2 Kings 18–19). The prophet Isaiah, however, told Hezekiah that God would protect Judah and Jerusalem against Sennacherib (2 Chron. 32; Isa. 36–37). Assyrian records virtually confirm this. The cuneiform on a hexagonal, 15-inch baked clay prism found at the Assyrian capital of Nineveh describes Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah in 701 BC in which it claims that the Assyrian king shut Hezekiah inside Jerusalem “like a caged bird.” Like the biblical record, however, it does notstate that he conquered Jerusalem, which the prism certainly would have done had this been the case. The Assyrians, in fact, bypassed Jerusalem on their way to Egypt, and the city would not fall until the time of Nebuchadnezzar and the Neo-Babylonians in 586 BC. Sennacherib himself returned to Nineveh where his own sons murdered him.

The Cylinder of Cyrus the Great. Second Chronicles 36:23 and Ezra 1 report that Cyrus the Great of Persia, after conquering Babylon, permitted Jews in the Babylonian Captivity to return to their homeland. Isaiah had even prophesied this (Isa. 44:28). This tolerant policy of the founder of the Persian Empire is borne out by the discovery of a nine-inch clay cylinder found at Babylon from the time of its conquest, 539 BC, which reports Cyrus’s victory and his subsequent policy of permitting Babylonian captives to return to their homes and even rebuild their temples.

So it goes. This list of correlations between Old Testament texts and the hard evidence of Near Eastern archaeology could easily be tripled in length. When it comes to the intertestamental and New Testament eras, as we might expect, the needle on the gauge of positive correlations simply goes off the scale.

To use terms such as “false testament” for the Hebrew Bible and to vaporize its earlier personalities into nonexistence accordingly has no justification whatever in terms of the mass of geographical, archaeological, and historical evidence that correlates so admirably with Scripture.

 The debate continue, but let all the evidence be admitted. Ever since scientific archaeology started a century and a half ago, the consistent pattern has been this: the hard evidence from the ground has borne out the biblical record again and again — and again. The Bible has nothing to fear from the spade.

Notes

1. Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts (New York: The Free Press, 2001).

2. Daniel Lazare, “False Testament: Archaeology Refutes the Bible’s Claim to History,”Harper’s, March 2002, 39–47.

3. Ibid., 40.

4. See Kenneth Kitchen, “The Patriarchal Age: Myth or History?” Biblical Archaeology Review (hereafter BAR), March/April 1995, 48ff.

5. A considerable, and growing, body of literature exists on the Hebrews in Egypt, the role of Joseph, the pharaoh who befriended him, the Hyksos, the pharaoh of the Oppression, the pharaoh of the Exodus, and the Exodus itself. See recent issues of Bible and Spade, especially no. 16 (Winter 2003). Joseph P. Free and Howard F. Vos, Archaeology and Bible History (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 69–105 is also helpful, as is Alfred J. Hoerth, Archaeology and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1999).

6. Kathleen M. Kenyon, Digging up Jericho (London: Ernest Benn, 1957); Excavations at Jericho, vol. 3 (London: British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, 1981).

7. Bryant G. Wood, “Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho?” BAR, March/April 1990, 44–58.

8. Lazare, 45–46.

9. Hershel Shanks, “Biran at Ninety,” BAR, September/October 1999, 44.

10. For example, in The Book of Mormon, proper names of places and people have no substantiation from outside sources.

Archaeologist confirms creation and the Bible

Interview with archaeologist Dr Clifford Wilson … by Dr Carl Wieland

Clifford WilsonDr. Clifford Wilson has a considerable background in archaeology. He has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from Sydney University, a Bachelor of Divinity (which was post-graduate, including Hebrew and Greek) from the Melbourne College of Divinity, and a Master of Religious Education from Luther Rice Seminary. His Ph.D. is from the University of South Carolina, and included ‘A’s for field work in archaeology undertaken In association with Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem.

Q: Dr Wilson, what sort of experience do you have in the field of archaeology?

A: I started as a lecturer with the Australian Institute of Archaeology more than 35 years ago—I was with them for some time. Later I came back as its director when I had certain other qualifications. I am not only recognized in the field of archaeology, I am also a registered psychologist and a Fellow of the Commercial Education Society of Australia—I have a number of different hats!

I was an area supervisor at the excavation of Gezer in Israel with the American Schools of Oriental Research. Later I was the associate director of the first dig at Tel-Nusieh, which is possibly the biblical site of Ai. I have visited sites in nine Bible countries and have had the privilege of being taken seriously where I’ve gone. I even excavated briefly at Nineveh (Kouyunjik)—that’s out of Mosul—where I personally uncovered a little pathway between the palace of King Sennacherib in Iraq and the temple, with an inscription stating that this pathway was dedicated to the goddess Esagilla.

Q: What was your most interesting ‘hands-on’ experience?

A: I think it was at Gezer, where we excavated over a period of quite a few days. All we were going through in one area was a whole lot of black ash, and it was very discouraging. Professor Nelson Glueck—a very important archaeologist who gave the world the idea of Solomon’s mines—suggested that we ought to do more sieving. So we sieved, and we found evidences of a civilization which had Egyptian and Canaanite artefacts with a Solomonic wall nearby. The team found little god-figures and the like; I was in charge of that area. All the excavation leaders were very excited because they realized the ash was from the time when the Egyptians had burned the city of Gezer and then handed it over to Solomon as a wedding present when he married the Pharaoh’s daughter.

Q: That was, of course, consistent with the Bible?

A: Very much so—the burning is referred to in 1 Kings 9:16. I found it interesting at that time that here were some of the world’s leading archaeologists—G. Ernest Wright of Harvard, for instance. They weren’t so much pleased about proving the Bible, but rather that they had found something in history they could now peg their hats on, as it were. What impressed me was that the Bible was taken by them as an acceptable textbook, reliable in its historical statements. They were very pleased that they had something that fitted into acceptable history. And that history was in the Bible.

Q: Have you found in your researches in archaeology anything that has contradicted the biblical account in a definite sense?

There have been plenty of claims that things contradict the biblical account, but the Bible has a habit of being proved right after all.

A: There have been plenty of claims that things contradict the biblical account, but the Bible has a habit of being proved right after all. I well remember one of the world’s leading archaeologists at Gezer rebuking a younger archaeologist who was ‘rubbishing’ the Bible. He just quietly said, ‘Well, if I were you, I wouldn’t rubbish the Bible.’ When the younger archaeologist asked ‘Why’?, he replied, ‘Well, it just has a habit of proving to be right after all.’ And that’s where I stand.

Professor Nelson Glueck, who I suppose would be recognized as one of the top five of the ‘greats’ in biblical archaeology, gave a marvellous lecture to 120 American students who were interacting with the Arabs. He said, ‘I have excavated for 30 years with a Bible in one hand and a trowel in the other, and in matters of historical perspective, I have never yet found the Bible to be in error’.

Professor G. Ernest Wright, Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Studies at Harvard University, gave a lecture at that same dig. He made the point that (because of the researches associated with the Hittites and the findings of Professor George Mendenhall concerning what are called the Suzerainty Covenant Treaties between the Hittite kings and their vassals) it had become clear that the records of Moses, when dealing with covenants, must be dated back to the middle of the second millennium BC. That’s about 1500BC. Also, that those writings should be recognized as a unity. In other words, they go back to one man. That one man could only be Moses.

I went to Professor Wright later and said, ‘Sir, this is very different from what you’ve been putting out in your own writings.’ He looked at me and said, ‘Clifford, for 30 years I’ve been teaching students coming to Harvard to train for the Christian ministry; I’ve been telling them they could forget Moses in the Pentateuch, but at least in these significant areas of the covenant documents that are there in the Pentateuch, I’ve had to admit that I was wrong.’

They were two scholastic giants. One says, ‘I’ve excavated for 30 years and I’ve never found the Bible to be in error’—basically that’s what he was saying. The other says, ‘For 30 years I’ve been wrong.’ It’s rather sad, isn’t it, that a good man such as Professor Wright had been so swept along with the ridiculous documentary hypothesis* that he had taken a wrong stand for so long. Let me stress that Professor Wright was a man of the highest integrity.

Q: Can you recall any other experience relevant to the authenticity of Genesis in particular?

A: Yes. In the late 1970s soon after the excavation of Ebla in North Syria (between Damascus and Aleppo), Italian archaeologist Professor Paulo Matthea, and epigrapher (translator) Professor Pettinato, were making known to English-speaking scholars their findings at Ebla. Their whole lecture tour was arranged by Professor David Noel Freedman, the man who gave to the English-speaking world the information about these fantastic new tablets which had been discovered. His picture was on the front of TIME magazine.

I had the privilege of being invited to a dinner with about a dozen leading archaeologists because I was in the area and so was invited by Professor David Noel Freedman.

After the meal, technical questions were being asked backwards and forwards, and frankly I wasn’t too interested in some of them, because I am not a cuneiform scholar. But I’d heard a rumour, and so after a while I said to Professor Freedman as chairman, ‘Sir, I hear there is a new creation tablet that has been found. Is that a fact’?’ He shrugged his shoulders, and said, ‘Ask him’. I put my question to Professor Pettinato and, after some hesitation, he indicated that the information shouldn’t be made public. So I made the point, ‘If there is a new creation tablet you simply can’t hold it back; it must he made known.’ After thinking about it he revealed that there was indeed a new creation tablet.

Paving brick uncovered at NinevehDr Wilson uncovered this brick at Kouyunjik (Nineveh). It was part of a pavement, and declared that the nearby temple was dedicated to the goddess Esagilla.

I found it very interesting to hear those world-leading scholars discussing the impact this would have on what is called the ‘documentary hypothesis’. This basically says that the Old Testament documents are oral traditions, so that only after the time of Solomon were the various strands brought together. They were supposedly brought together at intervals of about a century, from the time of Solomon up to Ezra who, ultimately, with his team of chroniclers, brought these things into Scripture.

One of those scholars, as a result of this revelation of a new creation tablet that was even earlier than Moses, declared ‘It looks like we’ve got to forget the “P” document.’ Now the ‘P’ document is the ‘Priestly’ document that supposedly dates to the time of Ezra. The argument used to be that the creation story did not come into the Pentateuch (the records of Moses) until the time of Ezra—that Moses could not have had it. But in fact we not only find that Moses could have had it but that it was known even earlier than the time of Moses.

Q: That seems to raise a problem, because isn’t the first knowledge of it heard in the Bible with Moses?

We can just accept the Genesis records as being what they claim to be—factual eye-witness records.

A: The answer is, ‘Yes’. But there is very good evidence to suggest that the Genesis records were compiled by Moses from written records on clay tablets. Donald Wiseman, formerly Professor of Archaeological and Semitic Studies at London University, recently edited and revised a book put out by his father P.J. Wiseman, back in 1948, called New Discoveries in Babylonia about Genesis. It is now called Clues to Creation in Genesis. In it he acknowledges that his father’s approach was basically correct, which is this: through Genesis there is the regular use of a literary form called a colophon. It tells you that this is where a particular tablet ends and then another one starts. In the Genesis record this centres around the expression, ‘These are the generations of ’ … These records of early Genesis were presumably carried over the Fertile Crescent by Abraham, and eventually they were used by Moses (centuries after Abraham) under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to compile what we have in Genesis.

Of course there never was such a thing as a ‘P’ document. We can just accept the Genesis records as being what they claim to be—factual eye-witness records. There is legitimate editing to make things understood to a later generation (for instance, Genesis 14:3 talks about the Vale of Siddim and then it says, ‘which is the Salt Sea’), but the basic text is there in writing right from the very times of Genesis itself.

Q: Dr Wilson, we are often told that religion has evolved—that people started off worshipping spirits, then there were lots of gods, then fewer gods, and eventually came the idea of one true God. Can you tell us if this is confirmed in the archaeological records of the civilizations with which you are familiar?

A: At the time just after the Flood, we find a record of three gods— the god of the earth, the god of the sky, and the god of the waters. And fairly soon after that you’ve got hundreds of gods in ancient records. You start with the concept of monotheism (one God), leading up to polytheism (many gods). It does not start with dozens of gods. And even at Ebla, although there are some 500 gods there, there is also in ancient Canaan the concept of a ‘great one’, Lugal, who was associated with creation. Later the word Lugal came to mean king.

Q: So that would be consistent with what Paul tells us in Romans, that people abandoned the worship of the one true God and turned to the worship of other things?

A: Absolutely. The specific reference to only three gods just after the Flood may, in a vague way, be associated with the Trinity, because it does seem that Satanic forces are prepared to offer a parody of spiritual realities. The Canaanites had three main gods. They had El, the father, Baal, the son, and Asherah, the mother who is the wife of El (and also the mother of Baal, according to some scholars). There is some challenge as to the interrelationships, but you have three gods there. So when the Israelites got away from Jehovah, they were offered the worship of the Canaanites and their three gods without all the problems of being a holy people and so on. It seems to be a parody on the Trinity, which of course is not fully revealed until New Testament times. But the demonic spirits have always known about the Trinity.

Q: People raised on evolutionary thinking might find it hard to see how an archaeologist who digs through the earth can possibly believe that the Bible can be right about Genesis—which of course would imply that the earth is young. Have you ever been involved in any other research or seen any other evidence which would lead you to cast doubt upon the evolutionary geological system of dating?

A: Well, many years ago I was lecturing at a college in the United States and declaring that the earth could be as old as you would like to have it—millions or billions of years—and a student came to me and asked me to read some research papers by Professor Tom Barnes. And that led me on a search. I even found myself with the scientist who had done the investigation for Professor Barnes’ arguments about the depletion of the earth’s magnetic field. This person was associated with one of the biggest institutions in America. I asked him about his conclusions. He said, ‘Well, it’s not a matter of my conclusions, it’s the institution I represent.’ And he made it quite clear that he would personally recommend (and could not flaw) Dr Barnes’ arguments. However, the institution was not prepared to accept them, because this would mean accepting that the earth was young—just a few thousand years rather than billions of years. And their argument was, ‘We know that Professor Barnes is wrong.’ We ‘know’—simply because of the establishment belief, it seems.

Ancient artefact of the Canaanite god Baal.Canaanite altar at Megiddo where animals and humans were sacrificed.

Q: Do you encounter that attitude in archaeology, too?

A: Sometimes. For instance, in the excavations at Gezer to which I have referred, on the last day of two particular digs, we actually found a cache of Philistine pots, which were about 150 years out, based on the argument that the Exodus took place about 1290–1270BC (which is the date taken by many modern scholars). They are plain wrong, by the way. The evidence from Dr Bryant Wood today is being taken very seriously these days: he has done a great deal of work to show that Jericho fell about 1400 BC, which gives you an Exodus date of about 1440 BC. So these particular Philistine pots just shouldn’t have been there on this accepted theory. And they didn’t know what to do with it, so they just went quiet on it.

That’s what happens from time to time. My own experience is that if the Bible says something is accurate, well, be very slow to suggest otherwise, because it does have a habit of proving to be right after all.

Q: Have you handled or seen any fossil evidence which would contradict the geologic column?

A: Yes, I’ve excavated a number of times at the Paluxy River in Texas, and there’s very interesting evidence there. I’ve talked to the lady, Jeannie Mack, who with her mother found a famous trilobite. She is the curator of the Somervill County Museum at Glen Rose, at that location in Texas. She and her mother found this trilobite in the same fossil limestone strata where there have been plenty of undeniable dinosaur footprints found. And when I challenged her because of the sensational nature of a trilobite and a dinosaur track being found in the same place, she was upset with me because she thought I was calling her a liar. She knew what dinosaur limestone strata were and where dinosaur prints would be, and she was emphatic that just across from where she lives at the Paluxy River this trilobite was found in exactly that stratum with dinosaur footprints.

Q: Did you see the fossil yourself?

A: I’ve handled the trilobite, yes. It’s in about four inches of limestone. But it was undoubtedly a trilobite—nobody argues about that. And it was found in the same stratum as dinosaur footprints, which according to evolutionary theory is impossible—they’re supposed to be separated by tens of millions of years.

Q: I understand that you know something about some dinosaur prints at the Paluxy River that are found in the wrong place.

A: Yes, it’s very interesting. Back in 1982, we had come to the last day of that particular excavation and the field supervisor came to us and said, ‘I think I’ve seen what might be the start of a dinosaur footprint on the top stratum over there. And the leader of the excavation and I (the associate) said, ‘Well, forget it. That’s on the top stone stratum of the earth’s surface in this area. There are no dinosaur footprints up there.’ Then he said, ‘Look, the machinery is sitting here, we’ve paid good money for it and we’ve finished with it. Let me just remove the overburden—the topsoil—and see what’s there.’ So we agreed and off he went.

Ancient artefact of the Canaanite god Baal.Ancient artefact of the Canaanite god Baal.

He came back in a little while and said, ‘I think there’s something up there.’ We all went up to where he had removed the overburden on top of the stone (an average of between six and 11 feet of topsoil—the debris that accumulates over the centuries). It was about 30 feet by 30 feet in area. I got down into the mud and personally excavated the six dinosaur footprints that I found there. I stepped them out as being approximately three feet six inches from each other. There were cameras going, and there were people there; there’s no possibility of this being faked. We found six dinosaur footprints that started from the edge of the Paluxy River and led over to where the overburden was no longer removed.

About two years later I was in the area, and well-known scientist-author Dr Charles Thaxton was there this time, and we had quite an interesting chat. He said, ‘By the way, do you remember those dinosaur footprints you found up there in that top stone stratum?’ ‘Yes’. ‘Well, do you know how that was written up?’ ‘No’. ‘Well, they claim that they couldn’t possibly be there, they couldn’t be genuine because that’s not the Cretaceous limestone (a layer supposedly 70–100 million years old). So they claim that those footprints were carved there by Indians or you people faked them.’

Well, we checked out with a particular Indian art history man at a nearby university to find out what the usual practice was with Indians and carving. Did they carve into a rock? No. They would paint into the caves, just on the outside of the caves and sometimes just inside, but certainly they did not get into the rock and make carvings. And in any case, how they would do that under deep overburden, I don’t know. I’m glad I was the one who dug them out, because I can say before God that there is no faking in this whatever. I personally got down in the mud—we could see the beginnings of one of the dinosaur footprints. I uncovered that, and if I stepped it out in the direction in which it pointed—I would, and did, find the others. And so we found a total of six of them.

They were dinosaur footprints—the same pattern of dinosaurs as at other places in that region. However, these prints were supposedly in the ‘wrong’ place and so this plain, straightforward evidence is rejected—simply because it doesn’t fit the evolutionary timetable.

Dr Wilson, thank you very much.

Footnote

* The documentary hypothesis (J,E,D,P,H hypothesis) is still, sadly, taught in many Christian institutions. It claims that the five books of Moses were written not by him, but by at least five different sources (code-named J,E,D,P,H) which gradually came together over many centuries. The hypothesis has been amended from time to time, but is still taught in many institutions despite clear evidence opposing it. The basic Bible documents come from eye-witnesses with legitimate minimal editing to make them clearer to later generations—see for exampleGenesis 14:3, where the Vale of Siddim had become part of the Dead Sea.

From: http://creation.com/archaeologist-confirms-creation-and-the-bible

New archaeological find affirms Old Testament historicity

From: CMI

A clay tablet with details of one of Nebuchadnezzar’s court officials supports the historicity of the book of Jeremiah

Written by Don Batten

Published: 31 July 2007(GMT+10)
This is the pre-publication version which was subsequently revised to appear in Creation 30(2):14–15.

Photo Marie-Lan Nguyen

A clay tablet

A clay tablet, similar to this one in the cuneiform script, is a receipt for payment made by Nebo-Sarsekim, an official of Nebuchadnezzar mentioned in Jeremiah 39:3

A clay tablet recently deciphered in the British Museum contains a receipt issued by a high official of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon.1 The receipt is for gold donated to a temple in Babylon. The full translation reads:

‘(Regarding) 1.5 minas (0.75 kg) of gold, the property of Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, the chief eunuch, which he sent via Arad-Banitu the eunuch to [the temple] Esangila: Arad-Banitu has delivered [it] to Esangila. In the presence of Bel-usat, son of Alpaya, the royal bodyguard, [and of] Nadin, son of Marduk-zer-ibni. Month XI, day 18, year 10 [of] Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.’

Michael Jursa, a visiting professor from Vienna, made the discovery. The name on the tablet, Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, seemed familiar and he recalled thatJeremiah 39:3 mentions ‘Nebo-Sarsekim a chief officer’ of Nebuchadnezzar who came into Jerusalem when Jerusalem was besieged and conquered. The tablet is dated to the 10th year of Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon (595 BC) or 12 years before the siege of Jerusalem. Jeremiah dates the visit of this man to Jerusalem as in the 11th year of Zedekiah, 16 months after Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem (Jeremiah 39:1–3).

Most English translations transliterate the names of the Nebuchadnezzar’s officials following the tradition of the KJV: ‘Nergalsharezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergalsharezer, Rabmag’ although most translate the titles or positions of the officials (‘Rabsaris’ as ‘chief official’ or ‘chief eunuch’ and ‘Rabmag’ as ‘high official’). As biblical Hebrew was written without spaces between words, in the absence of archaeological evidence it is understandable that many translations do not connect ‘Nebo’ with ‘Sarsechim’. However, at least one English translation does, which lists the officials as: ‘Nergal-Sharezer of Samgar, Nebo-Sarsekim a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official’ (New International Version). The Hebrew is: נבושרסכים, where the vav (ו) and yod (י) are consonants that indicate vowel occurrences. Hebrew does not have vowels like English, so the reader has to insert the vowels from memory (this is not a problem for someone who knows Hebrew well and knows the context!). Looking at the consonants in the name on the tablet, NBShRSKN, there is undoubted correspondence with the Hebrew, which transliterated into the Roman alphabet would be NBShRSKM (Hebrew ש can indicate an ‘sh’ or an ‘s’ sound). But the context reinforces the identification.

Dr Irving Finkel, a British Museum expert, said, ‘This is a fantastic discovery, a world-class find. If Nebo-Sarsekim existed, which other lesser figures in the Old Testament existed? A throwaway detail in the Old Testament turns out to be accurate and true. I think that it means that the whole of the narrative [of Jeremiah] takes on a new kind of power.’

Of course there are plenty of other archaeological findings that have confirmed the historicity of the Old Testament (and the New Testament). In 2005 we reported on the discovery of the Pool of Siloam, which was fed by Hezekiah’s tunnel (2 Kings 20:20John 9:7). Bible sceptics are repeatedly proven wrong by archaeological discoveries. But this latest finding is so significant because the person is a minor figure in history. A person writing some time after the events could be expected to get the major players correct, but to get the names of relatively insignificant persons right indicates that the writer was an eye-witness of the events and recorded them accurately.

The errant JEDP hypothesis, which posits that the books of Moses (the Pentateuch) were not written until a thousand years or more after the events described, continues to be taught in many theological institutions, in spite of the overwhelming archaeological evidence against it (seeDebunking the Documentary Hypothesis). It is difficult to believe that the sceptics have ever even read the books of Moses to claim such a thing, because the historical detail given throughout shouts that these books came from eyewitnesses (for example, see Numbers 7). How could someone writing so far removed from the events know of such details? Or why would they bother to make up such things? Those with the same sceptical attitude to the Bible reject the later writings as non-historical also, such as the prophets (Daniel, Jeremiah, etc.). This discovery at the British Museum is just one more piece of evidence that such sceptics are wrong and that the Bible should be trusted.

Jesus Christ is Savior ^^

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