Releasing the Truth

Digging for knowledge…

Tag Archives: bible

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.

Advertisements

Atheism and its two measures

As the secularism and the rejection of the Christian tradition  increases day after day, we can notice a “boom” in the atheist activism during the last decades. The examples are numberless, but let’s look some of them:

Atheist group seeks to tear down World Trade Center cross

The two steel girders in the shape of a cross discovered in the rubble of the World Trade Center have since been moved to a museum dedicated to 9/11.

ALBANY, N.Y., July 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) — When two steel girders were found intact, in the shape of a cross, in the middle of the wreckage of the World Trade Center after 9/11, it was hailed by many as a mini “miracle” and a sign of hope for a country beleaguered by a devastating terrorist attack.

Now, however, an atheist group has filed a lawsuit that seeks to tear down that cross, which was moved recently to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City.

American Atheists filed its lawsuit, American Atheists v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in New York state court Monday.

“What we’re looking for is a remedy that honours everyone equally, with a religion-neutral display, or display of equal size and prominence,” said Dave Silverman, the group’s head. (read more)

Atheist Activist Group Demands That City Remove Cross From Vietnam War Monument

Coos Bay, Oregon – A nationally-known atheist activist organization is demanding that a city in Oregon immediately remove a cross from a publicly-displayed  monument that honors those who died in the Vietnam War.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently sent a letter to officials in Coos Bay, Oregon, stating that the monument displayed in Mingus Park violates the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. The organization advised that it received complaints about the display, and was therefore responding on behalf of the unhappy citizens.

“Our complainants inform us that a white cross sits in the park near a playground,” the letter stated. “Our complainants further inform us that this display has been in the park for several decades. There have also been recent efforts to restore the cross.” (read more)

‘Blessed Are the Peacemakers’ Painting Removed From Idaho Air Force Base Following Complaint

Air Force Base PaintingMOUNTAIN HOME, Id.– An Air Force base in southwestern Idaho has removed a Scripture-based painting from one of its dining halls after a complaint was submitted by an activist group that seeks to keep religion out to the U.S. military.

Last Friday, the Pentagon received a letter of complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), which urged Air Force officials to remove a particular painting from the Mountain Home Air Force Base. MRFF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enforcing the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” It believes that the nation’s Armed Forces should be strictly nonreligious in nature.

“No religion or religious philosophy may be advanced by the United States Armed Forces over any other religion or religious philosophy,” the MRFF’s mission statement reads. Furthermore, “No member of the United States Armed Forces may be compelled in any way to witness or engage in any religious exercise.” (read more)

Kentucky School District Caves to Atheist Demands to Remove Ten Commandments From Public Schools

Jackson, Kentucky – A school district in Kentucky has caved to demands from a prominent atheist activist organization surrounding the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools.

Schools within the Breathitt County School District have displayed the Ten Commandments on the walls of their classrooms for many years — that is, until now. Recently, an individual contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) to complain about the displays and noted that they can be seen in elementary, middle and high schools alike. In response, FFRF contacted the district to demand that the Biblically-based laws be removed.

“These Ten Commandment displays are a flagrant violation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution,” the letter, penned by FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott, stated. (read more)

Atheist Group Plans to Protest Homeschooling Convention in Texas

A small band of outspoken atheists is planning to stage a protest at a yearly Christian homeschool convention this summer. “The Nones,” a group of atheist activists based out of Dallas, recently posted a two hour-long Google+ chat video on YouTube, in which four members of the organization are seen expressing their consternation with Christian homeschooling. The video, entitled “Home School Abuse by Creationists,” was posted on Sunday, and has since generated hundreds of comments.

While the participants in the video claim that they do not want to suppress religious freedom, they repeatedly state that something must be done to monitor what is taught to homeschool students, especially in regard to science curricula. One of the chat participants, simply identified as “Sister Lilandra,” comments at one point, “There has to be some way to regulate [homeschooling].” (read more)

 

The list could go further and further, by the way. Of course it’s a right condoned by State, which must be separated from any form of religiousness (they could as well be separated from atheistic, materialistic creeds also!), however I’d like to pay attention to their total indifference over certain monuments, events and symbols clearly linked to religions, but not Judeo-Christian ones…

Many people, mainly these fond of scientific matters, are aware of the CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) whose purpose is to study physical events at subatomic level, and, interestingly,  is the birthplace of the Internet!

No problem here (despite the fear that it can supposedly cause a doomsday black hole capable of swallowing the entire Earth… Just kidding!). But, if you get to visit the lab, you’ll surely face an interesting, far from scientific monument:

 

Oh yes, Shiva, an Hindu DEITY! Based on the well known behavior of the atheists against Christian symbols, and they alleged commitment against religiousness, we should expect a passionate wave of protests in front of the CERN building… Or, at least a handful of secularist persons demanding the hasty removal of the statue (as they would quick do if it was instead a banner with the 10 commandments or a (Catholic) image of Jesus). But, we see none of them saying a iota against it! Another case:

Wiccan Academy Teaches Pagan Witchcraft in Downtown New York City

 

crystal ball pd

NEW YORK – A small academy in Manhattan is teaching students as young as five years old how to practice witchcraft and become full-fledged Wiccan sorcerers.

The Wiccan Family Temple Academy of Pagan Studies (WFTAPS), founded six years ago, is the first school of its kind in the New York City area, and offers a three-year witchcraft program. Topics covered in the academy’s biweekly classes include “Moon Magick,” “Pagan Parenting,” “Psychic Self-Defense,” and “Becoming a Wealthy Witch.”

Even though most courses are designed for adults, the school also offers a “Dragon Academy” for elementary and middle school-aged students who are interested in witchcraft. (read more)

Hey, where’s Dawkins getting mad and blaming the academy for child abuse now? Ops, he’s certainly too busy preaching the evolution somewhere!

Do you like to game? What about this gruesome event stunted by Sony, in 2007?

 

Slaughter: Horror at Sony’s depraved promotion stunt with decapitated goat

Electronics giant Sony has sparked a major row over animal cruelty and the ethics of the computer industry by using a freshly slaughtered goat to promote a violent video game.
The corpse of the decapitated animal was the centrepiece of a party to celebrate the launch of the God Of War II game for the company’s PlayStation 2 console. 

goat

GRUESOME: One of the party hosts stands over the goat’s carcass

Guests at the event were even invited to reach inside the goat’s still-warm carcass to eat offal from its stomach.

Sickening images of the party have appeared in the company’s official PlayStation magazine – but after being contacted by The Mail on Sunday, Sony issued an apology for the gruesome stunt and promised to recall the entire print run.

Critics condemned the entertainment giant, which produces scores of Hollywood blockbusters each year, for its “blood lust” and said the grotesque “sacrifice” highlighted increasing concerns over the content of video games and the lengths to which the industry will go to exploit youngsters.

At the event, guests competed to see who could eat the most offal procured elsewhere and intended to resemble the goat’s intestines  from its stomach.

They also threw knives at targets and pulled live snakes from a pit with their bare hands.

Topless girls added to the louche atmosphere by dipping grapes into guests’ mouths, while a male model portraying Kratos, the game’s warrior hero, handed out garlands. (read more)

We can also notice the silence of these groups in regard to many other things, much more offensive, dangerous and wrong than mere Christians symbols and verses, such as the increasing erotization, vulgarity on TV and internet; pornography; too much violence, gore, bloodiness on movies, consumerism; selling of alcohol & tobacco, aborts, legalization of cannabis, hedonism, and so on… Worse than that, many of them can actually condone some of these stuffs.

It’s not a surprise that unbelievers act like this, using two measures: one against God, Jesus Christ et al., and other for everything else! This is well explained by God’s Scriptures:

John 7:7  “The world can’t hate you, but it hates Me, because I testify about it, that its works are evil.”

Also:

Psalms 2: 

“1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

It’s a global phenomena, wherever the Christianity goes, it faces opposition, rebuking, harshness in many different ways and spheres. So, don’t be dismayed if you are facing any trouble because of your commitment to The Lord, He warned us:

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

God bless you!

Solving slavery in the bible

Surely this above picture is quite disgusting, slavery is one of the most cruel, inhuman crimes by far… The slavery during the Colonialist era stand as one of the saddest pages of human history, thankfully it has been finally abolished (at least in the paper, because in reality, it still occurs all over the world…), and, due to this disgusting barbarity, many people look down on the bible, disdaining and condemning it as an evil book, and thus, accusing God of condoning it.. But what was the reality behind slavery/servitude (note: ebed (עֶ֫בֶד) is a Hebraic word used in bible and refers to both equally)? Was “biblical” slavery equal to that made on black people?

In OT times, there was no social welfare paid by government, retirement, pension, like we have today in countries like USA, Sweden, Finland, etc.. People lived on plantation, livestock, things totally dependent on abundant water, favorable climate, etc.. It would occurs that a drought took place, devastating crops, killing cattle, and/or thieves, bands could come and steal family’s yield.. Thus, family’s livelihood would be totally lost, and they obviously would starving to death.

The only, radical solution was therefore sell themselves and/or any relative as servants (Exodus 21:7; Leviticus 25:39, 2 Kings 4.1 for example) to richer families or slave traders. So, obviously, God hasn’t started, rectified slavery, He only implemented laws for the benefit of those servants/slaves! He has solely regulated what the humankind used to practice in those eras.

In Jesus’ time, during Roman Empire of course, the servitude was even easier, softer, and occurred mostly for the same reasons like that of OT times, and also by Roman and other nations joining battles, whence the conquered people were taken as spoil, and sold as slaves.

Let’s read  this piece of an article write on Bible.org website:

“1. Slavery in the first century was quite different from slavery in early American history. For one thing, Roman slaves were either taken as the spoils of war or were such because they sold themselves into slavery (known as “bond-servant”). They were often well-educated (cf. Gal 3:24 in which the “tutor” or better “disciplinarian” or “guide” of the children was usually a slave). The normal word for “slave” in the New Testament is the term dou’lo”, a term that in earlier centuries usually referred to one who sold himself into slavery; later on, it was used especially of those who became slaves as the spoils of war.

2. Although the masters had absolute rights over their slaves, they generally showed them respect, very unlike the South in the days of Lincoln. They often treated them with human dignity and, although they could beat them, such does not seem to be as regular a practice as it was in America. Slaves could marry, accumulate wealth, purchase their own freedom, run a business, etc. Cicero noted that a slave could usually be set free within seven years; in any case, under Roman law a slave would normally be set free by age 30. All this can be overstated, however. The revolt led by Spartacus in 73 BC caused Rome to treat slaves from the western regions more harshly (very similar to how black slaves were treated). Eastern slaves, however, enjoyed much greater freedom.

3. As much as two thirds of the Roman empire were slaves (before the first century it was as high as 90%). By the first century AD an increasingly large number of slaves were being freed?so much so that Caesar had to write up laws that governed the procedure! Quite different from the Old South where only South Carolina had more slaves than freemen (so far as I know).”

Surely this explains why have Jesus and the apostles seemed mostly silent in regard of this delicate subject, and even looked like they were demanding submission from the slaves to their owners!

The Lord in fact worried much more about the worst slavery of all: slavery of sin:

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” (John 8:34)

Else, take a look in this verse:

And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 21.16)

See? With only this verse we can obliterate any accusation of bible condoning of slavery. But, there are some other intriguing verses, such as:

Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.

Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.

And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigor.” (Leviticus 25.44-46)

Is God xenophobic? No way! Even in OT period He held a esteem for non-Israelite people:

“You shall not wrong an alien, neither shall you oppress him, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 22.21)

“‘If a stranger lives as a foreigner with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.” (Leviticus 19.33)

“‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap into the corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest: you shall leave them for the poor, and for the foreigner. I am Yahweh your God.'” (Lev 23.22)

“One law and one ordinance shall be for you, and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner with you.'” (Numbers 15.16)

“I commanded your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother, and the foreigner who is living with him.” (Deuteronomy 1.16)

“He (The LORD) does execute justice for the fatherless and widow, and loves the foreigner, in giving him food and clothing.” (Deut 10.18)

“You shall not wrest the justice due to the foreigner, or to the fatherless, nor take the widow’s clothing to pledge;” (Deut. 24.17)

“Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.” (Deut. 27.19)

“Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name.” (2 Chronicles 6:33)

“(the foreigner has not lodged in the street, but I have opened my doors to the traveler);” (Job 31.32)

“3 Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
4 For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” (Isaiah 56)
God loves each human equally, and demands justice equally, whether Jew or Gentile… So, what was the purpose of allowing His people to buy foreigner slaves?

Well, we must remind that those foreigner were captured, and sold by other foreigner people (which did not knew God’s commandment against slave-trading), and were to be sold to another stranger nations, and being at risk of maltreating, abusing,  and worse, knowing local paganism and lost their salvation.

Being bought by Israelite persons, they at least could live in a society endowed with laws dealing with servant/slave rights, as we’ll see later, and also, know the only God, and get salvation.

And don’t get worried with the expression “and they shall be your possession.”, surely the servants were meant to live forever with their owners, almost like relatives, domestic, 

however if they suffered any trouble, offense, violence, abuse, they could easily flee, leave, and different to the situation that of black slaves (which should, by law, be catched and reclaimed, returned to his/her owner):

 

15 You shall not deliver to his master a servant who is escaped from his master to you:

 

16 he shall dwell with you, in the midst of you, in the place which he shall choose within one of your gates, where it pleases him best: you shall not oppress him.(Deuteronomy 23)

 

 

 

Another verses commonly pointed by critics of bible is the following:

 

 

 

“If a man strikes his servant or his maid with a rod, and he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished.

 

 

Notwithstanding, if he gets up after a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his property.(Exodus 21.20,21)

 

 

They claim that God is allowing wantom violence towards slaves, but, is that the case?

 

Surely it isn’t true, when we look back to the 21th chapter of Exodus, from the beginning, we notice that the chapter is listing ordinances concerning many subjects, and, from the 12th verse on it’s describing different crimes and also penalties, punishments, which includes the 20 and 21 verses. If God condoned violence against slaves, He would not declare the following words, in the same chapter :

 

“If a man strikes his servant’s eye, or his maid’s eye, and blinds it, he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake.

 

If he strikes out his male servant’s tooth, or his female servant’s tooth, he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake. (Exodus 21.26,27)

 

 

Automatic, unconditionalmanumission in the case of injury…

 

Well, let’s see a summary of other benefits and rights that the servant/slave had according to OT:

 

 

 

but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your MALE SERVANT, nor your FEMALE SERVANT, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates;(Exodus 20.10 and other verses)

 

Every 7th day of the week was a full day of rest even for servants/slaves.

 

 

3 Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in its fruits;

 

4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to Yahweh. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard.

 

5 What grows of itself in your harvest you shall not reap, and the grapes of your undressed vine you shall not gather. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land.

 

6 The Sabbath of the land shall be for food for you; for yourself, for your SERVANT, for your maid, for your hired SERVANT, and for your stranger, who lives as a foreigner with you. (Leviticus 25)

 

 

 

Each 7th year was a Sabbatic year, an entire one without sowing, cropping, seeding, work on fields!

 

11 then it shall happen that to the place which Yahweh your God shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the wave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which you vow to Yahweh.

 

12 You shall rejoice before Yahweh your God, you, and your sons, and your daughters, and your MALE SERVANTS, and your FEMALE SERVANTS, and the Levite who is within your gates, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you.(Deuteronomy 12)

 

 

 

The servants had the right to join the offerings, sacrifices, and REJOICE with their owners, like any blood relative did!

 

 

 

Abram said, “Lord Yahweh, what will you give me, since I go childless, and he who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” (Genesis 15:2 )

 

Look, a servant (Eliezer) could even inherit their owners, in certain cases.

 

13 “If I have despised the cause of my male SERVANT or of my female SERVANT, when they contended with me;

 

14 What then shall I do when God rises up? When he visits, what shall I answer him?

 

15 Didn’t he who made me in the womb make him? Didn’t one fashion us in the womb?” (Job 31)

 

 

 

The bible never considered servants/slaves, women and foreigners like a lower category, even servants were/are equally qualified to be heard, cared by God, Who created everyone according to His own image. (meanwhile, even renowned persons like Lincoln, Arthur Jensen, Francis Galton, Carl Linnaeus, Georges Cuvier, Christoph Meiners, Voltaire, Benjamin Rush, Charles White and others held an unequal vision, even racist ideas)

 

 

 

At the New Testament:

 

 

 

You masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with him.(Ephesians 6:9)

 

Here, Paul is ordaining the Christian owners of slaves as to how they should treat them (of course he has not directed the order to non-Christian slave owners, for they obviously did not obey the bible)

 

Masters, give to your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.” (Colossians 4.1)

 

Paul reasserts here the commandment concerning Christian slave owners.

 

Paul wrote to Philemon the following:

 

 

8 Therefore, though I have all boldness in Christ TO COMMAND YOU THAT WHICH IS APPROPRIATE,

 

9 yet for love’s sake I rather beg, being such a one as Paul, the aged, but also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.

 

10 I BEG FOR MY CHILD, whom I have become the father of in my chains, Onesimus,

 

11 who once WAS USELESS TO YOU, but now is useful to you and to me.

 

12 I am sending him back. Therefore receive him, that is, my own heart,

 

13 whom I desired to keep with me, that on your behalf he might serve me in my chains for the Good News.

 

14 But I was willing to do nothing without your consent, that your goodness would not be as of necessity, but of free will.

 

15 For perhaps he was therefore separated from you for a while, that you would have him forever,

 

16 NO LONGER AS A SLAVE, but more than a SLAVE a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much rather to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

 

 

 

Plain simple: Paul was subtly, keenly (unwilling to make use of his apostolic authority over Philemon) advising Philemon that he should free Onesimus, his slave, and receive him as a brother!

 

 

 

Well, I think this small article is enough to solve this complicated subject in the bible, don’t notice my grammar, linguistic errors, and may God bless you and your family!

 

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

%d bloggers like this: