The Challenge Of The
ARCHAEOLOGICAL finds do
not in themselves prove that the Bible is the word of God; nor do they prove
the truth of statements about the future.
So why merely set out a
number of archaeological discoveries which have some connection with the
record contained in the Bible? Well, it is because archaeological finds have
in many instances provided vital proof that statements, places, people or
events which have been dismissed previously as mythical were indeed factual.
Despite attempts to
discredit historical and geographical statements in the Bible, no evidence
whatsoever has come to light which shows the Biblical record to be false. It
is true that some archaeological interpretations may be disputed, but this
does not cast doubts upon the accuracy of the scriptural account; it only
shows the fallibility of men.
In this branch of science
lies a challenge to the Bible, for every time the archaeologists spade finds
a potsherd, a statue, a brick, a seal or a scroll, it could prove a biblical
statement to be inaccurate. But it is a challenge that has been more than
met, for, far from proving the inaccuracy of the Bible, archaeology is
constantly proving its truth.
The finds range from the
time of the captivity and slavery of Egypt, to the rule of kings like
Hezekiah and Jehu; from the invasion and captivities of Assyria and Babylon,
to a notice which was used to try and incite the Jewish people against the
Apostle Paul. These are evidences which, like fulfilled prophecy, give a
boost to faith and give confidence that the teaching of the Bible about hope
for the future stands on a reliable and proven base.
When Moses led the
Israelites from the slavery of Egypt with its brick-making and building
projects, he recognised the overruling power of God:
"Who is like unto
thee, O Lord...thou in mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast
redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy
David in the Psalms
demonstrates that he also recognised the power of God's hand to save in
marked contrast to that of man:
'Put not your trust
in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath
goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts
perish. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope
is in the Lord his God:'
It was this help which
Hezekiah received when he put his trust in God, for it is recorded of the
siege by Sennacherib:
"Thus the Lord saved
Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib
the King of Assyria."
The Apostle Paul wrote to
the young man Timothy:
"...the foundation of
God standeth sure."
(2 Tim 2:19)
Archaeology can help to
make us realise the certainty of God's plan with the earth as revealed in
his divine record. Just as a detective might piece together the evidence of
a tyre print, an old bus ticket or some other apparently meaningless item to
solve a mystery and reveal the truth, so we hope you will seriously consider
the facts and evidence available to establish in you a confidence that:
"All scripture is
given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man
of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
(2 Timothy 3:16-17)
But where does all this
lead us? Surely it means that the proven accuracy
of the Bible enables us to have every confidence in its inspiration and
therefore encourage us to study its message of hope about the establishment
of God's Kingdom on the earth. Just as archaeology is important to us, so is
the Bible's message for all who will take time to read it, for it leads us
to a complete understanding of God's plan with the earth:
"But it is written, Eye
hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of
man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (1