BIBLICAL HISTORY PROVED BY ARCHAEOLOGY

A 2,000-years-old mikvah (ritual bath) was recently uncovered in the Lower Galilee.

A 2,000-years-old mikvah (ritual bath) was recently uncovered in the Lower Galilee. Most people probably would never have heard about the discovery if not for the dramatic photos of the entire structure being carried by truck to a nearby kibbutz for preservation.

The remarkable sight of a truck-borne mikvah, however, also makes one pause and reflect on the remarkable implications of the archeological find.

Opinion: Palestinians’ most dangerous enemy is… archaeology
A Jewish man seen outside an ancient Mikveh, a Jewish ritual bath, discovered inside an underground cave in Jerusalem

It means that 2,000 years ago, the residents of the Lower Galilee were practicing the exact same religious rituals that Orthodox Jews throughout the world practice today. Those Galileans, in other words, were Jews.

They weren’t “Palestinians.” The word “Palestine” had not yet been invented. They weren’t Arabs or Muslims—the invasion of the Land of Israel by Muslim fundamentalists from the Arabian Peninsula was still 600 years in the future. The directors of the excavation were Walid Atrash and Abd Elghani Ibrahim. You can tell by their names that they are not exactly Orthodox Jews. The P.A. will have a hard time getting anybody to believe that Atrash and Ibrahim are agents of a Zionist conspiracy.

Archaeologists discovered Hebrew-language inscriptions dating back 2,600 years.

One was a stone seal with the words “belonging to Ikkar son of Matanyahu.” The other was a clay seal impression that read “belonging to Nathan-Melech, servant of the king.” They weren’t in Arabic. And the names weren’t Yasser or Mahmoud.

Archaeologists uncovered a 2,000-year-old paved road that was used by Jews who made the annual pilgrimage to the capital at the time of the festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

The pavement and the solid foundation that was left exposed (Image: A. Peretz, IAA)

A 2,000-year-old ‘lost’ street built in Jerusalem by Pontius Pilate has been uncovered for the first time since the city was sacked by the Romans in 70AD. It wasn’t used by Arabs, or Muslims or “Palestinians”—because there weren’t any of them around in those days.

The ancient walkway most likely used by pilgrims as they made their way to worship at the Temple Mount was first discovered in 1894 by British archaeologists in the “City of David” within the walls of Jerusalem.

Researchers have now found more than 100 coins beneath the paving stones that date the street to around the year 31AD.

The finding provides strong evidence that the street was commissioned by Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of the province Judaea, best known for being the official who presided over the trial of Jesus and ordered his crucifixion.

Excavators from the University of North Carolina discovered two stunning mosaics at the site of a 1,600-year-old synagogue near Huqoq in northern Israel.

One depicts a scene from the exodus of the Jews from ancient Egypt. The other shows images based on verses in the Torah’s book of Daniel.

Portion of the mosaic depicting a fish swallowing a soldier during the parting of Red Sea. (Credit: Jim Haberman/Baylor University)
Portion of the mosaic depicting a fish swallowing a soldier during the parting of Red Sea. (Credit: Jim Haberman/Baylor University)

Note that the mosaics do not show scenes from the Koran. There is nothing Arabic of Islamic or “Palestinian” about them. They are Jewish, they are situated in Israel, and they are 1,600 years old.

Every new archaeological discovery about the ancient Jews constitutes another stick in the spokes of the wheels of the Palestinian Arab propaganda machine. Every physical fact in the soil of the country shatters the P.A.’s lies. Every stone or seal or shard of pottery reminds us who are the real indigenous people of the Land of Israel.

EVIDENCE RADIO ACTIVE DECAY NOT PROOF OF BILLIONS OF YEARS

From the work done by the Rate team it is clear that the assumption of a constant slow decay process was wrong. There must have been speeded-up decay, perhaps in a huge burst associated with Creation Week and/or a separate burst at the time of the Flood.

The RATE project began as a cooperative venture between the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), the Creation Research Society (CRS) and Creation Ministries International (CMI).

As a result, there is now powerful independent confirmatory evidence that at least one episode of drastically accelerated decay has indeed been the case, building on the work of Dr Robert Gentry on helium retention in zircons. The landmark RATE paper – Humphreys, D. et al., Helium diffusion rates support accelerated nuclear decay, though technical can be summarised as follows: (www.icr.org/pdf/research/Helium_ICC_7-22-03.pdf)

  • When uranium decays to lead, a by-product of this process is the formation of helium, a very light, inert gas which readily escapes from rock.
  • Certain crystals called zircons, obtained from drilling into very deep granites, contain uranium which has partly decayed into lead.
  • By measuring the amount of uranium and ‘radiogenic lead’ in these crystals, one can calculate that, if the decay rate has been constant, about 1.5 billion years must have passed. (This is consistent with the geologic ‘age’ assigned to the granites in which these zircons are found.)
  • There is a significant amount of helium from that ‘1.5 billion years of decay’ still inside the zircons. This is at first glance surprising for long-agers, because of the ease with which one would expect helium (with its tiny, light, unreactive atoms) to escape from the spaces within the crystal structure. There should surely be hardly any left, because with such a slow buildup, it should be seeping out continually and not accumulating.
  • Drawing any conclusions from the above depends, of course, on actually measuring the rate at which helium leaks out of zircons. This is what one of the RATE papers reports on. The samples were sent (without any hint that it was a creationist project) to a world-class expert to measure these rates. The consistent answer: the helium does indeed seep out quickly over a wide range of temperatures. In fact, the results show that because of all the helium still in the zircons, these crystals (and since this is Precambrian basement granite, by implication the whole earth) could not be older than between 4,000 and 14,000 years. In other words, in only a few thousand years, 1.5 billion years’ worth (at today’s rates) of radioactive decay has taken place. Interestingly, the data have since been refined and updated to give a date of 5680 (+/- 2000) years.

The paper looks at the various avenues a long-ager might take by which to wriggle out of these powerful implications, but there seems to be little hope for them unless they can show that the techniques used to obtain the results were seriously (and mysteriously, having been performed by a world-class non-creationist expert) flawed.

MORE EVIDENCE FOR THE ACCURACY OF BIBLICAL HISTORY

EVIDENCE FOR THE TOWER OF BABEL:

In the video from Genesis is History on The Evidence for the Tower of Babel, Archaeologist Dr. Douglas Petrovich, from the Oriental Institute of Chicago carefully explains how he surveyed all the relevant  archaeological data in order to come to the specific conclusion that Eridu is the site of the original Babel. There is an enormous amount of evidence he has amassed for his arguments, much of it never before having been discovered or put together by anyone.

Dr Del Tacker interviews Dr Douglas Petrovich  Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Doug’s approach is that, due to his training as an archaeologist, he does not start with the location of the actual building. Instead, he points out Genesis 11 describes a technologically-advanced people who suddenly dispersed throughout the ancient Near East, in distinct and new patterns that could easily be explained by their having been divided into linguistic groups according to their ethnicity.

He assumed this massive dispersion would be easier to identify archaeologically than a half-finished tower. He therefore worked his way back to the source of the dispersion, then looked for evidence of a large, unfinished building. In this extremely interesting way, he reverse engineered the account recorded in Genesis 11 to arrive at his conclusions.

One of those conclusions was that, prior to this dispersion, people moved toward urban living in only one place: southern Sumer. Interestingly, Eridu is universally recognised as the world’s first city. Doug also pointed out that there were many other sites where communities and villages had been established, often before Eridu was settled.

This is an interesting divergence from the view held by many creationists. It is believed that all the people in the world were living at Babel before their dispersion. As a teacher of ancient languages, however, Doug observes that the Hebrew text of Genesis 11:1-2 does not specifically state the entire population of the earth moved to a single site, just that the entire world spoke the same language.

It’s worth reviewing the context of the Genesis 11 account. After the Flood, Genesis 10 describes the dispersion of different people groups throughout the world as they descended from Noah’s three sons. At the end of each son’s lineage, Moses says the different peoples were divided into languages, clans, and nations. He finishes this Table of Nations by explaining that:

These are the clans of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood. Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. (Gen 10:32-11:2)

In his discussions, Doug noted that the word “Shinar” is the Hebrew cognate (i.e. equivalent) of the Akkadian word “Shumer,” which historians today call “Sumer.” Furthermore, as is common in many Hebrew texts, Moses is going back in history to explain how the many different languages originated.

Yet when did this actually happen?

Some scholars think Moses provides a chronological indicator when he says “to Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided, and his brother’s name was Joktan.” (Gen 10:25)  From the context, it makes sense this division could be referring to the division of languages at Babel mentioned just a few sentences later. Depending on whether one follows the Masoretic or Septuagint chronological tradition (Doug holds to the Septuagint dates), Peleg lived 5 or 6 generations after Noah. If one follows the Masoretic dates, it’s over 100 years; if one follows the Septuagint dates, however, it’s over 500 years.

Again, the generally-held view of many creationists is that all the people of the world were living together at Babel. Yet the text merely says “as people migrated from the east.” If read in context of the preceding Table of Nations, it would seem to be referring to one of the many migrations of people spreading over the face of the earth.

Nevertheless, it has always been assumed that Genesis 11 implied everyone was still living together in one place on the plain of Shinar (or Sumer). Otherwise, how could all the languages of the earth have been changed?  The traditional view is a reasonable assumption, but perhaps there is another way of looking at the event that also maintains the integrity of the text.

Dispersion and Languages

Doug Petrovich’s perspective is that, after the Flood, groups of people began to spread out slowly over the face of the earth as documented in Genesis 10. They lived in smaller communities with less technological development, something he says fits with the archaeological record.

In Genesis 11, however, he sees a unique technological event: a group of people move to the plains of Shinar and begin to build the first major city. Moses describes them as a proud people who applied specific technological skills to create a new type of urban community where they could rebel together against God; their largest building would have “its top in the heavens.”

As a result of their pride, God judges them by confusing their language and dispersing them over the earth. Doug explains that he sees this dispersion in the archaeological record. In some places, the post-Babel groups built new communities in undeveloped regions, in others they slaughtered the local inhabitants of an existing community and overtook the site, and, in a few others, they moved into an existing town but lived in a separate area as possibly the world’s first segregated neighbourhoods.

Looked at from this perspective, God’s act of changing the languages at Babel, then dispersing the new linguistic groups throughout the earth, is what transformed a single language into many different languages. The new languages spread through the earth like ripples in a pond as the new peoples interacted with each other.

Granted, this is a fresh perspective on an old question. Yet it has much to commend itself. It is a good example of a scientist taking the Biblical text as real history, then looking at the world to see where the data fits with it.

Nevertheless, there is still much work to be done to synchronise the archaeological record with the Biblical account. The primary problem is that too few people are working in this area. The challenge of reconciling the various dating methods, the archaeological data, and the different chronological traditions still remains to be solved. Doug explores this further in his second video “Carbon Dating & the Septuagint,” also included in Beyond Is Genesis History? Vol 3 – Bible & Stars.

For those who want to hear the longer, technical explanation behind his arguments, watch his lectures from the 2017 IGH Conference on YouTube: Identifying the Post-Babel Dispersion and Identifying Babel and its Tower.