Is the Bible Story Reliable? Evidence From Science, Archaeology, History & Geography Creation The Fall Noah’s Flood Patriarchs Egypt & Exodus Judges Monarchy Prophecy Babylonian Captivity & Return. Did God Create the Universe?.
Is the Bible Story Reliable?
Evidence FromScience, Archaeology,
History & Geography
Egypt & Exodus
Babylonian Captivity & Return
Did God Create the Universe?
1. Did it always exist. (It would have reached heat death.)
2. Did it come into existence by itself. (Matter cannot create itself. All things have a cause.)
3. Was it created by something outside itself. (This is the only reasonable explanation.)
Fine Tuning of the Universe and Physical Parameters is Recognized in Science
The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and electron. We cannot, at the moment at least, predict the values of these numbers from theory—we have to find them by observation. It may be that one day we shall discover a complete unified theory that predicts them all, but it is also possible that some or all of them vary from universe to universe or within a single universe. The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.” (Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, Ch. 8, 1998)
Life Shows Evidence of Design
Crick (co-discovered DNA structure in 1953), Life Itself, 1988:
“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”
The Bible Story is Set in Real Geography
Mountains of Ararat
Canaan (modern Israel)
Garden of Eden
Gen 2:10-15 The Garden of Eden is placed in Mesopotamia
Gen 8:4 Noah’s ark landed on the mountains of Ararat
Gen 10:10, 11:3-4 The tower of Babel was in Mesopotamia
Gen 11:31 Abraham came from Ur and moved to Canaan
Gen 46 5-7 Jacob moved his family from Canaan to Egypt
Deut & Josh The Hebrews returned to and settled Canaan
God Created Man
God created man (Adam and Eve) in his image with creativity, emotions, reason, and free will.
He put them in the Garden of Eden.
Man, using his free will, rebelled and turned away from God—sin.
Sin broke the intimate relationship between God and Man.
The Bible story is primarily about restoring the relationship.
Noah, a Descendent of Adam, Survived the Great Flood in an Ark
More than 200 people groups around the world have a flood story:
31 in Europe,
17 in Africa and the Middle East,
37 in Australia and the islands,
23 in Asia,
59 in North America, and
46 in South and Central America.
Most agree that man’s wickedness caused the flood.
There was a universal destruction of humans and animals,
A big boat (ark) was used to escape, and
There were a few people who survived.
Abraham, a Descendent of Noah, Moved From Ur to Canaan
God told Abraham that all people on earth would be blessed through him. Genesis 12:2-3
Bible and Spade; Summer 2004
Ur Ziggurat (holy place, in modern Iraq) was excavated
1922-1934 (Genesis 11:31; Nehemiah 9:7)
Tall el-Hammam/Sodom Excavation2006-2012
City Walls from the Time of Abraham
(Gen 18-19; In Modern Jordan)
Beni Hasan Tomb painting shows Semitic people entering Egypt
A 15th century BC Tomb painting shows Semitic slaves making mud bricks (Exodus 5:7-9)
1. Hoffmeier; Symposium on Archaeology and the Bible; Albuquerque, Jan 21-25, 2003.
2. Aling; Joseph in Egypt, Part 4; Bible and Spade; V16#1, 2003
There is strong evidence for a conquest of Canaan:
Jericho (Josh 6), Ai (Josh 8), and Hazor (Josh 11) were destroyed by burning between 1483 & 1400.
1. Wood; Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho? A New Look at the Archaeological Evidence; Biblical Archaeology Review; 16.2, 1990.
2. Wood, and Briggs; Symposium on archaeology and the Bible; Albuquerque, Jan 21-25, 2003.
3. Janeway; Hazor 2002; Bible and Spade; V16#3, 2003
4. Mazar; Symposium on Archaeology and the Bible; Albuquerque, Jan 20-24, 2004.
David Was the Second Hebrew King and a Real, Historical Person
Tel Dan Stele
Found in 1993 at Tel Dan, is now in the Skirball Museum in Jerusalem. Probably inscribed by Hazael king of Aram around 850 BC (see 2 Kings 8).
Brags about defeating Joram, king of Israel and Ahaziah of the House of David.
Before then, Bible critics believed that David was a legend.
1. Bible and spade; summer 2004
Following Solomon, David’s son, the kingdom divided into north (Israel) and south (Judah).
Assyria Conquered Israel in ~722 BCE
Nineveh Was the Main City (Modern Iraq)
Nineveh has been excavated since 1840s
Genesis 10:11, Jonah, Kings & Chronicles
Isaiah Was a Prophet in Judah ~700 BCE
To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up like a tender young plant.
Men hated him and rejected him.
He was pierced and killed for our sins.
By his punishment and by his wounds, we are healed.
He gave his life as a sacrifice and took
the sins of many people on himself.
Who is the arm of the Lord?
Isaiah Scroll in Jerusalem
The People From Judah (Jews)
Were Taken Captive to Babylon (Modern Iraq)
Babylon was Excavated from 1899-1917
Genesis 10:8-10; Daniel 1
Daniel Was a Jewish Prophet Taken to Babylon
~ 600 BCE--Daniel 9 Prophecy
From the order to rebuild Jerusalem there will be sixty-nine sevens until the Messiah Prince comes.
Jerusalem is the main city in Judah (modern Israel).
The order was probably given by Artaxerxes, the Persian
king (modern Iran), in ~ 445 BCE.
Sixty-nine sevens refers to weeks of years, or 483 years.
Some scholars calculate 483 years to be 33 AD.
Messiah means anointed one, usually a king or prince.
The Messiah will be killed.
The people who come will destroy Jerusalem and the temple.
Who is the Messiah?
2 Chronicles 36 and Ezra 1: Cyrus (Persian king) returned the Jews to Judah to rebuild their temple.
Cyrus Cylinder, Discovered at Babylon in 1880s
The New Testament is Set in Real Geography
27 Separate Books
Copies made and distributed to the churches
Today: 5300 Greek; 10,000 Latin; 9300 other manuscripts
Transmission accuracy is excellent and all variants agree on main points
Very difficult to alter original text because of wide distribution
Hundreds of fragments from second century
Oldest fragment is John Rylands Papyrus
verses from John 18, AD 94-125
Broadmer Papyrus II--most of John,
Chester Beatty Collection--
4 Gospels, Acts, 10 Pauline letters,
Hebrews, Revelation, AD 200
Extensive citations by Christian writers
late 1st and early 2nd century
Jesus was Born inBethlehem View From the Herodium
Luke 2:1-3--Caesar Augustus ordered a census be taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. A census (in 3-2 BC), once doubted, has been confirmed by inscriptions. Critics said that Quirinius was not governor until 6 AD. An inscription found in Antioch implies that he had two terms, one in 3-2 BC.
Evidence that Christ Lived and Died:
1st – 3rd Century Non-Christian Historians
Tacitus--Christus was executed by order of Pontius Pilatus.
Lucian--Christ was crucified in Palestine.
Thallus--Tried to explain darkness at noon as an eclipse.
Pliny--Christians were executed and tortured.
Tragan--Affirmed Pliny’s action.
Bar Serapion--The Jews executed Jesus.
Josephus--Referred to Jesus as the Messiah, his miracles, his crucifixion under Pilate, and his followers claim that he was seen alive after being crucified.
Babylonian Talmud--Christ was crucified for doing magic.
Some of Jesus’ Teachings
Sermon on the Mountain (Matthew 5)
Blessed (favored by God) are the poor in spirit.
Blessed are the meek.
Blessed are those who hunger
and thirst for righteousness.
Blessed are the merciful.
Blessed are the pure in heart.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
When Asked About the Greatest Commandment (Matt 22:37-39)
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Sea of Galilee from the Mount of Beatitudes
Mount of Olives
City of David
Temple Mount Today, from the Mount of Olives
Dome of the Rock Shrine (gold dome)
The Temple Mount in Christ’s TimeMatt 24:2 Jesus said “… not one stone here will be left upon another..." Romans destroyed the temple mount is AD 70.
Leen Ritmeyer’s Temple Mount Model
Things Jesus Said About Himself
The angels are his. (Mt 13:41, 16:27, 24:31; Mk 13:27; Lk 4:10)
He has the authority to forgive sins. (Mt 9:6, 17; Mk 2:5-7,10; Lk 5:20)
He sits at God’s right hand. (Mt 26:64; Mk 14:62, 16:19; Lk 22:69)
All authority in heaven and earth was given to him. (Mt 28:18)
He has authority over demons. (Mt 10:1; Mk 3:15, 6:7; Lk 9:1; 10:17)
He has the authority to judge. (Jn 5:22-27)
He has the authority to grant eternal life. (Jn 17:2)
He and the Father (God the Father) are one. (Jn 1:18; 10:30)
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn 14:6)
Baths at Bethesda
Destroyed AD 70
John 5:2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes.
Jesus healed an invalid here.
Critics doubted the existence of the baths at Bethesda until it was excavated in 1938, with five porticoes (column and arch covered areas).
Luke 3:1 mentions Lysanias as the Tetrarch of Abilene. An inscription found in Abila, dated to 14-29 AD, refers to Lysanias the Tetrarch.
Romans 16:23 mentions Erastus director of public works in Corinth. An inscription at Corinth refers to Erastus who laid the pavement.
Acts 14:6 implies that Iconium was not in Lycaonia with Lystra and Derbe. Critics said that this was wrong until a monument found in 1910 confirmed that Iconium was in Phrygia, not Lycaonia.
Jesus Said, at His Last Supper:
Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matt 26:27-28)
DaVinci’s Last Supper
Jesus Prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane
Mark 14:32-33 They came to a place named Gethsemane…
Gethsemane means olive press.
Jesus Was Put on Trial and Crucified Because He Claimed to Be the Son of God.
The Jews asked: “Are you then the Son
of God?” Jesus replied: “You are right
in saying I am.” (Luke 22:67-70)
The Jews said to Pilate, the Roman
Governor: “We have a law, and
according to that law he must die,
because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
Vouet from Wikipedia
Jesus Was Put In a Tomb with Roman Guards But on the Third Day, the Tomb Was Empty.
An angel told them: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He has risen.”
After that He appeared to many people.
Garden Tomb in Jerusalem: Similar to Jesus’ tomb.
Matthew 28:16-17 Jesus’ followers, including himself, saw him on a mountain in the Galilee.
John 20:19-21 & 1 John 1-3 John said that the followers (including himself) saw Jesus alive, after his death, in a room in Jerusalem and confirms that he was an eyewitness.
1 Peter 1:3 & 2 Peter 1:16 Confirms that Jesus was alive after his death and that he was a follower and an eyewitness.
Matt 28:9 (the Women)
Mark 16:9 & 12 (Mary M. and 2 walking)
Luke 1:1-4; 24:13-15 (2 on the road to Emmaus)
John 20:14 & 18 (Mary M.)
Acts 1:1-3; 2:32, 3:15, 4:10, 10:39-41(Peter);
5:30-32(Peter and Apostles); 9:1-9, 26:23-29 (Paul)
1 Corr 15:3-8 (Peter, the 12, 500, James, all apostles)
Jesus Fulfilled Prophecies
All People will be blessed through Abraham (Genesis 12:2-3):
Jesus was a descendent of Abraham.
Daniel’s prophecy that the Messiah would be killed in Jerusalem around 33 AD, and that Jerusalem would be destroyed (Daniel 9):
The Samaritan woman said, “I know that Messiah (called
Christ) is coming.” (Christ is the Greek form of Messiah.)
Then Jesus said, “I who speak to you am he.” (John 4:25-26)
Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem in AD 33.
Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70.
Isaiah’s prophecy that the “arm of the Lord” would suffer and die as a sacrifice to take our sins upon himself (Isaiah 53):
Jesus said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is
poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Reliability of the Witnesses
Transmission accuracy has been excellent.
Changes at a later date are highly improbable.
Manuscripts were written in the First Century.
Authors gave accurate details.
The tone of writings is factual, not sensational.
The authors were self critical, which suggests they were truthful.
Mark 14:72 Peter denied Christ
Matt 16:8-10 Disciples had little faith
John 12:15-16 Disciples were slow to understand
Manuscripts were written and widely distributed when eyewitnesses were still alive; yet, there have been no refuting manuscripts found.
There was no apparent motive of personal gain since they gave their lives defending what they believed to be true.
Scientific, Archaeological & Historical Evidence Say that the Story Is True
Jesus Must be Taken Seriously
Rom 3:21-25 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. NIV
Old Testament References
Aling; Joseph in Egypt; Bible and Spade; V15#2, 2002.
Aling; Joseph in Egypt, Part 4; Bible and Spade; V16#1, 2003.
Aling; Symposium on Archaeology and the Bible; Albuquerque, Jan 21-25, 2003.
The Bible; any version.
Bible and Spade, Summer 2004.
Collins; Let My People Go; Trinity Southwest University Press, Albuquerque, NM, 2002.
Douglas, et. al.;New Bible Dictionary, 2nd Ed.; Tyndale House Publishers, 1982.
Kitchen; “How we know when Solomon Ruled;” Biblical Archaeology Review, Sept./Oct. 2001.
Kitchen; “The Patriarchal Age,” Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 1995.
Kitchen; On the Reliability of the Old Testament; Erdmans, 2003.
Maier, Paul; Archaeology--Biblical Ally or Adversary?; Bible and Spade, Summer 2004.
Mazar, Eliat; Jewish Culture; 10/14/05
McDowell; Daniel in the Critics Den; Moody Press, 1973.
McDowell; The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict; Nelson, 1999.
Price; The Stones Cry Out; Harvest House Publishers, 1997.
Price; Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls; Harvest House Publishers, 1996.
Waltke; “The Date of the Book of Daniel;” Bibliotheca Sacra-V133 #352, Oct. 1976.
Walton; Charts of the Old Testament; Zondervan, 1994.
Walvoord & Zuck; Bible Knowledge Commentary; Victor Books, 1985.
Wood, and Briggs; Symposium on archaeology and the Bible; Albuquerque, Jan 21-25, 2003.
New Testament References
The Bible; any version
Bruce, F.F; The new Testament Documents; Inter Varsity Press, 1981.
Collins, Steven; Championing the Faith; Virgil W. Hensley, Inc; 1991.
Foxe, John; Foxe's Book of the Martyrs; Whitaker House, 1981.
Gonzalez, Justo; The History of Christianity; Prince Press, 1999.
House; Chronological and Background Charts of the New Testament; Zondervan, 1981.
Josephus; 37 BC - AD 70; Barbour and Company, 1988.
Maier, Paul; Josephus: The Essential Writings; Kregel, 1988.
McDowell; The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict; Nelson, 1999.
Tesh, S. Edward; How We Got Our Bible; The Standard Publishing Company, 1961.