Does archaeology prove or disprove the Bible?


Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

ARCHAEOLOGISTS CONTINUE TO FIND AMAZING PROOF RELATED TO BIBLE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, a new news item out of Israel’s newspaper, Haretz. Archeologists recently announced they had found a fantastically preserved seal impression that was made by a Biblical governor of Jerusalem. The seal dates from the seventh century, B.C., which puts it during the reign of King Josiah.  

DR. REEDER: Historians actually doubt even the existence of Jerusalem during those days and any structure of government that would include a governor. I think it’s two or three different times in the Bible during that particular reign of Josiah that the governor is affirmed and is mentioned.

Now we find that archaeologists have uncovered an artifact that tells us, “Oh, hey, the Bible was accurate again when we said that it wasn’t accurate.” This actually rather new discipline from the late nineteenth century, archaeology, continues to affirm the historicity of the Bible.

Now, let me go ahead and say there are some things that archaeologists are saying that would question the accuracy of the Bible, but what we have found is, over a period of time, the very thing that question the accuracy of the Bible as more things are discovered, all of a sudden, they find out it does affirm the accuracy of the Bible.

For instance, Mary Magdalene, called Magdalene because she was from the area of Magdala, yet there was question as to whether or not there actually was a city like Magdala. Well, not only has archaeology affirmed the reality that there is a city called Magdala, but it has also affirmed the fact that it contained one of the seven synagogues that had been built in Israel. In fact, there are two of them on the Sea of Galilee — one at Capernaum and one at Magdala.

Just recently, when I was there couple of years ago, they have also uncovered the vineyard or the Garden of Naboth, who had his garden stolen by King Ahab and Jezebel. And Tom, there’s others as well.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Indeed. Seals to King Hezekiah, a latrine built to a desecrated pagan shrine and, in 1994, there was an inscribed stone known as a “stele” sound near Tel Dan in northern Israel.

DR. REEDER: That affirmed how Dan, as a tribe, had migrated up north and that had been questioned and now we find out that that is true. I remember the stories about Jesus — “Well, there was no Pontius Pilate. We can’t find any record of a Pontius Pilate in any of the extrabiblical sources, particularly, out of the Roman Empire.”

Except for, all of a sudden, now we have the writings of Josephus and we have the writings of Eusebius and, most of all, is right there at Caesarea-by-the-Sea where the governor’s palace had been built, they uncovered a stone with the name Pontius Pilate on it.

WITNESSES AND EVIDENCE CONFIRMS

Therefore, all of these things continually affirm the historicity of the Bible and historicity of Biblical truth is affirmed in the Scripture with appeals to it. Remember how Luke, when he talks about how had put together the Gospel of Luke and then later the Book of Acts, refers to the fact that he had obtained his data, likely while Paul was in prison in Caesarea-by-the-Sea from “eyewitnesses.”

Likely, he interviewed Mary, herself, who was under the care of the apostle John because of the way he refers to certain things that she says when he refers to Mary in the Biblical accounts. And, beyond that, Tom, you have the apostle Paul, in 1Corinthians 15, affirming the historicity of the resurrection when he says, “Here are the witnesses,” and he starts naming the personal witnesses, and the groups of witnesses and then he says, oh, by the way, there were 500 witnesses to whom Jesus appeared into Galilee. Obviously, at that time, you could have called upon probably all of those 500 witnesses.

You could have stopped Christianity dead in its tracks by just bringing out witnesses opposed to the resurrection that it actually didn’t happen or bringing out the body. They affirmed the historicity of an empty tomb and the historicity of witnesses to the resurrected Christ. The Bible is a book that is rooted in history.

NINETEENTH CENTURY CRITICS BEGAN TO CAST DOUBT

Here’s what many have said, beginning in the nineteenth century: “We think that these guys actually probably believed these things and that they were true. To them, they were true. That doesn’t mean that they were actually true.”

But what we find out is the Bible doesn’t know anything about truth in terms of relativity or relativism in terms of truth. True truth is what is truth and that, when it says something happened in history, if it didn’t happen in history, then the Bible is untrustworthy.

However, the Bible, we find out, is trustworthy and that Christianity is not a fabrication of men’s dreams but it is the revelation of Biblical truth in time and history and is verifiable in history as historical events.

NEW EVIDENCE EMERGES EVERY DAY TO PROVE BIBLE TRUE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, we keep finding these pieces of evidence that verify the Bible is true. Have we ever found any evidence that there are things in the Bible that aren’t true?

DR. REEDER: We have found evidences that seemingly contradict Biblical truth but, as you move along in the study of that archeological pit, they find out, “Oh, wait, wait. It is true.” In other words, they’ll find something that points to the fact that it is true. There have been isolated things that have been picked up and then, as they continue to mature the study, then it always ends up affirming the Biblical account.

Of course, one of the most famous of all of these is the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. We had been told many things like that the Book of Isaiah is not actually the Book of Isaiah — it’s three books by a claim of someone who used Isaiah’s name. Now, why did they do that? Well, they made that view of the Book of Isaiah up, not because there was any evidence but the Book of Isaiah contained prophesies. If you’ve got a prophesy, then you’ve got a God because only God can tell you what’s going to happen because prophesy is pre-written history. However, if you’ve got prophesy, then what you need to do is you need to post-date the book so that the guy’s really fabricating the story as a prophetic statement when, in reality, it has already occurred and he’s only reporting something that has occurred.

And then, lo and behold, we find out that, guess what? Dead Sea Scrolls, which pre-date Jesus, all of the Messianic prophesies were already recorded and they found them in the jars. Here are scrolls that pre-date Jesus and that affirm the unity of Isaiah, the actuality of Isaiah and the historicity of the prophecies which means that Jesus is a fulfillment of true prophecy.

WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE WHO DON’T BELIEVE THE BIBLE BUT SEE IT AS A MORAL STORY?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, how ought we look at the Bible? You will, on one hand, have a number of people that will look at the Bible and say, “Oh, yes, this is a book of history,” but on the other hand you’ll have a group of people that say, “Well, this is just a book of nice stories. We can’t really believe it, but they have a lot of nice moral parables in them.”

DR. REEDER: Well, first of all, I would say to those people that is utterly ridiculous to take a Bible that tells you that there is a God that you must worship and, if you do not and if you sin against Him, you’re going to come under judgement, and there’s a place called Hell and there’s a place called Heaven, those cannot be good moral encouraging, inspiring stories. They have to be treated as fabrications that manipulate people if they are not true. If they are true, then praise the Lord.

I’m reminded of the story of the people that were riding by a church and the outside sign says, “Slow down. Stop. Destruction ahead,” and one guy got out of his car and went in there and said, “How dare you put that out there, manipulating people according to their fears?” “Well, because we don’t want you to be killed.” “Who are you to tell me…?” And they said, “Well, all we are are the people that the highway patrol called because, one mile down the road, the bridge is out so we used our sign to warn you.”

Well, the signs that believers put out warning of a judgment to come — in that case, we’re dealing with a physical death that awaited you but we give a warning of a spiritual death. The guy viewed that as manipulation until he found out what? That it was true. Therefore, people hear the warning of a judgement to come and see that as manipulation and rightly so if it’s not true but, if it’s true, it is a glorious gift of the grace of God not only to warn you of the judgement to come, but to make a way for you too escape through Jesus Christ.

YOU CAN TRUST THE BIBLE AND GOD’S PROMISE

The Bible is a dependable book. It’s not a history book and it’s not just a book of stories — it is a book of truth revealed through stories. And the greatest story is the greatest story ever told: God loves sinners, not by loving their sin, but by providing His son as a Redeemer so you can be delivered from your sins and that story is the truth. Here’s what Jesus says, “They word is truth.”

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller

34 mins ago

Racers coming to Alabama for world’s longest annual paddle race

Paddlers from across the United States will be racing each other down 650 miles of Alabama’s scenic rivers later this month in the Great Alabama 650, the world’s longest annual paddle race.

The second annual Great Alabama 650 begins Sept. 26 on Weiss Lake in Centre. Racers will have 10 days to reach Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay via the core section of the Alabama Scenic River Trail, the longest river trail in a single state. Laura Gaddy, communications director of the trail, said this year’s race will be different.

505

“In 2019, racers with a wide range of skill level and paddling experience competed in the Great Alabama 650, but just three boats made it to the finish line,” Gaddy said. “Even advanced paddlers had to drop out of the race before finishing, underscoring that this race is best suited for paddlers with a proven record. Therefore, this year we limited registration to paddlers who have competed in previous races. As a result, this year’s class of entrants is even more competitive than the inaugural class.”

Paddlers compete in nation’s longest state river trail from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The field features 16 racers, including 2019 overall winner Bobby Johnson, as well as female solo winner Sallie O’Donnell and Alabama native Ryan Gillikin. Johnson covered more than 85 miles per day to finish the race in seven days, 8 hours, 1 minute and 55 seconds.

“Several of our racers have not only completed some of the toughest paddle races in the world, they have won them,” Gaddy said. “Some are or have been professional paddlers. Others have represented the United States in paddling competitions abroad.”

Alabama’s diverse habitats are on full display during the race as competitors experience rushing whitewater, ambling river delta and everything in between. The course includes portages around several Alabama Power dams.

“The Great Alabama 650 elevates our state to the international stage and points to the 600-plus-mile Alabama Scenic River Trail as one of the premiere paddle destinations in the United States,” Gaddy said. “Even the most competitive athletes can be encumbered by the unpredictable challenges presented by the natural world. This is a race to watch.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced race organizers to restrict portages to race staff, crews and racers. Gaddy said there are still plenty of ways for fans to cheer on the racers.

“There are several ways to track the progress of the competitors without leaving your home,” Gaddy said. “Race updates are reported on our Facebook and Instagram accounts, and viewers can visit AL650.com to see our live map, which is updated at least every 2 minutes.”

Viewers can also track the race on social media using the race hashtag #AL650, which may link viewers to behind-the-scene photos posted by racers and their crew members.

“Last year several people with a waterfront property also stood out on their piers to cheer the racers,” Gaddy said. “Some even made signs. When the racers made it to the finish line, they said that the support they received from these spectators helped them to keep going when the race got tough.”

The race, which is sponsored this year by Cahaba BrewingMustang SurvivalMammoth Clothing and Alabama Power, begins Sept. 26 on Weiss Lake in Centre. The prize purse will be awarded across three categories: Male Solo, Female Solo and Team. To follow the progress of the competition or to learn more, visit al650.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 hours ago

Nick Saban: Time for Crimson Tide to flip switch from practice to game mode

Alabama coach Nick Saban said his Crimson Tide football team is showing the right effort and intensity in practice, but it’s time to flip the switch and start finishing plays like they would in a game.

“We haven’t played a game in a long time,” Saban said. “We’ve got to get out of practice mode and make sure we’re practicing to develop the habits that are gonna become a part of our DNA as competitors in terms of how we play in a game.”

Alabama opens the season on the road against Missouri at 6 p.m. Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Nick Saban: Crimson Tide focuses on finishing as season kickoff approaches from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1
3 hours ago

College football picks — SEC week 1 and more

The Season of Sankey officially gets underway today. The SEC takes the field for the first time this fall as a result of conference commissioner Greg Sankey’s well-planned approach to playing football amid COVID-19 conditions.

During the last two weeks, a parade of conferences have backtracked on plans to cancel their seasons and put in place schedules set to kick off beginning next month. If only they had followed one simple rule: be more like Sankey.

No doubt the season will be unusual. Expect the unexpected. And, as always, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Here are a few picks.

449

THE BASICS

No. 2 Alabama (-29) at Missouri: The Crimson Tide have the fewest non-COVID questions of any team in the country. They also have the most talented roster. Missouri will have a tough time scoring while Nick Saban gets to pick his team’s score.

The pick: Alabama 41, Missouri 9

No. 4 Georgia (-28) at Arkansas: Not a lot of intrigue here, either. The D’Wan Mathis era begins. Georgia wins. Maybe the only real question is: how will Kirby Smart handle dipping and wearing a mask at the same time?

The pick: Georgia 34, Arkansas 7

No. 5 Florida (-14) at Ole Miss: Everyone loves Lane. We get it. But there is a difference in these rosters. Through rain, sleet or snow — or direct deposit — Kiffin will recruit better talent to Oxford in the coming years. Right now, Florida is a markedly better team top-to-bottom.

The pick: Florida 52, Ole Miss 20

No. 8 Auburn (-6.5) at Kentucky: Everyone and their momma is taking Kentucky and the points in this game, not to mention the number of people picking the outright upset. Is it bowl game fatigue? Is it Auburn’s losses on the defensive line? We don’t know. What we do know is that Chad Morris may be the best offensive coordinator in the country if Gus Malzahn lets him cook.

The pick: Auburn 35, Kentucky 24

BUYER BEWARE

No. 16 Tennessee (-3.5) at South Carolina: This is a “the barely proven head coach got a raise the week before playing the first game” pick. Plus, South Carolina finally has some actual structure on offense with the addition of Mike Bobo as offensive coordinator and a serviceable starter at quarterback in Collin Hill.

The pick: South Carolina 20, Tennessee 16

West Virginia at No. 15 Oklahoma State (-6.5): This pick breaks two important rules: 1) don’t make a pick because of a coach, and 2) be very wary of the heavily public side. Neal Brown is a rising star. Mike Gundy is something other than that. Neither team has played a game that matters yet, but they looked very different in their respective first weeks. Let’s join the crowd.

The pick: West Virginia 30, Oklahoma State 21

BONUS

Mississippi State at No. 6 LSU (-16.5): How can we not make a pick in the first-ever SEC game coached by two non-English speakers? All offseason we have heard people ponder about whether Mike Leach’s system will work in the SEC. Any system will work if you have good enough players. The Bulldogs currently do not. On the other hand, one can only imagine the carnage in Baton Rouge post-national championship. At least Coach O gave us this gem.

The pick: LSU 33, Mississippi State 16

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

4 hours ago

Gus Malzahn: Auburn ready to host Kentucky, kick off delayed season

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said he is happy game week has finally arrived, even though he knows his Auburn Tigers football team will be tested by the visiting Kentucky Wildcats.

“It’s been a long time coming to get to this point,” Malzahn said. “We’re playing a really good Kentucky Wildcat team. When you look at them offensively, last year they were one of the best rushing teams in all of college football. To be able to do that in this league says a lot.”

But Malzahn said he is also impressed by his own squad.

123

“Overall, I’m really excited about this year’s team,” he said. “We have all kinds of new faces out there. I believe we have 13 new starters, so I’m really excited to watch this team grow. I really feel that if we stay healthy, we’ll have a chance to improve each game, and of course with 10 SEC games, it’s important for teams to improve throughout the year. I’m really looking forward to watching our guys play. I’m excited.”

Auburn hosts the Wildcats at 11 a.m. Sept. 26 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

Gus Malzahn: Kentucky presents a challenge for Auburn’s opener from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

5 hours ago

Gulf State Park section succumbs to Sally’s surge

One aspect of living on Alabama’s beautiful Gulf Coast is the realization that the best-laid plan is no match for Mother Nature.

The original plan was to gather on September 16 at the Gulf State Park Pier to celebrate the grand reopening of the 1,542-foot pier after a $2.4 million renovation.

Although I’m a veteran of many tropical storms and hurricanes in my 28 years on the Gulf Coast, including back-to-back hits by Ivan and Katrina, the system that turned into Hurricane Sally threw me and many Gulf Coast residents a wicked curveball.

1308

Off to bed with a predicted peak of 85 mph winds, I was awakened by an ominous roar. With one peek through the high windows on our vibrating front door, it was obvious this was not a clone of Hurricane Danny from 1997 that dumped copious amounts of rain on the area but did not have the wind-damage potential of Sally.

As Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft said, “Sally sucker-punched us.”

Sally made landfall in Gulf Shores in the early hours of September 16 as a strong Category 2 hurricane with winds clocked at 105 mph. A wind-speed detector on a nearby tower clocked a 121-mph gust.

However, Sally’s brutality was magnified by her crawling forward speed of 2 mph, which made the incessant winds seem to last forever. Like my friend Dwight Lores said, “A human can easily walk at 3 miles per hour. That’s why Sally did so much damage.”

When the first hint of sunrise allowed a minimal assessment through the aforementioned door, trees were down in every direction. Unlike many Baldwin County homes, thankfully ours was not damaged by any of the falling trees, but it was almost three days before we could even leave our driveway. On the fourth day, a utility crew from Warren County, Kentucky, restored our power, a remarkable feat considering the extent of the damage. All hail to a hot shower.

Of course, I prayed for the best for everybody on the Alabama coast, but I feared it was not going to be the outcome we wished, especially for those structures vulnerable to storm surge.

I soon got word through the little cell service available that the northern Gulf Coast’s premier fishing and educational pier, which opened in 2009 after Ivan razed the previous pier, had succumbed to the constant battering of Sally’s surge.

The section of pier closest to the end octagon was gone. The majority of the blowout deck panels were scattered all along the sugar-sand shoreline.

The good news is the new Lodge at Gulf State Park and nearby structures were relatively unscathed because those buildings were designed to withstand winds of up to 150 mph.

Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), and Greg Lein, Alabama State Parks Director, were able to perform cursory assessments late last week.

“We had damage in places we didn’t expect, and in other places where I expected to have a lot of damage, it turned out to be not as bad,” said Commissioner Blankenship, who toured the area with Governor Kay Ivey last Friday. “The damage to the pier is the most obvious that everybody has seen on TV and had the most questions about. We were very surprised by the amount of damage to the pier. The cabins at Gulf State Park on Lake Shelby took a beating. I’m afraid a lot of them will be total losses. But I was pleasantly surprised by how the dune system held up on the beach. And the Lodge at Gulf State Park, which was built to fortified building standards, fared very well during the storm. The FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration) administrator was there, and we showed him the Lodge. He was very impressed with the resilience of the Lodge and how building to that standard has a big impact on the recovery.”

Commissioner Blankenship said divers are scheduled to assess the damage to the pier and determine the structural integrity of the remaining pilings.

“After that is finished, we will be able to make plans to get the pier reopened at least to the part where it broke off while we repair the entire structure back out to the octagon,” he said.

Director Lein said the campground at Gulf State Park suffered quite a bit of damage.

“It wasn’t until Friday that staff was able to access all of the park and assess the damage because of the water and downed trees,” Lein said. “A lot of the electrical distribution panels in the campground were impacted. That system will have to be assessed by an electrician to see what repairs are needed. Now that the conditions have improved, we’ve been able to clear all the campsite pads. All the modern buildings at the park appear to be okay. A couple of campers that were left on the site were tipped over by the wind. A few of the campers in the storage area were pushed together, but only one was overturned.”

The cabins and cottages on Lake Shelby highlighted how construction standards can make a big difference in potential damage.

“The cabins suffered major damage,” Lein said. “They lost portions of their roofs. Some of the walls collapsed. It appeared the wind got under the roofs in the porch areas and ripped them off. On the cottages, the roofs are intact. The older cabins had significant damage, but the modern cottages were not as affected.”

Lein said the good news about the pier is that the staff has been able to recover more than 200 of the deck panels that are designed to blow out to protect the infrastructure.

“They found some about 4 miles down the beach,” Lein said. “A couple were found in swimming pools down there. It’s amazing our crew has been able to recover so many panels. The pier will be inspected. If it’s structurally okay, we’ll be able to put a lot of those panels back, and we may be able to reopen a portion of the pier. The pier house appeared to not have any damage.”

Lein said strike teams were formed several years ago in each district of the State Parks system to assist in natural disasters. The teams are comprised of employees capable of running chainsaws, skid steers, backhoes and tractors.

“We had more than a dozen strike team members down there to join the men and women from Gulf State Park, working together as one team to clear roads and paths so support personnel had access to all of the park,” Lein said. “They achieved a huge amount of relief to the park in three days. They brought generators with them to power part of the Lodge and the park office. I can’t say enough about the strike teams and how successful their deployment was in supporting the Gulf State Park staff. The crews were all fed by the chef and staff at the Lodge’s Food Craft restaurant, and that was such a morale booster for the teams to get a warm meal.”

Commissioner Blankenship said he has been impressed by the spirit of cooperation and willingness of folks who don’t live on the Gulf Coast to lend a helping hand.

“I appreciate our strike teams that came down to assist at Gulf State Park,” he said. “They have done a great job of cleaning up the park. It will help us get the park reopened a lot quicker, and it allows for some of our employees who rode out the storm to take care of their families and limit the damage done to their homes. That’s extremely important. Every single employee was without power for a certain amount of time and had damage at their residences they needed to attend to. Having people come in from areas that weren’t impacted helped those affected people. It is very important to me to have our employees taken care of.”

Meanwhile, Commissioner Blankenship said the Alabama Marine Resources Division (MRD) facilities in Dauphin Island sustained significant damage. The MRD office building suffered roof damage, and the docks at the office were destroyed.

“But Meaher State Park on the Causeway and 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center seemed to do okay,” he said. “There were trees down but not a lot of other damage.”

David Rainer is an award-winning writer who has covered Alabama’s great outdoors for 25 years. The former outdoors editor at the Mobile Press-Register, he writes for Outdoor Alabama, the website of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.