Science Looks at the Bible

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, many archaeological discoveries shed new light on the Bible and the accounts contained in it. U. S. News and World Report magazine reported in its August 24, 1981 issue that such discoveries were “affirming that the Bible is more historically accurate than many scholars thought.”

Most critics and scholars long ago dismissed as myth the account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The very existence of the cities themselves was widely doubted. “Now two highly regarded American archaeologists, Walter E. Rast and R. Thomas Schaub, believe they may have found the remains of those cities, plus the three other settlements referred to in Genesis as the ‘cities of the plain.’ The ruins lie where the Bible indicates they would be—within a few miles of the Dead Sea. Moreover, at least three of the cities appear to have been destroyed by fire. which the says rained down by God in vengeance” Sept. 24, 1981. pp. 38—39).

Another discovery that not only corroborates the existence Of Sodom and Gomorrah as historical cities. but also sheds light on many other Biblical narratives, is thc clay tablets of Ebla. The ancient city Of Ebla was excavated in the northern part of what is today Syria. An Italian professor, Giovanni Pettinato. has translated cuneiform tablets found there containing commercial transactions involving both the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. As Time magazine noted, “Findings from Ebla may have an even broader impact. Many liberal Bible scholars treat Abraham not as a historical figure but as a sort of Semitic King Arthur. Their view is that the stories about Abraham and the other Patriarchs must have been written down more than 1,000 years later than the events they purport to describe. Now in the area of the world that produced the Bible, Ebla has established that sophisticated and extensive written culture existed well before Moses and even Abraham.„. After Ebla, we’ve got to take the Bible much more seriously as a historical document” (September 21, 1981, p. 77).

Other tablets at Ebla have provided information about the Exodus, when Israel fled from Egypt. Hans Goedicke, a prominent Egyptologist from Johns Hopkins University, has identified a tablet describing the Exodus from the Egytian perspective and dating the event to ca. i47SBC. That date is two centuries earlier than many of the world’s scholars accept, yet is in accord with the timeframe set by the Bible itself!

What about scholars who say that one author, Moses, did not write the first five books of the Bible? According to Time magazine, Bible scholar Yehuda Radday of Haifa’s Israel Institute of Technoloqy reports that a five-year computer study of the book of Genesis shows that it is the work of a single writer. Professor Radday and three associates studied the words of the Hebrew text and concentrated on 56 criteria of language behavior that are outside the conscious control of an author. He has reached the conclusion from his analysis that Genesis is the work of a single writer and that the “JEDP hypothesis” (the theory that Genesis is the work of multiple authors over a period of centuries) should be rejected.

We could go on and on. What we find when we shine the light of scientific scrutiny on the Bible is that the critics are the ones shown to be lacking, not the Bible.