A Brief Sample of Old Testament Archaeological Corroboration

I’ve learned to test witnesses in my criminal investigations before trusting their testimony, and I evaluate them with the template we typically use in jury trials. One dimension of this template is corroboration: Is there any verifying evidence supporting the claims of the eyewitness? Corroborative evidence is what I refer to as “touch point” evidence. I don’t expect a surveillance video confirming every statement made by a witness, but I do expect small “touch point” corroborations. The authors of the Bible make a variety of historical claims, and many of these claims are corroborated by archaeological evidence. Archaeology is notoriously partial and incomplete, but it does offer us “touch point” verification of many Biblical claims. Here are just a few of the more impressive findings related to the Old Testament:
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Could Light Exist Before the Sun?

God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light (Genesis 1:3).

 

Isn’t it contradictory to say light was created on the first day, yet the sun wasn’t created until the fourth day?

 

Some have suggested that on the first day God created light, as well as all other types of what is called electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Some who hold this view believe God created the light of the sun and moon on the first day, but it only became visible on the fourth day as the atmosphere of the Earth became transparent.

 

Visible light is just a small part of the entire spectrum of EMR. The visible light range or wavelength of what we can see with the naked eye is from about 380 nanometers (NM) to about 740 NM. But the electromagnetic spectrum is much broader. It extends from low frequencies used for radio broadcasts, which we cannot see to very high frequencies of gamma radiation, which again are beyond our vision. This means electromagnetic radiation covers wavelengths from thousands of kilometers down to a fraction of the size of an atom. What we see with the human eye is only a very small part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
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Devils and Demons: What is Evil?

Human beings first experienced evil when the original couple exercised the power of free will and chose to distrust God and go against him. Since we know evil exists, what is it exactly? Is evil an entity, a thing that exists in and of itself, outside of the free will of a human being?

 

Scripture clearly states that God created everything (see John 1:1-3 and Colossians 1:15-17). And if we accept that evil is a reality, how can we say he didn’t create it? The answer lies in the fact that evil is not a thing or substance or entity to be created. Rather, evil is the corruption of a good thing that God did in fact make. Let’s explain.

 

God made humans and it was good. This is repeated multiple times in Genesis 1. He gave humans the power of free will, and that was good as well. This means he gave them the choice to believe he was the arbiter of right and wrong and that he knew what was best for them when he said not to eat of a certain fruit—and that was good. When the first humans believed he did not know what was best for them—which was the corrupting of a particular good thing—evil was then born.
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The Original Fantasy Story?

Passage: God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it” (Genesis 1:27-28). Difficulty: Doesn’t the science of genetics refute the concept that the entire population of the world came from just one couple?

 

Explanation: Over the past couple of decades researchers have used “population genetics” to estimate initial population size of the human species. By studying human genetic diversity in the present day, they have tried to extrapolate back to determine the minimum size of the original population of humans necessary to produce the diversity we observe today. Some have argued that it is impossible for civilization to have come from one human couple.
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Do We Need Another Youth Conference?

"Do we really need another youth conference?"

Well, our Rethink Student Apologetics Conference preregistration numbers suggest we do. With over 400 students, youth leaders, and parents already signed up, we have further evidence that youth are hungry for this kind of conference.  Why? Because it's not the typical youth camp or conference, where students may be entertained, may have alot of "fun," may be wowed with bells and whistles, but who may not walk away equipped with anything more than a temporary hyped-up experience. 

Students want parents and church leadership to step up their training.  The Center for Parent & Youth Understanding (CPYU) conducted interviews with students who had grown up in the church and were now in college. This is the kind of thing CPYU heard again and again:  

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Do Christians Worship Three Gods?

The idea that God is three in one has confused many people. Just what does it mean that God is a Trinity?

 

The Bible teaches there is but one God. This is called monotheism. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4 niv). Jesus quoted this scripture in Mark 12:29, confirming that there is just one God. So how is it that people call God a Trinity—how, some people ask, can there be three Gods, yet one?

 

God being a Trinity does not mean there are three Gods. God exists as three persons, yet he is one being. Each person of the Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—has a separate identity while yet possessing the full nature of God.

 

Jesus is the divine Son of God. This does not mean that Jesus was created by God. In fact, Scripture tells us plainly that he has always co-existed with God (see John 1:1-3). Jesus himself declared he had eternally co-existed with his Father. And on the basis of that declaration the Jewish leaders plotted to kill him, saying, “He called God his Father, thereby making himself equal with God” (  John 5:18). Paul the apostle declared Jesus to be deity. “Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise!” (Romans 9:5). The writer of Hebrews says, “The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God” (Hebrews 1:3).
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Most Parents Aren't Ready to Train Their Own Kids

I’ve never had someone cry after my atheist role-play.  Until now.

In September, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of parents from Village Academy Christian School in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  Earlier in the day, I taught the junior and senior high students at chapel and spoke to three different twelfth grade classes.  I role played an atheist with the seniors, to give them a glimpse of the intellectual challenges awaiting them at college, and decided to give the parents, who had come out for an evening lecture, a glimpse in the same way.

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May the Force Be With You

When we think of God, we may imagine the powerful Creator sitting on his throne in heaven. We may think of him in human form as Jesus, the Savior of the World. But do we view him as the Holy Spirit? Just who is God in the person of the Holy Spirit?

Some people believe the Holy Spirit is simply the influence of good—like the “good force” of the universe. But the Holy Spirit is actually a person—the third person of the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). Jesus referred to the Spirit as a person when he said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth” (  John 14:16-17).

The Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of God. He has a mind and feelings. He makes choices. Scripture says, “He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit” (Romans 8:27 niv). Scripture also tells us that the Spirit can feel. We are not to “bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live” (Ephesians 4:30). He makes choices as to who will receive what spiritual gifts. “It is the one and only Spirit who distributes these gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:11). Also, the apostle Peter told a man named Ananias, “You lied to the Holy Spirit” (Acts 5:3). Ananias wasn’t lying to an influence; he was lying to a person. Peter added, “You weren’t lying to us but to God” (Acts 5:4).

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Is God Male or Female?

To ask the question, “Is God male or female?” is somewhat like asking if God is right- or left-handed. Or is his first language English or Spanish? Truth is, he is not confined by our human or material world. He created us in his image, but he is unlike us in many, many ways.

Jesus said, “God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth” (  John 4:24). It is true that God took on human form in the person of Jesus, who of course was male, yet God does not exist as a material or physical being. So in that sense he is neither male nor female as we know the human sexes.

At the same time, God has chosen to create and use imagery of himself that is both masculine and feminine. Of course he refers to himself as Father and Jesus as the Son of God, which are both masculine imagery. Yet Jesus spoke of himself in feminine imagery when he said, “How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me” (Matthew 23:37).

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Book Review: Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace

Let me put my cards on the table.  J. Warner Wallace (Jim to those who know him personally) is one of my best friends.  For almost 10 years, we’ve been invested in each other’s life.  We’ve done ministry together.  We’ve served in the local church together.  We’ve led student mission trips together.  Our families have spent time together (my teenage daughter regularly crashes at his house and gets spoiled by Jim’s wonderful wife, Susie).  And now we’re speaking together, as colleagues at Stand to Reason.  Jim is a close friend, partner, and ally.  

So yes, as I offer a review of Jim’s book, Cold Case Christianity (CCC), you could argue that I’m biased.  However, if you dismiss my book review as unreliable on the sole basis of bias, then you need to read Jim’s book!  In chapter 14, he deals with a similar charge of bias against the disciples.  And had you read it already, you’d know bias does not preclude one from being reliable, as Jim’s “Mark Hillian” illustration demonstrates (see page 246).  So, don't dismiss this review before you consider the reasons why I think you need to read Jim’s book. 

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