Thursday, January 21, 2010

Oldest Hebrew Inscription Found (1000 BC)

Professor Gershon Galil (Department of Biblical Studies, University of Haifa) has deciphered an inscription on a pottery shard dated from the 10th century BC. This is now the earliest discovered Hebrew inscription. This broken piece of pottery was discovered provincial town in Judea in the Elah Valley which is in the hill country of Judah. This location is important not because it the location of David's battle with Goliath but because of its remote area away from Jerusalem. This means that if their writing was this developed in the Valley we can know they could be writing at the literary level used in the books of Judges or Samuel in Jerusalem at this time. The significance of this find is that we now have evidence supporting the earlier date for the writing of these scriptures.

Prof. Galil explains, “It can now be maintained that it was highly reasonable that during the 10th century BCE, during the reign of King David, there were scribes in Israel who were able to write literary texts and complex historiographies such as the books of Judges and Samuel.” He also noted that "the complexity of the text discovered in Khirbet Qeiyafa, (a fortress town) along with the impressive fortifications revealed at the site, refute the claims denying the existence of the Kingdom of Israel at that time." The existence of the nation of Israel and a kingdom of Jews at this time as proclaimed in the Bible is now confirmed. (The excavation of Khirbet Qeiyafa has recently revealed it had two gates, a unique feature compared to other towns. The two gates most like mean we should identify this site as the biblical Sha’arayim since this name means "two gates.")

Many liberal scholars have tried to rewrite the history of Israel without using the Bible and have only used archaeological evidence, i.e. based on archaeological evidence only. They are called minimalist since they claim very little of the Old Testament is historical. Minimalist often deny the existence of a Jewish state or kingdom and assign David and his kingdom to the realm of myth or legend. Finds like these force them to reconsider the Bible's historicity based on their own standard of validation. This archaeological find is evidence that the Bible is true and the theories that come against it are unfounded.

See the process of study of the potsherd HERE

A couple of articles: ONE . . . TWO

Photos of the Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Dig

Deciphered on January 7, 2010 by Professor Galil. The text lines say:
1 you shall not do [it], but worship the [Lord].
2 Judge the sla[ve] and the wid[ow] / Judge the orph[an]
3 [and] the stranger. [Pl]ead for the infant / plead for the po[or and]
4 the widow. Rehabilitate [the poor] at the hands of the king.
5 Protect the po[or and] the slave / [supp]ort the stranger.
Galyn Wiemers

Friday, January 15, 2010

Are Atheists more Academic Than Theists?

I have spent some time this week responding to a self-proclaimed atheist who began making comments on one of my online sites. His accusations towards me centered around my incompetence, even calling me an intellectual vandal. Later in the discussion, an "intellectual vandal" was basically described as a person who takes from the facts the information they need to make a presentation that they want. I agreed that I was not an academic nor educated at a level I can boast about. (I very often experience inner shame at my lack of knowledge in many fields of study.)

I admitted I did not understand quantum physics, Einsteins' theory of Relativity or how science arrives at Planck time. The challenge atheists often throw towards me is that I should not comment or defend the existence of God until I have a full grasp of these concepts. At the same time these critics give the impression that atheists not only think on the level of Einstein and Hawking, but have also wrestled to the mat difficult concepts like evil, human self-awareness, and time.

After several exchanges our online conversation began to become civil and the atheist asked me if I agreed that it seems that atheists are more academically developed than theists. I thought that was a very good question and one that could serve my purposes very well. In response to how the atheist framed the question I would have to answer, "Yes, atheists are more academically developed than theists." I have to say this because of my experience and my own level of knowledge. Typically, if an atheist is an atheist they know and understand the basic term "atheist." But, over the last many years when I teach believing Christians I have to explain the term "theist" to them. Although most Christians know what an atheist is, they do not know what a "theist" is. And, they would not describe themselves as one. The one thing Christians do know is who God is. And, this leads me to my next point.

One of the reasons an atheist may be more academically developed than a theist is that an atheist is trying to disprove what a Christian has already accepted - the existence of God. A Christian engaging in a debate about the existence of God would be like gathering evidence and engaging in a debate about the existence of the earth or the physical universe. Who wants to prove the obvious?

Atheists need to use science to prove God does not exist. They spend hours, even careers, pouring through information to build their case against the existence of God. The problem with this effort is that it really can not be done. Why? If science and material evidence can not be used to prove God does exist, then it must also be true that science and material evidence can not be used to prove God does not exist. What are they looking for? No foot prints of a nonexistent being? Are they hoping to find no corpse of a nonexistent god who has not been murdered? Any material evidence they find only proves more and more the likelihood of a being who did leave his footprints in creation and the reality of a God who is not dead but living.

Atheists attempt to use science to prove that God does not exist. Because of this atheists seek knowledge and information about higher, abstract theories and merely speculate with the pieces of evidence that God has provided. This is contrary to Christians. Christians not only know God exists, they also know God. Christians know God and seek knowledge and information about him. The Christian has a relation with the living God and is focused on developing that relationship, not focused simply on proving the existence of a being known as God. Knowing God - this is the labor of a theist. An atheist labors to prove there is no God. A theist labors to know the God that exists. This labor of the theist must, of course, involve seeking information about all the works of God including all his creation - the physical universe, man, philosophy, etc. The difference then is the atheist studies to prove the non existence of God, while the Christian studies to seek the God they already know.

It is no wonder then the atheists mock my pursuit and the One I am pursuing. Trying to keep up with the latest theory can become a distraction. If you are undecided then maybe you need to continue. If you are trying to "answer a fool according to his folly" then maybe you need to delve into the abyss of science. Nothing wrong with that. I decided about 10 years ago that the issue of evolution is settled for me. How much more the question of Gods' existence? I am now pursing knowledge of God and experiencing a life changing relationship with God - the Eternal One. I am not questioning his existence.

Galyn Wiemers