Diggin’ up the Bible 3 (Abraham)

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Many Bible critics believe that Abraham, the man recorded by Scripture to be the father of the Jewish and Arab races, as well as the father of three major world religions (Judaism, Muslim, Christianity) never existed. Their reasoning: no ancient stone tablets or writings have ever been unearthed recording his existence, therefore he must have been a figure of mythology. Today, I would like to exam some historical evidence that helps to validate the possibility of Abraham’s existence.

In Genesis 11-21 we read that Abraham’s wife, Sara, is unable to provide him a son from her own womb so she suggests he take her maidservant, Keturah, as a secondary wife, in hopes that Keturah can provide him this male heir. Abraham concedes to Sara’s request and Keturah becomes pregnant, giving birth to a child Abraham names Ishmael. Ten years later, when Sara bares a son, Ishmael loses his position as firstborn to this new child, Isaac. When Abraham transfers the firstborn birthright from Ishmael to Isaac, it means that Isaac will now receive the firstborn’s double portion of inheritance. Upon Isaac’s weaning, when Sara sees Ishmael mocking him, she demands that he and his mother be expelled from camp, saying that Ishmael should receive no inheritance with her son—meaning the single portion allotted the second born. Abraham goes to God concerning the situation and the Lord instructs him to do as Sara has requested. Abraham is heartbroken over the decision, but God promises to provide for Ishmael and to make him into a great nation.

How can this set of details help to validate the historicity of the Scripture? First, we discover within its framework several unique facts that could easily disqualify it from being real history if they were proven to not fit into the historical reality of Abraham’s day. For example, why would any woman ask her husband to take another woman—a younger one at that—as a secondary wife? Next, what gives this wife the right to offer her husband this surrogate child bearer? Also, if this servant-wife does give birth to a male child, why would this child not keep the position of eldest son even if the primary wife later births a son? Finally, notice that Sara throws a fit concerning Ishmael receiving any inheritance, meaning that even though Isaac was to inherit a double portion, Ishmael was to inherit some too. How do these details add strength to the historicity of the Bible?

Between the Code of Hammurabi (a well-preserved Babylonian set of laws followed in the region of Mesopotamia dating back to around 1772 B.C.—Abraham’s era) and the Nuzi Law (over 5,000 family and administrative archives spanning from 1450-1350 BC discovered during an excavation at Nuzi from 1925-1933) we discover that Abraham’s story fits perfectly within the framework of Abraham’s era. For example, between these two archeological finds we learn that if a primary wife was unable to give her husband a male heir it was not only her responsibility, but her obligation, to provide him a servant-wife to serve as surrogate child bearer. Next, if this servant-wife gave birth to a son, the primary wife would then adopt and raise that child as her own. He would be the legal heir to all her husband’s possessions. But, according to the Nuzi Law, if the primary wife later gave birth to a son the husband was given the right to elevate this son to the position of first-born. This meant that he would inherit a double portion upon his father’s death and the servant’s son a single portion. Also, the father could choose to leave his entire inheritance to his primary wife’s son.

Sound familiar? In a moment of weakness, after waiting for so many years for the promised son, Abraham and Sara succumbed to the traditional surrogate means of their day. Thus, Abraham’s story fits perfectly into the ancient laws practiced in the Mesopotamian region of his era.

Diggin’ up the Bible 2 (Hittites)

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When studying ancient works of antiquity, the universal rule followed is that any history recorded in ancient documents is always accepted as accurate until proven false. Yet only in the case of the Bible is this rule reversed—all biblical history is considered mythology (by secular historians) until proven accurate. For example, the Old Testament mentions a people descending from Noah’s great-grandson, Heth, known as the Hittites. This great nation is mentioned more than 50 times in the Bible and is recorded to be a great ruling power in the area of Syria and eastern Turkey. Yet for centuries there was no archeological evidence to support the existence of this great Hittite civilization, therefore biblical critics used it as proof of the supposed mythology contained in the Bible. Yet now, due to the study of archeology, we know that this great Hittite civilization did exist and was indeed a superpower in its day—causing the rise and fall of many.

The first archeological evidence confirming the existence of the Hittites was found on tablets at the Assyrian colony of Kultepe (Karum Kanesh). Archeological expeditions to Hattusa in 1906 produced an entire sets of royal archives in cuneiform tablets—over 10,000—producing even more evidence of the existence of this great civilization. In this expedition we learned that the ruins at Bogazkoy were the remains of the capital of the Hittite empire.

Spiritually speaking, I believe one of the Hittites’ greatest contributions to mankind is its assistance in validating the Bible as actual history and not mere mythology. With the indisputable proof of the existence of this great empire, Christians once again see evidence that the Bible, God’s Word to mankind, is exactly as it claims—a history of the world.

Creation Versus Evolution Study for Youth

My “Creation Versus Evolution: A Biblical and Scientific Study” is now available for Christian schools, home school students and church youth groups. This course was developed over a seven year period while teaching high school students at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy and covers the topic from a wide variety of angles. It was designed to evaluate and contrast the biblical story of creation with Darwin’s theory of evolution by examining what the Bible actually teaches, the scientific evidence in support of the biblical creation story, and how operational science is consistent with the Bible and inconsistent with the theory of evolution. It is available at the link below.


Buddhism: A Religion of Slavery

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Have you ever watched the sitcom series, “My Name is Earl”? In this series an ex con artist named Earl, due to a set of unusual circumstances, decides that karma is against him. The series centers on Earl’s attempt to fix his bad karma by making up for his previous evil deeds by righting individuals he has wronged. Karma, in this series, is presented in a humorous manner and no doubt causes multitudes of people to laugh, yet most of these individuals probably have no clue that the idea of karma is actually based on the biblical principle: what you sew you shall also reap. The difference: while the Bible teaches you will reap what you have sown, Karma, as taught and practiced in the Buddhist religion, is the foundation for the belief of reincarnation and is no laughing matter. In fact, it has destroyed the lives of many.

When my daughter (Mary) approached me about traveling to Thailand for three months, a foreign country whose entire culture is centered on the Buddhist belief of karma, I cringed. Of course, my first concern was for her safety. With the evil enterprise of slave trafficking on the rise, a tall, slender and beautiful American visiting a country where slave trafficking is the norm was most frightening. I had to keep reminding myself that Mary was safer in God’s will in Thailand than out of his will at home.

I’ve been posting her Thailand blogs for several weeks now without comment, letting her experiences and thoughts speak for themselves, but now I would like to conclude this series with my own thoughts.

First, I was appalled to discover that these precious souls were usually sold into this evil enterprise by their own families, yet blame it on karma. As Mary wrote, “If she were born a boy, serving in the temple as a Monk for a few weeks would earn enough good karma to outweigh a lifetime of bad and would bring unfathomable honor to the family. But, as a woman, in a family that is either poor or simply wants more wealth and prestige, duty, honor and Buddha require the ultimate sacrifice, a life of abuse and slavery to provide for those very ones who are so demanding and yet so ashamed of her existence.”

One paragraph in particular that speaks volumes concerning how Buddhism destroys lives reads, “Today, I witnessed tragedy in the eyes of a young prostitute as she wept before Buddha, begging health for her family who sent her to work the streets and forgiveness for her wretched state and cursed life. Society looks down upon her and even her family despises her. But this life is payment to Buddha for the bad karma earned in her previous life. She believes—because Buddhism teaches—that everything that happens to her has been earned by her own hand and is deserved. There is no such thing as mercy, only debt. In her mind, the only chance for peace and redemption lay in selling the one possession she has, her body, to take care of her family.”

“Or, maybe she is a wife whose husband wants more money, so each day she slaves to take care of her family and each night she is dropped off by her husband to work the street. It is not the status of the girl in a family that determines her fate, it is the desires of others and the status of a gender Buddha did not consider worthy of value or honor.”

Mary worked with these precious girls each evening. She said, “. . . they are animated and sweet. Then when they have to get up and dance on the stage naked or mostly naked with bright neon lights and mirrors filling the entire room, with all the men saying and doing various things, their faces turn into masks. . . . vacant eyes stare out from the faces that pray they will please Buddha enough in this life to have a better spot next go around . . . We see Buddha’s everywhere with food, drinks and incense surrounding them. The girls pray to be purified constantly and for forgiveness for the lives they are living.”

Second, don’t ever believe that all religions are the same, that it doesn’t really matter which one you follow because every religion leads to God. Buddhism is a religion straight from hell. Can you think of any worse type of slavery than to believe you must submit to sexual abuse for your religion’s sake? These ladies, oppressed and scorned by the world, pray and worship the very deity that enslaves them.

Mary commented, “I weep for this people who reject the Alpha and Omega for a tottering statue decorated by the creative mind of man. . . . One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess who is Lord and it will not be Buddha. One day . . . truth will reveal every lie and each falsehood will be destroyed. The innocent, weak, and poor will be oppressed no longer . . . but until that day both the oppressed and the oppressor need the love and grace of Christ for both are enslaved.”

In closing, I want to thank God for organizations like Beginnings where precious souls living in darkness and abuse can hear about the God who loves them.