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Archaeology: What do we learn

Updated on August 28, 2019
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Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. He has authored several books on a variety of topics including Archaeology

Archaeology digs up past cultures

That is the truth. Archaeology and archaeologists have done wonders uncovering our human history throughout the years. A recent discovery at Gath has shown that there was much more to the city than originally thought.

It lay hidden for the 23 years the chief archaeologist, Aren Maier, has dug at the site. With nothing against Dr. Maier, the question rises was this actually an original city constructed by the Philistines or was it in existence when the Philistine immigrated to the Levant?

This is one of the things we learn through archaeology. Nothing is as it seems. Uncovering the original inhabitants of Gath would be like trying to uncover the original inhabitants of Honolulu.

There is just to much post establishment issues that cloud the truth.

The information is not there

This is another aspect of archaeology that people learn through their different studies. Rarely do archaeologists uncover ancient manuscripts that discuss daily life, or expose how buildings were used, what kind of legal system thy had and so on.

In K.A. Kitchen’s book, The Bible In Its World, the author describes for us the ravages of time and their effect on human crafted items. If 95 to 98% of a city cannot survive erosion and other natural destructive forces, what makes anyone think that we will find manuscripts, books, written records and other pieces of information that provide the details we need to see the truth about our past.

This lack of contemporary verification opens a door into another lesson we learn from archaeology. Without ancient confirmation, modern archaeologists are free to construct the past in any way they see fit. And it is done on a daily basis.

There is no ancient record guiding the archaeologist in their assumptions, conjectures or hypothesis. The past is very vulnerable to the beliefs or unbeliefs and other influences that work unfettered by reality and the truth.

This void has led to some wild theories

If you study archaeology long enough you will see that the field is divided into many camps. Some archaeologists totally dismiss the biblical record, while others do not. Some archaeologists construct wild theories , for example one such man thought the Jews were able to carry heavy jars filled with scrolls through the Roman blockade with relative ease to secure the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran.

Others tend to create a picture where the people of the past were vastly different from modern people. Again, others do not make that mistake. Then there are those archaeologists who think every ancient manuscript discovered speaks the truth. They do this forgetting that the ancients were as susceptible to temptation, greed and other sins.

What we learn from archaeology in this case is that many modern archaeologists do not want the truth. Instead, they want to be king makers and create their own ancient story from the scant remains that are uncovered.

Museums hold a wealth of information

Then when you tour museums and talk to different archaeologists, you learn another lesson from archaeology. There are not enough people working in the field to handle the amount of material that is uncovered on a daily basis.

The theories about our past are constructed without the benefit of knowing the knowledge contained in these museums. There is just too much of it for the few archaeologists to go through and make careful translations and so on.

Even the Biblical Archaeology sub field produces far more material than can be handled by the small archaeological community dedicated to this field of research. More people are needed to glean the lost information and see how it helps reshape the world of our ancient ancestors.

There are biblical lessons to be learned as well

The first major lesson to be learned by Christians who enter this field of study is that unbelieving archaeologists do not follow God’s rules. Misinformation is forever being published by the latter distorting the real record of the past.

If nothing else, the Christian archaeologist must follow God’s rules if there is hope of finding the truth about the lives of those who lived long before this modern age. Then they must work hard to keep their unbelieving counterpart honest in their reports, discoveries and so on.

Another biblical lesson that is learned is the truthfulness and validity of the Bible. Even the small verse written by Solomon in the 10th century BC is shown t be true by archaeology.

Solomon wrote in Ecc. 1:9 that there is nothing new under the sun. This is proven not just in the Holy Land but in all archaeological digs around the world. In India, they found well organized square street pattern that pre-date the modern city’s use of the same design by thousands of years.

Children’s games are uncovered as are knic knacks, furniture, metal objects and more. The examples can be listed ad nauseam here demonstrating that the Bible is not wrong.

Archaeology does not disprove the Bible

Nelson Glueck said it first about 50 years ago that there has been no archaeological discovery that has shown the Bible to be in error. I have added to that declaration and have seen that since that archaeologist’s death, there have still not been one archaeological discovery that has proven the Bible false.

In spite of the minimalists and other unbelieving archaeologists discovery upon discovery has shown the bible to be true. No other religion or religious work can claim such a record.

We learn from archaeology that God is right. Even though we do not have archaeological or scientific evidence for much of the contents of the Bible, we know those records are true because archaeology has proven that God does not lie.

Archaeology tells us that we can have confidence in every word of the Bible, including the Book of Revelation.

Some final words

Studying archaeology teaches us a lot about the past. People lived, invented, built, played and more. They also died as we come across their cemeteries and stone coffins.

The greatest lesson we can learn from this field of research is that the Bible is true and its contents bring hope to this world. It also shows us how to have eternal life. Those are great lessons to be learned.

© 2019 David Thiessen


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