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Archaeology’s Double Standard

Updated on April 12, 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

First a clarification

There are two things that need to be clarified before delving into the subject of this article. First, this double standard is found in all secular science’s research fields and not limited to archaeology.

Second, not all archaeologists and scientists practice this double standard. But there are enough of both to make this article necessary.

Objectivity is not the standard

I have read quite few of Dr. Dever’s books and sat through many of his lectures. Yet the things that he said in his work, Did God Have a Wife, stand out the most. I am going to quote two different statements he makes in that book to show the current secular archaeologist’s position on different discoveries

This is a book that, although it hopes to be true to the facts we know, does not attempt objectivity; for that is impossible and perhaps even undesirable

That statement is found on page ix of his introduction. Dr. Dever lets his readers know exactly where his content lies. The next statement comes from page 83 and deals with the exact same topic:

…And not since the death of 19th century positivism have any respectable historians been naïve enough to think that they could be entirely objective.

We have all heard how science is objective, yet as we can see from these words, no one really and truly believes any one is objective especially in the field of archaeology and the rest of science.

Objectivity is rarely displayed

When Eilat Mazar announced she had found a 10th century BC wall in Jerusalem some years back, the archaeological world took notice. Another famous archaeologist, Israel Finkelstein, visited her site to see with his own eyes what she had uncovered.

He wrote a paper for a Tel Aviv University Journal, which I have read, and made a case for his opposition to Dr. Mazar’s dating of the wall. Throughout the article Dr. Finkelstein’s bias was clear. He did not look at the wall or any artifacts with any sense of objectivity.

Objectivity is a tool that is wielded by the secular world only when it benefits them. Of course, Dr. Finkelstein could not really be objective or in support of Dr. Mazar’s discovery. If he was, he would be undermining his lower chronology that he uses to re-date many biblical events and down play the roles of Kings David & Solomon.

Objectivity is avoided when the secular scientist is confronted with evidence that shows that their theories and ideas are in error. Honesty is also a victim in these circumstances.

The Double Standard

We need to return to Dr. Dever’s book to illustrate the double standard that exists in archaeology as well as other scientific fields. You can find the following quote on page 71 and it says:

The perspective of all the biblical writers is a factor that limits their usefulness in another regard. It is no exaggeration to say that all the biblical literature…constitutes what is essentially propaganda. The writers make no pretense to objectivity.

What Dr. Dever reserves for himself and other secular archaeologists he doe snot grant to the biblical writers. He condemns them for doing the exact same thing he did in his book and other works. He refuses to be objective yet doe snot allow anyone else the same right.

He calls the biblical books propaganda but we can attach the same label to his words. He made no effort to look for the truth but boldly wrote his opinion and views. Then he did not care what anyone else thought or if he hit the truth. Only his opinion mattered.

This is not to mention how little he thinks of the biblical writers. His words ‘...limits their usefulness...’ gives his readers exactly his opinion of the content of the Bible. Because the biblical writers did not include a lot of modern scientific and archaeological methods and thought, he dismisses them as useless.

Can the Biblical authors be objective

I am not going to beat around the bush here and provide a long winded answer. Of course they could not be objective. They were in the employment of God, writing the truth down so all men could know what the truth was and is.

God was not creating theories, conjectures or trying to describe what he witnesses in scientific terms. He told his writers the truth and expected them to copy those words down. God then went on to preserve his word so that everyone had or has a chance to see it.

There is no room for objectivity when it comes to bringing God’s word to the people. There is also no room for objectivity in the church. The church is God’s representatives, his servants and the church should be telling everyone exactly what God said in the Bible.

It doesn’t matter if science or archaeology disagrees. The church is not to be objective but spread the truth to everyone. The truth is found in God’s word if people are honest enough to let the spirit of truth lead them to it.

The good and faithful servant

There is a passage in the Bible that talks about the good and faithful servant and also about a bad steward. The bad steward did not go about his master’s business honestly and was punished for it.

The good and faithful servant is one who is lead to the truth, accepts it, then brings it to others. He is not objective but honest and lets everyone know what God has said. Even when science and archaeology disagrees.

No matter what theories etc., that secular archaeologists and scientists come up with, if it disagrees with the Bible or claims the Bible is wrong, then it is not the Bible that is in error. It is the secular archaeologist and scientist that is making the mistake and erroneously telling people about something that did not happen.

The archaeological double standard seeks to silence the truth

© 2019 David Thiessen


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