“D” in Australia asks:
Just one question which I have been struggling on. Supposing Old Earth Creationism and the biblical story fit together, to we just presume that God randomly picked Abraham out of nowhere sometime around -3000BC, or did his ancestors know of the Hebrew God?
Secondly, does archaeology affirm\falsify some biblical accounts? And are there any well-known Christian archaeologists today?
Mark Riser – Apologist responds:
Thanks “D” for your questions. Your first question was about Abraham. Abraham is one of the great characters in the Bible. The story of his journey to Canaan begins in Genesis 11 when his father Terah begins the journey with his family (Gen. 11:31). After settling in Haran, Terah dies. In Genesis 12, Abram receives the call of God to finish the journey with God’s promise of blessing. Abram was seventy-five years old when he began the move to Canaan (Gen. 12:4).
Did God choose Abram, later to become Abraham, “randomly?” I would say no. We have to admit that Abram was a flawed man and was prone to lying, fear, and a lack of faith. However, God knew his heart and knew that Abram would make the free will choices to follow God and that would fulfill God’s plan.
Were there others who were following God? The writer of Genesis indicates that early in mankind’s history people began to seek God (Gen. 4:26). God, in his sovereignty and knowledge, chose Abraham to carry out His task.
Your second question concerned archaeology and the Biblical accounts. Archaeological discoveries help us place events in historical context and help us confirm events, giving greater confidence to the believer. One such discovery came when researchers discovered that the walls of Jericho fell outward. This would have created a ramp through which an invading Israelite army could have entered and conquered the city. Another discovery was of an inscription discovered in 1961 which contained the name Pontius Pilate. The “Pilate stone” also used his correct title as Prefect of Judea.
Are there Christians out there doing the “dirty work” of archaeology? My alma mater, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, is working to lead in this work through their programs. They have done work at Tel Gezer, which was one of three fortified city during the time of Solomon
One great resources on Biblical archeology that I have used as a teaching tool is “Is the Bible Reliable?” It is a 10-session DVD-based teaching study of Biblical backgrounds taught by Dr. Stephen Meyer, which supports the reliability of the Bible.