Saturday, April 28, 2007

We've got a big problem.

According to the chronology in the Bible, particularly in Genesis 11, the flood happened about 2300 BC (or 2500 BC, depending on the length of the Israelite sojourn in Egypt -- only a 215 year difference). The tower of Babel would have happened about 100 years later, so about 2200 BC. We know that all civilizations were started by the descendents of Noah after they were dispersed from the tower. This would include Egypt. So, if we think Biblically, then we come to the conclusion that Egypt was founded at or after 2200 BC (or 2400 BC at the earliest).
So, what's the big problem? Well, many very well meaning Christians (even many young-earth creationists) are pushing back the date of the flood and the tower, and explaining away the chronological information in Genesis 11, because the archaeological evidence tells us that Egypt and other ancient civilizations have been around since before 3000 BC.
Eeeeeeeeeeeennnnngggg! Wrong. The archaeological evidence does not tell us that. The standard interpretation of the evidence, propogated by most secular and christian archaeologists, tells us that.
That is a very important distinction. A distinction that every Biblicist should automatically make.
Folks, the archaeological evidence does not demand that we accept that post-flood civilzation has been around since before 3000 BC, any more than the astronomical or geological evidence requires us to believe the earth is billions of years old. Just as there are alternative explanations for geological and astronomical evidence that fit within the Bible's framework, so there are alternative explanations for the archaeological evidence, which conform to the Bible's chronology. Explanations which start with Biblical assumptions, instead of taking for granted what the archaeologists say.

Let me illustrate this. When we approach the Bible, we need to ask, "What does it say?" This includes reading Genesis 11. According to all the normal rules of hermenutics, we conclude that the genealogy is also a chronology -- a chronogenealogy. When most Biblical Archaeologists (even young-earth, global flood ones) read this passage, they are keeping in mind what they already "know" to be true from archaeology (that is, the accepted interpretation of the evidence). In other words, they are not asking, "What does the text say?" But rather, "How does the text NOT say something I know it can't say (because it's not true -- science has proved that)?"

This is what we should be asking. "So, the Bible says one thing, and the scientists say something else. What mistakes have the scientists made in their reasoning that has led to their erronious conclusion?"

1 comment:

Nathaniel said...

Yeah, it's not really that hard to figure things out. You just have to start in the right place! Science will NEVER disprove the bible, if it looks like it does, then that is a sure sign that you need to re-evaluate your theory or facts.