Archaeological and other external evidence

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by Peairtach, Nov 6, 2011.

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  1. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    What role - if any - should archaeological and other evidence external to Scripture have in the Reformed faith and apologetic?

     
  2. Rufus

    Rufus Puritan Board Junior

    I used to watch the Naked Archeologist on the History Channel here in the United States, the guy was Orthodox Jewish and seemed to defend what the Bible said against those who said "simply a story". I liked watching it.
     
  3. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I think although our faith is in God's Word, not uncertain and incomplete, archaeology, it can be useful to have some of these arguments to hand to silence the unbeliever on his own terms, but yet bring him back to Scripture and more solid presuppositional arguments. :2cents:
     
  4. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    On the one hand, all truth is God's truth. Archaeology, like all fields of science, may be used as a handmaiden. It is ideally possible for the science to follow biblical principles. On the other hand, "archaeology," as the name indicates, includes a "logos," a teaching. Somewhere in that "teaching" is an organised structure of epochs. "Archaeology" has already determined the macrostructure of the past it is digging up. The epochs are used as an interpretive filter in order to make sense of the data. The data is merely filling out the details, the microstructure. There is openness to theoretical revolution. Sometimes the data has become so prevalent that it has led to a new way of thinking with respect to the epochs. In the main, however, the data is usually understood in conformity with what is already believed. In this process, any data the Bible presents is usually forced to fit into the pre-existing macrostructure. Such "archaeology" serves to tell us more about what present science thinks about the past rather than what the past itself reveals to us.
     
  5. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Graduate

    Of course we can use "external evidences" like archaeology in the defense of the faith. But as Van Til would point out we must put archaeology in perspective. archaeology can only prove so much. We can prove that Jesus rose from the dead all day long but at the end of the day we have only proven that somebody rose from the dead not that God exists. Evidences have there uses but they only go so far. At the end of the day we must argue over presupositions along with evedences.
     
  6. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint Puritan Board Sophomore

    I recently witnessed to two Mormon missionaries and when I brought up the archaeological evidnce that sheds light upon the false histories claimed by Joseph Smith, they quickly stated that we all must look beyond archaeology and just have faith. These guys are really brain washed.
     
  7. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    There is not so much use of archaeology here, but the use of Scriptural data.
     
  8. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    You could have a video clip of Jesus' resurrection, and those with a hard heart would still refuse to believe. So from that perspective, archaeology has no bearing on our faith and apologetic. However, I find it extremely helpful to have the archeological discoveries that give us a clearer view of how people lived. And I use maps and photographic resources from archaeology to show my children (and whoever else is interested) that the Bible speaks of real people who lived in real places.
     
  9. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Graduate


    Well you both make good points. What I was trying to establish was that "evidences" no matter what they are (archeological or otherwise) only "prove" so much. I can give someone good evidence as to why I believe their spouse is cheating on them and still be mistaken. There is an inherent limit to how "useful" evidences can be but they are still useful.
     
  10. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    as long as archaeology is being used in a "faith seeking understanding" manner and not an "understanding to produce faith" manner I have no issues.
     
  11. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    We are using this DVD for our high school Sunday school class. I like how the lecturer, Dr. Stephen C. Meyer of the Discovery Institute, states the archaeological findings as corroborating Scripture. The fact that the city of Jericho has been discovered with the walls of the city having fallen out and making a ramp up into the city, rather than the walls falling in which would be the typical way a city would be attacked, doesn't prove that the Bible is God's inspired word. But it does corroborate what scripture says when it says that the people went up into Jericho.

    That's just one example, but things like stones with Israelite kings on it at least show that the history given in the Bible is sited by secular primary sources.

    When reading the account the other day of Jacob being embalmed, and then brought back to Canaan, I thought that maybe someday this Egyptian-styled mummy will be found in a non-Egyptian place (Canaan) which will help some stifle doubts of the Bible's historicity. I don't know if this stuff will be a satisfactory apologetic, but it does help me in overcoming my own doubts and questions.
     
  12. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint Puritan Board Sophomore

    Stumbling blocks to belief of historical events in scripture are a big deal if you ask me. I agree we shouldn't use archaeology alone to bring someone to faith, but it is a great tool for apologists to use to reason with believers and unbelievers alike. Archaeology in the 20th century until now is probably the best tool for verifying what skeptics have denied for a very long time--the accuracy of scriptural events. Archaeology can remove stumbling blocks that may open someone to hear the gospel with a softer heart.
     
  13. rookie

    rookie Puritan Board Sophomore

    As much as I enjoy watching documentaries on Archaeology, they can use the evidence for both sides. I have seen debates, that the Christian, had overwelming physical evidence (Kent Hovind, even though I don't agree with all his views) that earth is less than 7000 years old.

    Then the evolutionist would turn around and say "see, it all comes from a common point, and your bible, was written just like any other documentation of what was going on".

    So I see it that even though, Archaeology does support the bible very strongly, when it comes to winning people that want evidence, you have to get them on the trandescendance of God (I think that's the word I am looking for, God giving us morality from the start). Then that makes them realize, that evolution, being consistent, has no morality.

    Or did I go wayyyy off topic?? :doh:
     
  14. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    As if that was possible.


    I think that is the Holy Spirit's job.
     
  15. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    The Holy Spirit can use Archaeology to remove stumbling blocks that may open someone to hear the gospel with a softer heart. Better?
     
  16. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    In my opinion, not really.

    I do not see in Scripture where the Holy Spirit uses archaeology to inwardly call the elect. Scripture shows that it is through the Word that people are called after which regeneration, faith, and everything else follows.

    The historic position of the church has been that faith seeks understanding. It is not understanding seeking faith.

    The church should construct archaeological arguments, but they should be used to help Christians answer questions they have. It should be used to show them how the science of the world corresponds to what Scripture says. It is used to reinforce belief, not create it.
     
  17. heymike

    heymike Puritan Board Freshman

    Just to make a quick remark, I see in the the Bible the disciples using evidentiary arguments to compel people to believe in Christ.
     
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