Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. He has authored several books on a variety of topics including Archaeology
People Doubt the Bible
Since the rise of science, more than a few people have taken the position that if science cannot provide physical evidence for a given event, then that event did not take place.
This position is often used by doubters of the Bible to dismiss or ignore biblical accounts they do not like. Whatever reason they may have for this is not the point of this article.
The focus of this article is to point out that the absence of physical evidence is not is not proof that a given event did not take place. It is actually virtually impossible to uncover physical evidence for many events, historical authors and so on.
Why that is so is not so obscure that it takes a scholar to uncover them. A little research would lead many to the same information that will be disclosed here.
Erosion is a daily enemy
In his book, The Bible In Its World, Mr Kenneth Kitchen pointed out that erosion is one of the biggest enemies archaeology faces. It works up to 24 hours a day and up to 7 days a week. Archaeologists cannot excavate fast enough to overcome this difficult enemy.
The act of erosion takes any victims as the exposed ancient remains also have no defenses against the assault. Information is lost and it is not known how much has been destroyed over the centuries.
Excavation sites are too small
Also,in the same book, Mr. Kitchen demonstrated that archaeological excavations are just too limited to produce all the information once held or is still being held at different ancient sites. At best, only as little as 2 to 5% of any given ancient site under excavation is ever uncovered.
This leaves the archaeologist with little to no information to use to uncover the past. Up to 95% of the information is lost and not expected to be recovered no matter how technologically advanced archaeologists become.
What this means is that any physical evidence referring to the Exodus will be destroyed or never recovered. We know there was some because Rahab told the 2 Israeli spies that the entire population of Jericho heard what God had done for the Hebrews and to the Egyptians when the former left that latter’s country (Joshua 2).
With missing information it is actually irrational to declare that an event did not take place.
Even in Sinai life happens
One of the things that has handicapped archaeology is that life goes on. Old artifacts are destroyed, misplaced or moved to new locations. Even in desert regions like the Sinai, there are people who travel it and walk over ancient remains.
Nomads could easily pick up old objects and take them with them as they travel. This act would ruin the provenance of the old items and place on it the wrong information. The unknowing archaeologist then, on discovery, attach the faulty information to their discovery hiding the truth forever.
Wars & natural disasters
These events are out of the archaeologist’s control. While their are known military movements throughout the Sinai and known natural disasters, for example earthquakes, it Is not known how many have taken place over 4,000 years approx.
What military personal and vehicles can do to ancient sites is not measured. Nor are the results of what earthquakes have done between the Exodus and modern archaeological investigations.
These actions would also work with erosion to further remove valuable artifacts detailing the Exodus or removing other evidence for it from existence. The lack of evidence Is not due to the event not taking place but due to the enemies of archaeology.
Dating does not help
Dr. David Tee in his book, Archaeology & the Unwary Believer, has shown that dating is not an exact science. In fact, it is a very subjective scientific tool. His table of 5 to 6 archaeologists reveals that whole these archaeologists remain close in their dates, their is conflict between them.
This conflict can cast doubt on the conclusions of the archaeologists. If they cannot agree on the exact time frame of different historical eras, how can they be trusted to produce the correct dates for other historical events?
One example is the Ipuwer Papyrus. While it describes the plagues almost exactly as the Bible does, archaeologists and scholars date it to about a couple of hundred years prior to the Exodus.
There is no valid or logical reason to do this, especially when no such event at that time period was recorded in any ancient document. The subjective nature of dating the past and the personal bias of the different archaeologists tend to hide physical evidence that would support the biblical exodus account.
The Exodus & physical evidence
The Exodus is very powerless and vulnerable. It can do nothing to defend itself and protect its validity. Its very existence is in the hands of those who came thousands of years later.
This makes the Exodus very vulnerable as well, as these modern researchers have a very free hand to draw the conclusions they want based on what they have or have not uncovered. There is little stopping them from misrepresenting the biblical account.
The good news is that God never gave instructions in the Bible to use physical evidence to determine if a biblical event is true or not. He knew that the enemies of material culture cited above would remove almost all of the evidence left behind by the Hebrews.
That is why the lack of evidence is not a problem for the Christian. The validity of a biblical event does not rest on what can be proven by archaeologists today. It is only a problem for those who want to see physical evidence before they accept the historicity of a biblical event.
As can be seen, for the Exodus at least, those people wanting physical evidence to prove it true are out of luck. It is gone, lost forever due to the facts of life and time.
There is evidence for the Exodus, it is just not accepted by those researchers and other people who do not agree with the Bible.
© 2018 David Thiessen
Liz Westwood from UK on December 24, 2018:
The Bible will always be a source of discussion between those who believe it and seek to live by its principles and those who want to disprove it. Personally I tend to duck out of it and prefer to focus on the positive God-given message that comes through the Bible than get caught up in proving or disproving it.