Validating the Old Testament:
Proving the Divine Inspiration of the Old
Testament through External Evidence
"Come now, and let’s reason together," ~ God (Isaiah 1.18)
What Do You Think?
- Has God manifested His will to humanity, and if so how?
- Have there been any divinely inspired documents or religious texts?
- Is the Old Testament the divinely inspired word of God?
- 2 Samuel 22.16 and Psalm 18.15;
"Then the channels of the sea appeared.
The foundations of the world were laid bare..."
- The channels these verses are referring to are valleys (see NIV translation) or underwater canyons.
- Remarkably James Alden was the first to discover these canyons, and this occurred in 1857 AD.1
- The prevailing assumption was that the bottom of the oceans was flat, and it was not until the nineteenth century AD that science concluded otherwise.
- How did King David living around 1000 BC discern something modern man has only recently discovered?2
"“Have you entered into the springs of the sea?
Or have you walked in the recesses of the deep?"
- Also referred to as "fountains of the deep" in Genesis 7.11, 8.2 and Proverbs 8.28
- Modern man was not aware of these freshwater springs until the 20th century with the advent of submarines.
- Ancient Hawaiians were aware of them and used them as a freshwater source.
- They would dive down and fill there gourds with the freshwater and then return back up.3
- France has harnessed once such sea spring as a source of freshwater.
- It spews out an incredible 100 liters/sec.4
- Most scholars consider Job the oldest book in the Bible, and Job was likely a contemporary of Abraham (approx 2000 BC).
- Job probably had little or no naval experience.
- How then could Job have known about the fountains of the deep?
"...the fish of the sea,
and whatever passes through the paths of the seas."
- Matthew Maury's son read this very passage to him while he was lying sick in bed. This verse aroused Maury's curiosity to such a degree that as soon as he recovered he determined to find that which the Bible declared.5 In the mid-nineteenth century he discovered these paths in the sea: ocean currents and Maury himself was nicknamed the "Pathfinder of the Seas".6
- Among other things these currents transport both fish and plankton.
- How did King David, a man never known to have traveled on the sea or water, know about these paths when modern man did not learn of them until the early 1800s?
"For he draws up the drops of water,
which distill in rain from his vapor,
which the skies pour down
and which drop on man abundantly."
- Psalms 119.160;
"All of your words are truth.Every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever."
- By taking the sum of the word we can see that the Bible mentions the complete water vapor cycle.
- Jeremiah 10.13
- "vapors to ascend" or evaporation7
- Zechariah 10.1
- "gives rain showers to everyone" or precipitation
- "for the plants in the field." or interception
- trapping of water in vegetation
- Proverbs 8.28
- "springs of the deep" or subsurface flow
- Ecclesiastes 1.7
- "All the rivers run into the sea" or runoff
- "To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again."; thus declaring its cyclical nature
- Amos 9.6
- "calls for the waters of the sea" again evaporation
- Europeans did not conceptualize the water cycle until the seventeenth century AD. The Chinese were the earliest to understand it, but even then it was around 500 BC.8
- How then did these Biblical writers understand the water vapor cycle?
- Job approx. 2000 BC, Jeremiah approx 600 BC, Zechariah approx 520 BC, Solomon 973-933 BC, and Amos 8th century BC (dates courtesy of Wikipedia).
- Conclusion Jeremiah 14.22; "...Aren’t you he, Yahweh our God? ..."
- Job 26.7, 10; "
hangeth the earth upon nothing." and " He hath compassed the waters with bounds," (KJV)
- Hangs above nothing?
- Ancient Mesopotamians, probably contemporaries of Job, believed the world was a flat disc floating in the ocean, and this belief persisted in places like Greece as late as the 5th century BC.9
- The earth is round?
- Hebrew translation for "
compassed " comes out sphere.
- The idea that the earth was spherical did not arise until classical times (7th century BC at earliest).10
- Job predates these periods by at least 1000 years, so how did he know these things to be true?
- Also Hebrews 11.12; "Therefore as many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as innumerable as the sand which is by the sea shore, were fathered by one man, and him as good as dead."
- Compare with Genesis 15.5
- Although these comparisons between numbers of stars and grains of sand make sense today, they would have been illogical when they were first written.
- Hipparchus counted 1,026 stars in 150 BC, Ptolemy estimated 1,056 in 150 AD, and in 1600 AD Kepler observed 1,005 stars.11
- From direct observation, one can easily reason that the grains of sand on a single seashore far outnumber the visible stars in the sky.
- It was not until recently that humans learned that there were not thousands but sextillions of stars.
- How could Biblical authors, writing without the aid of advanced telescopes, know how truly innumerable the stars in the sky are?
Biology and Medicine
- Leviticus 17.10-14; "For the life of the flesh is in the blood."
- What killed George Washington? Bloodletting!12
- As late as the 19th century AD people practiced phlebotomy, indicating there inability to appreciate the life sustaining power of blood.
- Bloodletting became a popular practice due to Hippocratic medicine and the belief in the four humors13, but long before the Greeks, ancient Egyptians occasionally practiced bloodletting.14
- The Egyptian royal court raised and educated Moses.
- Exodus 2.9 and Hebrews 11.23-27
- Therefore one would expect Moses to share their views on blood and other matters of medicine and biology, but he didn't.
- How then did Moses realize the power of blood when modern man did not fully understand its importance until the 19th century?
- Verses 11-13
- Becoming unclean after touching a dead body, the remedy: "...purify himself with water on the third day, and on the seventh day...".
- Helps discourage transmission of disease by direct physical contact.15
- Verses 14-22
- How to clean an area where someone has died and how to clean the person afterwards (verse 17).
- Stops the transmission of disease via indirect contact with a contaminated surface.
- Verse 6, how to make the "soap"
- Ingredients include cedar wood, hyssop, scarlet, and a heifer's ashes; all of which sound superstitious at first glance
- Hyssop contains the antiseptic thymol, the active ingredient in Listerine.16
- Cedar oil would act as a skin irritant, encouraging scrubbing. The ash also meant you had to work to get it off, ensuring cleanliness.
- This prescription for purification also required time and running water. Together with the antiseptic and scrubbing action this method has all four parts necessary for proper hand washing as dictated by the Centers for Disease Control.17
- In the mid-nineteenth century an Austrian doctor noticed that by washing his hands after touching a dead body he dramatically reduced the odds of his patients contracting the often-deadly labor fever. He further noticed that by washing his hands after seeing each patient, he was able to lower the incidence of labor fever even more. Dr. Semmelweis set out on a campaign to implement hand washing. However the medical community ostracized him and he eventually lost his job for making the ridiculous claim that hand washing made a difference. The ordeal cost Semmelweis his sanity, and most doctors considered him a fool when he died at the young age of forty-seven.18
- Moses knew the cleansing power of hand washing, but how did he know this when nineteenth century doctors believed the practice to be a sign of laziness?
- Many believe leprosy is the oldest known disease, and, although antibiotics can treat leprosy, in Moses period there was no real remedy.19
- This left quarantine as the only effective mechanism to deal with the disease.
- Leviticus 11.32-40.
- Animals can make things unclean (vector borne transmission, i.e. "carried by insects or other animals".
- Leviticus 17.15-16
- Eating animals not slaughtered by humans will result in one becoming unclean (also vector borne).
- Deuteronomy 23.12-14
- Method of disposing of refuse (fecal-oral transmission).
- In the era before antibiotics Moses gave mankind the only line of defense available against infectious diseases: prevention and immediate isolation.
- If one examines the guidelines established in Leviticus and Deuteronomy it appears as though Moses knew he was dealing with infectious diseases. Indeed, these two books mention four of the six methods of disease transmission, and they provide an effective means of stopping the spread of these diseases. Wikipedia, however, claims that it was the germ theory of disease (late 1800s) that led "to such important innovations as antibiotics and hygienic practices."20
- Ancient Egyptian papyri don't mention quarantine or any of the above methods; they instead provide eight spells to protect the person from pestilence.21
- Moses established many of these hygienic practices in the fifteenth century BC. Where did he get this knowledge, and why has modern man ignored it for so long?
- Why the eighth day?
- It was not until the twentieth century that researchers discovered why God picked the 8th day.
- Research has shown that the available prothrombin "falls sharply on the second day of life (to around 35% normal) returning to the preceding value by the fifth or sixth day."22
- However, on the eight day the male child has more available prothrombin (110%) than he will have at any other time in his life.
- Prothrombin is critical to blood coagulation, and circumcising a child before the 8th day could lead to blood loss. In ancient times this would lead to serious complications.
- Furthermore, the ancient Egyptians that raised and educated Moses did not circumcise their men until the age of sixteen or seventeen and even then circumcision was not commonplace, but rather most likely practiced by the priests.23
- Why then did Moses pick the 8th day for circumcision, and how did he know that that was the most ideal day?
These are only a few of the external evidences that validate the Old Testament. Were the authors of the Old Testament incredibly lucky or did they get their inspiration from a higher source?
- GEsource, “Timeline of Oceanography,” available from the Resource Discovery Network at http://www.gesource.ac.uk/timeline_Oceanography.html; Internet.
- Dr. Ingrid Westmoreland, “The History of Hebrew People,” (Durant: Southeastern Oklahoma State Univ., Summer 2005).
- The Free Radical, “finding fresh water … in the ocean,” available at http://l.editthispage.com/ 2000/09/12; Internet.
- Richard Cathcart, “Gibraltar Strait Dam: A History of a Sea-change Macroproject Proposal,” available at http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/G/Gibraltar_Cathcart.html; Internet.
- Ed Hull, “Evidence,” a handout.
- Wikipedia, “Matthew Fontaine Maury,” available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Matthew_Maury; Internet.
- Wikipedia, “Water Cycle,” available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_cycle; Internet.
- Unesco, “History of Water,” available at http://www.unesco.org.uy/phi/libros/histwater/ 1history.html; Internet.
- Wikipedia, “Flat Earth,” available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_earth; Internet.
- Bert Thompson, “Scientific Evidences of the Bible’s Inspiration” (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press, 1996).
- Wikipedia, “George Washington,” available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ George_Washington#Retirement_and_death; Internet.
- Jacques Jouanna, “The Birth of Western Medical Art” in Western Medical Thought From Antiquity to the Middle Ages, edited by Mirko Grmek (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ., 1998), 42.
- J. Worth Estes, The Medical Skills of Ancient Egypt, revised edition (Canton, MA: Science History Publications, 1993), 83.
- Wikipedia, “Transmission (Medicine),” available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmission_ %28medicine%29#Vertical_transmission; Internet.
- S. I. McMillen and David E. Stern, None of These Diseases, Millennium Three Edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 2004), 25.
- Ibid., 17-23.
- Wikipedia, “Leprosy,” available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leprosy; Internet.
- Wikipedia, “Germ Theory of Disease,” available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germ_ theory_of_disease; Internet.
- Estes, Medical Skills, 48.
- L. Emmett Holt Jr. and Rustin McIntosh, Holt Pediatrics, 12th ed. (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1953), 126 and 127.
- Bruno Halioua and Bernard Ziskind, Medicine in the Days of the Pharaohs,” Translated by M. B. DeBevoise (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ., 2005), 90-91.