Friday, February 14, 2014

The Bible must be wrong...

...It couldn't be the scientists.

Yes, that's right, archaeologists at a much greater distance from the events than the authors who recorded them have determined that the appearance of camels in Genesis is evidence of the authors' distance from history. The Yahoo article notes, "New research using radioactive-carbon dating techniques shows the animals [i.e. camels, rlv] weren't domesticated until hundreds of years after the events documented in the Book of Genesis." Archaeologists "have used radiocarbon dating to pinpoint the moment when domesticated camels arrived in the southern Levant." Assuming their radiocarbon dating is correct, what the discovery "pinpoints" at most is the arrival of the camels they dated in the digs they dug. The fact that some camels were domesticated in the 10th century BC and some camels were wild thousands of years earlier does not prove that no camels were domesticated in the days of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (circa 2000 BC). Camels are mentioned in biblical stories about the patriarchs, Abraham, et al. They are first mentioned in the story of Abram and Sarai in Egypt (Genesis 12), and next in the story of finding a wife for Isaac (Genesis 24).

So, as Joel Baden asks, Will the camel discovery break the Bible's back? The AFTAU article "Finding Israel's First Camels," highlights two problems for biblicists: "In addition to challenging the Bible's historicity, this anachronism is direct proof that the text was compiled well after the events it describes."

1. The text was compiled well after the events it describes.
2. The Bible is historically inaccurate.

To the first problem, I would merely mention that even the most fundamental and conservative Bible students believe the Genesis account was written well after the events described. If the Pentateuch were written by Moses, it would have been written 2500 years after the events of the first chapters in Genesis, and nearly 500 years after the days of Abraham.

To the second problem, this finding does not prove that the statements about camels in Genesis 12 and thereafter are inaccurate. This is a logical fallacy. Again I would mention that what it does prove, at best, is that some camels were domesticated in the 10th century BC, and that some were still wild years before this. Clearly, it doesn't offer any proof for the camels in the Genesis account, but it does not disprove them either.

Joel Baden -- neither scientist nor fundamentalist -- in explaining the biblical writer's anachronistic mistake, wrote, "Without any evidence to the contrary, it is perfectly natural to assume that things have always been the way that they are now." Funny that the very radiometric dating method that "proves" this anachronism also assumes that things have always been the way that they are now.

The camel problem is mainly a problem for those who already do not believe the Bible, though it might "overthrow the faith of some". Those who do believe the Bible will "continue to keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called." God was here before the camels or the archaeologists. He knows what He meant when He inspired the writers. Human understanding of this world is fallible and changeable. God's understanding of science, the world and camels is infallible, unchangeable and not subject to error.

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