When Science is Fascinating
I thought this week it would be fun to highlight another archaeological triumph for Israel. This one is particularly fascinating, as it relates to proof of biblical events, and it’s from a creationist organization, Creation Ministries International. Creationists normally don’t examine issues involving Israel, so this is really good.
Now, this involves something called “paleomagnetic measurement,” so stay with me. We’ll figure this out together! But this instance has to do with confirming the date of the Babylonian invasion and conquest of Jerusalem in the sixth century B.C.
From the article:
“Paleomagnetism involves the measurement of orientation and field strength of the Earth’s magnetic field from the past. Such information was stored in magnetic minerals, which were heated, then cooled, thus preserving such information.
“Recently, a team of Israeli archaeologists and scientists made a breakthrough in measuring paleomagnetism in archaeological material.1 The material came from a very significant moment in biblical history—the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. The Bible gives the date and details of the destruction, recorded in 2 Kings 25:8–10:
“’In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month—that was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon—Nebuzaradan, the captain of the bodyguard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. And he burned the house of the LORD and the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down.’
“Recently, a team of Israeli archaeologists and scientists made a breakthrough in measuring paleomagnetism in archaeological material.
“This date is corroborated in a cuneiform tablet called the Babylonian Chronicle(British Museum 21946)2 which independently records the fall of Jerusalem.3Using this information, most scholars have settled the date of Jerusalem’s destruction at 587/586 BC. This, therefore, represents a vital anchor point in history from which other historical events can be tied, in order to establish an historical chronology.”
The article states later that if the carbon-14 dating can be calibrated, archaeologists can also accurately date other sites, such as Jericho. Remember, the British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon caused a great deal of controversy when, during her excavations at Jericho she claimed the destruction of the biblical-era city occurred long before the time of Joshua. This lone assessment has cast doubt on the credibility of the Bible in many people’s eyes. Perhaps the new dating methods will clear this up, although skeptics often cannot be persuaded of anything if it affirms the Bible.
From the article:
“Archaeology has indeed demonstrated the walls did ‘come a tumblin’ down’. However, Jericho’s fallen walls were carbon dated by archaeologist Dame Kathleen Kenyon (in the late 1950s) as being too old for Joshua to have been involved. Secular scholars have therefore relegated the biblical account of Jericho’s destruction to Jewish myth and legend, thereby dismissing the Bible as historically trustworthy in the eyes of many Christians.”
In fact, Kenyon’s work also influenced many Bible commentaries of the era, and infected seminary education on the veracity of the Old Testament.
Leave it to Israeli archaeologists to turn the tables on those that have historically denied Jewish history. We’ll update this story as it develops.