So much scientific research today is done under the relatively modern assumption that God does not exist—that science is incompatible with God and with the Bible. And even those scientists who perhaps do harbor some belief in God throw those beliefs to the wind once they enter the office at work.
Is science incompatible with God? Is the Bible really just a handful of made-up stories set against a backdrop of real-life places? You ought to know! Over the past several years, I have been privileged to participate in the study of archaeology. And I can tell you right now that this corner of science alone—this unearthing of historical fact—absolutely proves the biblical record. It shows that the Bible can be counted on to a greater degree than any other history book to show the true events of history. Of course, this is not the only field of science that continually proves God’s existence—but it is one that continues to demonstrate the perfect record of the Holy Bible and its authority as a reliable and inspired document.
Let’s examine several important examples of how archaeology proves the Bible.
Evidence of Individuals
You’ve probably heard the names of many of Israel’s and Judah’s biblical kings. Do you know just how many have been proven to have existed—independently—through archaeology? These are the names thus far that have turned up in early, original contexts. They are kings David, Omri, Ahab, Jehu, Joash, Jeroboam II, Uzziah, Menahem, Ahaz, Pekah, Hoshea, Hezekiah, Manasseh, and Jehoiachin. These kings have been uncovered through scientific discovery and have been declared valid even by the most stringent of analytical standards.
Only a year ago, the personal seal impression of King Hezekiah was found during excavations that we participated in on Jerusalem’s Ophel mound. The little stamped clay piece reads: “Belonging to Hezekiah, [son of] Ahaz, king of Judah.” The impressive find is one of many that refer to King Hezekiah. His name also turns up in inscriptions belonging to his arch-nemesis, Assyria’s King Sennacherib.
King David was a sticking point for the critics. He was only supposed to be a mythical king, yet when the Tel Dan Stele, called the “victory stone,” was found in 1993, all that had to change. The ninth-century b.c. stele inscription contained a phrase that read: “I killed [Ahaz]yahu son of [Joram kin]g of the house of David. And I set …” This was not only a reference to David, but an established kingly line that descended from him. (Not only that, but this inscription depicted the events of 2 Kings 8, that led to the deaths of kings Ahaziah and Joram.)
The artifact faced intense scrutiny, more than just about any other, in order to ascertain its legitimacy. Yet its legitimacy was proved. And now we have two further near-certain references to King David: One on the Mesha Stele (ninth century b.c.; a large stone inscription that incidentally also parallels a biblical story contained in 2 Kings 3), and the other is the Egyptian Negev inscription (tenth century b.c.). And beyond just finding the name of King David, we also find several constructions that the Bible attributes to him.
These Israelite kings go alongside the many other leaders described accurately in the Bible from other regions, likewise proven through archaeology. Like the Pharaohs Shishak, So, Tirhakah, Necho, and Hophra. Like the Syrian kings Hadadezer, Ben-hadad, Hazael, and Rezin. The Moabite king Mesha. Assyrian kings Tiglath-pileser, Shalmaneser, Sargon, Sennacherib, and Esarhaddon. Babylonian kings Merodach-baladan, Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-merodach, and Belshazzar. Persian kings Cyrus, Darius I, Xerxes, Artaxerxes, and Darius II. Not only were these kings described accurately in the Bible, but also the very things that they accomplished! That’s a lot for a supposedly “fallacious” book to get right.
And it’s not just the kings. Archaeology has shown much about the biblical princes, such as Jehucal and Gedeliah. There is evidence of the false prophet Balaam and even a tantalizing artifact that may well refer to the prophet Elisha.
What about other biblical positions? Titles of kings, princes and prophets are quite clearly understood. But the Bible describes some other unusual ranks. One is Governor of the City (Jerusalem). Why would this position be necessary when there was a king reigning over the city? Nevertheless, the position was confirmed mere months ago during archaeological excavations just outside Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall. A small seal impression was found with the inscription “Belonging to the Governor of the City.” The seal dates to the eighth century b.c.—perhaps even belonging to Joshua, who was the biblical governor during the reign of Josiah (2 Kings 23:8).
Then there is the unusual position of the sixth century individual named Tatnai: “Governor on This Side The River” (Ezra 6). This man and his office has likewise been revealed through a number of inscriptions, recorded as “Tattenai, Governor of Across-The-River.” An unusual title—yet there is extraordinary corroboration of it through archaeology! Or is it so extraordinary if the Bible really is a legitimate, factual document?
Evidence of Cities
What about the biblical cities? The Bible contains many descriptions of towns and cities where the individuals listed above lived along with the events that happened there. Just how accurate are these descriptions? Over the last century, archaeology has had much to say!
Remember the walls of Jericho that “came tumbling down”? The remains of those crumbled city walls have been discovered! They litter the base of the ancient site of Jericho, providing some remarkable insight into the start of Joshua’s conquests. You can read more about Joshua’s attack against Jericho here.
The great city of Jerusalem has been known about for many years and documented throughout many historical sources. But the Bible’s description of the city, and what happened there, has been shown to be true repeatedly through archaeology.
There is the famous tunnel of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:3-4, 30; 2 Kings 20:20). This impressive tunnel has been found, snaking for 1,750-feet deep below the bedrock of Jerusalem. Then there is the biblical Palace of David—a structure that has also been found. Jerusalem’s wall, built by King Solomon (1 Kings 3:1)—found. The wall that Nehemiah constructed in the fifth century b.c.—found.
The Bible describes Solomon’s nation-wide building projects. 1 Kings 9:15 states that Solomon built “the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer.” Uncanny—or is it?—that at these sites of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer, construction has been found dating to Solomon’s period, showing exactly the same building patterns. These architectural features are known as “Solomon’s Gates,” or “Six-Chambered Gates.” They help to confirm that during this early Solomonic period in the tenth century b.c., there was a strong centralized government emanating throughout the land, controlling the building programs over the wider region of Israel.
Then there’s the Timna Mines. This is an amazing biblical site—even though it is not directly mentioned in the Bible! The Timna mines were situated in the southern kingdom of Edom. They are the oldest copper mines in the world. Yet strangely, during the tenth century b.c., copper production peaked. What was it for? The Bible describes that during that time period, the Temple and royal buildings of Israel were being built—for which Solomon used immense quantities of copper. Not only that, the Bible describes that by this time Israel itself had conquered and controlled this territory of all Edom (2 Samuel 8:13-14)! In 2017, petrified donkey manure discovered at Timna was analyzed. The scientists discovered that the feed for the donkeys had originated from the Jerusalem area! Timna is just one example of a city not even mentioned in the Bible, yet that still proves the accuracy of the biblical record.
The Bible describes many cities that have been found and confirmed through archaeology. Israelite cities like Samaria, Megiddo, Hazor, Shechem, Dan, Beth Shean, Jericho, Gezer, and Shiloh. Judean cities like Jerusalem, Hebron, Lachish, and Beersheba. The five Philistine cities of Gath, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, and Gaza. Egyptian cities. Assyrian cities. Babylonian cities. Persian cities. There are literally dozens more biblical cities that have been discovered archaeologically—along with an accurate representation of what happened in them.
Evidence of Civilizations
Then, zooming out even further, there are the civilizations. And likewise, we find accurate representations in the Bible of the civilizations present during those early biblical centuries. We’ll just highlight one example.
The Hittites were a civilization mentioned often in the Bible. Scripture describes Abraham burying his wife in land bought from Hittite merchants. The Hittites were allied with the king of Israel in fending off the Syrian Empire. Yet, until the twentieth century, no evidence of the Hittite civilization had been uncovered. Historians said it probably never existed, and even if it did, it couldn’t have been a very strong regional power.
In 1906, however, an immense, sprawling fortified city found in modern-day Turkey was confirmed to have been the Hittite capital, Hattusha. A Hittite royal library of around 10,000 tablets helped prove to archaeologists that these people were indeed the people of the land of Hatti, the kingdom of Kheta in the Egyptian texts, and the Hittites of the Bible. This massive empire controlled what later became modern-day Turkey, and its power and influence had expanded as far south as Syria and around parts of northern Canaan—just as described in the Bible.
It’s one thing for historians to criticize the existence of a biblical figure. It’s another thing for them to dismiss the existence of an entire empire. Embarrassing.
Archaeology has revealed many accurate representations of civilizations, cultures, and their customs described in the Bible. Alongside the Hittites, there are the Canaanites, Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Philistines, Moabites, Edomites, Ammonites, Syrians, and more that have been corroborated by archaeology. Again—that’s a lot to get right.
It Just Keeps Coming!
In this modern day, the Bible receives more criticism than any history book known to man. Yet no other book is like it: having been written so long ago, by so many different authors, and in so many different locations, yet to this day being proved accurate time and time again. Truly, the Bible is a magnificent historical record, matching perfectly with what has been discovered by science. As much as people may try to discredit the Bible by science, nothing has proven the Bible false. They are either proven sorely wrong, or have merely disproved preconceived misbeliefs about what the Bible really says.
And if some biblical event, place, or person hasn’t yet been confirmed through archaeology—just wait! Arguments from “silence”—an argument based on the absence of evidence—are a classic pitfall of overzealous skeptics. New discoveries are being made constantly. The veracity of the Bible has been—and is still being—dramatically revealed!
What part of our accurate historical record will be discovered next?