Eye For An Eye, A Tooth For A Tooth (Dennis Prager)

I just pre-ordered via Amanon, “THE RATIONAL BIBLE: EXODUS,” by Dennis Prager (due out April 2, 2018). This is the first in a commentary series by Prager on the first five books of the Bible, the Torah.As a Bible student and bibliophile, I am excited for this new series.

I clipped the above section to compliment some other uploads I have by Prager:

And my post on 2 Kings, “ATHEISTS CHALLENGE TO BIBLICAL ETHICS (2 KINGS 2:23-25)” — where I note ORIGINAL understandings in an apologetic defense of this event.

Hard Hearts & God’s Sovereignty

Pastor Todd of Crossroads Community Church deals with a very tough theological thorn of free-will and God’s sovereignty. Yes. I have believed this for years and consider it somewhat of a mystery, just like the Trinity. I added some graphics (Scripture verses read) for the casual viewer so they can follow along with Todd. As an unimportant aside, the first time Scripture explicitly mentions Pharaoh hardening his heart is in Exodus 8:15.

Here are two quotes that came to mind during the sermon:

4:21 The Bible teaches that human beings are free to make choices (Gn 2:19; 4:7; Ezk 18:2–32). God is good (Ps 25:8; 34:8; 100:5) and always acts consistently with His nature. Yet people can choose to rebel against God’s goodness, and consistent rebellion can lead to their hearts being “hardened.” As the saying goes, “The same sun that melts butter also hardens clay.” Egyptian pharaohs believed they were divine, and Pharaoh would never have been inclined to submit to the Israelites’ God. Each time God placed a demand on him, he became more determined to resist. Thus it was both God’s demands and Pharaoh’s own pride-motivated stubbornness (Ex 8:15, 32; 9:34) that led to his hardened heart. God would use Pharaoh’s stubbornness for a good end, to demonstrate His power and extend His reputation (9:16).

The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007), 91–92.

partII. GOD THE REDEEMER OF SINNERS

While reiterating the teaching of nature as to the existence and character of the personal Creator and Lord of all, the Scriptures lay their stress upon the grace or the undeserved love of God, as exhibited in his dealings with his sinful and wrath-deserving creatures. So little, however, is the consummate divine attribute of love advanced, in the scriptural revelation, at the expense of the other moral attributes of God, that it is thrown into prominence only upon a background of the strongest assertion and fullest manifestation of its companion attributes, especially of the divine righteousness and holiness, and is exhibited as acting only along with and in entire harmony with them. God is not represented in the Scriptures as forgiving sin because he really cares very little about sin; nor yet because he is so exclusively or predominatingly the God of love, that all other attributes shrink into desuetude in the presence of his illimitable benevolence. He is rather represented as moved to deliver sinful man from his guilt and pollution because he pities the creatures of his hand, immeshed in sin, with an intensity which is born of the vehemence of his holy abhorrence of sin and his righteous determination to visit it with intolerable retribution; and by a mode which brings as complete satisfaction to his infinite justice and holiness as to his unbounded love itself. The biblical presentation of the God of grace includes thus the richest development of all his moral attributes, and the God of the Bible is consequently set forth, in the completeness of that idea, as above everything else the ethical God. And that is as much as to say that there is ascribed to him a moral sense so sensitive and true that it estimates with unfailing accuracy the exact moral character of every person or deed presented for its contemplation, and responds to it with the precisely appropriate degree of satisfaction or reprobation. The infinitude of his love is exhibited to us precisely in that while we were yet sinners he loved us, though with all the force of his infinite nature he reacted against our sin with illimitable abhorrence and indignation. The mystery of grace resides just in the impulse of a sin-hating God to show mercy to such guilty wretches; and the supreme revelation of God as the God of holy love is made in the disclosure of the mode of his procedure in redemption, by which alone he might remain just while justifying the ungodly. For in this procedure there was involved the mighty paradox of the infinitely just Judge himself becoming the sinner’s substitute before his own law and the infinitely blessed God receiving in his own person the penalty of sin.

B.B. Warfield, Selected Short Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1970), 71-72.

Hillary Wants to Pervert Justice

  • “You must not act unjustly when deciding a case. Do not be partial to the poor or give preference to the rich; judge your neighbor fairly.” (Leviticus 19:15)
  • “Do not show favoritism to a poor person in his lawsuit.” (Exodus 23:3)

Back row (left to right): Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen G. Breyer, Samuel A. Alito, and Elena Kagan;
Front row (left to right): John Maynard Keynes, Karl Marx, Chief Justice John G. Roberts,
Associate Justice Lycurgus of Sparta, and Associate Justice Margaret Sanger.

Via NATIONAL REVIEW and Jonah Goldberg:

In her first answer of the night, Hillary Clinton was asked about the Supreme Court. She said justices should stand up to the rich and side with the people or some such treacle. It should support the usual favored groups, etc. It should fight big money and the powerful. And so on. Only problem: That’s not what justices are supposed to do. The Judicial Oath goes like this:

  • “I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _________ under the Constitution and laws of the United States.  So help me God.”

Sometimes they say:

  • “I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _________ under the Constitution and laws of the United States; and that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.  So help me God.”

The relevant point is the same. Standing up to the rich is not the Supreme Court’s job. Standing up for the law is. And, sometimes, the law is on the side of the rich and powerful. You could look it up.

Sargon of Akkad’s Skepticism Is Nothing Special

I was listening to Steven Crowder and “Sargon of Akkad” talk about various subjects… and then it got onto the Bible.

Typical things like presuppositions about miracles being impossible stated BEFORE saying the miraculous life of Jesus is impossible… but before getting into more of the miraculous and Mithra’ism, I want to deal with an issue of Sargon’s name and his affinity to Zeitgeist. Sargon of Akkad is said to be a story that many years later the Story of Moses in Exodus 2:1-10, which reads:

And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink. And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children. Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother. And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.

This story is referenced in many atheist rejections of Scripture. Here is one post at Debunking Atheism that deal with the topic:

…it [the movie Zeitgeist — see my rebuttle to it here] goes on to make similar claims about the story of Moses,

There is the plagiarized story of Moses. Upon Moses’ birth, it is said that he was placed in a reed basket and set adrift in a river in order to avoid infanticide. He was later rescued by a daughter of royalty and raised by her as a Prince. This baby in a basket story was lifted directly from the myth of Sargon of Akkad of around 2250 b.c. Sargon was born, placed in a reed basket in order to avoid infanticide, and set adrift in a river. He was in turn rescued and raised by Akki, a royal mid-wife.

Zeitgeist makes the claim that the ancient king Sargon was placed in a basket to “avoid infanticide” and is later found by a royal mid-wife. The claim then becomes that since Sargon lived before Moses then therefore Moses must have plagiarized the story.

There is indeed a famous story of Sargon being left in a basket on the Euphrates river preserved in cuneiform tablets of Ancient Assyria. The cuneiform tablet says,

Sargon, mighty king, king of Agade, am I. My mother was a high priestess, my father I knew not; My father’s brothers live in the mountains; My city is Azupiranu, situated on the banks of the Euphrates My mother, the high priestess, conceived me, in secret she bore me; She placed me in a basket of rushes, she sealed the lid with bitumen; She cast me into the river which did not rise over me; The river bore me up and carried me to Aqqi, the water-drawer. Aqqi, the water-drawer, lifted me out as he dipped his bucket; Aqqi, the water-drawer, adopted me, brought me up; Aqqi, the water-drawer, set me up as his gardener. As a gardener, Ishtar, loved me; For 55 years I ruled as king.

The similarity to Moses is obvious to anyone who has read both the story of Moses and the legend of Sargon. But a carefull reading shows that the film, Zeitgeist, in its description of the similarities between the two stories is actually exaggerated.

The claim that Sargon’s mother placed him in the basket and set him adrift to save him from infanticide is actually unsubstantiated. Nowhere in the inscription does it say that she did it to save him from anything or anyone. It just simply says she set him adrift. And the way that the tablet says “she [his mother] cast me into the river” kind of gives the impression that this is a case of child abandonment rather than to save his life.

James Holding in his essay gives background information of the importance of Sargon’s mother being a high priestess. He points out that in order to maintain her position she had to avoid pregnancy. This therefore would account for her giving birth in secrecy and would indicate that she was just disposing of her unwanted newborn child.

The fact that the story says she set him adrift also indicates she didn’t care whether or not he survived. This is a major difference between the two stories. — Contrary to what Cecil B. DeMille’sThe Ten Commandments shows, even though Moses was placed in a basket on the Nile river, he was not set adrift. Exodus 2: 3, 4 says that he was placed at the edge of the river among the reeds and his sister “stood” at a distance to watch him. The reeds would have kept the basket from drifting away. He was meant to survive which is not seemingly the case with Sargon….

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Take note as well that Exodus is written well before the first accounts of this story that is supposedly plagiarized:

  • The date of the Biblical exodus-conquest is clear. 1 Kgs 6:1 and 1 Chr 6:33–37 converge on a date of 1446 BC for the exodus and the Jubilees data and Judg 11:26 independently converge on a date of 1406 BC for the beginning of the conquest. The 1406 BC date is further confirmed by archaeological data from Jericho, Ai (Kh. el-Maqatir) and Hazor. In the end, Hoffmeier’s response has served to reinforce my earlier conclusion that “there is no valid evidence, Biblical or extra-Biblical, to sustain it.” The theory is a scholarly construct popularized by William F. Albright in the mid-20th century. It is not supported by Biblical or extra-Biblical texts and has lost its presumed archaeological underpinnings, thus has no place in contemporary Biblical scholarship.

Here is another fine article about the dating of Exodus. Whereas the first known reference to Akkad’s story is found in fragments in the Library of Ashurbanipal from the 7th century BC. So much like you will see below with Mithra’ism… the legend POST-DATES the Biblical record and thus it is VERY possible that the plagiarism is the other way around.

Onto Miracles and other positions taken explicetly or implicetly by Sargon.

Miracles and Bias

Professor: “Miracles are impossible Sean, don’t you know science has disproven them, how could you believe in them [i.e., answered prayer, a man being raised from the dead, etc.].”

Student: “for clarity purposes I wish to get some definitions straight.  Would it be fair to say that science is generally defined as ‘the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us’?”

Professor: “Beautifully put, that is the basic definition of science in every text-book I read through my Doctoral journey.”

Student: “Wouldn’t you also say that a good definition of a miracle would be ‘and event in nature caused by something outside of nature’?”

Professor: “Yes, that would be an acceptable definition of ‘miracle.’”

Student: “But since you do not believe that anything outside of nature exists [materialism, dialectical materialism, empiricism, existentialism, naturalism, and humanism – whatever you wish to call it], you are ‘forced’ to conclude that miracles are impossible”

Norman L. Geisler & Peter Bocchino, Unshakable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions about the Christian Faith (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2001), 63-64.

This commitment to materialism is referenced in one of the best books about the Jesus Seminar:

Philosophical Naturalism and the Modern Worldview

The second modern factor that has contributed to the widespread understanding that religious belief is private, practical, and relative, and need not be related to truth and reason is the widespread acceptance of philosophical naturalism as an expression of scientism. Philosophical naturalism is the idea that reality is exhausted by the spatio-temporal world of physical entities that we can investigate in the natural sciences. The natural causal Fabric of physical reality within the boundaries of space and time is all there is, was, or ever will be. The supernatural doesn’t exist except, perhaps, as a belief in people’s minds. On this view, religious beliefs are simply ways of looking at things in our search for meaning and purpose; they are not ideas that correspond to a mind-independent reality.

Philosophical naturalism is an expression of an epistemology (i.e., a theory of knowledge and justified or warranted belief) known as scientism. Scientism is the view that the natural sciencesare the very paradigm of truth and rationality. If something does not square with currently well-established beliefs, if it is not within the domain of entities appropriate for scientific investigation, or if it is not amenable to scientific methodology then it is not true or rational. Everything outside of science is a matter of mere belief and subjective opinion, of which rational assessment is impossible. Applied to the question of the historical origins of Christianity, scientism implies that since we live in the modern scientific world where the sun is the center of the solar system, the wireless is available for our use, and the atoms power has been harnessed, we can no longer believe in a biblical worldview with its miracles, demons, and supernatural realities.

Obviously, it is impossible in the brief space of an introduction to critique adequately scientism and naturalism. Still, a few cursory remarks need to be expressed.

(1) Scientism is simply false for three reasons. (a) It is self-refining, i.e., it falsifies itself. Why? Scientism is itself a statement of philosophy about knowledge and science; it is not a statement ofscience itself. Moreover, it is a statement of philosophy that amounts to the claim that no statements outside scientific ones, including scientism itself (because it is a statement of philosophy), can be true or supported by rational considerations. (b) Science itself rests on a number of assumptions: the existence of a theory-independent external world, the orderly nature of the external world, the existence of truth and the reliability of our senses and rational faculties to gather truth about the world in a trustworthy manner, the laws of logic and the truths of mathematics, the adequacy of language (including mathematical language) to describe the external world, the uniformity of nature, and soon. Now, each one of these assumptions is philosophical in nature. The task of stating, criticizing, and defending the assumptions of sci­ence rests in the field of philosophy. Scientism fails to leave room for these philosophical tasks and, thus, shows itself to be a foe and not a friend of science. (c) There are many things we know in religion, ethics, logic, mathematics, history, art, literature, and so on that are simply not matters of science. For exam­ple, we all know that two is an even number, that Napoleon lived, that torturing babies for fun is wrong, that if A is larger than B and B is larger than C, then A is larger than C, and so on. None of these items of knowledge are scientific in nature, and scientism is falsified by their reality.

(2) Philosophical naturalism is false as well. For one thing, philosophical naturalism rules out the existence of a number of things that do, in fact, exist. And while we cannot defend their existence here, suffice it to say that, currently, a number of intellectuals have offered convincing arguments for the reality of universals and other abstract objects such as numbers, the laws of logic, values, the soul and its various mental states (including the first person point of view), other minds, libertarian or full-blown freedom of the will, and so on. None of these items can be classified as mere physical objects totally within the causal fabric of the natural spatio-temporal universe. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that there is not a single issue of importance to human beings that is solely a matter of scientific investigation or that can be satisfactorily treated by philosophical naturalists.

(3) Philosophical naturalism fails to explain adequately the fact that there are a number of arguments and pieces of evidence that make belief in God more reasonable than disbelief. Some of this evidence actually comes from science: the fact that the universe had a beginning based on the Big Bang theory and the second law of thermodynamics, the existence of biological information in DNA that is closely analogous to intelligent language and that cannot arise from the accidental collisions of physical entities according to laws of nature, the reality of the mental and of free will according to a number of emerging psychological theories of the self, the delicate fine-tuning of the universe, and so on.”

Like it or not, a significant and growing number of scientists, historians of science, and philosophers of science see more scientific evidence now for a personal creator and designer than was available fifty years ago. In light of this evidence, it is false and naive to claim that modern science has made belief in the supernatural unreasonable. Such a view can be called ostrich naturalism—a position that requires its advocate to keep his or her head in the sand and not to acknowledge real advances in science. The plain truth is that science itself makes no statements about all of reality anyway, nor does science itself offer any support for philosophical naturalism. What does support philosophical naturalism are the ideological claims of naturalists themselves regarding what science ought to say if we assume philosophical naturalism to begin with.

In sum, it matters much that our religious beliefs are both true and reasonable. Moreover, there simply are no sufficient reasons for not believing in the supernatural, and there are in fact a number of good reasons (including but going beyond scientific ones) for believing in the supernatural. As we have said, space considerations do not permit us to defend this last claim here. But we will list some sources in the bibliography that adequately justify this claim. If you are an honest inquirer about the truth of religion, moral and intellectual integrity unite in placing a duty on you to read these works as a sincere seeker of the truth. It is well past time to rest content with the politically correct, unjustified assertions of scientism and philosophical naturalism. University libraries are filled with books that show the weaknesses of these views, and the fellows of the Jesus Seminar show virtually no indication that they have so much as interacted with the arguments they contain, much less have they refuted their claims.

Regarding Jesus of Nazareth, all of this means the following: Prior to inves­tigating the historical evidence about his life, deeds, sayings, and significance, there is no good reason to bring to the evidence a prior commitment to naturalism. As later chapters will show, such a commitment is Procrustean in that it often forces the evidence of history to fit an unjustified anti-supernatural bias. But when the evidence is evaluated on its own terms, and when such an evaluation is combined with the rigorous case for supernatural theism already available in the literature, then the claims of historic, orthodox Christianity can be reasonably judged to be true.

Michael J. Wilkins, ed., Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 8-10.

Mithraism

Another small point made (Mithraism is stated specifically later in convo) was about mythical religions being the source of much of Christianity. This is the “Zeitgeist” Effect, and is easily disproved… which I have posted a rebuttal of here. But to correct Sargon’s use of Mitrhaic religion… it post dates Christianity. Here is a good short refutation showing that there is no historical evidence to prove Mithraism as Sargon postulates PRE-DATES Christianity:

The most popular hypothesis holds that Roman soldiers encountered this religion during military excursions to areas known today as Iran and Iraq. For many years scholars believed that the Roman mystery cult was based on the ancient Persian god, thus predating Christianity. This assumption begins with early twentieth-century Belgian archaeologist and historian Franz Cumont (cf. Cumont’s book The Mysteries of Mithra).

While Cumont’s work is regarded as pioneering in the field, many recent scholars have challenged his assumption. According to John Hinnells at the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies held in 1971, “We must now conclude that [Cumont’s] reconstruction simply will not stand. It receives no support from the Iranian material and is in fact in conflict with the ideas of that tradition as they are represented in the extant texts. Above all, it is a theoretical reconstruction which does not accord with the actual Roman iconography” (John R. Hinnells, Mithraic Studies, vol. 2, “Reflections on the bull-slaying scene”).

Manfred Claus, a professor of ancient history at the Free University of Berlin, also supports this position: “The mysteries cannot be shown to have developed from Persian religious ideas, nor does it make sense to interpret them as a forerunner of Christianity” (The Roman Cult of Mithras, p. 7).

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In the link leading to my post on this stuff I have pages from a book showing the dates of the VERY popular reliefs used by skeptics to show that Christianity stole from Mithraism… the only proble? The POST-DATE Christianity:

If one reads that scholarly chapter they will come away with a changed position via historical evidences and not the slush found on skeptical websites. However, I just wanted to note Sargon’s reference to Second Kings 18:13 by having professor Archer lay out the issue referenced:

Second Kings 18:13 in the Masoretic text states: “Now in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them.” Since Sennacherib’s own record in the Taylor Prism establishes 701 B.C. as the date of that invasion, the four¬teenth year of Hezekiah would mean that he did not ascend the throne until 715 B.C. Yet 2 Kings 18:1 (the very same chapter, be it noted) states that Hezekiah became king in the third year of Hoshea king of Israel—which comes out to 729 or 728. This would have been the year in which he was crowned as subordinate king, under his father Ahaz (who did not die until 725). The Masoretic text of 2 Kings 18:13 therefore stands in clear con¬tradiction to 18:1,9, and 10, which confirm that Hezekiah’s fourth year was Hoshea’s seventh and that Hezekiah’s sixth was Hoshea’s ninth (i.e., 722 B.c.).

Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Biblical Difficulties (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1982), cf. 2 Kings 18:13, 211.

BEFORE I go any further… I want to point out how minor this mistake (and subsequent correction) is. It does not do anything to the integrity of the Bible, its message, or it’s historical soundness. Even someone who is seen as dealing the biggest blow to textual studies as of late, Bart Ehrman, even he acknowledges nothing he has written deterioates the main theisis and message of Christianity or the Bible:

In the appendix to Misquoting Jesus, added to the paperback version, there is a Q&A section. I do not know who the questioner is, but it is obviously someone affiliated with the editors of the book. Consider this question asked of Ehrman:

  • Bruce Metzger, your mentor in textual criticism to whom this book dedicated, has said that there is nothing in these variants of Scripture that challenges any essential Christian beliefs (e.g., the bodily resurrection of Jesus or the Trinity). Why do you believe these core tenets Of Christian orthodoxy to be in jeopardy based on the scribal errors you discovered in the biblical manuscripts?

Note that the wording of the question is not “Do you believe…” but “Why do you believe these core tenets of Christian orthodoxy to be in jeopardy…?” This is a question that presumably came from someone who read the book very carefully. How does Ehrman respond?

  • The position I argue for in Misquoting Jesus does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.

Suffice it to say that viable textual variants that disturb cardinal doctrines found in the NT have not yet been produced.

Daniel B. Wallace, Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, 2011), 54-55.

Again, many skeptics do not get Bart’s work in total (see: Agnostic -Bart Erhman- Debates Atheist About Jesus’ Existence).. that aside, let’s explore a simple explanation. Here Dr. Geisler explains:

PROBLEM: 2 Kings 18:13 claims that “in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them.” Since archaeological evidence has established Sennacherib’s invasion at 701 B.C., this would mean that Hezekiah became co-regent with his father Ahaz in 719 B.C., and sole ruler of Judah in 715 B.C. However, according to 2 Kings 18:1, Hezekiah became co-regent in 729 B.C., and he became sole ruler of Judah when his father died in 725 B.C. This is a discrepancy of ten years. Which account is correct?

SOLUTION: The claim that Sennacherib invaded Judah in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah is clearly a copyist error. Sennacherib actually invaded Judah in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of Hezekiah of Judah. The error is easy to explain since the difference between the two numbers is a single Hebrew letter. The Hebrew consonants for “fourteen” are rb srh, while the Hebrew consonants for “twenty-four” are rb srm (the ancient manuscripts did not write the vowels, see Appendix 2). The final letters are the only difference in the written text. In fact, the words are the same, only the word “twenty” is simply the plural form of the word “ten.” We might express the way the Hebrew is written as “four ten,” or “four twenty.” It is simply a case where a copyist miscopied the form from “four twenty” to “four ten.”

Norman L. Geisler and Thomas A. Howe, When Critics Ask : A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992), 197.

If a skeptic thinks this interferes with inerrancy… they are sadly mistaken. And of course Crowder is correct to point to the discoveries from archaeology that support the Bible… this set of verses are not excluded from this either. Much like my other examples of challenges… they fall woefully short of the simple beginning bias/presuppositions of those like Sargon’s — a presupposition not unlike Dr. Lewontin’s:

Naturalism and materialism are not scientific conclusions; rather, they are scientific premises. They are not discovered in nature but imposed upon nature. In short, they are articles of faith. Here is Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin: “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a priori commitment, a commitment — a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great about Christianity (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2007), 161.

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