It has been awhile since I have sent a newsletter on the subject of the archaeological evidence of Noah's Flood and about the Mount Ararat discovery of what appears the remains of Noah's Ark. I have a lot of updates regarding both that I will be covering in upcoming newsletters but in this first newsletter of my return, I want to remind everyone the reason these related topics are so important and relevant. It has to do with the truth and authority of the Bible.
The Bible is the one visible thing that all of divided Christianity share. Great portions of this book are shared or honored by Jews and Muslims as well as by all who understand the Bible's importance for the course of man's history. What is taught in the Bible was responsible for the rise of European and American civilizations from the most backward part of the ancient world to the prosperity and leadership that the West has so long enjoyed. The rise of formerly poor nations follows the work of Christian missions and schools in those undeveloped countries. But whatever be the cause, the troubles now facing our world follow Europe and America's rejection of the Bible for what was hoped would be a more progressive world based on the authority of science. Even in the West, few today envision a bright and happier future as was the norm for much of the Christian past.
During my break in sending these newsletters, perhaps the best exhibit ever put together regarding the text of the Bible has been on display only a few miles from where I live. I refer to Explore Passages,
an exhibit of the Green Collection,
what may be the largest private collection of manuscripts and artifacts related to the Bible ever assembled. It is currently on display just off I-85, near the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. (Click for directions.) Those who want to visit this exhibit while it is in Charlotte, NC must do so this week before Explore Passages heads next week to Colorado Springs!
Only since 2009 has the Green family, owners of the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby, been assembling this collection. It is unusual not simply for its size but for the owners' intent to make these priceless manuscripts available to scholars. Perhaps of even greater importance to the world, the Greens are using exhibits and animated dialogues to acquaint even children with the entire history of the Bible: from the beginning of writing to the cutting-edge technologies employed for the latest scholarship. One exhibit is a working replica of Gutenberg's printing press while another features the press used to print the King James Bible. Some of the oldest copies of passages from both Old and New Testament are now on display in Charlotte.
The Green Collection will eventually find a home in a new Washington, DC museum devoted to the history of the Bible. The museum will be not far from the National Mall (between the Capital and Washington Monument) and just behind the Smithsonian. Exhibit space at the new museum of the Bible will be split equally between exhibits from the Green Collection, the Israel Museum (owner of the Dead Sea Scrolls), the Vatican Library, and the British Museum where exist the deposits of the world's most famous manuscripts and artifacts related to the Bible. The participation of such a broad spectrum of institutions and scholars reveals the Green family's intention to see this exhibition about the Bible remain as it began: a non-sectarian endeavor.
One of the themes of the Explore Passages
exhibit is the controversy that has always accompanied the Bible. To quote from the Passages video, "The Bible, a book that is both loved and despised. It is the most debated, most banned, [most burned] and yet best-selling book of all time. How has this controversial piece of history survived through centuries of war, tyranny, and hostility?" This exhibit dispels the popular myth of the supposed sponsorship of the Bible through the centuries by powerful interests. This exhibit's many examples of burned and discarded passages from the pagan persecutions of the third century, to the leafs recovered from the burnings of the Reformation, to the Torah scrolls retrieved from Nazi' burnings show the opposite to be the case. Currently, do not the US Courts recognize the Bible as harmful not only to science but to the most powerful government in the history of mankind.
While the Passages Exhibit show how the Bible's survival has depended on those who love the book to the point of making great personal sacrifices, I submit that the controversy that has always accompanied the Bible has to do with its truth. Myths and lies can be used to great advantage and do in fact depend on powerful patronage, but their existence is no threat to those who know the truth. As the contrasting histories of the US and Europe demonstrate, the Bible flourishes best where there is no government patronage. Official patronage only limits who can read and teach from the Bible. But when governments in Europe and US did regard the Bible as their chief source of truth, they saw no threat from science, contrasting with the way that the patrons of science and secular government now regard the Bible.
Contrary to liberal scholars like Bart Erhman, the Explore Passages
exhibit visibly demonstrates how the text of the Bible has scarcely changed since the words were first put on paper. Visitors may be surprised to discover how, rather than vanquishing the Bible, the most recent work in scholarship and science pertaining to the Bible is favoring the text's integrity and antiquity, attesting its authority for understanding ancient times. In contrast to what one may learn from the media, among top scholars these issues are scarcely controversial.
None of this is to say that there are not controversies concerning the Bible and history. Archaeological and scholarly studies pertaining to the history of much of the Old Testament continue to be controversial. The area of most controversy concerns the earliest chapters of Genesis where the history of man as taught by the Bible so clashes with the one taught by science. It is in fact the scientific challenge to the early chapters of Genesis that licensed the modern skepticism of the Bible and is the reason that I decided to focus my investigation in this area. When many years ago, I chose to embark on this mission, I had no idea that I might one day be involved in what appears the re-discovery of the actual remains of Noah's Ark.
I love to quote George Washington University archaeologist Eric Cline's remarks on Good Morning America when this discovery was first announced: "If you can find a piece of Noah's Ark, then the Ark must be real, then the Flood must be real, then the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament must be real. I mean you can make it go layer by layer...." Of course what has been found is far more than what appears a "piece" of Noah's Ark, but the implications are just as Cline implies: truly stunning. It stands on head what is currently reckoned as the comparative truth of man's history as taught by science versus what is taught in the Bible. Should this discovery be confirmed, my book will become invaluable in teaching the world just where and how modern science got it so wrong with regard to man and the earth's recent history.