The Bible is the most widely read book in the world, with a total circulation of over four billion. But is there any evidence that it is true? The Bible covers a period of over a thousand years, yet many people question its historical accuracy.
But many archaeological findings (such as crucifixion marks and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre) provide physical evidence for many of the biblical characters and confirm the events described there.
We have gathered some contemporary evidence of biblical stories:
Skeptics have questioned the story of Moses calling ten executions on Egypt to free the Israelites from captivity. However, scientists have found explanations for these cataclysmic events that coincide with the period of Moses and the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt.
Research shows that the drought clouded the waters of the Nile, and freshwater algae may have stained the water red. This explains the first execution: the waters of the Nile turned to blood.
The blooming of the river was followed by invasions of frogs, lice, and flies (the second, third, and fourth executions). And diseases like malaria, brought by insects, could easily cause the death of livestock and ulcers among the people (the fifth and sixth plagues).
Finally, the volcanic eruption on the island of Santorini, 640 kilometers away from Egypt, filled the air with ashes and hail, which explains the seventh, eighth and ninth plagues: hail of fire, locust invasion and darkness.
Tower of Babel
The Book of Genesis tells us that the Tower of Babel was built by Noah’s descendants who survived the Great Flood. It is said that they spoke the same language and settled in the kingdom of Babylon. But they soon turned away from God and built a huge tower that became a symbol of their pride. They said:
“We will build ourselves a city and a tower as high as the heavens, and we will make a name for ourselves before we are scattered over the face of the whole earth.'” (Genesis 11:4)
God was angry and scattered the people all over the earth, confusing their language so that they could not understand each other.
Based on the description and presumed location of the tower, many believe it may be one of the nearly three dozen ziggurats found in the excavations of ancient Babylonia. Although it has not yet been possible to link this story to a particular ziggurat, some evidence indicates that the Tower of Babel is Etemenanki, a ziggurat in Babylon.
Many people claimed to have found physical evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ, such as the Shroud of Turin or the fragments of the cross. But after centuries of searching, the truest evidence for the existence of Christ is still texts: the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius, for example.
Although the authenticity of Josephus Flavius’ writings has been questioned since his death, he wrote only a few decades after Jesus’ death, and his texts testify that this was a real person. Flavius wrote:
“About this time Jesus lived… At the insistence of our influential men Pilate sentenced him to the cross. But those who had loved him before did not cease to do so even now.
On the third day he appeared to them again alive, as the god-inspired prophets proclaimed about him and his many other miracles. To this day there are still so-called Christians who call themselves thus after his name.”
In addition, experts have found the nails that pierced Christ, his crown of thorns, and other evidence of his existence.
The Great Flood
Scientists have proven that more than 7,000 years ago a great flood started from the Black Sea, covering 260,000 square kilometers of land. The sea level rose by more than 30 meters, and it is likely that thousands of people died.
The time (5600 BC) and magnitude of the flood suggests that it was the Great Flood mentioned in the Bible. However, stories of the devastating flood exist in the lore of many ancient societies: these include the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh and the Greco-Roman myth of Deucalion and Pyrrhus. It is possible that all these plots are generated by some common flood in the ancient Near East.
During archaeological excavations in Jerusalem, scholars have found evidence of the prophet Isaiah. The Old Testament tells us that Isaiah helped protect the kingdom of Judea from the Assyrian invasion.
The find is a small clay seal from the eighth century B.C., the time of Isaiah’s life. The stamp bears the name “Yeshayahu” (“Isaiah” in Hebrew) and a fragment of the word “Nvi…” which, according to experts, may be the beginning of the Hebrew word for “prophet”. Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Mazar stated:
“It looks like we found a stamp impression that may have belonged to the prophet Isaiah.”
If so, it is one of the oldest accounts of the existence of a biblical character.
Dozens of scientists have claimed to have discovered Noah’s ark. A boat-shaped object on Mount Al Judi, a piece of wood on Mount Ararat, and even Marco Polo’s account of the boat found on the mountain have tried to tie it to the story of Noah. However, biologist Todd Wood explained why physical evidence of Noah’s ark may not have survived:
“After the flood it would have been the most valuable wood…If you just got off the ark and there are no trees, what are you going to build a house out of? You have a huge wooden ship, that’s what you’re going to let it go for planks.”
Wood claims that the ark was dismantled for building materials and therefore will never be found. Nevertheless, one person claims to have found Noah’s Ark on Google Maps.
Crossing the Red Sea
The Old Testament tells us that the Red Sea parted from the Israelites as they made their exodus from Egypt. Modern scientific research suggests that this biblical miracle may well have occurred.
Engineer Carl Drews has published an article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal which states that if the Red Sea and the Black Sea are one and the same (as many scientists believe), then the waters may well have parted due to a strong wind. Winds above 95 kilometers per hour can disperse coastal waters, exposing the bottom. As Drews writes:
“Wind runoff occurs as often as storm surge, but it almost never harms people by simply draining the bay. So the water flows out to the other side of the body of water and leaves behind dry land.”
If Drews is right, then the biblical story seems quite real.