A Bible News Press Special Bulletin
This week marks the transition from the Genesis Review to the Exodus Examiner as the Bible News Press’s main source of up-to-date information. We will continue to report on Biblical happenings as they may have seemed to the everyday man, concerned with meeting his family’s daily needs while keeping an eye on the world around him. Any conjecture is an attempt to humorously shake free of unnecessary bias. In the process, I find myself seeing these personages more as people facing problems and goals similar to yours and mine, and less as archaic men in unfashionable robes. In short, I end up questioning what has been presented to me as factual history.
Have you ever read historical records first hand? Or even the basic summary conclusions of those studying them? There is quite a contrast to the way the information is presented in textbooks and standard reference materials. To read the latter, you would think the past is as clear as the present. But when you review discussions of original documents or archeological fragments, it becomes evident that there is a lot of assuming going on.
To put it in perspective, we have a hard time accurately “remembering” what went on a mere 100 years ago. People alive today view that time period from a mixture of their own world view and how the events were presented to them. The history of world affairs is often arbitrarily and erratically recorded. It is frequently and conveniently molded to suit the teller, whether an individual or a government.
Much like the changing advice about nutrition, the story of life-on-earth-before-we-were-born keeps being altered… by historians. Really? We found new junk in the dirt, so history itself changed?! You mean to tell me that a king exaggerated about his exploits; or we don’t completely understand how a society used a piece of clay!? Do you think that if our civilization collapsed, and knowledge of, say, electricity and radio waves was lost due to imminent need for survival, that a few hundred years later the researcher would draw correct conclusions from bits of mobile phones found in the rubble? Maybe they have discovered a new way to produce energy and communicate, so the few remnants of our world have little meaning. Even with some written records, could they grasp what was meant by electricity, having never experienced anything like it? If this seems far fetched, then tell me how the pyramids were built or how the walls of Jericho fell down.
Possibly you will suggest that there will be photos or artwork to help them understand. What conclusions could they draw from a few sculptures? What would a statue of men with a cannon look like to them? Photos present their own problems. Will there be any preserved, as most are paper or digital? Will it be intuitive what objects in the photos are being used for? Might there be confusion due to the imaginative nature of many photographs? If only scattered pieces of glass and metal remain to hint of our habits, will we be categorized as primitive? Or will those exploring our remains have less knowledge than we did and, thus, be unable to begin to conceive the intricacies of our culture.
These are some of the questions I have when reading about ancient history, as compiled for us by fallible humans. I wonder how much it wrongly colors our reading of the only truly reliable source we have. I wonder why anyone would use the spotty historical records, limited archeological discoveries, and hopeless human philosophies to analyze the Bible. The Bible, amazingly preserved for us by the only entity that transcends time. A record that constantly validates itself, in spite of the selfish efforts to discredit it. An account that offers the key to life. The Bible, the only story that starts at the beginning, makes sense of everything in the middle, then leads us to a magnificent conclusion for this world.
Come back next week for the first report via the Exodus Examiner!