Archaeology: Not Bothering to Check
We have all sorts of crazy, outrageous, and inevitably silly stuff said about early humanity. The most recent controversial find — Gobekli Tepe temple near Sanliurfa, Turkey — threatens to force yet another crazy rewrite of the narrative.
None of this threatens the positions I’ve taken in the past. First, I avoided investing too much in detailed guessing. By no means would I claim the biblical narrative is the whole story, precisely because the Bible itself never makes that claim. Indeed, the underlying assumptions of ANE Mysticism would preclude such an arrogant viewpoint. Instead, the Bible is following a rather obscure thread of human history with a very narrow application. It is the story of God’s revelation, which came to a precious few, a highly selective group.
Further, Genesis takes the line those who carried the true knowledge of God were seldom movers and shakers in human society at large. Indeed, the earliest divergence between those who called on His Name, and the vast majority who did not, indicates the former didn’t bother building too much, weren’t deeply concerned with material progress, and had very little interest in political organization or dominance. Finally, my resounding claims are the ANE culture was not really interested in clinical descriptions and factual history, but spiritual narratives. They told the stories with an eye to meaning, loaded it with symbolism, and could care less about our preferences for precision.
Whatever the find at Gobekli Tepe turns out to be, it’s probably of no significance in terms of Christian faith. Right now, it’s most likely a representation of that other, larger thread of human development long after the Fall. Those whom the Scripture calls “Sons of God” in Genesis would not have bothered much with extensive temple and monument building. The people of God, aside from the narrative heavy on symbolism, hardly left any mark on human society. Otherwise there wouldn’t have been descriptions of a Flood, nor a Tower of Babel incident, etc. Most of humanity ignored God’s will from the very beginning.
Archaeologists keep trying to twist typical human monuments back into the biblical narrative, or lacking any way to make it match, use it to debunk the Scripture. They don’t bother to check whether they even understand what the Bible has to say. They just assume they do, often very dismissive of alternative explanations. I’m not the least bit shaken, since such finds seldom have anything to do with God’s revelation.
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