Last Updated on :
Saturday, November 22, 2014


sp spacer

CONTENTS | 1 | 2(1) | 2(2) | 3 | 4 | 5(1) | 5(2) | 6




Part 1

Tom Paine, Voltaire, Darwin and the Clergy Unite to Discredit The Bible -- Mature Archaeology Now The Bible's Best Friend -- Initial Errors of Archaeology Adjusted -- A Chronological Review of Bible Incidents and Their Archaeological Confirmation: Eden, Mesopotamia; Egypt; Metallurgy; The Flood; Abraham


A hundred and eighty years ago the creation of Adam and Eve at about 4,000 B.C. was, along with the rest of Bible revelation, generally accepted as an inspired historical record.

Then came the French Revolution, that great social upheaval, which aimed at the overthrow of an oppressing royalty, and the breaking of the power of the Church by which it was sustained. The Church then received a blow from which it has never fully recovered.

Attacks upon the Church soon spread to attacks upon the Bible, which was believed to be responsible for Church doctrines and ritual. Men like Voltaire and Thomas Paine, gifted with caustic wit and the ability to write entertainingly, satirized the clergy and attacked the Scriptures so effectively that they have never since been held in the universal esteem they once enjoyed.

About 60 years later came Charles Darwin with his theory of the origin of the human race through a slow and gradual evolution. This theory necessitated an enormous antiquity for man -- upwards of millions of years. Predisposed by the labours of Voltaire, Tom Paine and others, many eagerly seized upon Darwin's explanation as the true one because it further discredited the Bible version of creation, as the Bible taught that man was a comparatively recent creation, fully developed when newly made.

With the advent of Voltaire and Paine there also came into existence a more subtle class of Bible enemies known as "Higher Critics." These men, by methods best understood by their learned selves, were able to tell all sorts of wonderful things about the Bible, such as certain books of the Bible having had two or more authors, other books not having been written at the time of which they professed to speak, and still more being quite "unhistorical and mythical."

So effective was this pernicious teaching that it became generally accepted by the Church, as can easily be seen by the way it is advocated in their printed Bible commentaries, and taught in their colleges. This system, with the blessing of a degenerate Church, has done more to undermine and destroy confidence in the Bible than all the assaults of Voltaire, Tom Paine, Darwin and Bradlaugh put together, as our present generation only too clearly testifies.


There were many Church scholars, however, who opposed the pretentious claims of "Higher Criticism," and denied the soundness of the application of its principles. They even went further and declared that, although its methods were convincingly "scientific" to those who practised them, the evidence of Higher Criticism would never carry the day in a court of law.

It seemed that such a charge could never be practically demonstrated. Yet, in a most remarkable way, the matter has now been put to the test in a modern law-court. Sir Charles Marston, to whom we are indebted for the information, sets forth the details at some length in his book, "The Bible is True."

A certain Miss Deeks (of Canada) wrote a book entitled "The Web," and deposited the manuscript with her publishers. Then Mr. H. G. Wells published his book, "Outline of History"; whereupon Miss Deeks, confident that with the connivance of her publishers, he had copied large portions of her book, brought an action against him for plagiarism.

In order to get the best available evidence for the alleged copying of her manuscript, she went to a learned gentleman who specialised in literary matters -- an Associate Professor of Ancient and Old Testament Languages and Literature, the Reverend W. A. Urwin, M.A., D.B., Ph.D., at that time of Toronto University, and afterwards Professor of Old Testament Languages and Literature at Chicago University -- in fact, a real live Reverend "Higher Critic." He made a statement to the court in explanation of his reasons for consenting to give his learned evidence on behalf of Miss Deeks. It was a very important and significant statement. He declared:

"I consented in considerable measure because this is the sort of task with which my study of ancient literature repeatedly confronts me, and I was interested to test out in modern works ('The Web' and 'Outline of History') the methods commonly applied to those of the ancient world."

Here then are the self-confessed methods of Higher Criticism which are applied to Scripture writings and which this learned gentleman was anxious to put to the test in a modern court of law, no doubt feeling confident about the result. But what a shock he had coming to him. His evidence, and that of two other similarly learned witnesses, was duly heard. One of them went so far as to declare that it was his opinion that:

"Mr. Wells wrote his book with the manuscript of Miss Deeks' book upon the desk in front of him."

But in spite of this confident charge, in spite of the learned methods by which literary experts thought they had proved their case, the Judge, and later the Appeal Judges of Canada


This, in itself, was decisive enough to shew the legal opinion of the Higher Criticism. But Miss Deeks, still not satisfied, and having great confidence in the testimony of her learned witnesses, took the matter to the highest legal tribunal in the Empire -- The Privy Council in London. Then what happened?

"After a long hearing in which the Higher Criticism was thoroughly reviewed THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY REJECTED THE APPEAL."


Surely this is damaging if not decisive evidence against the methods by which men presume to determine Bible questions of authorship. The justification of these legal findings on the worthless evidence of Higher Criticism and the exposures which it has suffered will be shewn in the decisive and concrete evidence now to follow, and which is admirably summed up by a modern archaeologist, Sir Charles Marston:

"Nearly a century after Biblical criticism had started, archaeologists first began to dig in the mounds of ancient ruins in Bible lands, in order to increase existing knowledge of ancient history. SO THE SOURCES OF INFORMATION WERE NO LONGER DERIVED FROM CLASSICAL WRITERS, COMBINED WITH CONJECTURE OF WHAT ought TO HAVE HAPPENED; but began to be slowly enriched by evidence left behind by those who lived in times that were mythical to Herodotus, and other ancient historians . . . SO IT HAS BECOME NECESSARY TO SCRAP MOST, IF NOT ALL, OF WHAT PEOPLE HAVE LEARNED or read about the Old Testament, in Colleges and Seminaries, in text books, commentaries and encyclopedias, and to go back to the original books of Genesis, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua."

The reasons for this revolutionary and sweeping statement of Sir Charles, by which he unceremoniously disposes of all the learned lumber of the schools, it is now our intention to pass under review. We shall see that the confidence expressed by Sir Charles did not, however, come all at once, for in the very early stages of archaeological research it sometimes appeared that archaeology favoured the critics.

As a result of early generalisations resulting from partial finds, the Bible was sometimes under a cloud, much to the delight of its enemies. It was found that Egyptian chronology calculated by the reigns of her disinterred Pharaohs, and compiled from inscriptions on obelisks and temples, put Egyptian history back to 10,000 B.C. more or less, according to differing authorities.

Early discoveries in the Euphrates and Tigris valleys, just north of the Persian Gulf, had also shewn the Mesopotamian civilization to be far more recent than the Egyptian. Yet this (Mesopotamia) was the district which had always been associated with the Garden of Eden, identified as it had been by the mention of the rivers Euphrates and Hiddekel (Tigris) in Genesis.


Many clergy of the Established Church became seriously alarmed by the impressive array of accumulating "evidence." Some of them, taking premature fright, sought to shew that evolution was "quite compatible" with the Bible story, for Eden, Adam, and Eve were but "profound allegories." As for the chronology of the Bible which was now "discredited" -- well that, too, was "never intended to be taken seriously." After all, they said, the Bible was but the "collected stories, traditions, and legends of the wild Jewish tribes," and like all early literature was largely influenced by the primitive outlook and "infancy of the race."

Yes, it certainly did seem, in those days, as if the Bible had received blows from which it would never recover. Its enemies were numerous and powerful. Its professed friends were ready to give it up to betrayal, and few-very few-retained the old-fashioned robust belief in its divine inspiration and infallibility. But what a revolutionary change there has been during the present century. Darwin is now discredited. Many scientists contend that the Edenic story of Creation is strictly scientific.

A more mature archaeology is now rapidly discrediting every early view which was based on faulty hypotheses and misleading deductions, owing to partial and imperfect knowledge of the facts. Bible stock is higher today than it has ever been since the first onslaughts of open infidelity and refined agnosticism. But alas, the damage they did has largely remained. The Bible, dethroned from the common homes as a result of these attacks, has never since regained its place. Evidence for its claims now exists in abundance, far more evidence than our loyal forebears ever had, but today people are ignorant and apathetic in Bible matters. They have not the interest or intelligent understanding to appreciate the growth of knowledge made possible by the labours of the field archaeologist.


Modern discovery has proved that the earliest civilization known was not Egyptian but Babylonian (Mesopotamian). This confirms the Bible location of Eden in the district of the Euphratean and Tigris valleys (modern Iraq). What caused the matter ever to be doubted by archaeology? It was a mistake made in all good faith.

When the exhumed chronicles of the reigns of Egypt's kings were compiled it was found that their added reigns amounted to many thousands of years. More complete knowledge of Egyptian history has demonstrated that MANY OF THESE REIGNS OVERLAPPED INSTEAD OF BEING CONSECUTIVE. Also, at times, many kings were reigning in different parts of Egypt at the same time. Fear of usurpation by rival claimants to the throne often impelled the reigning monarch to associate his son and heir with him on the throne, in order to safeguard and insure the continuity of his royal house.

When this and other practices were found out in Egyptian history, alterations were made to the dates on various statues in the British Museum. New gilt lettering called our attention to altered dates of the reigns of Egypt's kings, now revised in the light of fresh discovery. Further difficulties were caused by the unscrupulous practice of many Egyptian monarchs. They often erased the names of their forerunners from buildings and monuments, erected to perpetuate their memory, and substituted their own.

However, the gradual sifting of the evidence, although still leaving much to be found out, has progressively reduced the length of Egypt's history. Some theories still remain which conflict with Bible history. But they are only theories -- the opinions of individuals. TODAY THERE ARE NO INDISPUTABLE EVIDENCES OF EGYPTIAN ANTIQUITY WHICH CLASH WITH THE BIBLE or are found to be irreconcilable with it. Indeed, so orderly have many later parts of Egyptian chronology now become that Dr. Kyle declares:

"By pursuing independent investigations in both Egyptian and Bible chronology and history, and arranging the results in parallel columns, we find that Josiah is side by side with Pharaoh Necho, as the Bible places him; Hezekiah with Tirhaka; and Rehoboam with Shishak . . . These are but a few of the multitude of synchronisms which may be traced between the chronological system of the Bible and that of ancient Egypt."

Thus the reason for believing Egyptian civilization to be older than the Mesopotamian no longer exists. Archaeology has come to the aid of the Bible most decisively. We are now told of the many revisions in official records at the Museums and that "Classical dictionaries need constant revision in the light of fresh discoveries. Chronologies, the reigns of kings, etc., are in a continual state of flux."


Prof. Sir Leonard Woolley confesses: "Until recently it was thought that the Egyptian civilization was the oldest in the world." Now Prof. Woolley is of the firm opinion that the oldest is the Mesopotamian in the region of Eden. This latter fact is being fully confirmed by modern archaeological research:

"The garden (Eden) has not been definitely located by archaeological evidence, but it is very significant that all traceable lines of the world's great emigrations, when followed back towards the beginning, invariably centre from all parts of the world towards a certain small area in Western Asia."

With the final settling of the age precedence of Mesopotamia over Egypt, there arose a doubt as to the real age of this early civilization. Early views were that it greatly exceeded the alleged date of Creation. Thus the Bible and archaeology were in conflict. This view, of course, was encouraged and played up by those who were eager to see the Bible worsted. Now, growing knowledge, which discriminates between historical records and religious myths, has helped to clarify the picture, and to reduce the time of early Mesopotamian civilization, until much learned opinion admits that it agrees with Bible chronology:

"At what point are we to place the earliest evidences of Sumerian culture known to us? The question is one which has been the subject of infinite debate. But it would appear that . . . A MUCH SHORTER PERIOD OF DEVELOPMENT THAN WAS FORMERLY HELD TO BE NECESSARY . . . Of late years, there has been a reaction against those early dates. The reign of Ur-Nina, the earliest king of Lagash who is more than a name, would fall about 3,000 B.C." (The Creation was approximately 4000 B.C.)

The next point of interest is that of the alleged barbarity and ignorance of early man. Man is supposed to have grown out of ignorance and gradually acquired the civilized arts and crafts. The Bible, on the other hand, represents the race as having early acquired the arts and crafts which, subsequently, became lost -- as in the case of the early inhabitants of Britain, less than 2,000 years ago.

For instance, the Bible speaks of the descendants of Cain being skilled in music and the art of working metals, things which we associate with advanced civilization. And so it has proved to be. Prof. Woolley in his excavations at Ur (one of the early Bible cities) has unearthed actual specimens of early musical instruments, also beautiful examples of the goldsmith's craft, made at this very time of which the Bible speaks. He also brought to light innumerable evidences of a highly civilized state, of which we shall have more to say later.

Of the metallurgical skill of the early inhabitants of Mesopotamia one writer says:

"The art of melting, hardening, casting, and chasing metals ...was well established. The chemical analysis of early metal objects by the late Dr. Helm has recently shewn that ancient Babylonian brass founders . . . used not only tin but also antimony, in order to harden copper and at the same time to render it more fusible."

To recapitulate: we see that, in spite of initial mistakes and misleading evidence, order has gradually emerged from chaos, so that our present knowledge confirms the Bible record as to the location of Eden somewhere in the lower Euphratean valley -- "the cradle of the human race." It has also demonstrated the high degree of skill possessed by these early descendants of Adam, exactly as the Bible represents. It also (in round figures) confirms Bible chronology.

This is surely a good beginning. It shews the Genesis account to be history, in no uncertain way. This result has not been arrived at by obscure or abstract reasoning. It is based on long-interred tangible evidence composed of actual objects, written records, and the remains of buildings. Archaeology might be termed petrified history. And unlike written history, which is largely a copy of previous works, here we have THE ORIGINALS LOCKED AWAY IN THEIR EARTHY SAFES UNTOUCHED BY HUMAN HANDS, UNSEEN BY HUMAN EYES FOR CENTURIES, WAITING THE ADVENT OF THE MODERN SCIENTIFIC ARCHAEOLOGIST TO UNCOVER THEIR HIDING-PLACE, READ THEIR SECRETS, AND PUBLISH THEIR FINDINGS IN VINDICATION OF THE ANCIENT RECORDS WITH WHICH THEY WERE CONTEMPORARY.


Among other Bible incidents, Noah and the Flood have had more than their share of criticism. Until recently, many professing Christians, overwhelmed by the opposition yet still retaining their loyalty, would confess their belief in the Flood almost apologetically. The only practical interest shewn in this "old world legend" was the manufacture of little wooden ships filled with wooden horses, cows and sheep as toys for children.

The Bible records this incident as sober history. (We have the record of a universal catastrophe to the human race by a flood, and a fresh start made with the sons of Noah, written with the detailed accuracy of genuine history.) It tells how Noah's three sons became the progenitors of a threefold division of the human race, and these genealogical records have since been pronounced as sound by archaeologists.

A few years ago, whilst believing this record, we should have been hard put to it if anyone had demanded material proof of us. The historian is apt to demand material proof, and material proof of such an event as this is hard to find. But, unlikely as it was ever to occur, material proof of the flood has come to light through the labours of Sir Leonard Woolley in Babylonia, particularly in the Bible city of Ur. Prior to these actual finds, WRITTEN EVIDENCE HAD BEEN UNEARTHED which shewed that the early dwellers in Ur had a tradition of a flood which they treated as an actual occurrence. As one writer puts it:

"Many authorities have doubted whether (the) story had any basis in historical fact. That the Sumerians had no such doubt is clear, for . . . the annalists in their sober table of the reigns of kings made mention of it as an event which interrupted the course of history: they vouchsafe us no details about it -- 'Then came the Flood, and after the Flood kingship again descended from heaven."'

Thus these early chroniclers, by dividing their kings' reigns into pre- and post-Deluge eras, make the Flood the great interrupter of their course of development. And they do so just as actually and literally as we now refer our historical dates to the birth of Christ. Some events took place 100 B.C. (before Christ), others 100 A.D. (in the year of our Lord). Whether men believe the claims of Christ matters not; all agree that he was an historical person. In the same way, we are not at present concerned as to whether the early Sumerians believed the Flood to be a divine visitation or just a natural calamity. The fact is, they believed it to have happened. This, of itself, would have been a signal confirmation of the Bible record; but little did we expect, in those days, the dramatic finds which were yet to come. Before we tell of these, a few observations on archaeological practice will serve to give us a more intelligible picture of the Flood evidence.


In the early days, 1850 or thereabouts, archaeologists seemed intent on winning the big prizes. And big prizes there certainly were, as witness the colossal granite lions and bulls now in the Assyrian gallery of the British Museum. In order to find these huge sculptures, shafts were sunk into the tops of mounds, which were once cities, until something was struck. If it was a wall, a tunnel would be driven along its face, underground, in the hope of finding sculpture work or inscriptions. As the tunnel lengthened, another shaft would be sunk to obtain more light, and to act as an outlet for hauling up the baskets of unwanted rubbish. By these methods the site of an ancient city was soon honeycombed with underground passages which subsequently collapsed, and destroyed any hope of later efforts at "scientific digging."

Today, mere treasure-hunting archaeology has gone. The method which has succeeded it, though more laborious, is one which yields more reliable data. A prospective mound is now removed from the top in layers. Whenever anything of importance is found it is drawn and photographed in situ before anything more is excavated. This process continues until virgin earth is reached, then the diggers know that they have come to the end of the city's "history." The reason for this stratified history is found in the fact that in the East the ruins of houses are not cleared away but built upon by later builders. In this and other ways layer after layer of "evidence" of early settlers is left in the earth. The latest settlements are naturally found nearest the top of the mound.

In the Spring of 1929 Sir Leonard Woolley was busy at work on the site of Ur. Here he found many remarkable evidences of very early civilization. One day, after having dug through layers of rubbish and broken pottery, his diggers came upon

"Perfectly clean clay, uniform throughout, the texture of
which shewed that IT HAD BEEN LAID THERE BY WATER."

The workmen having had similar experiences before, said that they had reached virgin soil, and that this was the original clay of which the delta of the river was composed. Sir Leonard was at first disposed to agree with them, in which case the workings would have been abandoned and we should have been the poorer for their error.

Something caused Sir Leonard to hesitate as, with experienced eye, he took in one bearing after another. By these he saw that they were too high up for it to have been the old river bed. So he tells us: "After working out the measurements I sent the men back to work to deepen the hole." He goes on to say

"The clean clay continued without change ... until it had attained a thickness of a little over 8 feet. Then, as suddenly as it had begun, it stopped, and we were once more in layers of rubbish . . . and pottery."


It is difficult to imagine a more dramatic and tense situation. We can visualize the looks that would be exchanged between the archaeologists, and the unspoken words which would run through their minds. THE FLOOD! To make sure that they were not the victims of a geological freak Sir Leonard Woolley ordered his men to sink another shaft 300 yards to the north-west. Then they waited in impatient anticipation while the digging proceeded down through rubbish and pottery seemingly without end. But, at last, the clay again! Clay and more clay, until 8 more feet were removed, and early pottery and rubbish once again reached. The new pit had verified their first find; there they found "the same bed of water-laid clay."

Here then, like a giant sandwich, were two layers of early remains of distinct civilizations, a difference known by the different types of pottery, and between them the irrefutable evidence of a great flood! Sir Leonard has no doubts about it, for, as he says:

"8 feet of sediment imply a very great depth of water, and
the flood which deposited it must have been unparalleled in local history.

"The bed of water-laid clay deposited against the sloping
face of the mound which extended from the town to the
stream or canal at the north-east end, COULD ONLY HAVE

It would be difficult to imagine what more the sceptic could ask. Such evidence as this was more than we once ever dared hope could be found. But it has been found, and that by a man who will not be accused of being a simple believer of the Bible. He himself has said that he is not concerned with theology -- he leaves that to the theologians. He is simply an archaeologist who has made the most moving and dramatic discovery of all time till now. In doing this he has silenced the critic and the scoffer on the subject of Noah and the Flood. There was a flood preceeded by a peculiar mixture of peoples. There was a flood followed by the growth of a different culture. The pottery and the clay tell their own story, corroborate the testimony of early Sumerian writers, and set their seal to the Bible record.

"The great bed of clay marked . . . a break in the continuity of history; above it we had the pure Sumerian civilization slowly developing on its own lines; below it there was a mixed culture.

"A whole civilization which existed before it is lacking
above it, and seems to have been submerged by the waters."


Abraham is one of the most important figures in the whole of Old Testament history. Two great races of antiquity, the Jew and the Arab, claim him as their common ancestor. He is the bearer of unique titles -- "Heir of the world" -- " Friend of God." But none of these things deterred the critics, nor exempted this great man from their meddling attentions.

They were formidable critics too, in those days: men whose scholarly attainments were of world-wide notoriety. With a great show of learning they demonstrated the mythological character of Abraham in a way that no unlearned person could possibly gainsay. Those who, in spite of such learned opposition, persisted in their primitive beliefs, and accepted the Bible record at its face value, were regarded with pitying disdain by these erudite scholars.

Their "inexhaustible learning" and "profound scholarship" were responsible for reducing Abraham to a fiction as unreal and non-existent as Mars, the god of war; anything in fact, except a real person, as the Bible represented him to be. Two short quotations reproduced by Dr. Kyle will shew this; we could quote pages to the same effect.

"The individuals, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, are eponyms
-- personification of, clans, or ethnological groups -- and they are nothing more."

"Abraham and Lot are the same as Gemini, called by the
Romans Castor and Pollux."

There were other critics, not of this extreme school of thought, as represented principally by German scholars, who magnanimously allowed Abraham to have "probably" been real. Nevertheless he could have been only a "tribal chieftain" whom legend and fancy had elevated to an unreal importance. The story of Abraham as scripturally recorded could by no means be regarded as "sober history."

Both these views, extreme and moderate, have now been exposed and shewn to be childish and absurd in the extreme. The greatest regret that these so-called "scholars" must now have is that they were so foolish as to commit their views to print. Their works, however, remain as a punishment to them for their inexcusable haste to convict the Bible on half-digested evidence and almost total lack of facts. They serve another purpose also. They shew how unreliable and tentative are man's opinions, for CONTINUAL DISCOVERY INVALIDATES THEIR PREVIOUSLY SETTLED CONVICTIONS. The Bible, however, remains as it was written, and has to take the consequences of any error, and you may be sure that many are only too anxious for the chance of finding it. Yet, in spite of it all, the Bible is emerging from these past conflicts stronger than ever before in the light of modern research and growing knowledge. When the tide began to turn a few years ago, Dr. Kyle could write:

"The critics have been too hasty in these concessions to the insistent claims put forth for a mythological element in early Bible history. The archaeologists have now uncovered to view such appropriate historical setting for the patriarchal stories that these narratives no longer present to us the patriarchs as obscure."

"At one time the ignorance of the patriarchal age was once
a frontier fortress in criticism which frightened away all literary pretentions beyond that limit . . . there are a good many today who seem to wish that time forgotten."


Since these words were penned, archaeological discovery has gone ahead by leaps and bounds. Ur, the very city of Abraham, once only a vague name -- and that tucked away obscurely in the Bible -- has been exhumed, and the daily life of its inhabitants has been revealed by the recent excavations under Sir Leonard Woolley.

Ur is situated on the western side of the river Euphrates about half-way between Basra, at the head of the Persian Gulf, and Bagdad. Aerial reconnaissance has shewn that it was once on the eastern bank of the river; not that the city has moved, but the Euphrates now flows in a different channel. This is confirmed by Scripture, which records that Israel, in Palestine, were told that their fathers, who were idolaters, served their gods on "the other side" (east side) of the Euphrates.

Layer by layer scientific excavation revealed the fact that Ur was a City-state. A reigning royal house was closely allied with the city's religion. An hierarchy of priests conducted the temple worship and maintained the king's authority among his subjects, much as is done today by the State-Church. The temples in these cities were built on the top of ziggurats. These ziggurats were artificial hills and were a natural outcome of the Babylonian desire to escape from the unrelieved flatness of their endless plains. Also they served to bring into prominence the temples around which their lives centred.

The ziggurats, some of which have been found in a remarkable state of preservation, were composed of a series of elevated platforms, square in shape, superimposed one upon another in tiers, and diminishing in size until a small square court surmounted the whole. Upon this uppermost platform was erected the sacred shrine which housed the god of the city. (In the case of Ur it was Nanna the moon goddess.) These ziggurats stood with their corners towards the cardinal points of the compass, N. S. E. W. The terraces, formed by the receding platforms, were reached by steep roadways running parallel with the sides of the tiers. In some parts, notably through gateways, ascent was continued by means of steps. Judged even by today's standards, these ziggurats were very remarkable structures, and evidence a very advanced knowledge of architecture.


Bricks made from the clay which abounded on every hand predominate in Babylonian buildings. Stone was unobtainable except further north in Assyria. These sun dried and kiln-baked bricks were held together by bitumen. Many specimens may be seen in the museums. Bitumen was also a local product and is the material rendered "slime" in the Genesis account of the building of the Tower of Babel. Indeed, there is a good deal of evidence for believing that the remains of the actual tower have been found under the lowest levels of the Babylonian excavations. It is believed that THE TOWER OF BABEL WAS, IN FACT, A MIGHTY ZIGGURAT similar to the one at Ur and else where. The reason the builders gave for its erection was lest they should be "scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." But doubtless they had another reason in the back of their minds, for such an elevated erection, they thought, might serve as a sanctuary in the event of another flood. However this may be, the ziggurat was the central feature of life in Ur.

The temple arrangements were run in a most orderly manner. Every transaction had to be witnessed by written documents:

"As the stores were drawn upon for use of the temple, animals required for sacrifice, oil for 'squeaking' door-hinges ... the responsible official drew out an issue voucher giving the name of the recipient and his authority for the demand, and copies of these, too, were filed."

These receipts, like all documents at Ur, were written upon soft clay tablets, which were afterwards baked. This accounts for their preservation, enabling us in these far-off days to read their intimate details. Any other medium, parchment, or papyri, would have long since perished.


One very homely incident comes to light from the temple archives, consisting of the written permission of a foreman for one of his temple workmen to see the doctor, and the doctor's prescription to be taken to the temple dispenser for his medicine. This, and the chit for oil to silence a "squeaking" door, speaks volumes of the essential frailty and sameness of human nature in all lands and in all ages.

Surrounding the ziggurat hill and temple at Ur were the houses of the people; houses large or houses small, according to the importance or insignificance of their tenants. Things have not changed; social position is as much sought after today in London or New York as it was in Ur in Abraham's time. These houses of 4,000 or more years ago are curiously "modern". Sir Leonard Woolley writes:

"We discovered that in Abraham's time men lived in houses built with walls of burnt brick . . . two storeys high, and containing as many as thirteen or fourteen rooms."

Quite a respectable house, judged even by today's standards. Not all were so big; but Ur was a brick-built city in which commerce was transacted, factories flourished, and schools were filled with little Babylonians doing tiny tot sums on "slates" of wet clay. Sir Leonard Woolley speaks of

"Regular factories where raw materials were manufactured into finished goods. And we have elaborate balance-sheets of such a factory in which women attached to the service of the god were employed in spinning wool and weaving cloth: balance-sheets drawn up every month and three months, with a nominal roll of the workers, and, in parallel columns, the amount or raw wool each had received, the tally of her work and its cost."

It is difficult to imagine that such practice was so near the beginning of things. It all seems so curiously modern and not a bit as we should expect apart from archaeological research.

Then as to their learning -- already evident in the wide and varied use made of handwriting in their daily life we learn that they were considerable mathematicians. Sir Leonard found clay tablets containing mathematical tables "ranging from plain sums in addition to formulae for the extraction of square and cube roots." To mention "cube roots" a few years ago, in the same breath as Abraham, or even Moses 400 years later, would have provoked a shout of derisive laughter.

Well, here are the facts revealed by the spade. Facts handled by the diggers. Facts seen under glass by thousands yearly in our great museums. Facts which testify that Abraham was the citizen of no mean city and not the petty sheik of a rude age, or, even worse -- just a "myth" or "legend." Sir Leonard Woolley declares:

"We must revise our ideas of the Hebrew patriarch when we learn that his early years were spent in such sophisticated surroundings: he was the citizen of a great city and inherited the traditions of an ancient and highly organized civilization."


Here then at Ur lived Abraham, amidst a nation of Chaldean idolaters. From here Abraham received a call from God to separate himself from his kindred, to leave Ur for ever and to remove to a country which would be indicated later. God knew whom He was calling; knew in advance of Abraham's response. So great was this man's faith that we are told that "He went out, not knowing whither he went." But he was fully persuaded that what God had promised He was able to perform, and although, as we are told, he had opportunity to return, he never looked back; he had burned his boats, and left Ur never to return.

His obedience, always remarkable, becomes trebly so in the light of the Ur excavations. To leave a camping ground, or even a mud village, is one thing; to leave a great city in which all one's life has been spent is another. If Abraham was born at Ur, and there is no reason for believing that he was not, then Abraham as a child had pored, tongue in cheek, over his little clay tablets of sums and had laboriously tried to copy the writing of his teacher at the head of his writing-exercise tablet. Then he had grown up into a young man among those many indefinable ties that link a man's affections to the scenes of his boyhood days. All this Abraham left in obedience to God, and for this he was called by God, "Abraham my friend."

Ur at this time is described by Sir Leonard Woolley as

"A very highly developed state of society of an urban type, a society in which the architect was familiar with all the basic principles of construction known to us today. The artist, capable at times of the most vivid realism, followed for the most part standards and conventions whose excellence had been approved by many generations working before him; the craftsman in metal possessed a knowledge in metallurgy and a technical skill which few ancient peoples ever rivalled; the merchant carried on a far-flung trade and recorded his transactions in writing; the army was well organised and victorious; agriculture prospered, and great wealth gave scope to luxury."


The next point of archaeological interest in the life of Abraham occurs after he left Ur. It concerns a recorded battle between certain kings of Abraham's time. A raiding party of one side had, in their engagement at Sodom, carried off Lot, Abraham's nephew. Abraham, by means of his retainers and the use of stratagem, was successful in rescuing Lot, and restoring him to his city. This record in Genesis, with its detailed enumeration of the kings, once came in for scathing criticism. The German school were most prominent in their denunciation of Genesis 14, but they did not lack able lieutenants in this country. Strange as it may now sound, they appealed to archaeology for support, and with its supposed backing they declared of Genesis 14:

"Criticism has for ever disproved its claims to be historical. The political situation pre-supposed by it was incredible and impossible.

"At so distant a date Babylonian armies could not have marched to Canaan, much less could Canaan have been a subject province of Babylon.

"The whole story, in fact, was a fiction. The names of the princes commemorated in it were etymological inventions."

A detailed recital of subsequent archaeological evidence, which has relegated these views to the shelf of exploded opinions, would be tedious. Suffice it to say that the political and military dominance of Elam over Palestine, which would make this expedition credible and natural at this time, is now established beyond all successful cavil by archaeological "finds." The surroundings and exploits of Abraham, as recorded in Scripture, present a strictly correct and historical picture of the times and places in which he moved. He fits into his surroundings exactly as a piece in a jig-saw puzzle for which it was expressly made. The record is vulnerable at scores of points, now that the true facts are being unearthed, but at no point has irreconcilable conflict been found. At most, and in an ever-growing number of points, complete harmony is found to exist between Bible history and archaeological research.


Thus the Bible has emerged from the most searching tests of modern knowledge in triumph, and has proved itself to be an authentic record written by men on the spot, or alternatively, by men divinely inspired to record truths which they never witnessed personally. For the present, either alternative will serve our purpose.

In spite of its records of unusual happenings and even miracles, the BIBLE STANDS TODAY VINDICATED AS NEVER BEFORE. Sir Leonard Woolley, fully aware of all recorded history, sacred and profane, is of the opinion that Abraham and his recorded exploits are historical and in their correct setting, true in substance and in fact; so much so that he has written a book, devoted to the subject, entitled "Abraham". In it he observes:

"I had previously assumed that the oral tradition might be
relied upon for the basic fact of Abraham's historic existence; we are told now by Gadd that WE CAN 'FEARLESSLY ACCEPT' THIS IN THE LIGHT OF EXTERNAL KNOWLEDGE."

Sir Leonard then proceeds to shew his agreement with Gadd, and contends for the historical correctness of the record by evidence outside of Scripture itself. He shews that it is a faithful reproduction of local colour impossible for a forger at a later age to have written. Neither is it the work of a well-meaning romancer, for all the attendant details of the records have been amply confirmed by the discoveries at Ur, even to the discovery of Abraham's name. Sir Charles Marston says:

"The name of Abraham, or rather Abram, is found in the Babylonian cuneiform contract tablets of about his era."

CONTENTS | 1 | 2(1) | 2(2) | 3 | 4 | 5(1) | 5(2) | 6