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Origins

 

Origins: 

I. The Universe

As E. Hubble discovered in the early 20th century, all galaxies are receding from one-another and the universe is expanding and therefore the universe had a beginning.

II. Solar-Terrestrial Fine-Tuning: Nine Examples [1]

Many parameters concerning the Sun-Earth system suggest that it is the product of design.

1. Parent star temperature  (ultraviolet habitable zone)

         If greater (above 7100K): the UV habitable zone is located beyond the water habitable zone

         If less (below 4,600K): the UV habitable zone resides closer to the star than the water habitable zone allows

2. Parent star mass (tidal habitable zone)

         If greater: luminosity of star would change too quickly; star would burn too rapidly

         If less: range of planet distances for life would be too narrow; tidal forces would disrupt the life planet’s rotational period; uv radiation would be inadequate for plants to make sugars and

         oxygen; the water habitable zone would be too close to the star

3. Distance from star (liquid water habitable zone)

         If farther: planet would be too cool for a stable water cycle

         If closer: planet would be too warm for a stable water cycle

4. Stellar wind plasma cocoon (astrosphere habitable zone)

         If too large: stellar radiation particles would limit the planetary life spans of advanced species

         If too small: planetary life would be exposed to deadly cosmic radiation

5. Parent star color (photosynthetic habitable zone)

         If redder: photosynthetic response would be insufficient

         If bluer: photosynthetic response would be insufficient

6. Carbon dioxide level in atmosphere (photosynthetic habitable zone)

         If greater: runaway greenhouse effect would develop

         If less: plants would be unable to maintain efficient photosynthesis

7. Ozone level in atmosphere (ozone habitable zone)

         If greater: surface temperatures would be too low

         If less: surface temperatures would be too high; too much uv radiation at the surface

8. Rotation period (planetary rotation rate habitable zone)

         If longer: diurnal temperature differences would be too great

         If shorter: atmospheric wind velocities would be too great

9. Axial tilt (planetary obliquity habitable zone)

         If greater: surface temperature differences would be too great

         If less: surface temperature differences would be too great

    

H. Ross summarizes:

“[A] Designer who knows all about habitable zones…and who knows about the changing physics of the solar system must have designed Earth…so that humans can thrive…” [2]

III. Origin of Life

The discoveries in modern science especially in the 21st century have had a significant impact on the question of the origin of living organisms.

The abundant complex and specified information in the living cell has been called the DNA Enigma, and the questions which arise are these: [3]

1. What is the origin of the system for storing and encoding digital information in the cell, DNA’s capacity to store digitally encoded information?

2. What is the origin of the large amount of specified complexity or functionally specified information in DNA?

3. What is the origin of the integrated complexity- the functional interdependence of parts- of the cell’s information-processing system?   

As S. Meyer has noted,

“[T]he presence of specified information-rich sequences in even the simplest living systems points definitely to the past existence and activity of a designing intelligence.” [4]

Over fifty years of experiments attempting to produce abundant complex specified information have shown that such information generation is beyond the reach of undirected processes without the input of intelligent design. [5]

Features discovered in the living cell include: nested coding of information, files within folders hierarchical filing, distributed storage and retrieval informational modules, automated error correction systems, integrated circuit structures, non-coding DNA as operating system, and irreducibly complex molecular machines, which we would expect to find if living cells had been intelligently designed. Conversely, such features would clearly not be expected from undirected mechanisms. [6]

IV. Origin of Humans

1. Genetics: Adam and Eve

In the genetic research of whether the human race could have started with two parents, i.e. Adam and Eve, the latest research has shown that the number of ancient lineages of the HLA-DRB1 gene is four, and four alleles can be carried by just two individuals. [7]

2. The Genesis Flood 

In the book of Genesis God tells us that about 1700 years after the creation of humankind it had become almost entirely evil, except for one man named Noah. God told him that he had planned a world-wide flood to destroy the life He had created, and was therefore instructed to build a huge vessel prior to the Flood to save Noah and his family, along with each kind [8] of flying creature, wild animal, tame animal, and crawling creature. [9]

The Genesis Flood was unique in Earth’s history, so a scientific inquiry into evidence for it would utilize mainly forensic evidence from the fossil and rock records. A detailed geological model developed with defined criteria for the stages and phases of the Flood has been used to interpret and understand the geology that would result. [10] The model is composed of two main stages, the Flooding Stage, when the Earth became totally flooded by water, and the Retreating Stage, when the water receded off the continents and into the ocean basins. The Flooding Stage contains the Eruptive, Ascending, and Zenthitic Phases, while the Retreating Stage is made up of the Sheet Flow and the Channelized Flow Phases. 

In the Eruptive Phase of the Flooding Stage, subterranean water burst forth, with 40 days of tremendous rain. [11] This was accompanied by global tectonic upheavals and global volcanic activity. The vast layers of lava and ash that cover thousands of square kilometers today provide evidence that at one time volcanism occurred at an unprecedented rate. The great overall size of the deposits points to the dynamic activity of a global catastrophe. During that time, hundreds of lava flows filled the Midcontinent Rift with as much as 200,000 km3 of lava. 

Water moving at high velocity in extremely turbulent currents held vast amounts of sediment, mostly held in suspension. Intense large scale erosion occurred with power to dislodge rock and break into particles. Basins and rifts formed. The rock record shows regional-scale planation surfaces, which are vast flat to nearly flat surfaces that have been scoured and shaped by water, which would be expected in the Eruptive Phase.

The forces operating during the Eruptive Phase of the Flooding Stage would have caused great crustal deformation, massive faulting, sedimentary rocks tilting, along with basin formation, domes of uplifted crust, and mountain building–at catastrophic rates.  

In the Ascending Phase the water continued to rise but its intensity waned and the rain tapered off. The slower moving water, which held vast amounts of sediment mostly held in suspension by turbulence, allowed the widespread deposits of sediments over the continental surfaces. This has been termed the Great Deposition. Most of the preserved sedimentary rocks found on the continents today would have been deposited during the Flooding Stage, first in deep basins during the Eruptive Phase, and as broad sheets during the Ascending Phase.

Sedimentary rocks on the continents average 1,800 m in thickness, which is evidence of a catastrophe of great magnitude. Sedimentary layering of alternating coarse and fine layers occurred where there was some horizontal flow. The thick accumulation of sediments rapidly became compacted because of their weight. The migrating water would have been chemically charged and would bring in various cementing agents (e.g., silica, calcite) into the sediments, which would have quickly hardened into sedimentary rock.

As the current velocity lessened during the Great Deposition, organisms were deposited within sediments and would rapidly fossilize before they had a chance to decay. About 95% of the billions to trillions of fossils are marine mollusks. The many closed shell mollusk fossils found all over the world indicate rapid burial. 

The Flood reached its peak in the Zenithic Phase of the Flooding Stage, which would have produced ‘graded bedding’ in which the sedimentary particle sizes decrease upward. Floating trees and vegetation gathered into huge thick floating islands, also known as log mats. Sinking bark, logs, and other plant debris would have become intermingled with rapidly accumulating sediments, and the log mats were also beached on temporarily exposed sediments and then covered with hundreds to thousands of meters of sediment. [12] The heat which resulted from the sedimentary pressure in the oxygen-free environment changed plant masses into coal.

During the Flood, environments of every scale of energy would have existed, with extreme disruption and turbulence in one place, and temporary stillness of water and in some exposed areas in another, depending on local topography and the direction from which the currents originated. This may explain raindrop imprints, dinosaur tracks and eggs, and other trace fossils in the sedimentary rock record. The BEDS model, an acronym for Briefly Exposed Diluvial Sediments, was formulated to account for these features. [13]

The Retreating Stage includes the Sheet Flow Phase and the Channelized Flow Phase, distinguished by the width of the Flood currents, from wide to narrow. During the Sheet Flow Phase, erosion of the continents would have been widespread. Mountains continued to rise, and as the continents uplifted and ocean basins lowered, the Flood water retreated into the oceans. Once the currents encountered the deeper waters of the sinking ocean basins, their velocity reduced dramatically, and seaward thickening of sediments occurred at the continental margins. In the Gulf of Mexico, these sediments are over 20 km thick. 

Wide sheets of water flowing off of the continents would be reduced to broad channels. It first planed mountain heights, then plateaus, and finally the continental lowlands. Thousands of planation surfaces (e.g. Serengeti Plain, Africa; Arnhem Land, Australia) and erosional remnants (e.g. Monument Valley, AZ; Spitzkoppe, Namibia; Uluru, Australia) were carved by the vast sheets of water that rushed off of the uplifting continents. Significant planation surfaces are not being formed today, but these surfaces exist globally. 

As the water lowered during this phase, it would have gone into progressively smaller sheets, and later into large channels, until only large rivers flowed into the valleys. The world-wide Flood paradigm predicts that channelized flow features, such as valleys and canyons, would commonly be superimposed on top of sheet flow land forms, and this is exactly what is found over many areas of the Earth. [14]

The vessel of Noah came to rest on the mountains of Ararat at the end of the Flooding Stage at Day 150, but did not leave the vessel until the end of the Retreating Stage of the Flood, at Day 371. The mountains of Ararat are thought to be the area of eastern Turkey or western Iran. 

   

In the Alborz mountain range of north-western Iran on a mountain called Takhte Soleyman, expeditions from 2005 and 2006 found a huge black object at 13,125 ft elevation. While having the appearance of rocks from a distance, close inspection revealed areas of apparent petrified planks, which gave the expeditions reason to bring samples back for further study. Microscopic analysis of the rock specimens revealed that the object is composed of petrified soft wood, with a marine fossil found in a sample. [15]

From the mountains of Ararat, all life that was aboard the vessel began to spread across the earth. About 500 years later the Ice Age began, a natural result of a climate imbalance. The oceans had warmed from extensive volcanic activity, and continued volcanism injected tiny particles into the atmosphere, which caused cooler summers. The contrast between the temperatures of the continents and the oceans resulted in a dramatic climate.  

Eventually, snow and ice storms would pelt the continents. The earliest fossils of humans have been found around this time, in what is termed the Pleistocene. During the Ice Age, the level of the sea lowered, with the result that land bridges were exposed. Log mats that were thick enough to survive the Flood would have been huge, and could have remained afloat for a few hundred years. Some animals could have embarked and unwittingly been transported over the ocean.

Precipitation would have been heavy immediately after the Flood, but it would have decreased over time as the oceans cooled and ice sheets built up. Midway through the Ice Age, precipitation decreased, and grasslands would have mostly replaced forests. By the end of the Ice Age, expanded sea ice further reduced winter air temperatures.  

If the Genesis Flood occurred in fairly recent times, in the thousands of years, we would expect evidence for a global Flood to be left in the memory and early records of people groups in many areas of the world, and this is what is found. [16]

3. Genetics: Humans and Chimps

In studies concerning the genomes of humans and chimpanzees:

“A comparison of the complete human and chimp genomes has identified twenty distinct gene families, each with multiple genes, that are present in humans but absent from chimps and other mammals.” [17]

The early studies by some Darwinists claiming a 98-99% genetic similarity between humans and chimpanzees (using isolated segments in a fraction of the genome) have been challenged by more recent research comparing the whole genome, which have shown an average 70% genome-wide similarity [18]. The similarity to human Y chromosome is even less, only 43%. [19]

4. The Fossil Record: Humans and Apes

The fossil record of humans and apes confirms the genetic data. Both australopithecine apes and Homo erectus humans appear suddenly in the fossil record, without clear evidence for the 19th century notion that apes can gradually turn into humans. [20]

5. Egyptian Sojourn, Exodus and Conquest.

In the Middle Bronze Age (MB II A/B) in the 13th Egyptian Dynasty, a slave papyrus (Brooklyn 35.1446, Sobekhotep III) mentions the Hebrew Jewish names of Issachar, Asher, Menahem and Shiphrah. Also during the MB II A/B, the Egyptian site of Avaris in the Delta (area of Biblical Goshen) was abandoned by its population of workers at the end of stratum G/1. Plague pits were found at the end of this stratum. At Kahun in MB II A/B, the people suddenly left their work and abandoned the site en masse, sometime after the reign of Neferhotep I in the 13th Dynasty (latest inscription so far discovered).

In Canaan during the MB IIB, the walls of Jericho fell down, and then the city was burned, leaving several feet of ash layer. The city was not under a long siege, since jars of grain were still full. At Hazor in MB IIB, the massive 200 acre site was destroyed and torched, and a tablet revealed that the king of Hazor’s name at that time was Jabin. Other cities in Canaan show destruction levels at this time in the MB IIB.

The approximate date of the MB IIB destruction of Jericho is based on Egyptian chronology and has therefore been thought to date to c. 1550 BC, which is about 140 yrs earlier than the date calculated from 1 Kings 6:1. Amenemhat III of the 12th Egyptian Dynasty has been thought to have begun his reign in either 1860 or 1817 BC. Papyri with 21 lunar sightings from his reign have been discovered. Only one astronomical solution achieves a 100% fit, viz. Amenemhat III Year 1 = 1679 BC [21]. This result lowers the MB IIB date of the destruction of Jericho 140 years, to c. 1410 BC.

Following this time, in the Late Bronze Age (Egyptian 18/19th Dynasty), inscriptions show that the nation of Israel is already in the land of Canaan:

The Berlin Pedestal fragment inscription (Thutmose IV/Rameses II, 18th/19th Dynasty, Late Bronze Age) names in Canaan: “Israel.” The Merneptah Stela (19th Dynasty) names in Canaan: “Israel.”

“The stories of Sojourn, Exodus and Conquest fit into a Middle Bronze Age setting. The pattern of evidence in that timeline is entirely consistent with the biblical narrative.” [22]

6. Names of Biblical People in Inscriptions and Seals  [23]

-Ahab (1 Kings 16:28, etc). A king of Israel. The Kurkh Monolith of Shalmaneser III, col. 2, lines 91–92, reads “Ahab the Israelite.”

-Ahaz/Jehoahaz son of Jotham (2 Kings 16:1, etc). A son of Jotham and a king of Judah. The Cuneiform Annals of Tiglath-pileser III, Summary Inscription 7, reverse, line 11, reads “Jehoahaz of Judah.” A bulla reads “Ahaz, (son of) Yehotam, king of Judah.” A seal reads “Ushna, servant of Ahaz.”

-Ahikam son of Shaphan (2 Kings 22:12; Jeremiah 26:24, etc). A son of Shaphan the scribe and father of Gedaliah governor of Judah. A bulla reads “Ahiqam, son of Shaphan.”

-Alexander son of Simon the Cyrenean (Mark 15:21). Alexander was one of two sons of Simon the Cyrenean who carried the execution stake of the Messiah. An ossuary inscription reads “Alexander (the) Cyrenean...(son) of Simon.”

-Amariah and Hananiah (2 Chronicles 26:11, 31:15;  Zephaniah 1:1). Amariah served king Hezekiah of Judah. Hananiah may have been a captain under king Uzziah of Judah. A bulla reads “Amaryahu, (son of) Hananyahu, servant of Hizqiyahu.”

-Asaiah (2 Kings 22:12, 14; 2 Chronicles 34:20). An official of king Josiah of Judah. A seal reads “Asayahu, servant of the king.”

-Azaliah son of Meshullam (2 Kings 22:3). The father of Shaphan the scribe, at the time of king Josiah of Judah. A seal reads “Azalyahu, son of Meshullum.”

-Azariah/Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:3, etc). A king of Judah. Stone seals read “‘Abiyau, servant of ‘Uzziyau” and “Shubnayau, servant of ‘Uzziyau.”

-Azariah son of Hilkiah (1 Chronicles 5:39, 9:11; Ezra 7:1). A son of Hilkiah the priest. A City of David bulla reads “Azaryahu, son of Hilqiyahu.” Seals read “Azaryahu, (son of) Hilqiyahu” and “Azaryahu, (son of) Hilqa.”

-Azzur (Jeremiah 28:1). The father of Hananiah the false prophet. A seal reads “Hananyahu, son of Azaryahu.” A Gibeon jar handle reads “Gibeon. Wall of Azaryahu.”

-David (1 Kings 12:19; 2 Chronicles 10:19, etc). Davidic dynasty. The Tel Dan stele, line 9, reads “the House of David.” The Dhiban Mesha stele, line 12, reads “I captured from there it’s Davidic lion.” An Egyptian inscription listing territories conquered by Pharaoh Sheshonq I mentions in Southwest Judah and the Negev “the Heights of David.”

-Eliakim son of Hilkiah (2 Kings 18:18; Isaiah 22:20). A son of Hilkiah and overseer of the palace of king Hezekiah of Judah. A bulla reads “Elyaqim, son of Hilqiyahu.”

-Elishama (Jeremiah 36:12, etc). A scribe and servant of king Jehoiakim of Judah. A bulla reads “Elishama, servant of the king.”

-Elishama (2 Kings 25:25; Jeremiah 41:1). The father of Nethaniah, father of Ishmael of royal descent. A seal reads “Elishama, the king’s son.”

-Gedaliah son of Pashhur (Jeremiah 38:1). An official of king Zedekiah of Judah. A City of David bulla reads “Gedalyahu, son of Pashhur.”

-Gemariah son of Shaphan (Jeremiah 36:10-12). A son of Shaphan the scribe and servant of king Jehoiakim of Judah. A City of David bulla reads “Gemaryahu, son of Shaphan.”

-Hananiah son of Gedaliah (Jeremiah 42:4 LXX/35:4 MT). A prophet whose sons occupied a chamber in the Jerusalem temple at the time of Jehoiakim king of Judah. A bulla reads “Hananyahu, son of Gedalyahu.”

-Hezekiah son of Ahaz (2 Kings 18:1, etc). A son of Ahaz and a king of Judah. The Sennacherib Prism, column 3, 18, 28, reads “As for Hezekiah…I shut up in Jerusalem, his royal city.” A City of David bulla reads “Hizqiyahu (son of) Ahaz, king of Judah.” Bullae read: “Hizqiyah (son of) Ahaz, king of Judah,” “Yehozarah, son of Hilqiyahu, servant of Hizqiyahu,” “Amaryahu, (son of) Hananyahu, servant of Hizqiyahu,” “Azaryahu, son of Yehoah, servant of Hizqiyahu,” and “Domla, servant of Hizqiyahu.”

-Hilkiah (2 Kings 22:4, 1 Chronicles 6:13; Ezra 7:1). Father of Azariah and a high priest of the Jerusalem temple at the time of king Josiah of Judah. A signet ring with seal reads “Hanan, son of Hilqiyahu the priest.” A City of David bulla reads “Azaryahu, son of Hilqiyahu.” Seals read “Azaryahu, (son of) Hilqiyahu” and “Azaryahu, (son of) Hilqa.”

-Hoshea (2 Kings 17:1, etc). A king of Israel. Tiglath-pileser III’s Summary Inscription 4, lines 17-18, reads “I installed Hoshea over them.” A seal reads “Abdi, servant of Hoshea.”

-Ishmael (2 Kings 25:23; Jeremiah 40:8). A son of Nethaniah and of royal descent, at the time of the governorship of Gedaliah. A bulla reads “Yishma’el, the king’s son.”

-Israel (Genesis 32:28, 1 Samuel 13:19, etc). Jacob, grandson of Abraham, was renamed Israel. The Berlin Relief No. 21687 (Amenhotep II-Rameses II), name ring 3, reads “Israel.” The Merneptah stele, line 26, reads “Israel.”

-Jaazaniah (2 Kings 25:23, Jeremiah 40:8). A son of the Maacathite and an officer at the time of the governorship of Gedaliah. A Tell en-Nasbeh (ancient Mizpah) seal reads “Ya’azanyahu, servant of the king.”

-Jaazaniah son of Azzur (Ezekiel 11:1). A son of Azzur and a false prophet, at the time of Zedekiah king of Judah, and is in a vision of Ezekiel. Accounting ostracon, line 3, reads “Ya’azanyahu, son of Azzur.”

-Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:30). A son of Josiah and a king of Judah. A seal reads “Yehoahaz, the king’s son.”

-Jehoash/Joash (2 Kings 12:1, etc). A king of Israel. In the Tel el Rimah Stele of Adad-Nirari III, line 8, it reads “I also received the tribute of Joash, the Samarian.”

-Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:8, etc). A king of Judah. In the Ration Tablets of Babylon it reads “king of Judah, Yaukin.” A seal impression on jar handles reads “Eliakim, steward of Yaukin.”

-Jehu (1 Kings 19:16, etc). A king of Israel. The annals of Shalmaneser III, col. 4, line 11, and the Kurba’il Statue, lines 29–30, read  “Jehu, son of Omri.”

-Jehucal son of Shelemiah (Jeremiah 37:3). An official of king Zedekiah of Judah. A City of David bulla reads “Yehukal, son of Shelemyahu, son of Shobi.”

-Jerahmeel the king's son (Jeremiah 36:26). A son of king Jehoiakim of Judah. A bulla reads “Yerahme’el, the king’s son.”

-Jeroboam II (2 Kings 13:13, etc). A king of Israel. A seal found at Megiddo reads “Shema, servant of Jeroboam.”

-Johanan (Nehemiah 12:22). A son of Joiada and a high priest of the Jerusalem temple after the Babylonian exile. An Elephantine papyrus P13495 (Darius II), line 18, verso, reads “the high priest Johanan and his associates, the priests in Jerusalem.” A silver coin (378-368 BC) from the Persian period reads “Yohanan the priest.”

-Jotham (2 Kings 15:38, etc). A king of Judah. A bulla reads “Ahaz, (son of) Yehotam, king of Judah.”

-Malchiah the king's son (Jeremiah 38:6). A son of king Zedekiah of Judah. A seal reads “Malkiyahu, the king’s son.”

-Manasseh (2 Kings 21:11, etc). A king of Judah. In the Annals of Ashurbanipal, Cylinder C, col. 1, line 25, it reads “Manasseh, king of Judah.” A seal reads “Manasseh, the king’s son.”

-Menahem (2 Kings 15:17, etc). A king of Israel. In the Annals of Tiglath-pileser III, Annal 13, line 10, it reads “Menahem of Samaria.” The stele of Tiglath-pileser III, column III, the right side, A, line 1, 5, reads “The kings…Menahem of Samaria.”

-Mikneiah (1 Chronicles 15:18). A Levitical lyrist and singer at the time of king David. A seal reads “Mikneyau, servant of Yahweh.”

-Nathan-Melech (2 Kings 23:11). A court official of king Josiah of Judah. A seal reads “Nathan-Melech, servant of the king.”

-Omri (1 Kings 16:16, etc). A king of Israel. The Mesha stele, lines 4-5, reads “House of Omri” and “Omri was king of Israel.”

-Pedaiah (1 Chronicles 3:18-19). A son of Jehoiachin king of Judah. A seal reads “Pedayahu, the king’s son.”

-Pekah (2 Kings 15:27, etc). A king of Israel. A building inscription of Tiglath-pileser III, Summary Inscription 4, lines 15, 17, 18, reads “The land of Bit-Humria (House of Omri)…Peqah, their king and I installed Hoshea over them.”

-Seraiah son of Neriah (Jeremiah 51:59). A brother of Baruch the scribe and disciple of the prophet Jeremiah, at the time of Jehoiakim king of Judah. A Lachish seal reads “Serayahu, (son of) Neriyahu.”

-Shebna (2 Kings 18:37, etc). A scribe, and possibly overseer of the palace, at the time of Hezekiah king of Judah. A seal reads “Shebnayahu, servant of the king.”

-Zedekiah son of Hananiah (Jeremiah 36:12). An official of king Jehoiakim of Judah. A bulla reads “Tsidqiyahu, son of Hanani.”

K. Kitchen summarizes some of the above evidence:

 “The periods most in the glare of contemporary documents—the divided monarchy and the exile and return—show a very high level of direct correlation (where adequate data exist) and of reliability…When we go back (before ca. 1000) to periods when inscriptional mentions of a then-obscure tribal community and its antecedent families (and founding family) simply cannot be expected a priori, then chronologically typological comparisons of the biblical and external phenomena show clearly that the Hebrew founders bear the marks of reality and of a definite period.” [24]

7. Archaeology and Jesus of Nazareth

I. Ossuary of Alexander son of Simon of Cyrene

An undisturbed tomb was discovered in 1941 by archaeologists from Jerusalem’s Hebrew University during a survey of tombs in the Kidron Valley, just south of Jerusalem. The tomb was sealed and the pottery inside the tomb helped the archaeologists to confidently date the tomb's last use to before the destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70. The inscriptions on some ossuaries point to a family with Cyrenian Origins. The inscriptions were first published in 1962. Ossuary Serial No. XXXI. Inventory No. 1965, reads

Lid: (Greek and Hebrew)

“of Alexander”

“Alexander (the) Cyrenean”

Back: (in Greek)

“Simon Ale…” 

“Alexander”

“(son) of Simon”

Mark 15:21:

“And they compelled one passing by, coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to go with them, that he might bear his cross.”

P. W. van der Horst remarks;

“[T]here is at least a good chance that we have here the ossuary of the son of the man who carried Jesus’ cross.” [25]

T. Powers writes:

“When we consider how uncommon the name Alexander was, and note that the ossuary inscription lists him in the same relationship to Simon as the New Testament does and recall that the burial cave contains the remains of people from Cyrenaica, the chance that the Simon on the ossuary refers to the Simon of Cyrene mentioned in the Gospels seems very likely.”  [26]

II. Earthquake of 33 A.D. in Dead Sea Core Samples.

Twenty-foot deep cores of sediment were taken around the Dead Sea. Mixed layers in the core samples were found to match historical earthquakes. An unknown first-century earthquake was found and the date was calculated by counting the yearly rings in the core sample. The result was 31 A.D. +/-4, listed as “33 A.D.” in the scientific literature. [27]

Matthew 27:50-51:

“And Jesus shouted again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit. And suddenly, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks split.”

III. Ossuary of James son of Joseph brother of Jesus

A first-century ossuary was discovered with an Aramaic inscription, reading

“Ya'akov bar Yosef akhui di Yeshua”

which is translated “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.”

James was the half-brother of Jesus and was martyred in 62 A.D. A recent archaeometric analysis of the James ossuary found that the ossuary and its engravings are likely authentic. [28]  A statistical analysis of the three names with the relation on the ossuary showed that there would be only 1.71 (one or two) people named James with a father Joseph and a brother named Jesus. [29]  The rare Aramaic spelling for “brother” has been found on one other first-century Jerusalem ossuary.

IV. Early External Source Testimony

The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus in ca. 94 A.D. wrote:

“At this time there was a wise man called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he appeared to them after three days from his crucifixion and that he was alive. Therefore, perhaps he was the Messiah about whom the admirable prophets spoke.”  (Ant. 18:63-64, Arabic version)

In a second passage, Josephus writes that the high priest Ananus brought James, the brother of Jesus, before the Sanhedrin:

“Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Messiah, whose name was James, and some others. And when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned.”  (Ant. 20.9.1)

The Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus in ca. 115 A.D. wrote:

“Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius.”   (Annals 15:44)

V. Early Manuscripts and Witnesses of the New Testament

Date Written (A.D.)    

Book                        

Earliest Manuscript, Dates      

Earliest Quote/Allusion: Author/Work, Date, NT Verse

34-67

Matthew

P104

100-200          

Ignatius (c.110-117), 10:16; Polycarp (110-155), 7:1

35-66

Mark

P45

200-250

Polycarp, 9:35, 14:38; Barnabas (100-150), 2:17

40-60

James

P23

200-300

Clement (96), 4:6; Polycarp, 5:10

40-85

John

P52

100-150

Ignatius, 3:8, 8:29; Barnabas, 1:14

48-55

Galatians

P46

150-250

Ignatius, 2:20; Polycarp, 6:7

50-53

1Thessalonians

P46

150-250

Ignatius, 5:17; Polycarp, 5:22

50-53

2Thessalonians

P30

200-300

Ignatius, 3:10; Polycarp, 3:15

50-67

Hebrews

P46

150-250

Clement, 1:3-5:7; Polycarp, 6:20

55-65

1Timothy

Sinaiticus

330-360

Ignatius, 4:10, 12; Polycarp, 6:7

56-57

1Corinthians

P46

150-250

Ignatius, 4:20; Polycarp, 6:9

56-57

2Corinthians

P46

150-250

Ignatius, 6:14-16; Polycarp, 4:14

57-58

Romans

P46

150-250

Clement, 1:32; Polycarp, 14:10

57-63

Luke

P45

200-250

Ignatius, 6:46; Polycarp, 6:20

57-64

Acts

P45

200-250

Clement, 20:35; Polycarp, 2 :24

57-65

Titus

P32

100-300

Clement, 3:1; Irenaeus (182-188), 3:10

57-95

1John

P9

275-500

Ignatius, 3:7; Polycarp, 4:3

57-95

2John

Uncial 0232

250-450

Polycarp, 6; Irenaeus, 10, 11

57-95

3John

Vaticanus

300-325

Polycarp, 1:8; Dionysius (246-265)

58-63

Ephesians

P46

150-250

Ignatius, 6:12, 16; Polycarp, 2:5, 8, 9

58-63

Philippians

P46

150-250

Ignatius, 3:18-19; To Diognetus (c.130), 3:20

58-63

Colossians

P46

150-250

Ignatius, 1:23; Irenaeus, 3:5

58-63

Philemon

P87

125-225

Polycarp, 3; Muratorian Canon (170-210)

58-67

2Timothy

Sinaiticus

330-360

Ignatius, 3:4, 6; Polycarp, 2:12

58-68

1Peter

P72

200-350

Clement, 3:20; Polycarp, 1:21

64-68

2Peter

P72

200-350

Clement, 2:5; Justin (c.138-165), 3:8

66-68

Jude

P72

200-350

Irenaeus, 7; ClementA, (193-220), 5,6

68-97

Revelation

P98

100-200

Didache (120-150), 12:9; Justin, 20:4,5

References

1. H. Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos.; Ross, Fine-Tuning For Life On Earth. Posted on reasons.org June 8, 2004. G. Gonzalez and J. W. Richards, The Privileged Planet, 128-168.

2. Ross, Astrosphere Habitable Zones Display Fine-Tuned Characteristics. Posted on reasons.org July 7, 2014.

3. S. C. Meyer, Signature In The Cell: DNA And The Evidence For Intelligent Design (2009), 135.

4. Meyer, Signature In The Cell, 343.

5. Meyer, Signature In The Cell, 334.

6. Meyer, Signature In The Cell, 477; Meyer, Darwin’s Doubt, 364-365.

7. A. Gauger, in Science and Human Origins (2012), 117.; Gauger, On Human Origins. Posted July 2, 2014 on biologicinstitute.org, citing J. von Salomé, et al., Immunogenetics, April 2007, Volume 59, Issue 4, 261-271.; Hössjer O, Gauger A, Reeves C (2016) Genetic modeling of human history part 1: comparison of common descent and unique origin approaches. BIO-Complexity 2016 (3):1–15. doi: 10.5048/BIO-C.2016.3.

8. Cf. J. Woodmorappe, Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study (1996), 3-13. For calculations, the “kind” was chosen as equal to the genus.]

9. Genesis 6-9. Cf. Genesis 10:1, 32; Psalm 104:6-9; Matthew 24:38-39; Luke 17:26-27; Hebrews 11:7; 1Peter 3:20; 2Peter 2:5. See also J. Woodmorappe, Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study (1996).

10. T. A. Walker, Biblical Geological Model, in R. E. Walsh (Ed.), Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism (1994), technical symposium sessions, 581-92; M. J. Oard and J. K. Reed, How Noah’s Flood Shaped Our Earth (2017), 51-53. This recent book is an excellent presentation and summary of theories and evidence under the principle of multiple working hypotheses, and has therefore been used for most of this section. See also C. R. Froede, Jr., Geology By Design (2007), 12-29.

11. Genesis 7:12, 17.

12. See also A. A. Snelling, Earths Catastrophic Past, Vol 2 (2009), 741-44, 959-63.

13. M. J. Oard, Dinosaur Challenges and Mysteries, 2011; A. A. Snelling, Earths Catastrophic Past, Vol 2 (2009), 747-49. See also B. Thomas and V. Nelson, Radiocarbon in Dinosaur and Other Fossils, CRSQ 51:299–311, 2015; J. M. DeMassa, and E. Boudreaux, Dinosaur peptide preservation and degradation, CRSQ 51:268–285, 2015.

14. For more examples of evidence for the global Flood, see Oard and Reed, How Noah’s Flood Shaped Our Earth. For critiques on the uniformitarian geologic column, see M. J. Oard and J. K. Reed, Rock Solid Answers (2009); J. K. Reed and M. J. Oard, The Geologic Column: Perspectives Within Diluvial Geology (2006); C. R. Froede Jr., Geology By Design (2007).

15. R. Cornuke, Search For Noah’s Ark: The Lost Mountains of Noah (DvD. 2008); Cornuke, Ark Fever (2005), 222-254; F. Turek, The Search for Noah’s Ark in Iran (PowerPoint CD. 2008).

16. Oard and Reed, How Noah’s Flood Shaped Our Earth, 177.

17. D. Axe, in Science and Human Origins (2012), 41, citing J. P. Demuth, et al., PloS One 1 (2006).

18. R. Buggs, Chimpanzee? Reformatorisch Dagblad. Posted on refdag.nl. October 10, 2008; Buggs, 70% Chimp? Reformatorisch Dagblad. Posted on refdag.nl. December 5, 2008.

19. J. Tomkins, Comprehensive Analysis of Chimpanzee and Human Chromosomes Reveals Average DNA Similarity of 70%. Answers Research Journal 6 (2013):63–69.

20. C. Luskin, in Science & Human Origins, 73-74. In the Pliocene “we see ape-like australopithecines appearing suddenly. When the genus Homo appears [in the Pleistocene], it also does so in an abrupt fashion, without clear evidence of a transition from previous ape-like hominins...The Darwinian belief that humans evolved from apelike species requires inferences that go beyond the evidence and is not supported by the fossil record.”

21. D. Lappin, Illahun Lunar Texts and the Astronomical Dating of the 12th Dynasty, in van der Veen & Zerbst, Volk ohne Ahnen? 2012. See also P. J. Furlong, Aspects of Ancient Near Eastern Chronology (c. 1600-700BC), (Univ. Melbourne,  Feb 2007), 291-293.

22. D. Rohl, Exodus: Myth or History, 331.

23. J. Mykytiuk, Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200-539 BCE (2004); Mykytiuk, Corrections and Updates to “Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200-539 B.C.E.,” (2009); K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (2003), 16-21, 93. Additional inscriptions of interest: Soleb (Amenhotep III) and Amarah-West (Rameses II) hieroglyphic inscriptions read: t3 sh3sw ya-h-wa: “the land of the nomads of Yahweh.”  

24. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament, 499-500.

25. P. W. van der Horst, Ancient Jewish Epitaphs (1991), 140-41.

26. T. Powers, Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 2003, 51.

27. R. Ken-Tor, et al., Journal of Geophysical Research. 106 (B2): 2221-2234, “Table 3…33 A.D. Reports were from Judea region. The Temple in Jerusalem was damaged.”; J. B. Williams, et al., International Geology Review, Volume 54, Issue 10 (2012); S. A. Austin, GSA Poster (2012), “Jerusalem Earthquake of 33 A.D.”

28. A. Rosenfeld, et al., Open Journal of Geology, Vol.4 No.3 (2014).

29. H. Shanks, Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August, 2012.

Appendix:

The Tomb of Jesus of Nazareth  

“Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb in which no man had ever yet been placed.”  (John 19:41)

Since before the time of Church historian Eusebius of Caesarea (265-340 A.D.) the location of the tomb of Jesus has been known. Eusebius writes:

"Hadrian [135 A.D.] built a huge rectangular platform over this quarry, concealing the holy cave beneath this massive mound."

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem was built over the historical tomb of Jesus, and the tomb, which has survived several destructions, can be seen to this day.

The reaction from discoveries of “Yeshua bar Yosef” inscriptions by anti Christian critics is usually that it’s Jesus of the New Testament. This has been the case since an inscription was found and published October 3, 1945: “Name of Saviour Found On Old Urn,” as well as the more recent one in 1980 at Talpiot. In this latter claim, the person was married and had a child, which is contrary to the contemporary first century accounts by many individuals.  

For further discussion see: G. Habermas, The Secret of the Talpiot Tomb: Unravelling the Mystery of the Jesus Family Tomb (2008); The Tomb of Jesus and His Family?: Exploring Ancient Jewish Tombs Near Jerusalem's Walls. J. H. Charlesworth (Ed.) 2013; L. C. de Figueiredo, Jesus was not buried in Talpiot (2014), book review; L. Mykytiuk, Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible, BAR Jan/Feb 2015, n.44; T. Chaffey, In Defense of Easter: Answering Critical Challenges to the Resurrection of Jesus (2014); G. R. Habermas and Michael Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (2004); W. L. Craig, The Son Rises: Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus (2001); M. R. Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (2010).

After his resurrection, Jesus said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and observe my hands. Reach out your hand, and put it into my side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing."