How Accurate is History?
I like history, although I don’t remember liking it when I was in school. But since then my interest has been stimulated lots of times as I wonder what people did at the beginning of written history, or 2000 years ago at the time of Christ, or just 300 years ago at the beginning of our country.
One problem with studying history is that there are no “naked” facts, but rather any history is written within the framework of the writer, from his/her perspective. When the victors write history, they have a different perspective than the losers. In writing very ancient history, the historians use artifacts, cuneiform, etc. to try to piece together some ideas of the culture at that time. But what they find depends somewhat on what they are looking for. If the historian has a very secular mindset, he tries to fit what he finds into a framework of man slowly developing from lower forms. However, a Biblical scholar may be more attuned to God creating man in the beginning and look for those ideas.
In writing Sacred Strands I found conflicting ideas among major historians. I believe that God created man in the beginning and the question I pondered was if we could find evidence in the most ancient writings and artifacts of God’s laws given in the beginning of time and see some evidence of those laws flowing down through history.
Modern excavations have done much to prove the value of Old Testament history. The Old Testament primarily follows the Israelites but there are many neighboring countries and cities mentioned. In reading the Old Testament this summer using a weekly reading program, I have been surprised how many mentions there are of Godly men not associated with the Israelites. To name a few, there is Job and his three friends, there is Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, there is Balaam, the prophet from Mesopotamia, and even Abimelech, King of the Philistines in Gerar, appeared to have some belief in the true God. Was the law of God known in those ancient times, but perverted by many?