On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:
…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975
and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.
There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. Wikipedia notes: Professor Sir Brian Howard Harrison, FBA (born 9 July 1937) is a British historian and academic. He was the editor of Oxford Dictionary of National Biography from January 2000 to September 2004 (succeeded by Lawrence Goldman) and professor of Modern Historyat the University of Oxford. He is an emeritus fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was appointed knight bachelor in the 2005 New Year’s Honours for “services to scholarship”, and was elected a fellow of the British Academy on 30 July 2005.
Harrison has published extensively on British social and political history from the 1790s to the present. His first book was Drink and the Victorians. The Temperance Question England 1815–1872 (1971, 2nd. ed. 1994). His most recent publications are two volumes in the New Oxford History of England series covering British history from 1951: Seeking a Role: The United Kingdom 1951–1970 (2009, paperback with revisions 2011) and Finding a Role? The United Kingdom 1970–1990 (2010, paperback with revisions 2011).[dated info]
His comments can be found on the 3rd video and the 119th clip in this series. Below the videos you will find his words.
50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)
Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)
A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)
An interview of the historian Sir Brian Harrison – part one
Filmed and interviewed by Alan Macfarlane on 22 June 2012
An interview of the historian Sir Brian Harrison – part two
I grew up at Bellevue Baptist Church under the leadership of our pastor Adrian Rogers and I read many books by the Evangelical Philosopher Francis Schaeffer and have had the opportunity to contact many of the evolutionists or humanistic academics that they have mentioned in their works. Many of these scholars have taken the time to respond back to me in the last 20 years and some of the names included are Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996), Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-), Brian Charlesworth (1945-), Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010), Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-), Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), Michael Martin (1932-), John R. Cole (1942-), Wolf Roder, Susan Blackmore (1951-), Christopher C. French (1956-) Walter R. Rowe, Thomas Gilovich (1954-), Paul Quincey, Harry Kroto (1939-), Marty E. Martin (1928-), Richard Rubenstein (1924-), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Edward O. WIlson (1929-), Lewis Wolpert (1929), Gerald Holton (1922-), Martin Rees (1942-), Alan Macfarlane (1941-), Roald Hoffmann (1937-), Herbert Kroemer (1928-), Thomas H. Jukes (1906-1999), Glenn Branch, Geoff Harcourt (1931-) and Ray T. Cragun (1976-).
I have always remained an agnostic and not an atheist. I am not militant about it. I have never seen any evidence for it, and if anything, being a historian has turned me the other way.
IS THERE ANY EVIDENCE POINTING TO THE ACCURACY OF THE BIBLE FROM HISTORY OR ARCHAEOLOGY? BELOW IS MY RESPONSE TO DR. HARRISON IN THE FORM OF A LETTER MAILED LAST MONTH:
February 12, 2015
Dear Dr. Harrison,
I just finished reading the online addition of the book Darwin, Francis ed. 1892. Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters [abridged edition]. London: John Murray. There are several points that Charles Darwin makes in this book that were very wise, honest, logical, shocking and some that were not so wise. The Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer once said of Darwin’s writings, “Darwin in his autobiography and in his letters showed that all through his life he never really came to a quietness concerning the possibility that chance really explained the situation of the biological world. You will find there is much material on this [from Darwin] extended over many many years that constantly he was wrestling with this problem.”
Here is a quote I ran across recently from you in your wonderful in depth interview with Alan Macfarlane :
I have always remained an agnostic and not an atheist. I am not militant about it. I have never seen any evidence for it, and if anything, being a historian has turned me the other way.
YOU MAY FIND IT INTERESTING THAT CHARLES DARWIN WAS ALSO INTERESTED IN THE HISTORICAL ASPECT OF THE BIBLE. When I read the book Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters, I also read a commentary on it by Francis Schaeffer and I wanted to both quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words to you and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words. I have also enclosed a CD with two messages from Adrian Rogers and Bill Elliff concerning Darwinism.
“Mr. Darwin begs me to say that he receives so many letters, that he cannot answer them all.He considers that the theory of Evolution is quite compatible with the belief in a God; but that you must remember that different persons have different definitions of what they mean by God.”
Francis Schaeffer commented:
You find a great confusion in his writings although there is a general structure in them. Here he says the word “God” is alright but you find later what he doesn’t take is a personal God. Of course, what you open is the whole modern linguistics concerning the word “God.” is God a pantheistic God? What kind of God is God? Darwin says there is nothing incompatible with the word “God.”
“I am much engaged, an old man, and out of health, and I cannot spare time to answer your questions fully,—nor indeed can they be answered. Science has nothing to do with Christ, except in so far as the habit of scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence. For myself, I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation.As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities.”
Francis Schaeffer observed:
So he has come to the place as an old man that he doesn’t believe there has been any revelation. In his younger years he held a different position. He lost his position not on the basis of reason but simply that it disagreed with his theory and his presuppositions and he was forced to give it up.
The passages which here follow are extracts, somewhat abbreviated, from a part of the Autobiography, written in 1876, in which my father gives the history of his religious views:—“During these two years* (ft note *October 1836 to January 1839.) I was led to think much about religion. Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers (though themselves orthodox) for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality.
Francis Schaeffer noted:
So you find that as a younger man he did accept the Bible. As an older man he has given up revelation but he is not satisfied with his own answers. He is caught in the tension that modern man is caught in. He is a prefiguration of the modern man and he himself contributed to. Then Darwin goes on and tells us why he gave up the Bible.
I suppose it was the novelty of the argument that amused them. But I had gradually come by this time, i.e. 1836 to 1836, to see that the Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos. The question then continually rose before my mind and would not be banished,—is it credible that if God were now to make a revelation to the Hindoos, he would permit it to be connected with the belief in Vishnu, Siva, &c., as Christianity is connected with the Old Testament? This appeared to me utterly incredible.
Francis Schaeffer asserted:
Darwin is saying that he gave up the New Testament because it was connected to the Old Testament. He gave up the Old Testament because it conflicted with his own theory. Did he have a real answer himself and the answer is no. At the end of his life we see that he is dehumanized by his position and on the other side we see that he never comes to the place of intellectual satisfaction for himself that his answers were sufficient.
“But I was very unwilling to give up my belief; I feel sure of this, for I can well remember often and often inventing day-dreams of old letters between distinguished Romans, and manuscripts being discovered at Pompeii or elsewhere, which confirmed in the most striking manner all that was written in the Gospels.
Francis Schaeffer commented:
This is very sad. He lies on his bunk and the Beagle tosses and turns and he makes daydreams, and his dreams and hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii or some place like this, an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would put his stamp of authority on it, which would be able to show that Christ existed. This is undoubtedly what he is talking about. Darwin gave up this hope with great difficulty. I think he didn’t want to come to the position where his accepted presuppositions were driving him. He didn’t want to give it up, just as an older man he understood where it would lead and “man can do his duty.” Instinctively this of brains understood where this whole thing was going to eventually go…
SINCE CHARLES DARWIN’S DEATH WE NOW HAVE LOTS OF HISTORICAL RECORDS AND MUCH EVIDENCE FROM THE FIELD OF ARCHAEOLOGY THAT SHOW THE BIBLE IS HISTORICALLY ACCURATE.
**************TAKE TIME TO CONSIDER THIS EVIDENCE BELOW********************
I have been amazed at the prophecies in the Bible that have been fulfilled in history, and also many of the historical details in the Bible have been confirmed by archaeology too. One of the most amazing is the prediction that the Jews would be brought back and settle in Jerusalem again. Another prophecy in Psalms 22 describes the Messiah dying on a cross almost 1000 years before the Romans came up with this type of punishment.
Many times it has been alleged that the author of the Book of Daniel was from a later period but how did a later author know these 5 HISTORICAL FACTS? How did he know  that Belshazzar was ruling during the last few years of the Babylonian Empire when the name “Belshazzar” was lost to history until 1853 when it was uncovered in the monuments?  The author also knew that the Babylonians executed individuals by casting them into fire, and that the Persians threw the condemned to the lions.  He knew the practice in the 6th Century was to mention first the Medes, then the Persians and not the other way around.  Plus he knew the laws made by Persian kings could not be revoked and  he knew that in the sixth century B.C., Susa was in the province of Elam (Dan. 8:2). Of course, the Book of Daniel (2:37-42) clearly predicted the rise of the 4 world empires in the correct order of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.
One of the top 10 posts on my blog on this next subject concerning Tyre. John MacArthur went through every detail of the prophecy concerning Tyre and how history shows the Bible prophecy was correct. Sagan said he had taken a look at Old Testament prophecy and it did not impress him because it was too vague.
HOW CAN ANYONE SAY THAT THIS FOLLOWING PROPHECY CONCERNING TYRE IS “TOO VAGUE?”
Below is an outline from a sermon from Dr. John MacArthur
John MacArthur on the amazing fulfilled prophecy on Tyre and how it was fulfilled by historical events.
A. The Forecast
1. The specifics
a) That King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon would destroy the mainland city of Tyre (26:7-8).
b) That many nations would rise up against Tyre. These nations would come like waves of the sea, one after another (26:3- 4).
c) That Tyre will be made like a flat rock (26:4, 14).
d) That fisherman will dry their nets there (26:5, 14).
e) That the rubble of the city would be cast into the sea (26:12).
f) That Tyre would never be rebuilt (26:14).
2. The setting
Tyre was a great city. It was one of the largest and most powerful cities of Phoenicia, which is modern day Lebanon.
It was well fortified. A great wall protected the city from land attacks while their world-renowned fleet protected them from attack by sea.
Tyre was a flourishing city during the time when Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land. King Hiram, who began his reign during the rule of David, offered David cedars from Tyre to build his palace. He also loaned David his artisans to craft parts of the great palace (1 Chron. 14:1). Hiram also helped Solomon build the Temple by floating cedars down the shoreline to be picked up and hauled to Jerusalem (2 Chron. 2:16). So Tyre was a great city, and both David and Solomon looked to it for aid.
B. The Fulfillment
1. The prophetic call
a) To Nebuchadnezzar
Not long after the prophecy given by Ezekiel, Nebuchadnezzar did exactly what had been predicted–he laid siege against the city in 585 B.C. For thirteen years Nebuchadnezzar cut off the flow of supplies into the city. In 537 B.C. he finally succeeded in breaking the gates down, but found the city almost empty.
During the thirteen-year siege, the people of Tyre moved all their possessions by ship to an island one-half mile offshore. So Nebuchadnezzar gained no plunder (Ezek. 29:17- 20). Although he destroyed the mainland city (Ezek. 26:8), the new city offshore continued to flourish for 250 years. The prophecy of Ezekiel 26:12–“they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water”–remained unfulfilled.
b) To Alexander the Great
At age twenty-two, Alexander the Great came east conquering the known world with an army of between thirty and forty thousand men. Having defeated the Persians under Darius III, Alexander was on the march toward Egypt.
(1) The dilemma
Alexander arrived in the Phoenician territory and demanded that the cities open their gates to him. The citizens of Tyre refused, feeling they were secure on their island with their superior fleet.
(2) The decision
Realizing he did not have a fleet that could match Tyre’s, Alexander decided to build a causeway to the island using the ruins from the mainland city. It was about two hundred feet wide. The prophet said that the city would be thrown into the water, and that’s exactly what happened.
(3) The details
Arrian, a Greek historian, wrote about the overthrow of Tyre and how it was accomplished (The Campaigns of Alexander [New York: Penquin, 1958], pp. 132-43). The fortification of Tyre resembled Alcatraz. The city sat offshore like a rock with walls that came down to the edge of the water. Alexander set out to build the only means to approach the city–a land peninsula. Soldiers started pitching rubble into the water, leveling it off as they went so they could march on it. The water got deeper as they approached the island, and to make their task even more difficult, the people of Tyre bombarded them with missiles.
Werner Keller in The Bible as History tells us that to safeguard the operation, Alexander built mobile shields called “tortoises” (New York: Bantam, 1956], p. 361). Knowing that when they reached the city they would have to scale the walls, Alexander built “Hele-poleis,” which were mobile siege towers 160 foot high. The idea was to roll these structures across the causeway and push them up against the walls. A drawbridge on the front of the towers enabled the soldiers to march across the top of the walls and into the city.
Alexander’s men were under constant attack from people within the city and from the Tyrian navy. Realizing that he needed ships to defend his flanks, Alexander returned to the cities he had conquered and demanded their assistance. That fulfilled the prophecy that God “will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth its waves to come up” (Ezek. 26:3).
(4) The destruction
Alexander’s plan succeeded. Eight thousand people were slain and thirty thousand were sold into slavery. It took Alexander seven months to conquer Tyre. The causeway he built can be seen to this day.
2. The prophetic result
How did Ezekiel know all those things would happen? The only explanation is he expressed the mind of God. Historian Philip Myers said, “Alexander the Great reduced it [Tyre] to ruins (332 B.C.). She recovered in a measure from this blow, but never regained the place she had previously held in the world. The larger part of the site … is now as bare as the top of a rock–a place where the fishermen that still frequent the spot spread their nets to dry” (General History for Colleges and High Schools [Boston: Ginn and Co., 1889], p. 55). That fulfills the prophecies of Ezekiel 26:4-5, 14. The island city was repopulated, later to be destroyed by the Moslems in A.D. 1281. However, God said the mainland city would never be rebuilt–and it never has. Jerusalem has been rebuilt many times but Tyre will never be rebuilt because a prophet in Babylon said twenty-five centuries ago, “Thou shalt be built no more” (Ezek. 26:14).
AS A HISTORIAN YOU HAVE ACCESS TO ALL OF THESE RECORDS. WHY NOT TAKE A FEW MOMENTS AND CHECK OUT THESE FACTS YOURSELF?
I Corinthians 15 asserts:
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
I sent you a CD that starts off with the song DUST IN THE WIND by Kerry Livgren of the group KANSAS which was a hit song in 1978 when it rose to #6 on the charts because so many people connected with the message of the song. It included these words, “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”
Kerry Livgren himself said that he wrote the song because he saw where man was without a personal God in the picture. Solomon pointed out in the Book of Ecclesiastes that those who believe that God doesn’t exist must accept three things. FIRST, death is the end and SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life. FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. The Christian can face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.
Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player Dave Hope of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and Dave Hope had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same interview can be seen on You Tube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. DAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.
The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.
Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.
The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)
Is the Bible historically accurate and have I taken the time to examine the evidence? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject and if you like you could just google these subjects: 1. The Babylonian Chronicle, of Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem, 2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism), 4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites, 6.Shishak Smiting His Captives, 7. Moabite Stone, 8. Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, 9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets. 10. Cyrus Cylinder, 11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E., 12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription, 13. The Pilate Inscription, 14. Caiaphas Ossuary, 14 B Pontius Pilate Part 2, 14c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.,
We’ve been investigating the case for the reliability of the Old Testament by examining the process of transmission, the verification of archaeology and the appearance of fulfilled prophecy in the text. The ancient scribes employed atrustworthy system of checks and balances as they copied the original texts, and the accuracy of transmission process was successfully tested with the discovery of the Isaiah text in the Dead Sea Scroll collection. The ancient Jewish believers and Church Fathers also embraced the Old Testament as the Word of God. In addition, archeological discoveries have since confirmed many of the Old Testament accounts, and these archaeological evidences are rich compared to other written claims about the ancient past. Finally, the Old Testament Scriptures contain fulfilled prophecies (including amazing prophecies about the coming Messiah), establishing the Divine nature of the texts. Based on this evidence, the following summary can be created related to the case for the reliability of the Old Testament:
(1) The Old Testament Has Been Faithfully Transmitted
(a) Careful Masoretes Subscribed to an Incredibly High Standard
(b) The Dead Sea Scrolls Confirm the Transmission Process
(c) Ancient Sources Confirm the Early Canon of the Old Testament
i. Prologue to Ecclesiasticus
iv. The Early Church Fathers
(2) The Old Testament Has Been Verified with Archeology
(a) Findings from Neighboring Cultures
i. The Ebla Tablet
ii. Archaeological digs in the city of Bogazkoy, Turkey
iii. Archeological Digs in Sargon’s Palace in Khorsabad
iv. The Belshazar Tablet
v. The Nebo-Sarsekim Tablet
(b) Extra-Biblical confirmation of Biblical events
i. The campaign into Israel by Pharaoh Shishak
ii. The revolt of Moab against Israel
iii. The fall of Samaria
iv. The defeat of Ashdod by Sargon II
v. The campaign of Sennacherib against Judah
vi. The siege of Lachish by Sennacherib
vii. The assassination of Sennacherib by his own sons
viii. The fall of Nineveh as predicted by the prophets
ix. The fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar
x. The captivity of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, in Babylon
(3) The Old Testament Has Been Confirmed by Prophecy
(a) Accurate Predictions of Ancient Historical Events
i. Babylon Will Rule Over Judah for 70 Years
ii. Babylon’s Gates Will Open for Cyrus
iii. Babylon’s Kingdom Will Be Permanently Overthrown
iv. Babylon Will Be Reduced to Swampland
v. The Jews Will Survive Babylonian Rule and Return
vi. The Ninevites Will Be Drunk in Their Final Hours
vii. Nineveh Will Be Destroyed By Fire
viii. Tyre Will Be Attacked By Many Nations
ix. Tyre’s Stones, Timber and Soil Will Be Cast Into Sea
x. The Jews Will Avenge the Edomites
(b) The Old Testament Accurately Predicts The Coming Messiah
i. Daniel 9:25
ii. Nehemiah 2:5,6
This brief summary has been re-created in the form of a Bible Insert and is available on our Home Page from the link in the right tool bar. Download the insert (along with the inserts from prior months) and start collecting these resources related to the case for the Christian worldview. We hope to encourage and equip you to be a better Christian Case Maker.
FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 35 Robert M. Pirsig (Feature on artist Kerry James Marshall)