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.
Below you have picture of 1996 Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Harry Kroto (on right and Reg Colin on left):
|Raymond C. Tallis|
|Born||1946 (age 68–69)
Liverpool, Lancashire, England,UK
|Fields||Medicine, Geriatrics, Philosophy of Mind|
|Institutions||University of Manchester|
|Alma mater||University of Oxford|
Raymond C. Tallis F.Med.Sci., FRCP, FRSA (born 10 October 1946 in Liverpool, Lancashire) is a philosopher, poet, novelist, cultural critic and a retired medical physician andclinical neuroscientist. Specialising in geriatrics, Tallis served on several UK commissions on medical care of the aged and was an editor or major contributor to two key textbooks in the field, The Clinical Neurology of Old Age and Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology.
On leaving Liverpool College, Tallis gained an Open Scholarship to Keble College, Oxford, where he completed a degree in animal physiology in 1967. He completed his medical degreein 1970 at the University of Oxford and St Thomas’ Hospital in London. From 1996 to 2000, he was Consultant Adviser in Care of the Elderly to the Chief Medical Officer. In 1999–2000, he was Vice-Chairman of the Stroke Task Force of the Advisory Group developing the National Service Framework for Older People. He has been on the Standing Medical Advisory Committee and the Council of the Royal College of Physicians and was secretary of the Joint Specialist Committee of the Royal College on Health Care of the Elderly between 1995 and 2003. He was a member of the Joint Task Force on Partnership in Medicine Taking, established by Alan Milburn, the Secretary of State for Health, in 2001. For three years he was a member of one of the appraisal panels of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence. He retired in 2006 as Emeritus Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester.
Tallis attacked post-structuralism in books such as Not Saussure, Theorrhoea and After and rejected the assumptions of much artificial intelligence research in his book Why the Mind is Not a Computer: A Pocket Dictionary on Neuromythology. He denies that our appreciation of art and music can be reduced to scientific terms. His philosophical writings supply an anthropology that acknowledges what is distinctive – and remarkable – about human beings. To this end he has written a trilogy of books entitled The Hand; I Am: A Philosophical Inquiry into First-Person Being; and The Knowing Animal. He has also written extensively about the misuse of scientific language and concepts to explain human experiences.
In 2007 Tallis published Unthinkable Thought: The Enduring Significance of Parmenides. His book The Kingdom of Infinite Space: A Fantastical Journey Around Your Head, which explores the range of activities that go on inside the human head, was published in April 2008. and Michelangelo’s Finger: An Exploration of Everyday Transcendence was published in 2010.
Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity was published in 2011. In Defence of Wonder and Other Philosophical Reflections, a collection of essays from The Reader and elsewhere, was published in April 2012.
Tallis is among the Distinguished Supporters of the British Humanist Association. Tallis is also a Patron of Dignity in Dying. On 15 September 2010, Tallis, along with 54 other public figures, signed an open letter published inThe Guardian, stating their opposition to Pope Benedict XVI‘s state visit to the UK. In a 2010 interview with author Jesse Horn, Tallis declared that he is an optimistic humanist and an atheist. “Given that I was born a few months after Auschwitz was liberated, it is hardly surprising that I have a strong sense of the evil that humans – individually and collectively – do. My position is that of cautious and chastened optimism, a belief that, if we are ourselves well-treated by others, we will usually treat others reasonably well.”
In the third video below in the 137th clip in this series are his words and my response is below them.
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)
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-).
Quote from Raymond Tallis
In the You Tube video “A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3),” Dr. Tallis asserted:
My main reason for being an atheist is that the concept of God is totally illogical. Any attempt to bring together all the qualities that are ascribed to God lead to contradictions. For example, God is separate from His creation but is also infinite and boundless which is contradiction number 1.
There is the obvious contradiction that people have often talked about is that He is omnipotent and all-good and yet allows a world in which terrible things happen. Whatever way you square it the concept of God is a logical impossibility.
On December 19, 2010 vjtorley posted the article, “Professor Raymond Tallis on good and bad arguments for atheism,” and he noted:
Professor Tallis’s other main argument for atheism is that “God is a logically impossible object,” as he puts it in his provocatively titled article, In search of the G-spot. What he particularly objects to, as he writes in his article, “Why I am an atheist,” is the notion of a God who combines in His Being both the unbounded and the specific:
… the notion of a God who is infinite but has specific characteristics; unbounded, but distinct in some sense from His creation; who is a Being that has not been brought into being; who is omniscient, omnipotent and good and yet so constrained as to be unable or unwilling to create a world without evil; who is intelligent and yet has little in common with intelligent beings as we understand them; and so on.
Dr.Tallis brings up the problem of evil and lays it at the foot of God. In the letter below I answer this objection. Since Dr. Tallis is a secular man and rejects the idea of “blind faith” I have put forth some evidence below that seems to indicate that the Bible is historically accurate.
September 30, 2015
Dr. Raymond Tallis, Emeritus Professor of Geriatric Medicine, The University of Manchester,
Dear Dr. Tallis,
In the article, “Professor Raymond Tallis on good and bad arguments for atheism,” December 19, 2010, posted by vjtorley under Intelligent Design, I read these comments about you:
Having cleared the table, Tallis puts forward what he considers to be the two best arguments for atheism:first, if a personal God exists, He is a morally capricious Being, which makes His existence implausible; and second, the concept of God is self-contradictory.
On April 28, 2014 I woke up and found out that a family we used to go to church with several years ago had just lost their two oldest daughters and their father the night before in the EF-4 tornado that hit near Little Rock, Arkansas. Actually I coached their oldest daughter in basketball back when she was in the 5th grade in our Upwards Basketball League at Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock. Later in the day my son Hunter who is in the National Guard told me about his visit in the hospital with his army buddy who was going into surgery and his daughter was also in the hospital and his home was destroyed in Vilonia, Arkansas. After I heard these two pieces of news I turned on the radio and heard the testimony of Kathy Sanders who told of the loss of her two grandchildren Chase and Colton at the Oklahoma City bombing, and that reminded me of my correspondence with 3 signers of Humanist Manifesto 2 back in 1995 after Billy Graham spoke at the Memorial Service in Oklahoma City.
I wanted to write you today for two reasons. First, I wanted to talk to you about the problem of evil since it is probably the number one reason that atheists like you do not consider believing in God. Second, I wanted to point out some scientific evidence that caused Antony Flew to switch from an atheist (as you are now) to a theist. Twenty years I had the opportunity to correspond with two individuals that were regarded as two of the most famous atheists of the 20th Century, Antony Flew and Carl Sagan. (I have enclosed some of those letters between us.) I had read the books and seen the films of the Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer and he had discussed the works of both of these men. I sent both of these gentlemen philosophical arguments from Schaeffer in these letters and in the first letter I sent a cassette tape of my pastor’s sermon IS THE BIBLE TRUE? (CD is enclosed also.) You may have noticed in the news a few years ago that Antony Flew actually became a theist in 2004 and remained one until his death in 2010. Carl Sagan remained a skeptic until his dying day in 1996.
You will notice in the enclosed letter from June 1, 1994 that Dr. Flew commented, “Thank you for sending me the IS THE BIBLE TRUE? tape to which I have just listened with great interest and, I trust, profit.” It would be a great honor for me if you would take time and drop me a note and let me know what your reaction is to this same message.
One of my favorite songs is called “Before the Morning” and it is by the Christian singer Josh Wilson. The lyrics start out: “Why do you have to feel the things that hurt you? If there’s a God who loves you where is He now?” Over the years I have corresponded with several atheists and many times they confront me on this very issue such as this letter did from Dr. Brian Charlesworth, Dept of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago in letter dated May 10, 1994:
Thank you for your various communications. I am afraid that I formed the view many years ago that there is no foundation for any belief in a benevolent creator of the world. For me, there is too much suffering in the world to be compatible with the existence of such a being.
Let me make three points concerning the problem of evil and suffering. First, the problem of evil and suffering hit this world in a big way because of Adam and what happened in Genesis Chapter 3. Second, if there is no God then there is no way to distinguish good from evil and there will be no ultimate punishment for Hitler and Josef Mengele. Third. Christ came and suffered and will destroy all evil from this world eventually forever.
“the True Christian position is that, in space and time and history, there was an unprogrammed man who made a choice, and actually rebelled against God…without Christianity’s answer that God made a significant man in a significant history with evil being the result of Satan’s and then man’s historic space-time revolt, there is no answer but to accept Baudelaire’s answer [‘If there is a God, He is the devil’] with tears. Once the historic Christian answer is put away, all we can do is to leap upstairs and say that against all reason God is good.”(pg. 81)
Someone I knew in 1985 grew up in Germany and was part of the Hitler Youth Program, Was he wrong in his beliefs?
On what basis does the atheist have to say “Hitler was wrong!!!”
One of philosophy’s biggest problems is that anything exists at all and has the form that it does. Another is that man exists as a personal being and makes true choices and has moral responsibility. The Bible gives sufficient answers to these problems. In fact, the only sufficient answer is that the infinite-personal triune God is there and He is not silent. He has spoken to man in the Bible.
In the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS the basic question Woody Allen is presenting to his own agnostic humanistic worldview is: If you really believe there is no God there to punish you in an afterlife, then why not murder if you can get away with it? The secular humanist worldview that modern man has adopted does not work in the real world that God has created. God “has planted eternity in the human heart…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). This is a direct result of our God-given conscience. The apostle Paul said it best in Romans 1:19, “For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God has shown it to them” (Amplified Version).
It’s no wonder, then, that one of Allen’s fellow humanists would comment, “Certain moral truths — such as do not kill, do not steal, and do not lie — do have a special status of being not just ‘mere opinion’ but bulwarks of humanitarian action. I have no intention of saying, ‘I think Hitler was wrong.’ Hitler WAS wrong.” (Gloria Leitner, “A Perspective on Belief,” The Humanist, May/June 1997, pp.38-39). Here Leitner is reasoning from her God-given conscience and not from humanist philosophy. It wasn’t long before she received criticism.
Humanist Abigail Ann Martin responded, “Neither am I an advocate of Hitler; however, by whose criteria is he evil?” (The Humanist, September/October 1997, p. 2.). Humanists don’t really have an intellectual basis for saying that Hitler was wrong, but their God-given conscience tells them that they are wrong on this issue.
Also here is the link for another fine article on this same issue by Chuck Colson.
|Crimes? What Crimes?|
The Grand ‘Sez Who’
Let us take a close look at how you are going to come up with morality as an atheist. When you think about it there is no way around the final conclusion that it is just your opinion against mine concerning morality. There is no final answers. However, if God does exist and he has imparted final answers to us then everything changes.
What doesn’t make sense is to look at the existence of evil and question the existence of God. The reason is that atheism turns out being a self-defeating philosophic solution to this problem of evil. Think of what evil is for a minute when we make this kind of objection. Evil is a value judgment that must be measured against a morally perfect standard in order to be meaningful. In other words, something is evil in that it departs from a perfect standard of good. C.S. Lewis made the point, “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call something crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.”[ 1 ] He also goes on to point out that a portrait is a good or a bad likeness depending on how it compares with the “perfect” original. So to talk about evil, which is a departure from good, actually presumes something that exists that is absolutely good. If there is no God there’s no perfect standard, no absolute right or wrong, and therefore no departure from that standard. So if there is no God, there can’t be any evil, only personal likes and dislikes–what I prefer morally and what I don’t prefer morally.
This is the big problem with moral relativism as a moral point of view when talking about the problem of evil. If morality is ultimately a matter of personal taste–that’s what most people hold nowadays–then it’s just your opinion what’s good or bad, but it might not be my opinion. Everybody has their own view of morality and if it’s just a matter of personal taste–like preferring steak over broccoli or Brussels sprouts–the objection against the existence of God based on evil actually vanishes because the objection depends on the fact that some things are intrinsically evil–that evil isn’t just a matter of my personal taste, my personal definition. But that evil has absolute existence and the problem for most people today is that there is no thing that is absolutely wrong. Premarital sex? If it’s right for you. Abortion? It’s an individual choice. Killing? It depends on the circumstances. Stealing? Not if it’s from a corporation.
The fact is that most people are drowning in a sea of moral relativism. If everything is allowed then nothing is disallowed. Then nothing is wrong. Then nothing is ultimately evil. What I’m saying is that if moral relativism is true, which it seems like most people seem to believe–even those that object against evil in the world, then the talk of objective evil as a philosophical problem is nonsense. To put it another way, if there is no God, then morals are all relative. And if moral relativism is true, then something like true moral evil can’t exist because evil becomes a relative thing.
An excellent illustration of this point comes from the movie The Quarrel . In this movie, a rabbi and a Jewish secularist meet again after the Second World War after they had been separated. They had gotten into a quarrel as young men, separated on bad terms, and then had their village and their family and everything destroyed through the Second World War, both thinking the other was dead. They meet serendipitously in Toronto, Canada in a park and renew their friendship and renew their old quarrel.
Rabbi Hersch says to the secularist Jew Chiam, “If a person does not have the Almighty to turn to, if there’s nothing in the universe that’s higher than human beings, then what’s morality? Well, it’s a matter of opinion. I like milk; you like meat. Hitler likes to kill people; I like to save them. Who’s to say which is better? Do you begin to see the horror of this? If there is no Master of the universe then who’s to say that Hitler did anything wrong? If there is no God then the people that murdered your wife and kids did nothing wrong.”
That is a very, very compelling point coming from the rabbi. In other words, to argue against the existence of God based on the existence of evil forces us into saying something like this: Evil exists, therefore there is no God. If there is no God then good and evil are relative and not absolute, so true evil doesn’t exist, contradicting the first point. Simply put, there cannot be a world in which it makes any sense to say that evil is real and at the same time say that God doesn’t exist. If there is no God then nothing is ultimately bad, deplorable, tragic or worthy of blame. The converse, by the way, is also true. This is the other hard part about this, it cuts both ways. Nothing is ultimately good, honorable, noble or worthy of praise. Everything is ultimately lost in a twilight zone of moral nothingness. To paraphrase the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer, the person who argues against the existence of God based on the existence of evil in the world has both feet firmly planted in mid-air.
Ricky Gervais in a You Tube clip from the show Piers Morgan Tonight on 1-20-2011 said that he embraced the golden rule because it made sense to him to be good to others so they would be good to you. However, how would that work if there is no ultimate lawmaker that also is our final judge? Rabbi Hersch’s argument to the secularist Jew Chiam seems to point out that without God in the picture it really does come to : “If a person does not have the Almighty to turn to, if there’s nothing in the universe that’s higher than human beings, then what’s morality? Well, it’s a matter of opinion. I like milk; you like meat. Hitler likes to kill people; I like to save them. Who’s to say which is better?”
Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 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.,
The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)
Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.
TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #96)
Now we should Now we should turn to one of the most spectacular of modern archaeological discoveries, Ebla. While digging on an extensive mound forty-four miles south of Aleppo in Syria in 1974/75, an Italian archaeological expedition came across another of the vast libraries to which we referred earlier. A small room within the palace suddenly yielded up a thousand tablets and fragments, while another not far away a further fourteen thousand. There lay row upon row, just where they had fallen from the burning wooden shelves when the palace was destroyed about 2250 B.C.
What secrets did these tablets reveal? Without wishing to seem unnecessarily repetitive, we can say immediately that Ebla represents yet another discovery from the ancient past which does not make it harder for us to believe the Bible, but quite the opposite. And remember, these tablets date from well before the time of Abraham. The implications of this discovery will not be exhausted by even the turn of this century. The translation and publication of such a vast number of tablets will take years and years. It is important to understand that the information we now have from Ebla does not bear directly upon the Bible. As far as has been discovered, there is no certain reference to individuals mentioned in the Bible, though many names are similar, for example, Ishmael, Israel, and so forth. Biblical place names like Megiddo, Hazor, Lachish are also referred to. What is clear, however, is that certain individuals outside the Bible who previously had been considered fictitious by the critical scholars, simply because of their antiquity, are now quite definitely historic characters.
For example, the Assyrian King Tudiya (approximately 2500 B.C.) had already been known from the Assyrian king list composed about 1000 B.C. His name appeared at the head of the list, but his reality was dismissed by many scholars as “free invention, or a corruption.” In fact, he was very much a real king of Ebla. Thus, the genealogical tradition of the earlier parts of the Assyrian king list has been vindicated. It preserves faithfully, over a period of 1,500 years, the memory of real, early people who were Assyrian rulers. What we must learn from this is that when we find similar material in the Old Testament, such as the genealogical list in Genesis 7 or the patriarchal stories, we should be careful not to reject them out of hand, as the scholars have so often done. We must remember that these ancient cultures were just as capable of recording their histories as we are.
The most important aspect of the Ebla discoveries is undoubtedly their language. This has been found to be ancient West-Semitic language to which such languages as Hebrew, Canaanite, Ugaritic, Aramaic, and Moabite are related. Thus we have now, for the first time, the whole “tradition” of West-Semitic language stretching over 2,500 years–something which was previously true only of Egyptian and Akkadian, to which Babylonian and Assyrian belong.
Up until quite recently, therefore, this meant that scholars could argue that many words which appeared in the Hebrew Old Testament were what they called “late.” What they meant by this was that these words indicated a much later authorship than the time stated by the text itself. It would be as if one of us pretended to write a sixteenth-century book using such modern words as AUTOMOBILE and COMPUTER. In the case of the Pentateuch, for example, this was one of the arguments which led some scholars to suggest that it was not Moses who wrote these books, as the Bible says, but anonymous scribes from approximately 1,000 years later. The discoveries at Ebla have shown that many of these words were not late, but very early. Here is yet another example of a claimed “scientific” approach that merely reflects the philosophical prejudices of the scholars involved.
Oftentimes people are not told about the archaeological discoveries that document the truths written in the Bible. We are told that science and the Bible disagree. But as is really the case: True science and the Bible do not contradict each other. We supply many short articles which show that archaeology confirms God’s Written Word, The Bible.
The below articles are excerpted from various Archaeological trade journals and publications including Light on Archaeology magazine, and Associates for Biblical Research.
Archaeology: The study of human antiquities – usually as
discovered by excavation. (Chambers English Dictionary)
Below we supply articles from the Associates for Biblical Research and Light on Archaeology to point the reader to the wealth of information that has literally been unearthed by the spades of patient, dedicated people which helps to confirm the historical accuracy of the Bible – God’s Word. Many sights exist in the lands mentioned in the Bible where artifacts of many kinds reveal the life and customs of the people who lived there many centuries earlier.
The Bible has been ridiculed and dismissed in recent times as inaccurate and unreliable. However, students of Biblical Archaeology have found that as the science of archaeology becomes more sophisticated, much more evidence is coming to light regularly that says just the opposite! Finds have been made that show us how historically accurate God’s Word really is.
For those of us who have been privileged to visit Israel – God’s Land, it is thrilling to look down and examine the shaft that Joab climbed up to take the city of Jebus (later Jerusalem) for King David.[2 Sam 5.7-9 : 1 Chron 11.5-7] It is exciting to wade through King Hezekiah’s tunnel, from the spring of Gihon to the pool of Siloam (Silwan). [2 Kings 20.20] It is fascinating to examine the actual scrolls found at Qumram by the Dead Sea and to walk around the Citadel of Jerusalem; the remains of Herod’s fortress palace where Christ was paraded, mocked and then condemned by Pilate.[ Luke 23.1-25] All of these places give us visible evidence of the accuracy of the Biblical record.
The following series of articles are only a small sample of the information available, but, hopefully, the object will be achieved to direct the reader to further studies of the deeper truths revealed in the Bible.
So with your Bible in hand, you are invited to examine the evidence to see whether the work of the archaeologist confirms or denies God’s Word.
NOTE: We supply the below articles with the gracious permission of Bible Archeology. They also provide a free magazine as well, the address for signing up for that is supplied at the end of this study.
TEL MARDIKH: Have you heard of the Empire of Ebla? It is not surprising if you have not – for modern history text books make no references to this kingdom, which existed from approximately 2,300 B.C. to 1,700 B.C.
In fact, only students of ancient Middle East history are likely to have come across the name of Ebla, and even then, only in passing – not realizing the extent and power of this empire which stretched around the shores of the eastern Mediterranean for nearly 600 years. Now the re-writing of our history books will again be necessary to fill the gaps in our knowledge of the past; for there has been a remarkable archaeological discovery in Syria between Aleppo and Damascus, on the site of Tel Mardikh.
On this site of a 4,000 year old fortification, perhaps the most remarkable ‘find’ of the century has been uncovered – 18,000 fired clay and rock tablets relating to the economy, administration and international dealings of this once great empire of Ebla.
Popular history of the third millennium B.C. is taught with little regard for the Biblical account of the customs, manners, social behavior and level of education of the people of this period.
Now for the first time it appears that there exists a record contemporary with the Biblical account of the times, and so different is the picture it reveals from that of accepted historical suppositions, that the linguist in charge of the tablets, Dr Pettinato, has claimed that this discovery calls for a fundamental revision of third millennium B.C. culture and history.
The tablets were discovered in some out-buildings of a palace situated within the vast fortifications around the top of the tel. Many of the buildings, due to their solid roofs of some two feet in thickness, are intact and free of debris. Most of the walls are plastered a gray-green color, with murals in good condition. The two rooms in which the tablets were discovered had been shelved with wood but, due to time and the weight of the tablets, this shelving had collapsed with some breakages; but the tablets, many containing 3,000 lines of cuneiform writing, are in readable condition.
The tablets tell of an ’empire’ and names many areas under the control of Ebla, such as Sinai, Assyria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Carchemish, Lachish, Gaza, Hazor and others. Bible students will readily recognize that many of these names appear in the Old Testament record and it is interesting to note that of the three languages of the tablets, an hitherto unknown tongue, closely resembling Hebrew is prevalent and many common names recorded by the people of Ebla are easily recognizable to Bible readers.
- AB-RA-MU – (ABRAM)
- E-SA-UM – (ESAU)
- IS-MA-EL – (ISHMAEL)
- IS-RA-EL – (ISRAEL)
- MI-KA-EL – (MICHAEL)
- MI-KA-YAH – (MICAIAH)
- YE-RU-SA-LU-UM – (JERUSALEM)
Further, many common Ebla words are the same as Hebrew, such as ‘and’ (WA), ‘perfect’ (TAMMIN), ‘fall’ (NAPAL) and ‘good’ (TOB).
But perhaps most interesting of all are the quite extensive descriptions of the Creation and of the Flood, so often derided by modern historians.
The tablets are being translated and published and their contents will be invaluable in enlarging our understanding of the world of 2,000 BC; for they reveal a sophisticated system of international and civil law, including treaties of trade between Ebla and her neighbors within the framework of political agreements. These have been likened to the present-day Treaty of Rome between the EC members.
In addition, long lists of zoological, geographic and mathematical material have been found and there are weather forecasts in some meteorological texts. Records were made of visiting Mesopotamian scribes and mathematicians.
Proverbs and literary works are also preserved, including a set of bilingual tablets for the purpose of teaching translation, besides thousands of matching words. There seems no doubt that the tablets of Tel Mardikh contain the worlds oldest vocabulary lists – a source of no little consternation to students of ancient languages; for it is widely held that Biblical Hebrew is an evolved language, used during the first millennium BC Isaiah, the Hebrew prophet however, had indicated that his language was ‘the language of Canaan’, [Isaiah 19v18] and the Tel Mardikh tablets now support the Biblical reference – Hebrew has now to be recognized as one of the world’s oldest languages (and perhaps the language spoken by Noah, Canaan being the grandson of Noah through Ham). [ Genesis 10v6]
Interesting for Bible students is the fact that the Bible records that Abram, together with his father Terah, left the city of Ur in southern Mesopotamia to go into Canaan. They traveled as far as Haran and dwelt there. [Genesis 11v31,32] Haran was some 300 miles north east from the site at Tell Mardikh and appears to be named after Haran, Abram’s brother. [ Genesis 11v27 ] On his journey to Canaan, Abram in all probability, passed through Tel Mardikh, the then centre of trade and commerce, and of course, the language of Abram would be that of Ebla and of Canaan.
The other two languages written in cuneiform and discovered at Tel Mardikh are Sumerian and Akkadian. It had previously been assumed that the earliest cuneiform languages, were these two languages, developed in east and south Mesopotamia and the possibility that Syrian and Canaanite communications existed in cuneiform had been ruled out (with the exception of Ugaritic texts). But the Tel Mardikh tablets now reveal Sumerian scripts pre-dating those found in eastern Mesopotamia – throwing accepted theories of language origins to the winds. The Akkadian scripts found at Tel Mardikh refer mainly to the later period of the history of Ebla. One of the deities worshipped at Mardikh was Marduk or the Merodak of the Bible. It appears to be basically the same name as Nimrod, the ‘mighty hunter before the Lord’ mentioned in Genesis 10v9 Nimrod, who founded the city of Babel, appears to have been deified and the cult continued long after Ebla had ceased. The main consonants of Nimrod are M R D, hence:
- N i M R o D
- M a R D ikh
- M e R o D ak
Tel Mardikh was then the place of worship for Mardikh.
The finds of Tel Mardikh and the Empire of Ebla, so far have only revealed confirmation of the scriptural narrative.