The Bible is the most read book in the world, with over four billion copies sold. But is there proof that anything in the holy book is true? The Bible covers well over a thousand years, and yet many doubt the historicity of the Bible. However, multiple recent archeological discoveries, such as proof of crucifixion and evidence for the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, provide physical evidence for many of the key events and individuals named in the Bible.
For years, scholars and students of the Bible have wondered, "Is the Bible a reliable historical source?" But now, there's proof of King David, the Prophet Isaiah, and even evidence that the Great Flood really happened. And in some cases, like the discovery of ancient Nazareth or the recovery of King Solomon's wall, archeologists have proven skeptics wrong with clear physical evidence.
Scholars continue to debate the reliability of the Bible, but with major archeological finds every year, it may only be a matter of time before we find physical proof for every biblical story.
Some skeptics doubt that Moses called up the 10 Egyptian plagues to free the Israelites from slavery. However, scientists believe they can provide explanations for the devastating plagues, which coincide with when the Bible claims Moses and the Israelites left Egypt.
Studies show that a dry period caused the Nile River to turn muddy, and a fresh water algae may have given the water a red appearance. This would explain the first plague that turned the Nile water into blood. The frogs, lice, and flies (plagues two, three, and four) followed the river's algae bloom. And diseases like malaria, brought by the insects, could have caused the death of cattle and human boils (plagues five and six). Finally, the eruption of a volcano on Santorini, 400 miles away, spewed ash and hail into the air, which may explain the fiery hail, locusts, and darkness of plagues seven, eight, and nine.
According to the Book of Genesis, the Tower of Babel was built by Noah's descendants who survived the Great Flood. They shared a common language and settled in Babylonia. But soon they strayed from God and built a great tower, which became a symbol of their pride. They said:
Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth (Genesis 11:4).
An angry God struck down the people and scattered them, confusing their language so they could no longer speak with each other.
Due to the location and description of the tower, many argue that it may be one of the nearly thirty ziggurats discovered in ancient Babylonia. While there is not yet evidence linking the story with a specific ziggurat, physical proof may eventually connect Babel with Etemenanki, a true ziggurat in Babylon.
Many people claimed to discover physical evidence of Jesus Christ, like the Shroud of Turin and pieces of his crucifixion cross. However, in spite of centuries spent searching for physical proof that Jesus existed, the best evidence still comes from textual sources, such as the writings of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus.
Though the authenticity of Josephus' writing has been called into question in the centuries since his life, he wrote only decades after the death of Jesus, and his texts record that he was a real person. He mentioned:
Now there was about this time Jesus... when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day.
On top of that, professionals claimed to find the nails that impaled Jesus, his crown of thorns, and other physical evidence of his existence.
Scientists have proven that over 7,000 years ago, a massive flood swept the Black Sea, submerging 100,000 square miles of land. The sea level rose over 100 feet, and potentially thousands of people perished in the flood.
The timing of the flood (5600 BCE) and the magnitude of it likely indicate that it's the same Great Flood mentioned in the Bible. However, a number of ancient societies told stories, such as the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh and the Greek and Roman story of Deucalion and Pyrrha, that mention a catastrophic flood.
It's possible that all these stories trace back to a common flood that devastated the ancient Near East.