Evidence for Inerrancy from an Unexpected Source: OT Chronology -- By: Rodger C. Young

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 21:2 (Spring 2008)
Article: Evidence for Inerrancy from an Unexpected Source: OT Chronology
Author: Rodger C. Young

Evidence for Inerrancy from an Unexpected Source:
OT Chronology1

By Rodger C. Young

The Problem

From the beginning of the Davidic dynasty to the release of Jehoiachin from prison, mentioned at the end of 2 Kings, represents a period of about four and one-half centuries. For this time period, the books of Kings, Chronicles, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel provide over 120 dates, lengths of reign, and synchronisms that form the raw material for constructing a chronology for these times. For anyone who tries to assemble these data into a chronological scheme, it soon becomes clear that is a formidable task. Some older interpreters handled the apparent discrepancies in the numbers by introducing interregna, that it is, periods of time during which no king was assumed to be on the throne. This is like using scissors to fashion fill-in pieces as needed for a jigsaw puzzle that otherwise doesn’t seem to fit together. To the credit of these interpreters, they genuinely regarded the Bible as the Word of God, and their aim in writing was to explain the text and to strengthen the faith of God’s people by attempting to produce a harmonious chronology from the received text.

However, there later arose interpreters who did not share this goal of building up others in the faith. Their goal was to discredit any supernatural explanation of the origin of the Scriptures and the miracles recorded therein, replacing these matters of “faith” with what they were quick to label as a “scientific” approach to religion. But the science of these writers was not the science that brought about the scientific revolution of modern times, because the method of true science starts with observation, whereas these writers started with a theory and then used that theory to reconstruct history. They either trampled on or ignored such observations as were beginning to come from archaeological findings in the ancient Near East. Thus Wilhelm De Wette had no archaeological findings or any other historical facts to support his theory that the book of Deuteronomy was invented during the days of Josiah (1805); the theory merely supplied an explanation to replace the supernatural alternative, namely that it was a revelation to Moses during Israel’s wandering in the desert. Neither did Julius Wellhausen build his theory of the development of Israel’s religion on a study of ancient Near Eastern inscriptions; instead an imposition of Charles Darwin’s evolutionary ideas and Georg Hegel’s dialectic was used to construct an imaginative scheme for the history of Israel and the formation of the OT canon (1878).2

Deductive Methodology as Applied to the Problem

Wellhausen’s D...

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