I’ve always been fascinated with biblical archaeology. I recently watched a series of videos online that provided compelling evidence for the physical location of where the garden of Eden once existed in northeastern Africa, based on biblical clues in the text. Same with the final resting spot of Noah’s ark in Turkey. My question is, is it a waste of time to speculate over such things? Is there any value in researching the current-day locations of these biblical sites, even if they are just well-informed guesses?
Biblical archaeology is a fascinating field of interest. With something like the Biblical Archaeological Review magazine, much of it is accurate, yet some of it is speculative. Specific to the question, the Garden may have been in North-Eastern Africa. When touring Israel, it’s important to remember you can’t move mountains, streams, or lakes simply because you think a certain event took place there. Of course, earthquakes can radically change the landscape, but in broad terms, these “landmarks” stand the test of hundreds to thousands of years.
Remember that the Bible proves archaeology rather than archaeology proving or disproving the Bible. Authors have agendas, no matter how objective they appear. Someone who looks at Scripture metaphorically or symbolically may not see the Bible as an authoritative text.
In Israel, some worship the sites, and others appreciate the land. When you visit the church of the holy sepulcher, you’ll witness people kissing the sepulcher – a stone – that has no historical veracity but is displayed as the very stone on which Jesus was placed after His death. However, this is not where He was laid. It can be a fascinating field of study, but the Bible is the final authority and the place to build your true theological beliefs. We don’t have things like the nails that held Jesus on the cross because we would worship them, which is idolatry. It isn’t wrong to speculate, but remember to keep your beliefs rooted in scripture.
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Randall Price and H. Wayne House – Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology
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