Pastor and Christian Leadership Resources

The Bible and Archeology: Friends or Foes?

  • Janet Chismar Contributor
  • 2004 23 Nov
The Bible and Archeology: Friends or Foes?

When the Discovery Channel airs “Rameses: Wrath Of God Or Man?” on Sunday, December 5, many people in your congregation will be led to examine the relationship between faith and science. Are they equipped?


Prior to the program’s premiere, some pastors are gearing up to speak on the issue of Biblical inerrancy in a science-driven culture. How can faith endure when scientific discovery challenges the very facts that the Bible tells us? Does science have to be an enemy of faith?


Christians believe that the Jewish slaves in Egypt were released from captivity when God used the Tenth Plague to kill the first-born son of Pharaoh Rameses II. 


But while conducting archaeological digs in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, Professor Kent Weeks found a tomb believed to contain many of Rameses’ sons. Four skulls have been discovered that Weeks believes may be those of the ruler’s elder sons.  


With the help of the latest forensic science, Dr. Weeks’ team hopes to determine each skull’s identity, death age and scenario. To carry out that research, the team is currently subjecting the skulls to delicate but rigorous scientific testing. 


Facial reconstruction expert Dr. Caroline Wilkinson will try to put “flesh on the bones,” and leading forensic expert Prof. Susan Black will analyze each skull to attempt to determine age and cause of death.


One skull in question – which may be that of Rameses’ first-born son – shows signs of a violent death, which makes the experts ponder, “Could Rameses’ son have been killed not by the hand of God … but by the hand of man?”


So is the Discovery Channel challenging The Bible? Scientists will debate claims that an important Biblical event may not have happened as reported. The channel itself will talk about the issue and what it means to them.


Experts from both science and religious disciplines will provide commentary throughout the two-hour documentary. They include Christian apologist Alister McGrath, who is principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University; Dr. Kent Weeks; Professor Kenneth Kitchen, the leading authority on Rameses; Sheikh Dr. M.A. Zaki Badawi, principal of the Muslim College in London, and Professor Israel Finkelstein, Tel Aviv University.


“Rameses:  Wrath Of God Or Man?” also includes striking visual effects recreating key biblical events, including Rameses’ riding into battle with 600 chariots, the parting of the Red Sea, the striking down of the firstborn and Moses receiving the Ten Commandments. 


This Discovery Channel special reveals how the discovery of a single skull could lead to new questions about our basic traditions. All the while, the documentary encourages the audience to draw their own conclusions, driven by faith, science or a confluence of the two. Will your flock be ready?



“Rameses:  Wrath Of God Or Man?” premieres Sunday, December 5 from 9-11 p.m. (ET/PT).