Karen recently did some extensive research into the Old Testament timeline, digging very in-depth into how the history recorded in Scripture corresponds with extra-Biblical history…you know, the history we get in school. The end result from her and her team was a chart (unfortunately, its not something that I can link to or reproduce here at this point) that is fascinating. For example, did you know that Noah died within about 100 years of the Xia Dynasty‘s establishment in China? Or that cuneiform writing was developed at approximately the same time that Noah was born? Stonehenge was completed just before Abraham died, and the Celts invaded Britain not long after Solomon died…this is really fascinating stuff.
Adjusting the Historical Lens
I’ve done a decent amount of research into archaeological proofs of the accuracy of the Biblical narrative, but I suppose what really impresses me with these types of historical studies is that it gives us a referent. You see, all historians have an axe to grind (don’t believe me? Read some of the inaccurate garbage in the textbooks of our public school system). Biblical historians were no different…they were pointing out a specific series of spiritual events in the annals of history, while other historians were focusing on military conquests and scientific and cultural advancements.
Perhaps our history is recorded with the wrong emphasis. Certainly, cultural advancements and scientific achievements are important markers. History turned for the better with Brown vs. Board of Education. Nothing was the same after the Wright Brothers flew. Last Thursday marked the anniversary of a tragedy that altered the global community forever.
The enormous implications of these aside, however, why do we not know the history of art as well? What average educated individual could give even a cursory discussion of the history of Greek theatre, or when the Mona Lisa was painted? If we’re discussing cultural advances, don’t those rank just as high as the invention of the light bulb? They pushed humanity forward just as much in their own ways. Come to think of it, why do Americans tend to only know our own history? Shouldn’t we be just as well versed in British and Russian and Japanese histories? Or, if not well versed, shouldn’t we at least have some idea?
Even more importantly, though, what if we gauged our history by the spiritual implications of the events, as the Biblical historians of the Old Testament did? What if we viewed the Vietnam and Iraq wars from a spiritual standpoint instead of from the military analysis? What if a faith lens colored our view of today’s violent headlines instead of foreign policy? What if Watergate was seen from the perspective of the tragedy of a lie instead of its political implications? Or even alongside of, rather than in lieu of?
What if the presidential election that is upcoming in a few weeks was seen from an ethical and spiritual perspective instead of the disgusting game that it is now? What if power weren’t the goal for candidates, but rather servant leadership? What if America didn’t vote for who we liked, but who we thought would do the job the best?
I imagine that this twisted nightmare we call “politics” would change for the better. I imagine the disappointment and desire for change that should rear up against war-mongering, spying against citizens, and the slaughter of unborn children just might change the course of who was nominated, much less elected.
What I can’t imagine is how the history books, the accurate ones at least, would look back on this point in world history. But if I could, I would love to read just a few pages, because what I know for certain is that none of us would look nearly as good as we think.