Deeper Waters Podcast 4/21/2018: Ted Wright

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Archaeology. Digging up the world that was before us and seeing what we can learn about it. Naturally, the Bible soon gets to be investigated to see what can be learned about the past. In many ways, archaeology has been a friend. Consider looking at the book of Acts.

But there are always difficult issues to talk about. There are cases where we have to wonder if archaeology is on our side or not. The Old Testament has plenty of these. If any event in the Old Testament is seen as defining the history of Israel, it is the Exodus.

In this grand event, God delivers His people from the most powerful empire known to man at the time. There are numerous plagues that strike the Egyptians, there is the parting of the Red Sea, and then there is the wandering in the wilderness for forty years. The story is a fascinating one and can be gripping to believer and non-believer alike, but is there any evidence for it archaeologically?

To discuss this question, I wanted to have on someone who does understand archaeology well. I wanted someone who has made the case before and has defended it. After listening to him on an Unbelievable? podcast and liking what I saw, I knew who to talk to. Fortunately, he happened to also be a friend of mine that I knew when I lived in Charlotte and who my wife and I met together before. His name is Ted Wright.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Ted is freelance teacher, writer, researcher and founder of EpicArchaeology.org. For over a decade, Ted has been a speaker on Christian apologetics as well as Biblical Archaeology across North America & internationally. In addition to public speaking, Ted was the former Executive and Teaching Director of CrossExamined.org. Ted has also appeared on numerous television and radio programs including the History Channel’s TV miniseries – “Mankind: The Story of All of Us,” as well as CNN’s 2015 documentary on the historical resurrection of Jesus, “Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery.” In addition, Ted has served as adjunct professor of apologetics at Southern Evangelical Seminary as well as Charlotte Christian College & Theological Seminary, where he has taught for over a decade. Ted has a B.A. in Anthropology & Archaeology from the Cobb Institute of Archaeology at Mississippi State University. As an undergraduate Ted worked as a research lab assistant on Phase III (1992-1999) of the Lahav Research Project from Tel Halif, Israel. Ted also has an M.A. in Christian apologetics with a concentration in philosophy from Southern Evangelical Seminary. Ted participated as an assistant square supervisor in the 2014 excavation at Khirbet el-Maqatir (the Biblical city of Ai) with ABR (Associate for Biblical Research). Ted researches and writes for Epic Archaeology, as well as his personal blog, “Off the Map.”

I hope you’ll be here for this episode and if enough time is available, we could discuss some New Testament archaeology as well. Please be watching for this episode. Also, if you haven’t, please go on iTunes and leave a positive review for the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

On Exodus, Gods and Kings

What are my thoughts on this movie? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

While visiting my in-laws for Christmas, there was a desire to go see the new movie that henceforth I will just be referring to as Exodus. Now I’ve been skeptical, but we had heard some good things and I thought that surely it couldn’t be as bad as the travesty of Noah. After all, when I saw Noah, it was while we were with friends and my wife suggested it be a red box rental so we could just see how it was. I told her I’d keep watching until it got too stupid.

Which took about a minute.

Exodus is not as bad as Noah thankfully. Let’s start with some positives. If you like special effects, the special effects in this movie are excellent. Still, there were so many more scenes that could have been so much more. For instance, I, like many of you would be, was disappointed that there was no parting of the Red Sea. Now there was a great body of water gathered through a tornado or something similar that did take care of the Egyptian army, but the Israelites mainly crossed through where the waters were much lower. Even if you don’t believe the Bible is true, you’d still I think want to see the Red Sea part if you saw a story about the Exodus. That’s largely a defining moment in the account.

Moses and Zipporah’s relationship is displayed wonderfully. This is an area the Bible does not speak on much but the two characters made a marvelous couple in the film. Moses was seen as a very loving and dutiful husband and Zipporah was a strong woman who was a bit of a flirt as well, and there is no sex scene in the movie, which would have even more turned off a Christian audience, but you could tell that they did wait until their wedding night.

Now the negatives.

Too much license was taken in this film that I could not say it was true to the text. God is portrayed as a small child. Now I don’t doubt God could appear in this form, but there’s no kind of relationship with Moses and God as one sees in Scripture, where Moses is described as one who speaks with God face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When God sends Moses to set Israel free, there’s no instruction and no preparation. Even the burning bush scene is treated as if it was a hallucination at the start. The way the two interact most often is treated as my father-in-law said, like Gazoo on the Flintstones. No one else can see God when Moses talks to Him so that if another character sees Moses talking, they think he’s crazy.

Moses meanwhile is portrayed more as a general than a shepherd figure. There is no scene of him carrying his staff. Rather throughout, he carries a sword given to him by the Pharaoh before the one in the movie. When he comes to set the Hebrews free, he starts by in fact training them for combat to fight the Egyptians. Moses and God can in some ways be seen as incidental to the movie at times.

When the plagues start, the special effects really kick in, but much is still not faithful to the text. While I have no problem with naturalistic explanations being given, these seemed to be stretching it. When I say naturalistic, I mean it’s quite possible God could use a natural occurrence but the miracle is that it happened when it happened. For instance, having a wind naturally split the sea from time to time would not undo the account of it as a miracle. What makes it a miracle also is that it happened when it happened.

In the Biblical account, you have magicians of Pharaoh repeating many of the effects of the plagues and it’s clear all throughout that this is negotiations and a battle of the gods. Moses is representing YHWH and demonstrating that the power of YHWH is greater than the power of the Egyptian gods. The magicians are trying to show that such is not the case. This does not go on in the movie. In the movie, it’s not until about midway through the plagues that Pharaoh gets a message and even then it’s not directly from Moses.

As I’ve said, the lack of a parting of the Red Sea scene is incredibly disappointing. When they came to the sea, I was tensing up and thinking “This is it. This is going to be the moment of redemption. This is going to be where everything changes.” Unfortunately, I was wrong. As my wife and I left the theater we were both speaking about how disappointed that we were.

I appreciate my in-laws taking us of course and it was good to spend that time together, but if you’re wanting to see a good account that’ faithful to the text, don’t really bother with this one.

In Christ,
Nick Peters