Posts Tagged ‘archaeology’

Noah's Ark supposedly found on Mount Ararat in Turkey

And you thought crop circles were out of this world? (Source: ArkDiscovery.com)

13,000 feet in the air, resting on a crescent of Turkey’s Mount Ararat, is possibly one of the most sought-after biblical relics of all time – Noah’s Ark.

Is this it?

Many archaeologists believe that boat-shaped wall is the boat that housed each animal 2 x 2 and sailed the torrential oceans for 40 days and 40 nights.

Genesis 6 – 9 chronicles Noah’s plight in full detail, down the last cubit. And now, so does the South China Morning Post and FOXNews.com:

Led by a team of 15 evangelists and archaeologists from Hong Kong and Turkey, new evidence, including wood specimens dating back 4,800 years, may suggest the existence of the biblical Noah’s ark.

This age-old search from Noah’s Ark is right up there in ecumenical lore with the Shroud of Turin. Is it real? Is it fake? Does it matter if this many people around the globe are not only engrossed in the story, but also catching themselves thinking about God as a result?

Nonetheless, these modern-day Indiana Joneses believe they found the real deal:

Yeung Wing-Cheung, from the Noah’s Ark Ministries International research team that made the discovery, said: “It’s not 100 percent that it is Noah’s Ark, but we think it is 99.9 percent that this is it.”

As many of you know, I am a proud seminarian. And I not only went to post-graduate school, but I minored in history. Noah’s Ark, unlike many stories in the Bible, is known and learned by the world’s “Big 3” – Christianity, Judaism and Islam. So, needless to say, this story has my hermeneutic pants going crazy.

Of course, there are the contrarians who are spouting off about this “discovery,” as seen in the Christian Post:

“To make a long story short: this is all reported to be a fake,” reported Dr. Randall Price, president for World of the Bible Ministries, in an e-mail to his ministry’s supporters following last week’s Ark announcement. “While he (Price) has reservations about the nature and procedure of the Chinese-Turkish expedition and the artifacts related to it, he believes that a decision concerning this matter must wait until independent examinations of the site and the structure can be made and published,” Price’s ministry stated this past week.

I love that… “independent examinations.” The discovery isn’t enough unless this dude says so? That’s rich.

People are so quick to jump to validation when it comes to the Bible that they miss the opportunity to celebrate confirmation. The mere fact folk spend their day looking for this ubiquitous boat – and the rest of the world have cause this topic to trend to the top of most search engines – should tell us all something: Folk care about God!

And although now it appears this team of “Ark enthusiasts” may have been led astray by some entrepreneurial (AKA scam artists) Kurdish guides, let’s not discount the story in the hearts of folk who need to believe it.

This discovery (I suppose air quotes should be inferred because of this guy now) provides a little bit of faith to those who may been scorned in a church because, to them, it could show the reality of God outside of one. But to be fair, note the aforementioned scam:

“I think we can’t rule out the possibility that this is a hoax, because a lot of the things that happen in that region of the world, and especially with the Kurdish guides that are involved, are designed to try to extract money from gullible people,” Price said.

Cubits or not. Flood or not. The quest for this prized archaeological legend keeps people traipsing back to Mount Ararat because it is much more than finding a boat and some century-old horse hair. This is about faith, and man’s constant desire to confirm it.

I’m sure there will be more teams of discovery, just as there will be more stories to debunk those teams. However, one thing is certain:

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. (Hebrews 11:1-2 MSG)

As long as there are folk who need to believe, there will always be explorations to help promulgate that belief. And no matter how high those journeys take us, the fact that we are climbing is good news to me.

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So, I have a Mea Culpa. It’s been way too long since we had an episode of our award-winning brickhouse series, “God Sighting of the Month.”

We had a real trend working. God, Jesus and the Virgin Mary were routinely making cameos in saltine crackers, voyeuristically standing in a hospital window and even making music in the frets of guitars. But, I suppose the telestial troika took the summer off for the holy cottage in the Hamptons because nothing has been in the news.

Not a Cheeto, a slab of jelly with a halo or even some dude blowing his nose and investigating the holiness inside.

Then it hit me. Michael Jackson died! Maybe you heard?

Wacko Jacko is back?!

Wacko Jacko is back?! Maybe?

And with the way dolts in this world deified him (I mean, he was great, but God? Meh?) it made sense. The Prince of Peace must be giving the King of Pop his just desserts.

How do I know? Check this oddball story out of (where else) California where a Stockton family saw an image of God… Michael Jackson in a tree stump.

Although I’m thankful we are consolidating offering up our weekly “Cross Eyed” series and continuing “GSOTM,” seriously?!

These people are barking mad. (Yeah, I have been waiting all week for that line. Why do you ask?)

Here’s Felix Garcia, a 22-year-old resident of Stockton, out trimming his shrubs and like Saul of Tarsus… BAM! There was his revelation, the Man in the Birch Stump Mirror.

And now, half of Nor-Cal is taking numbers to see the hallowed tree. Some taking pictures. Others, plain curiosity. And then there is this nitwit:

“Because Michael Jackson was an icon to us,” said one neighbor. “To Stockton, Michael Jackson meant more to us than Jesus, to some people. I think they’re both about even.”

I realize is face was tougher than day-old leather, but resembling a tree? Really?

And then… well, you read the quote. I can’t go on. I’m just going back to my iPod and resist the temptation to say this is the most “Off the Wall” story I’ve heard in a while. 🙂

Once in a while, a real-life “Indiana Jones” story takes place and makes my Seminarian sweat glands work overtime where My Fair Lady gets to meet my inner history dork.

Why? Imagine the Roman Empire. No, really.

You know, outside of a clear unibrow working, she's cute for a 2500-year-old.

You know, outside of a clear unibrow working, she's cute for a 2500-year-old.

You see, not all roads lead to Rome. Just ask Emperor Constantine who believed even his Roman roads led to the Cross of Christ.

So much so that he established his own headquarters in Byzantium or Constantinople, which is now known as Istanbul, Turkey.

That once Christian powerhouse is now home of Muslim central outside of Mecca.

Why the history lesson?

Thanks to MSNBC, we discover archaeologists were digging around a former Constantine crash site, the Haghia Sophia, and were touched by an angel… literally.

The seraphim figure — one of two located on the side of a dome — had been covered up along with the building’s other Christian mosaics shortly after Constantinople — the former name for Istanbul — fell to the Ottomans in 1453 and the cathedral was turned into a mosque.

Sure beats a summer cottage in the Hamptons

Sure beats a summer cottage in the Hamptons

The Haghia Sophia (seen here), better known as the Church of Holy Wisdom, was the centerpiece of the Byzantine empire until the Muslims took it over.

And once they kicked the good Christian folk out of the place, the Imams went looking for angelic faces in the frescoes because Muslim custom prohibits human representation.

So, the Muslim clerics went to a local Home Depot and bought buckets of plaster. Fast forward more than 2,500 years later and we find some angel staring back like she walked out of a plastic surgeon’s shop.

Some of the mosaics were revealed when the domed complex was turned into a museum in 1935, but the seraphim had largely remained covered, Ahmet Emre Bilgili, who heads culture and tourism affairs in Istanbul, told The Associated Press. “It is the first time that the angel is being revealed,” he said, adding that the figure had been covered with metal and plaster. “It is very well preserved.”

Breathtaking. Not one wrinkle, crow’s feet (or foot, as it were) or liver spot. That cherub still looked resplendent. And never mind her bulging eyebrows. It’s an angel. And now, Muslims are questioning this as an act of God – ours, not theirs.

For nothing will be impossible for God (Luke 1:37 NASB).

God can use anything to reach anyone at anytime. Halleujah.