The bible and radiocarbon dating archaeology
A recent Independent news article is titled “Bible Says Canaanites Were Wiped out by Israelites but Scientists Just Found Their Descendants Living in Lebanon.”1 The author essentially claims that objective “science” has again successfully contradicted the claims of the Bible.While this tantalizing assertion may appeal to skeptics, it fails to deal truthfully with the biblical record and may also place too much weight on the genetic evidence.But even if predominant Canaanite ancestry could be proven, having them related to those in Lebanon, Persia, Assyria, Macedonia, and so on is to be expected.Nevertheless, would any of this compel us to reject the Bible’s historical narrative?This news article popularizes the findings of a technical article published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.2 The researchers wanted to explore the origin of the Canaanite population and its relation to present-day inhabitants of the Levant (the lands bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea, otherwise known as the “land of Canaan” including the “Promised Land”).Their process was to compare the DNA sequences of ancient individuals against samples of present-day Lebanese inhabitants.While the Israelites did smite the inhabitants of many cities during their campaigns, there were only three cities that they completely destroyed: Jericho (Joshua ), Ai ( Furthermore the Israelite Conquest under Joshua took place mainly in the hill country and Galilee.The plains and other coastal regions from Gaza in the south to Sidon in the north remained largely untouched by the Israelites and remained under Canaanite control.
Furthermore, was God righteous in commanding the Israelites to kill the Canaanite populations? 2348 BC4), the three sons of Noah and their wives became the forebears of the new human population (Genesis 7:7, 13, 21–23).Among many findings, the researchers conclude that “present-day Lebanese derive most of their ancestry from a Canaanite-related population, which therefore implies substantial genetic continuity in the Levant since at least the Bronze Age.”3 Both articles incorrectly assume that Canaanite civilizations were largely if not completely eliminated with the Israelites’ conquest of the land of Canaan.How can modern individuals trace their ancestry to a people group that has supposedly been extinct for millennia?Since DNA acts like a clock, this implies that the clock has been ticking longer in individuals that died thousands of years ago! Instead, the more likely explanation is that the DNA differences in the ancient Sidonians are not actually mutations but represent degraded DNA.So the genetic claims made by the researchers are suspect.