Monday, March 03, 2008

Has Pharaoh's Drowned Army Been Found?

Quite often well-meaning Christians pass on stories purporting that the Ark of the Covenant has been found, or Noah's Ark, or that chariots from Pharaoh's army have been found. Answers in Genesis answers some of these claims. They write, in part:

The Wyatt/Gray claims are truly astonishing (see Amazing claims). Unfortunately, reputable Bible-believing archaeologists and other experts willing and capable of giving an objective assessment are never able to check out the claimed artifacts. There is generally a plausible-sounding story as to why that is impossible, or why the time is not right. The alleged finding of the Ark of the Covenant (see also The Ark of the Covenant—could it even be found?) is associated with claims of supernatural intervention, photographs mysteriously getting fogged or vanishing, and ‘Men in Black’ style government cover-ups.

Are the claims true? If they are, such a staggeringly impressive list would mean that Ron Wyatt had been almost as miraculously assisted by God as the patriarch Moses.4 If, however, a careful examination of just one or two of these claims reveals them to be false, fanciful or fraudulent, the ‘divine leading’ option evaporates, and it is clear that Christians are being seriously misled.

Back in 1992, Wyatt’s ‘Noah’s Ark’ claim (see This is not the Ark of Noah) was subject to a thorough investigative exposé in this magazine (see online version).5 The 13-page report told of how this ministry had checked the claims, even ringing the lab staff that had done the analyses, for instance. Sadly, though we would have been delighted if this really were the Ark, we found almost all the specific claims to be untrue and/or misleading.

....Some unsolicited evidence also came our way concerning the alleged chariot wheels of the Exodus (which have never been made available to any archaeologists, Bible-believing or otherwise). There is a Jonathan Gray video purporting to show these on the bottom of the Red Sea. In one part, Gray claims that a ‘British Admiralty chart’ he is holding shows a ‘sand bridge’ with great depths either side.

The hydrographic office of the UK Ministry of Defense is, by international agreement, the authority for charting the Red Sea. A Mrs M. H. sent them the video; they wrote back to her that:

  • Gray’s chart could be positively identified on blowups as United States chart no. 62020.

  • ‘Contrary to Mr Gray’s statement, the “sand bridge” is not now, and never has been, a recognizable feature on British Admiralty Charts. Nor is it recognizable on the U.S. chart held by Mr Gray.’

  • Gray’s comments about the ‘great depths’ also mislead.

  • The naturally lit video footage of the sea floor could not possibly have been filmed anywhere near the spot claimed by Gray, as insufficient light would penetrate at that depth.

Subsequently, Gray published a second letter from the same office, claiming it vindicated his claims of a ‘sand bridge.’ However, when we checked with them, they wrote that their comments had been ‘seriously edited,’ with ‘selected parts’ shown under their letterhead. The full letter, which they sent us, ‘does not confirm the existence of a “sand bridge.”’

In short, whenever we have had the opportunity to objectively assess any of these claims, the same pattern emerges as from our ‘Ark’ investigation.

Christians do no favors by passing on these stories - usually without checking them out! - to other Christians, and particularly to non-Christians who may take the time to disprove the claims and conclude that Christians are equally careless when it comes to accepting the claims of Christianity. Christians who pass on these stories would do well to retract them.



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