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Back to:  Word Wide Evidence of the Genesis Flood

MosesAuthor
of the
Book of Genesis

 

 

INTERNAL EVIDENCE

Jesus made the following statements about the Old Testament:

"For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" (John 5:46-47)

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one iota or one point shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 5:17-19)

Jesus makes some astounding statements in these passages. First He tells us that if we do not believe what Moses wrote about Him, we will not believe anything He has to say either. In saying this, Jesus acknowledges that Moses was the author of the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. People who do not believe that Moses is the author of the Old Testament don’t give any credence to what Jesus said in the New Testament. In the last year several theologians in our country, who subscribe to the Documentary Hypothesis, declared that there is virtually nothing recorded in the New Testament that Jesus said. In other words His disciples just made these things up for their own purposes. The Documentary Hypothesis denies Moses’ authorship of the Torah. Jesus’ prediction fulfilled.

Whom did Moses write about? He wrote about Yehovah Elohim, the God of the Old Testament. Jesus said Moses was writing about Him, thus, declaring Himself Yehovah Elohim. Most people who hold to the Documentary Hypothesis also deny Jesus’ Deity.

In the next passage Jesus makes plain to us the divine authorship and inspiration of the Old Testament through Moses and the other authors of the Old Testament. Jesus tells us that not one yod, the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet, will pass away until all that is prophesied in the Old Testament is fulfilled. He further tells us that if anyone teaches anything contrary to what is taught by Moses and the other authors of the Old Testament, that that person will have the lowest standing in the kingdom of God. But He further states that those who teach and keep them will be called great in the kingdom of God. Jesus made it plain that the Old Testament is not to be played with, that it is indeed God’s Holy Word to man down to the letter.

Other passages in the Gospels where Jesus affirmed Moses’ authorship of the Torah:

"And Jesus said to him, "See that you tell no one; but go show yourself to the priest, and present the offering that Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.’" (Matt 8:4)

"They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?" He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way." (Matt 19:7-8)

"For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, "He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death." (Mk 7:10)

"But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob"? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken.’ (Mk 12:26-27)

"But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, Father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’" (Lk 16:29-31)

"And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." (Lk 24:27)

"Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day." (Lk 24:44-46)

"For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came into being through Jesus Christ." (John 1:17)

"Philip found Nathaniel and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’" (John 1:45)

"Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" (John 5:45-47)

"Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?" (John 7:19)

"If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath that the Law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath?" (John 7:23)

The following are passages in the Torah which clearly indicate that Moses wrote it: The Book of the Covenant extending from Exodus 20:22-23:33

"And Moses wrote down all the words of Yehovah. Then he arose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.... Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people: and they said. ‘All that Yehovah has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!’" (Exodus 24:4, 7)

The Renewal of the Covenant referring to Exodus 34:1-26

"Then Yehovah said to Moses, ‘Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel:’" (Exodus 34:27)

Concerning the Deuteronomic Code which comprises the bulk of Deuteronomy 5-30:

"So Moses wrote this law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi who carried the ark of the covenant of Yehovah, and to all the elders of Israel." (Deut 31:9)

"And it came about, when Moses finished writing the words of this law in a book until they were complete, that Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of Yehovah, saying, ‘Take this book of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of Yehovah....’" (Deut 31 :24-26)

Concerning God’s Judgment of Amalek,

"Then Yehovah said to Moses, Write this in a book as a memorial, and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven." (Exodus 17:14)

Concerning the agenda of the Israelites from Ramses to Moab

"And Moses recorded their starting places according to their journeys by the command of Yehovah, and these are their journeys according to their starting places." (Numbers 33:2)

The Legal Documents in These Passages Attributes Their Authorship to Moses in either the superscription or subscription: Exodus - 12:1 -28; 20-24, 25-31, 34; Leviticus- 1-7, 8, 13, 16, 17-26, 27; Numbers- 1, 2, 4, 6:1-21, 8:1-4, 8:5-22, 15, 19, 27:6-23,28,29, 30, 35; Deuteronomy- 1-33.

Moses’ background prepared him to write the Torah. He grew up in Pharaoh’s house and was ". . . educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds." (Acts 7:22)

Moses was more than qualified to author the Torah. He was trained in the royal Egyptian court in their highly developed disciplines. This included a knowledge of writing. Even the women’s toilet articles were at the time inscribed. He received the Hebrew traditions of their early history and encounters with God. He knew intimately the climate and geography of Egypt and the Sinai as described in the Torah. As the leader of Israel, he had every incentive to provide the nation with moral and religious foundations. Finally, he had 40 years of wandering in the Sinai wilderness to write the Torah.

During the time of Moses, uneducated slaves working in the Egyptian turquoise mines inscribed their records on the tunnel walls. Moses educated in the courts of the Pharo’s would have no problem at reading and writing.241/23

There is witness of other Old Testament books of Moses’ authorship of the Torah in the following passages: Joshua 1:7, 8, 8:31-32, 34, 23:6; I Kings 2:3; 11 Kings 14:6; I Chronicles 22: 13; II Chronicles 5:10; 23:18; 25:4; 30:16; 33:8; 34:14; 35:12; Ezra 3.2, 6.18, 7:6; Nehemiah 1:7, 8, 8:1, 14, 9:14, 10:29, 13:1; Daniel 9:11 13; Malachi 4:1.

Other New Testament passages which witness to Moses’ authorship are: Romans 10:5; Acts 3:22 6:11, 13:39, 15:1, 21. 26:22, 28:23; I Corinthians 9 9; II Corinthians 3:15; Hebrews 9:19; Revelation 15:3.

EXTERNAL EVIDENCE

There was no doubt that Moses was the author of the Torah when the Old Testament was canonized in 400 B.C.244/133

An Apocrypha book, Ecclesiasticus, written in 180 B.C. acknowledges Moses as the author of the Torah: "All this is the covenant-book of God Most High, the law which Moses enacted to be the heritage of the assemblies of Jacob." (Ecclesiasticus 24:23)

The Talmud, dating to 200 B.C., and the Mishnah, a rabbinic interpretation and legislation dating from about 100 B.C. both attribute the Torah to Moses.

Philo, the Jewish philosopher-theologian born approximately 20 A.D. held to Mosaic authorship.243/279

The first century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote in his Josephus Against Apion (11:8):

"For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us disagreeing from and contradicting one another (as the Greeks have) but only 22 books [our present 39], which are justly believed to be divine; and of them, five belong to Moses, which contain his laws, and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death."314/609

Junilius, an imperial official in the court of Justinian I, Byzantine emperor from 527-565 A.D., held to the Mosaic authorship of the Torah.238/44-45 Leontius of Byzantium (sixth century A.D.) said in his treatise Contra Mestorianos: "As for these five books, all bear witness that they are (the work) of Moses."238/45

Other Church Fathers attributing the Torah to Moses in their lists of the Old Testament canon are: Melito, Bishop of Sardis 175 A.D.; Cyril of Jerusalem 848-386 A.D.; Hilary 366 A.D.; Rufinus 410 A.D.; Augustine 430 A.D.

Welhausen, in the Documentary Hypothesis, stated that the Torah was authored around 700-400 B.C., not during the life of Moses in the second millennium B.C. There is however absolutely no external historical evidence whatsoever supporting these late dates which claim Moses was not the author of the Torah.35 There is however more than ample external archaeological evidence supporting Moses’ authorship in the second millennium B.C.

As we have already documented in earlier Chapters of this book, the science of archaeology has shown us that there is absolute historical evidence of writing up to 3500 B.C. in Ebla and 2700 B.C. in northwest Syria. The Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians would not make a transaction, even in the smallest details of business, without putting it down in writing.

Moses is credited with, in both the Old and New Testament and by Jesus Himself, with writing what is known as the Torah221 or the Pentateuch.32/957 The Torah is the first five books of the Bible from Genesis to Deuteronomy. It is stated clearly that Moses is the author in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, but not in the book of Genesis. Why is this?

There is archaeological evidence that Adam wrote part of the book of Genesis. Genesis Chapter 5 and verse 1 states: "This is the written-account317 of the generations318 of Adam." Obviously writing is as old as the human race itself. When God created Adam, He created him a full grown man with the ability to communicate. Why wouldn’t He have also given him the ability to write.

What is the historical and archaeological evidence that Adam himself wrote this genealogy? In the times of Genesis Cuneiform writing was the system used by all civilized countries east of the Mediterranean: Assyria, Babylonia, Persia and by the Hittites which are mentioned seven times in Genesis from Genesis 15:20 on. Cuneiform writing is a series of wedge-shaped impressions made in clay. The word cuneia itself means "wedge".316/214 The Hebrew word for writing, bt'K;, means "to engrave"319 to cut into, dig. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all used this form of writing. Cuneiform was not a specific language but a method of writing on clay tablets.

These clay tablets were made of clay from the Euphrates Valley that was mixed with chalk or gypsum to keep the tablets from shrinking or cracking. They were dried in the sun or a kiln. It may very well have been these kind of Tablets that God wrote the ten commandments on that He gave to Moses (Exod 32:15-16). All archaeological evidence indicates clearly that everything written before Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees was written on clay tablets in cuneiform. The book of Job, written before Abraham, talks about this kind of writing in Job 38:14.

Papyrus was the common writing material in Egypt, but the Tell-el-Amarna tablets found in Egypt in 1888 revealed that these clay tablets were letters dated about 1400 B.C. from Palestinian officials to the Egyptian government in cuneiform. Therefore Egypt knew and used the cuneiform method of writing as well.

The most significant and distinguishing phrase in Genesis is "These are the generations of. . . ." The book of Genesis is usually divided around this phrase which is found eleven times (2:4, 5:1, 6:9, 10:1, 11:10, 11:27, 25:12, 25:19, 36:1, 36:9, 37:2). Even the translators of the Old Testament into Greek around 250 B.C., known as the Greek Septuagint, gave so much significance to this that they named the book Genesis meaning "generations." The word Genesis is equivalent to the Hebrew Word tdol]/T (toledot) also meaning "generations."318

What is the significance of this and how does this give evidence of Adam having engraved the genealogy of his life until his death? Ancient records almost always begin with a genealogy or a register documenting close family relationships. Because several of the phrases with the word toledot were followed with a genealogy in Genesis, for years scholars assumed this phrase referred to what followed. As a result, you will find the book of Genesis divided by these phrases. However due to the large amount of discovered clay tablets of surrounding cultures of the times of the Old Testament, scholars now realize that due to the similarity and customs of the time that these phrases in Genesis do not refer to what follows after but are at the end of each of these genealogies referring to what was just stated previously. This is consistent with the meaning of the word toledot itself which means "history, especially family history" meaning something associated with origins not descendants. The word toledot by definition talks about looking backward rather than forward.

The first toledot is mentioned in Genesis 2:4 which states, "These are the generations of the heavens and the earth." Many liberal scholars realizing that Genesis 2:4 referred to what was stated previously thought that the redactor had placed this verse in Chapter two by mistake and should have been at the beginning of Genesis instead. However, in light of the evidence of archaeology we now realize that this is a concluding statement of what Moses has recorded in Genesis Chapter 1 about the creation of the heavens and the earth. As a result this should be a part of Genesis Chapter 1 rather than the beginning of the narrative which follows in Genesis Chapter 2. This phrase in Genesis 2:4 is the key as to how all other toledot phrases in Genesis are to be interpreted which is a looking back, not forward.

In light of this new understanding about how letters and genealogies of families were recorded on cuneiform tablets, in 1936 P.J. Wiseman suggested that the material in Genesis was written by several authors based on these concluding toledot phrases. He suggested rightly that the authors of the material in Genesis are the following:

Genesis 1:1-2:4 Origin of the heavens and the earth. No author is given. Wiseman suggests that the author was God himself, who wrote it as He wrote the Ten Commandments, probably on clay tablets. According to its date, as given in the text itself, it was written very soon after the act of creation.

  1. Genesis 2:5-5:2 Tablet written by or belonging to Adam.

  2. Genesis 5:3-6:9a Tablet written by or belonging to Noah.

  3. Genesis 6:9b-10:1 Tablet written by or belonging to the sons of Noah.

  4. Genesis 10:2-11:10a Tablet written by or belonging to Shem.

  5. Genesis 11:10b-11:27a Tablet written by or belonging to Terah.

  6. Genesis 11:27b-25:19a Tablets written by or belonging to Ishmael and Isaac.

  7. Genesis 25:19b-37:2a Tablets written by or belonging to Esau and Jacob.

Moses, the writer, editor and redactor of the Book of Genesis, recorded this information in Genesis word for word in its proper order as it was recorded on the tablets, including their colophon prases. Wiseman’s son, Donald P. Wiseman, a well known evangelical scholar himself who is the general editor of the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series, endorses his father’s work along with R.K. Harrison, professor of Old Testament University of Toronto who has incorporated this material in his book, Introduction to the Old Testament.362

These phrases at the end of these genealogies are what are known as colophons. A colophon is a scribal devise that was placed at the conclusion of a literary work written on a clay tablet which gave the title or description of the narrative, the date or occasion of the writing and the name of the owner or writer of the tablet. This is just the opposite how we do it today, but this practice in ancient times continued unchanged for over three-thousand years. Colophons are found in the Ebla tablets in northwest Syria (2700 B.C.), in the Akkadian texts from Ras Shamra (1300 B.C.), and continued until the time of Alexander the Great (333 B.C.).

The name at the end of the tablet always referred to the owner of the tablet. Even if the owner had a scribe write it, the scribe never put his name at the end but the owners name. The word in Genesis 5:1, rp,se (sepher), means "book" or "a complete writing."317 This is why the phrase in Genesis 5:1 indicates that Adam was probably not only the author of the material which precedes it but the owner of the tablets on which they were recorded as well.

Another example in the Torah of evidence of second millennium authorship rather than first millennium is the form of treaties that were used in Moses day recorded by Moses in the Book of Deuteronomy. George Mendenhall, in 1954, published an article in which he described the ancient suzerainty (sovereign) treaties. In this article he described the similarities between these treaties and the treaty forms described in the Book of Deuteronomy. A typical Hittite Suzerainty treaty of the second Millennium B.C. contained the following information:

1. Preamble or title, identifying the author of the covenant.

2. Historical prologue or retrospect, mentioning previous relations between the two parties involved; past benefactions by the suzerain are a basis for the vassal’s gratitude and future obedience.

3. Stipulations basic and detailed; the obligations laid upon the vassal by the sovereign.

4. (a). Deposition of a copy of the covenant in the vassal’s sanctuary and

(b). Periodic public reading of the covenant terms to the people.

5. Witnesses, a long list of gods invoked to witness the covenant.

6. (a). Curses, invoked upon the vassal if he breaks the covenant and,

(b). Blessings, invoked upon the vassal if he keeps the covenant.

Nearly all the known treaties of the fourteenth/thirteenth centuries B.C. follow this pattern closely235/92-93 as did the Sinai Covenant in the Book of Deuteronomy which contains the following:

1. Preamble- 1:1-5

2. Historical prologue- 1:6-3:29

3. Stipulations - 4-11 (basic); 12-26 (detailed)

4. (a). Deposition of text - 31:9, 24-26

(b). Public reading - 31:10-12

5. Witnesses - since pagan gods are excluded here, ancient oriental godlists are absent. Moses’ song could have been the witness (31:16-30; 32:1-47), as Kitchen suggests.

6. Curses and Blessings - 28:1-14 (blessings); 28:15-68 (curses); the sequence here is blessings—curses—witness as opposed to the witness—curses—blessings sequence of ancient oriental treaties, possibly due to the different nature of the witness here in Deuteronomy.235/96-97

K. A. Kitchen, in an article titled, "Ancient Orient, ‘Deuteronism’ and the Old Testament," from his book, New Perspectives on the Old Testament, states:

"There can be no serious doubt. . . that the greater bulk of Deuteronomy coincides very closely indeed with the fourteenth and thirteenth century treaties, even more strikingly than do Exodus and Joshua. The essential difference in literary nature is that the Near Eastern documents are formal legal documents of the covenants concerned, whereas Deuteronomy is cast as the report of an actual ceremony of renewing a covenant in acts and speech,"255/8

Meredith G. Kline, in an article titled,"Dynastic Covenant," expresses the same conclusions:

"In the light of the evidence now surveyed, it would seem indisputable that the Book of Deuteronomy, not in the form of some imaginary original core but precisely in the integrity of its present form, the only one for which there is any objective evidence, exhibits the structure of the ancient suzerainty treaties in the unity and completeness of their classic pattern."240/41

D. J. McCarthy has done the most thorough examination of the ancient treaties in his scholarly work titled, Treaty and Covenant. He identifies himself more with the radical critics, but on this subject of the treaties he said the following:

"Is there, therefore, a text in the Old Testament which exemplifies with sufficient fullness the treaty form? For an affirmative answer we need only look at the basic elements of the Book of Deuteronomy."256/ 110

Why am I focusing so much on the treaty form of the second millennium? The Documentarians date Deuteronomy around the seventh century B.C. What is the problem with this? The treaties of the seventh century have no relationship or comparison with the treaties of the second millennium as described in Deuteronomy. The point of this is that the Torah cannot possibly have been written in the seventh century B.C. but shows every evidence of having been written in the second millennium B.C.

As early as 1954, Mendenhall recognized that the covenant type which is found in the second millennium B.C. in Deuteronomy

". . . cannot be proven to have survived the downfall of the great empires of the late second millennium B.C. When empires again arose, notably Assyria, the structure of the covenant by which they bound their vassals is entirely different. Even in Israel, the writer submits that the older form of covenant was no longer widely known after the united monarchy."242/30

These differences can be outlined as follows:

1. Order

1A. The earlier form almost invariably places divine witnesses between stipulations and curses; this is never found in later treaties.235/95

2A. The highly consistent order of the earlier treaties is replaced by more randomness.235/96

2. Content

1A. The customary historical prologue of the second millennium B.C. is totally absent in the later treaties, 235/95

2A. The first millennium B.C. treaties are also lacking in the earlier usage of blessings in conjunction with the cursings.235/96

What does this all mean? Kline concludes:

"Accordingly, while it is necessary to recognize a substantial continuity in pattern between the earlier and later treaties, it is proper to distinguish the Hittite treaties of the second millennium B.C. as the ‘classic’ form. And without any doubt the Book of Deuteronomy belongs to the classic stage in this documentary evolution. Here then is significant confirmation of the prima facie case for the Mosaic origin of the Deuteronomic treaty of the great King."240/43

Josh McDowell states,

"Many scholars will allow that archaeology has demonstrated the ‘essential reliability’ of many historical facts within the biblical record, but they still contend that these facts, along with legend and myth were passed ‘orally’ for a millennium or more. But Deuteronomy’s form demonstrates that it had to be written in the middle of the second millennium B.C. Otherwise no account can be given for its literary format."35/103

CONCLUSION

All the evidence presented in this book gives strong support for an early date for the authorship of the Torah by Moses and especially for the Book of Genesis within his life time and even previously up to Adam concerning the sources that Moses drew from in putting together the Book of Genesis. This information also confirms that the Genesis creation and flood accounts are the original accounts of these events and that they were not derived from other cultures like the polytheistic (many gods) Babylonian accounts. This evidence also supports the fact that monotheism (one God) was the original religious belief and practice, not a later evolutionary refinement from earlier polytheism. This evidence also falsifies the widespread idea that Genesis 1 and 2 give conflicting accounts of Creation. Also the evidence in this book shows clearly that higher critical later dates for Genesis are not supported by historical andarchaeological documents of cultures of the first millennium B.C. but are more than amply supported by historical and archaeological documents of cultures of the second and even third millenniums B.C. Moses was the Author of the Book of Genesis Absolutely.

There are hundreds of examples like this found in archaeology which do not support the Documentary Hypothesis, but do support second millennium authorship of the Torah. But space in this book prevent me from going on to these examples such as geography, practices of worship, diction, names of Egyptian kings, archaisms in language and more which all point to second millennium authorship, not first millennium. Many of these facts are documented in Josh Mcdowell’s book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Volume 2.35/95-120 Not an easy book to read through, but necessary for the honest intellectual and person looking for the truth about the Documentary Hypothesis and what it postulates and what the facts of tangible sciences like Archaeology support concerning the Torah and Moses’ authorship.

Suggested Further Reading

  1. Lubenow, Marvin L. Bones of Contention. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, © 1992 by Marven L. Lubenow.
  2. McDowell, Josh. Evidence That Demands a Verdict. Vol 1. San Bernardino: Heres Life Pub., 1979.
  3. McDowell, Josh. Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Vol. 2. San Bernardino: Here’s Life Publishers, 1981.

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