Geologists studying in Israel say they have found evidence of the earthquake mentioned in the Gospel account of the crucifixion.
Based on cores extracted from the beach of the Dead Sea near Ein Gedi, the researchers have decided that we know for a fact that Jesus was crucified on Friday, April 3, 33 A.D. Of course, the earthquake in question might have occurred a few years before or after, but the researchers decided this was the correct date.
However, these researchers think that the earthquake might have occurred before or after the crucifixion, and that Matthew borrowed the earthquake idea as an allegory to put into his gospel. Why think that? Why couldn't the Gospel of Matthew be accurate when it says "the earth shook, and the rocks rent...the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake..."? Maybe it's because if the occurrence of this earthquake right when Christ died was no coincidence, people would tend to have the same response as that centurion and his companions: "Truly this was the Son of God"!
It's always interesting to find evidence outside the Bible that provides a little more insight into the events described therein. Earthquakes, battles, and so forth leave evidence that helps give us a mental picture of things we read in Scripture. Sadly, much of this evidence is uncovered by people who choose not to believe the Bible is the true, inerrant, factual word of God. They sometimes use this evidence to try to contradict Scripture. Other times, as with this story, they cannot just leave the Bible to interpret the finding of this earthquake, but they have to create doubt with statements suggesting that maybe this earthquake is coincidental, or that the Gospel authors were just sensationalists capitalizing on the latest news to sell their story.
The article says the researchers are turning their attention to the darkness now. I wonder if they will decide that was coincidental too.
I hope the scientists in this article are well-meaning Christians despite their doubtful statements, but we know so many are not. Let's pray that all the researchers who have not already accepted the Truth to come to the conclusion the centurion so clearly stated: "Truly this was the Son of God."