Showing posts with label Contradictions in Scripture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Contradictions in Scripture. Show all posts

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Contradictions and Contradistinctions

Yesterday I was listening to a secular scholar again. (Okay, it was JP.)

He was speaking about the Bible, its value as a text and its importance in human history. At the same time, he was expressing disbelief about how it had persisted. It’s a “strange old book”, he said. It’s “contradictory” and “cobbled together”. He puzzled over how it was possible it could ever have “such an unbelievable impact on civilization”. But at the same time, he concluded, “However educated you are, you are not educated enough to discuss the typological significance of the biblical stories.”

And then he went on to try.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Contradictions and Contradistinctions

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Not An Idiot

The books of Chronicles cover much of the same historical material we find in the books of Samuel and Kings, sometimes in near-identical wording. This provokes legitimate questions: Do we need both? Our Bibles are bulky enough already without including a whole lot of duplicated material. What do the books of Chronicles offer us that Samuel and Kings do not?

There are several possible responses to those questions, but the short answers are “Yes” and “Quite a bit.” I am working on a comparative study of the two sets of narratives and hope to get into that subject more extensively later this year in this space if time permits. Though more or less the same time periods are covered, there are numerous variations in content and wording that make each account useful to readers in different ways.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Conspiracy Theory

I’ve been enjoying the account of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, who became the apostle Paul, the writer of many books in the New Testament. The book of Acts tells Paul’s story several times, each version bringing out new details not recorded in the others.

Atheists and detractors like to point out alleged contradictions in scripture; anything that might be interpreted, however implausibly, with sufficient elasticity as to make less than perfect, logical sense of the biblical narrative. Such things are accounted for variously as factual mistakes, copyist’s errors or conspiracies among believers to commit pious fraud. is a great place to go if you want to see the sort of thing that passes for Bible criticism among those who have already made up their minds before reading a single verse.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The “Two Creations” Myth

I keep reading that there are two different creation stories in Genesis. More importantly, the argument is made that the stories are not just different but mutually contradictory.

This was news to me when I first heard Jordan Peterson say it, and I have been reading Genesis regularly over the course of my entire life. At first I wondered if the problem was that I hadn’t been reading carefully. Yet, even poring over the text repeatedly, I find I simply don’t see the issues that prompt the higher critics to assign Genesis 1 to the Babylonian captivity and most of Genesis 2 to a different author at a different historical period.

So why do the critics insist the narrative from Genesis 2:4 on forms “a second account”?

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Semi-Random Musings (6)

Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell is one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, who have attempted to put together possible timelines of Jesus’s post-resurrection appearances to his disciples over the period prior to his ascension.

As anyone who has attempted this will tell you, synthesizing four Gospel accounts and the summary Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 15 is no easy task. There is simply not enough information provided to dogmatize about some of the details. Some calculate 10 appearances, others 12. Most don’t speculate.

One thing nobody can reasonably fail to notice about the appearances is this: however long each may have been, and however many of them there may have been, there is still an awful lot of time unaccounted for in between appearances ... the better part of forty days, in fact.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

No Apologies

Someone asks “Where did Cain get his wife?”

A question like that, we all have a pretty good idea where it comes from and where it’s going.

The insinuation is that Cain had sex with his sister, and the implication is that we should be really, really offended by this, always assuming it ever took place.

But it’s not really incest that’s the issue.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

My Ten-Year-Old Dad

Math is a tough, tough business. Some people can’t do it at all and are, I maintain, worse off for it.

I can’t stop doing it, and sometimes that’s its own can of worms.

So take the first verses of 2 Chronicles 28 and 29 — please! — in which we discover that when we do a little simple addition and subtraction, it turns out King Ahaz fathered his son Hezekiah at the ripe old age of — wait for it — ten.

Drum roll please.

Monday, December 30, 2013

So What About Cain’s Wife?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Two Genealogies

Whenever people speak of supposed contradictions in the Bible, the example of Christ’s two genealogies is sure to come up. The one in Matthew seems to be only 42 generations long from Abraham to Christ, while the one in Luke covers 56 from Abraham to Christ. Luke says that Heli was the father of Joseph, while Matthew says that Jacob was the father of Joseph. There are many other differences between the two genealogies, as well. How can both these accounts be correct?

Why Does it Matter?

The genealogy of Jesus is important, because anybody who claimed to be the Messiah had to be able to establish that they were a descendant of King David and heir to his throne, as the prophets had foretold (2 Sam. 7:12-13; Is. 9:6, 11:1-5; Jer. 23:5). So any accusation that Jesus’ genealogies are wrong is a serious one. However, both clearly show that Jesus is a descendant of David, so no matter what other conclusions one may reach about the genealogies, they cannot be used to disqualify Jesus as the Messiah.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Conspiracy Theory

The most recent version of this post is available here.