Bible Contradictions. The book that many, many xtians believe was written by God Almighty, inerrant, unchanging, perfect to every jot and tiddle, is absolutely riddled with contradictions. And not only parts that disagree with science and basic human history, but verses that actually are in complete disagreement and conflict with other verses – often in the same book!
If Bible contradictions were movie contradictions, rabid fans would be jumping all over the directors and authors. If they were something in a book or textbook that was missed by an editor, that editor would be looking for another job in another type of work immediately. If some of these showed up in a Middle-School essay, that poor kid might fail his assignment. But the Bible is another matter.
Christians have all sorts of apologetics for these verses. My Mother’s favorite was that the Bible contains all sorts of mysterious, unknowable messages that will only become clear in Heaven after God explains them to us. “Yes to all” is also highly popular. Did Jesus heal two blind men near Jericho (Matthew) or just one? (Mark and Luke) “They’re both right.” (Say what?) Ah, but this is a good thing! See, you have two eyewitness accounts (um . . . no) and that’s how you know they’re credible, because they contain some minor inconsistencies. (But the Fundamentalists believe that God wrote the book . . . )
I have read an interesting take that the contradictions are GOOD for believers, because of that “they’re both right” loophole. Pick the one that fits your message, and you can bet that nobody in the congregation is going to study up and say “but wait . . . “. If you’re preaching about the empty tomb from Matthew, one angel was there. Mark says that one man was there. Luke says two men, and John says two angels. But hey, you know, they all could have been there, depending upon you were talking to, and “man” could just mean the angel looked like a regular guy, or maybe the writer didn’t choose to write “angel” for some reason. You can also nit-pick at the definition of “contradiction” and argue semantics six ways to Sunday. For example, if you’re preaching about Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb (John) and a congregation member says “but Luke says it was a whole bunch of women” all you have to say is that John didn’t say that these other women WEREN’T there with Mary. See how that works?
There lots and lots of numbering contradictions and genealogical “begats” problems, but if I listed them all here this blog might become famous for curing insomnia. While my bank account might welcome that, I would definitely lose the few readers I have. I’ll just list a few that are a bit more fun, ok?
So, Christians, pick your favorites here and plan how you’re going to explain that they’re both right or how it doesn’t matter because we’ll understand when we get to heaven, or how you can game the semantics to make it work out for you, and your special Holy Book will remain victorious. Atheists (if you were raised xtian and enjoy making lists like this), add any to your list that you don’t already have. Everyone else – enjoy your day.
CREATED TOGETHER, OR SEPARATELY?
Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Genesis 2:18,23 “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. . . . And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
WAR OR PEACE?
Exodus 15:3 “The Lord is a man of war.”
Romans 15:33 “The God of peace.”
Acts 10:36 “The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ.”
Matthew 10:34 “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
DOES GOD CHANGE?
Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord; I change not.”
Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent.”
James 1:17 ” . . . the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
Genesis 6:6,7 “And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth . . . And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth . . . for it repenteth me that I have made him.”
Exodus 32:14 “And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.”
Jonah 3:10 “. . . and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”
HOW MANY ON THE ARK? (one reason this is so hard to calculate)
Genesis 6:19 “And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark.”
Genesis 7:2 “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.”
Not terribly important, but DID SHE HAVE KIDS OR NOT?
II Samuel 6:23 “Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.”
II Samuel 21:8 “But the king took the two sons of Rizpah . . . and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul.”
HAS ANYONE SEEN GOD?
Genesis 32:30 “… I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
John 1:18 “No man hath seen God at any time…”
Exodus 33:11 “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.”
BUT JESUS, IT’S ONE OF THE 10 COMMANDMENTS!
Exodus 20:12 “Honor thy father and thy mother…”
Luke 14:26 “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. ”
BEARING WITNESS – (Jesus’ words, only 3 chapters apart in the same book:)
John 5:31 “If I bear witness to myself my testimony is not true.”
John 8:14 “Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony IS true.”
THOSE NASTY CHARIOTS
Matthew 19:26 “… with God all things are possible.”
Judges 1:19 “…The LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.”
SACRIFICE FOR SINS?
Deuteronomy 24:16 . . . a person shall die for his own sin
Psalm 49:7 No man can by any means redeem his brother Or give to God a ransom for him.
I John 2:2 He gave his life to pay for our sins. But he not only paid for our sins. He also paid for the sins of the whole world.
(Once you go researching that sacrifice one, and read what Jewish scholars have to say on the subject, you begin to understand why the Jewish people would never have accepted Jesus of Nazareth as a sacrifice for sin, as their promised Messiah, or as another version of the dying-and-rising-god myth that was so common in their world.)
SO ARE THOSE POOR KIDS CURSED OR NOT?
Exodus 20:5 “For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.”
Ezekiel 18:20 “The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father.”
2nd PETER (author) KNEW ABOUT THE DEATH OF THE SUN! (still billions of years away, don’t panic)
Ecclesiastes 1:4 “… the earth abideth for ever.”
2 Peter 3:10 “… the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
AND ONE MORE
Deuteronomy 32:4 “a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”
Isaiah 45:7 “I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things.”
For those who are curious, the wonderful site BibViz has this magnificent searchable database of over 600 obvious contradictions. It was dead but someone seems to have revived it! YAY! https://philb61.github.io/#contradictionList