This Way And That: Biblical Contradictions




      When a series of fallible authors attempt to create a cohesive testimonial manuscript, one would expect to find contradictions among accounts of those claiming to be witnesses and/or reporters. We could say the same for a group of conspirators convening to invent stories for whatever purpose they might have in mind. On the other hand, when billions of people deem a certain collection of accounts to originate from the inspirations of a perfect God, there’s a reasonable expectation that the facts presented should be free from contradictions.

      In the case of the Holy Bible, there’s an overwhelming amount of inconsistencies between its covers. However, you must be careful with the plentiful lists found across the Internet and within certain publications because many of the so-called contradictions are justifiably harmonizable. Estimates of these occurrences are often in excess of one thousand, but conservative skeptics offer a number only in the dozens. Most Christians, of course, refuse to budge from zero under the guise of divine inspiration.

      I’m confident that there are at least one hundred contradicting passages that should be classified as “irreconcilable through rational means,” but such a list would be too laborious to compile and too boring to read if I were to include them all here. Consequently, I’ll limit our overview to around forty of the best examples and explain why there’s a contradiction in cases when it’s not painfully obvious. While many liberal Christians will accept that there are complications due to obvious human authorship, quite a few still hang onto the ridiculous notion that the Bible is the infallible and inerrant word of God. We’ll look at some of the apologetically proposed solutions to these difficulties, and I’ll specifically explain why they don’t fully solve the problems at hand.


Interwoven Myths Of The Pentateuch

      As we concluded in the previous chapter, Moses was not the sole author of the Pentateuch. Furthermore, we should give credit for the books to no less than four distinct writers. Because we have a variety of authors present, there will subsequently be divergent details in their recollections when we come upon doublet and triplet passages. As these discrepancies are most noticeable in the creation and flood stories, this is where we will begin our analysis.

      The more popular creation account found in the first chapter of Genesis is the one written by the author P. In his account, he provides a very rigid timeline covering a course of six days on the creation of the earth’s contents. Genesis 2:4 begins a more relaxed creation account by J, thus there’s a repetition of the story with several different details this trip around.

      According to the popular P version, God produced the animals before he created Adam (Genesis 1:25-27). However, J says just the opposite. By his account, God first created Adam and then produced the animals so that Adam wouldn’t be alone. Unable to comply with God’s request to find an animal that would be sexually pleasing to him, Adam is put to sleep so that God can remove one of Adam’s ribs to build Eve (Genesis 2:18-25). To further complicate matters, P completely ignores the story of the rib and implies that Adam and Eve were made simultaneously after the animals were assembled (Genesis 1:27).

      Needless to say, both creation accounts cannot be true since they directly contradict one another. Apologists will often claim, without substantiation, that segments of each story were not written chronologically. As is the case with all contradictions, they begin with the erroneous premise of the Bible being perfect and mold the facts to fit this belief. When you read the passages from an impartial point of view, however, you’ll understand how unlikely it would be for their proposal to match the truth. It’s highly illogical to assert that the animals came before Adam when the author mentions that God created them following the realization of the man’s loneliness. Be cautious of the NIV in this passage, as it disingenuously slips “had” into verse 19 in order to alter the verb tense into past perfect. No such tense shift is present in the original Hebrew language.

      The redactor interwove the two flood stories even tighter than the creation myths, often flip-flopping between authors after each verse. P once again manages to write the more popular version of the story in which the animals board the ark as a couple, male and female (Genesis 6:19, 7:8-9, 7:15). On the other hand, J records the number of clean animals taken as “sevens” and the number of unclean animals as “twos” (Genesis 7:2). While this may seem like a change of plan or further clarification to those who believe Moses wrote these commands, the more respectable document hypothesis allows us to see contrasting versions of the same legend.

      After the flood, P purports the sons of Noah traveling in separate directions because of their different languages (Genesis 10), yet we see that the world still has only one language when construction begins on the Tower of Babel. The needlessly agoraphobic God divides the one and only world language only after becoming fearful of being spotted from this tower (Genesis 11:1-8). The Pentateuch authors provide us with two completely different explanations for the world’s many languages.


What Is God Like?

      The drastic alteration of God’s personality is the quintessential biblical contradiction. His attitude goes from that of a vocal, evil, and vengeful god in the Old Testament to a silent, benevolent, and forgiving god in the New Testament. It’s ridiculous to imagine a perfect, eternal being undergoing this 180-degree makeover at some arbitrary and unverifiable point long in the past. The real reason behind this change is the Bible’s allowance of representation by no less than two dozen authors living centuries apart. Since fallible authors void of divine inspiration should have variant perspectives on the nature of God, we should not be surprised when we encounter the anomalous behavior change between the two testaments. Still, this doesn’t explain why people were applying this new personality to the Hebrew god at the start of the Common Era.

      The likely answer to this riddle may be related to the life cycle that all ancient religions have undergone. Belief systems must evolve with their followers or face extinction. Perhaps people grew tired of the threats made in the Pentateuch and felt there were no true rewards or consequences for their actions. Out of their desires for change, they may have created the Christian notion of Heaven. By this point, someone obviously grasped the notion that you could catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

      As I’ve said many times before, we have conflicting opinions on the omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence of God. Hosea would have us believe that God’s knowledge is limited: “They made princes: and I knew it not” (Hosea 8:4). Pentateuch author J would have us believe that God cannot be everywhere: “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord” (Genesis 4:16). The author of Hebrews would have us believe that there are some things even God cannot do: “It was impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18). These passages fly in the face of everything that the Bible and contemporary Christians claim about God’s infinite qualities.

      Similarly, an omnipotent creator would have unlimited power. However, consider this ages old question: “Can God make a burrito hot enough that he can’t eat it?” This might seem silly at first, but it demonstrates a fundamental flaw in the existence of an omnipotent being. If he can eat any burrito he makes, he can’t make one hot enough; thus, he’s not omnipotent. If he makes one too hot to eat, he can’t bear the product of his own creation; thus, he’s not omnipotent. As I hope you realize from this illustration, an omnipotent being cannot exist. There can be no power strong enough to make squared circles, duplicated unique items, or any other interesting paradoxes that you can imagine.

      What about the human qualities of fury and fatigue? Can God experience these feelings? With the new biblical insight that you should have gained over the past few chapters, it should be immediately obvious that God has the capacity to become quite upset at times. Nahum provides us with a nice example: “God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious” (1:2). Even so, Isaiah unambiguously claims that God told him “fury is not in me” (27:4). If fury is not in him, how can he experience fury? Even though it may be superficially obvious that God wouldn’t experience fatigue, it wouldn’t be wise to jump to such a conclusion. According to Jeremiah, God says, “I am weary with repenting” (15:6). According to Isaiah, however, “The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary” (40:28). Either God can experience fatigue or not. Either God can experience fury or not. Nahum, Isaiah, and Jeremiah simply presented their contrasting, divinely uninspired, human interpretations of their god. In the process, they inevitably end up contradicting one another.

      How about those who call out to this mysterious being? Will he always save them? Most Christians believe that God will acknowledge these cries for salvation because most Christians only read the New Testament. After all, Paul proclaims, “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Contrast that statement with the one given by Micah: “Then shall they cry unto the Lord, but he will not hear them” (3:4). In other words, Paul claims that God will save anyone who calls out for the Lord. However, Micah provides a specific situation in which Paul’s unconditional statement wouldn’t apply. Sure, one can try to assert that Paul was referring to the time before judgment while Micah was referring to the time after judgment, but this doesn’t validate Paul’s statement. He plainly tells us that whosoever calls to God will be saved. If we only had Paul’s statement to go on, and we were given the scenario of people crying out to the Lord as described in Micah, we could only assume that God would save them. Such an assumption would be contradictory to what Micah claims. If Paul was simply being careless with his diction, consider what other important information he might have neglected to mention.


God’s Ambiguous Life Guidelines

      Is it permissible to swear when making a promise? Pentateuch author D says we should “fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name” (Deuteronomy 10:20). However, Jesus instructs his followers to “swear not at all” (Matthew 5:34). An apologist will typically claim that the words of Jesus override all divergent information, but this line of reasoning fails to harmonize the contradiction. Even worse, this proposal would result in Christians ignoring large portions of God’s perfect law (Psalms 19:7). In case you’re wondering, both verses refer to taking an oath, not a degradation of ethical language.

      Should we be happy when our enemies suffer? Common decency might lead us to have some sympathy for our adversaries when matters drastically worsen for them, as does the good Proverb 24:17: “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth.” However, we don’t need to look far to find portions of the Bible distant from the concept of decency. Psalms 58:10 speaks of a time when the righteous will rejoice after God lashes his vengeance on the wicked. I’m not sure I understand the Bible’s position on the issue. Am I correct to assume that God doesn’t want us to rejoice when our enemies fall unless he’s the one doing the punishing? If I didn’t know better, I’d say the Christian god could be quite hypocritical.

      Are we supposed to pray in public or private? Most churches observe public prayer in accordance with the author of Timothy, who says, “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands” (1 Timothy 2:8). Okay, but Jesus specifically told his followers to refrain from this behavior. “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:5-6). Granted, the people who pray in church aren’t doing so just to let others see them, but they’re still violating a direct order given by Jesus to avoid prayer in public. Jesus was clear in his desire of not wanting his true believers to have commonalties with the hypocrites who pray in public for counterfeit reasons. Even so, Christians continue to pray in church. Do the words in Timothy now trump the lessons taught by Jesus Christ, or do Christians not fully read the Bible?

      Has God declared it permissible to be wealthy? Psalms 112:1-3 says, “Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon the earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house.” Considering that one obtains these riches for fearing God and following his commandments, it’s safe to say that these verses look favorably upon those who earn their wealth in this manner. On the other hand, Jesus says, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25). Why would God bless the righteous with riches when it’s impossible for rich people to go to Heaven? Yet again, the perfect Bible fails to be consistent with its moral guidelines.

      Does God save his followers according to their faith or by the works they do while on earth? This is a fair question and one deserving of an honest answer if we’re to do what’s necessary to please God. As there are several contradictions on this matter, let’s look at only one example. The letter to the Ephesians says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (2:8-9). In other words, we are saved by our faith and not through our works. Compare that with this passage found in the book of James: “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? . . . Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (2:14-17). Now, works are essential requirements for entering into Heaven. While Christians feel that they should satisfy both requirements to be assured of a spot in the afterlife, this measure doesn’t sufficiently solve the contradiction. Again, two fallible authors yield two contrasting viewpoints.

      Should we love the members of our family? Of course we should, right? Jesus says, “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” (Luke 14:26). In other words, Jesus tells his listeners to hate their families and themselves before they follow him. Contrast that surprising declaration with “honour thy father and thy mother” and John’s words: “he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen” (Exodus 20:12 and 1 John 4:20, respectively). What about Jesus’ famous command that we “love one another” (John 15:17)? I wouldn’t have an answer for these discrepancies without modifying the obvious connotations of the passages. Once again, imperfect authors provide contradicting guidelines. It should be obvious that Jesus’ behavior in this passage is totally opposite of what most people have perceived for centuries. His statement simply goes against the way decent people are raised to respect their families.

      Since passages like this are extremely disturbing to apologists, they try to find ways to alter the meanings in order for the Christian Jesus blueprint to remain unbroken. Luke 14:26 is certainly no exception. When discussing the matter with semi-informed opposition, you’ll often hear the assertion that the original Greek word for hate, miseo, can also mean “to love less than.” In other words, these Christians believe that Jesus said to love your family less than you love God. While this might be consistent with orthodox belief, you can be positive of one thing: there’s no truth to this interpretation, whatsoever. No other contemporaneous records, including the other forty New Testament uses, ever suggested miseo could have this proposed definition. In fact, miseo is an extreme form of hatred, not your every day disgust. Nonetheless, Christians truly believe this proposal because they, once again, start with the faulty premise of an ideological Jesus and only accept the most likely interpretation consistent with this belief. This line of rationale lies far outside the bounds of reality.

      Did the arrival of Jesus serve to repeal the Laws of Moses? For those who like this justification for ignoring the Old Testament, Jesus provides a rebuttal: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-19). Jesus clearly instructs his followers to maintain their observance of the old laws. Furthermore, if the Old Testament “law of the Lord is perfect” (Psalms 19:7), for what conceivable reason would it ever need an overhaul?

      The apologists’ claim that the old law has since collapsed seemingly has no merit with the Bible. Nevertheless, the author of Hebrews says, “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second” (8:6-7). Now, this writer claims that the Laws of Moses given by God did have faults and require a replacement in the form of a new covenant. If someone argues that the Psalm is no longer valid because its self-proclamation fell under the Laws of Moses, an imperfect set of guidelines, this person has just replaced the contradiction with a blatant error committed by the Psalmist.


The Background Of Jesus Christ

      The ability of the Bible to provide a consistent background for its main character astonishingly begins to falter even before Jesus came into the world. The genealogies provided in the books of Matthew and Luke yield an excellent example of an error avoided by one author but overlooked by another. Because of this human mistake, the Bible ends up containing yet another contradiction.

      In the first chapter of Matthew, we see the ancestry of Jesus spanning from King David to Joseph, Mary’s husband. The complication with this genealogy is the absolute lack of a blood relationship between Joseph and Jesus. As the story goes, Jesus, a man without an earthly father, was born from a virgin impregnated by God. If the Matthew genealogy is true, Jesus was not a descendant of David. Consequently, he could not be the Messiah allegedly prophesied to arise from the line of David (Psalm 132:11). As you should expect, this was obviously not the author’s intent. Seeing as how the author of Luke probably realized that tracing Jesus’ lineage this way would be a blunder, he created his own genealogy passing through Heli. Even though Luke is specific in stating that Heli is Joseph’s father, I have given Christians the benefit of the doubt that he is Joseph’s father-in-law instead of a second father. To very little surprise, Heli and Mary just so happen to be descendants of King David as well (Luke 3:23-38). The Bible has now begun to insult the intelligence of its audience.

      Accounts also differ from Matthew and Luke on when Jesus was born. The more popular account of Matthew has King Herod alive at the time of Jesus’ birth (Chapter 2). From several historical sources, we know Herod’s reign ended in 4 BCE with his violent death. Thus, according to Matthew, Jesus must have been born in or before 4 BCE. The date later designated as Jesus’ birth is misplaced, but there’s nothing biblically wrong about that. However, Luke says that Mary was still with child at the time Quirinius was conducting a census as Governor of Syria (2:1-5). According to meticulously kept Roman history, Quirinius couldn’t have carried out this census until at least 6 CE. Thus, according to Luke, Jesus must have been born in or after 6 CE. In order for the two accounts to be harmonious, Jesus had to be born before 4 BCE and after 6 CE: a feat impossible even for a supernatural being. The two accounts provide a ten-year discrepancy in need of a difficult resolution.

      To rectify this insurmountable problem, Christians have desperately proposed, without justification, that Quirinius was a governor twice. They say this earlier phantom governorship was held sometime before 4 BCE in order for Luke to be consistent with Matthew. Here’s what we know from Roman history: Quintilius was governor from 6 BCE to 3 BCE; Saturninus was governor from 9 BCE to 6 BCE; Titius was governor from 12 BCE to 9 BCE; Quirinius, the governor in question, didn’t obtain consulship until 12 BCE, making him ineligible to hold Syria’s office of governor before that time; no one ever held the governorship of Syria twice; Josephus and Tacitus, the two most important historians from the early Common Era, never mentioned Quirinius holding the post twice; and there would be no reason for Quirinius to conduct a census prior to 6 CE because Judea wasn’t under Roman control until that time. A few contributions of irrelevant evidence and several wild explanations claim to rectify this obvious contradiction, each one through its own unique method, but they’re all nothing more than the most outrageous “how-it-could-have-been-scenarios.” The two accounts contradict greatly over the time Jesus was allegedly born.


The Death Of Jesus Christ

      Shortly before Jesus’ crucifixion, Peter’s master tells him that he will choose to disavow any knowledge of Jesus on three occasions. After these events manifest, a rooster will crow to remind him of Jesus’ words. In Matthew, Luke, and John, Jesus warns Peter that all three of his denials will take place before the rooster crows (26:34, 22:34, and 13:38, respectively). In these three accounts, the situation unfolds exactly how Jesus predicted. The rooster crows after, and only after, Peter’s third denial is made (26:69-75, 22:56-61, and 18:17-27, respectively). However, the details are different in Mark. Here, we see Jesus warning Peter that the rooster will crow after his first denial and crow again after his third denial (14:30). Of course, this is exactly how the events play out (14:66-72). This is an undeniable contradiction without a rational explanation. If Mark is correct, the rooster crowed after the first denial even though Jesus said, in the other three Gospels, that it wouldn’t crow until after the third denial. If these three Gospels are accurate, Mark is wrong because the rooster could not have crowed until after Peter’s third denial.

      In addition to the problem of the crowing rooster, the identities of the people interrogating Peter over his relationship with Jesus differ among the four Gospels. In Matthew, the subjects were a damsel, another maid, and the crowd. In Mark, the subjects were a maid, the same maid again, and the crowd. In Luke, the subjects were a maid, a man, and another man. In John, the subjects were a damsel, the crowd, and a servant of the high priest. While it may be possible to justify a harmonization among two, possibly three, accounts, there’s no possibility in fitting the four reports into one cohesive tale.

      Once Jesus was summoned before Pontius Pilate, Matthew claims that Jesus “answered him to never a word” (27:13-14). John, however, records a lengthy dialogue between the two men (18:33-37). Apologists often assert that John was speaking of a different interrogation than the one reported in Matthew, but this meritless claim still doesn’t resolve the discrepancy. Matthew unambiguously states that Jesus never answered to Pilate. If Jesus never answered to Pilate, the discussion recorded in John could have never taken place.

      On the way to his crucifixion, Jesus burdened his own cross according to John (19:17). The other three Gospel writers tell us that a man named Simon of Cyrene carried it (Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, Luke 23:36). While it’s true that both may have carried the cross at some point, as many apologists claim, what are the odds that all four authors would foul up by omitting this important detail?

      The four Gospels also differ on what they purport was written on the sign above the cross. Matthew 27:37: This is Jesus the King of the Jews. Mark 15:26: The King of the Jews. Luke 23:38: This is the King of the Jews. John 19:19: Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews. Mark also claims that the thieves who were executed with Jesus insulted him (15:32), but Luke says that one thief insulted Jesus while the other begged his forgiveness to secure a place in Heaven (23:39-42). In addition, the Gospel writers also differ on what they imply were Jesus’ last words. Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Luke 23:46: “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” John 19:30: “It is finished.” Furthermore, the four contradicting authors made similar errors and/or omissions with regard to the number of women and angels visiting Jesus’ tomb following his burial. I would never claim that minor variations in detail invalidate a story, but you must agree that writers inspired by an omnipotent deity should perform a little better than they have up to this point. These discrepancies obviously arise from several decades of playing the telephone game.


It’s All In The Details

      Has anyone ever seen God? According to the Pentateuch, God made an appearance in human form over a dozen times in front of several people, such as Abraham, Jacob, and Moses (e.g. Genesis 12:7, Genesis 32:30, and Exodus 33:11, respectively). However, Jesus and John claim that no one has ever seen God face to face (John 6:46 and John 1:18, respectively).

      Was Ahaziah eighteen years younger or two years older than his father (2 Kings 8:26 and 2 Chronicles 21:20-22:2, respectively)? The Bible says that a man was two years older than his father, yet Christians still parade it as perfect! Perhaps these apologists only read the NIV translation of 2 Chronicles, which deceitfully alters Ahaziah’s age from forty-two to twenty-two with only a minor footnote. Even more astounding than this perplexity is the exceedingly unfortunate Saul who died via four different methods: suicide by sword (1 Samuel 31:4-5), death by an Amalekite (2 Samuel 1:8-10), death by a Philistine (2 Samuel 21:12), and struck down by God (1 Chronicles 10:13-14).

      How did Judas die after betraying Jesus? The popular account of Matthew is that he hung himself (27:5). However, there’s a lesser-known account of how he died in Acts. “Now [Judas] purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out” (1:18). I’ll openly admit that the common explanation proposed for this contradiction is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. Evidently, this is what took place: Judas hung himself from an extremely elevated tree branch in the field, the branch snapped, he did a flip to fall head first, and his body exploded upon impact. If someone were to add “how-it-could-have-been-scenario” in the dictionary, the editor would surely have to consider this example for inclusion.

      There’s even a contradiction related to how the field was purchased. Matthew says Judas took the money that he received as a reward for surrendering Jesus and threw it into a temple. The priests within the temple then used the money to buy a field for burying strangers (Matthew 27:5-7). Remember, however, Acts claims that Judas, not the priests, was the one responsible for buying the field. The most likely reason for this blaring contradiction is a lack of one author’s access to the contrasting records of the other. Had something lifted this assumed restriction, we could be reasonably certain that this contradiction would disappear.

      In the Gospel according to Mark, Jesus sends his disciples on a journey and tells them to take nothing but their staves and sandals (6:8-9). In Luke, Jesus says to take nothing, provides a list of items that the disciples are to leave behind, and includes staves on the list (9:3). In Matthew, Jesus reaffirms his desire for the disciples to leave everything at home, including both shoes and staves (10:10). Such a seemingly inconsequential detail is important for one reason only: demonstrating yet again that the Bible is a fallible record scribed by humans, not the perfect word of an eternal god.

      Here are a few more impossible puzzles for you to solve if you ever get bored: “No man hath ascended up to heaven” (John 3:13) versus “Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11); “And one kid of the goats for a sin offering: to make an atonement for you” (Numbers 29:5) versus “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4); “If a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him” (1 Corinthians 11:14) versus “He shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair on his head grow” (Numbers 6:5); “The earth abideth for ever” (Ecclesiastes 1:4) versus “Heaven and earth shall pass away” (Matthew 24:35); “And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go and number Israel” (2 Samuel 24:1) versus “And Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel” (1 Chronicles 21:1); “Walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes” (Ecclesiastes 11:9) versus “Seek not after your own heart and your own eyes” (Numbers 15:39); “That Christ should suffer, and he should be the first that should rise from the dead” (Acts 26:23) versus Lazarus rising from the dead months ago (John 11:43) and the previous resurrection miracles of Elijah centuries in the past. Did the fig tree cursed by Jesus wither immediately (Matthew 21:19-20) or overnight (Mark 11:13-21)? Did Jehoiachin reign three months and ten days when he was eight (2 Chronicles 36:9) or three months when he was eighteen (2 Kings 24:8)? 


“Even The Stuff That Contradicts The Other Stuff”

      This chapter is but a small sample of possible biblical incongruities. God’s holy word contains contradictions of every kind from cover to cover within accounts of important events, rules for worship, how to get to Heaven, the nature of God, historical records of birth and rule, and the teachings of Jesus. Realizing the existence of such contradictions would destroy the ideal quality of the book many set out to explain by any means necessary. An impartial ear can often translate common justifications for these problems as “the Bible says something it doesn’t mean” or “the Bible means something it doesn’t say.” These dishonest and inconsistent apologists feel that as long as they put a nonsense scenario out there that’s capable of satisfying the contradiction, it’s up to everyone else to prove it wrong. This is a very dishonest and implausible attempt at holding the Bible to be perfect. Even worse, it doesn’t work because anyone can do that to any book. If all else fails, they often brush aside unexplainable predicaments as “the incomprehensible and mysterious ways of God.”

      The contradictions exist for a reason. First of all, as I’ve said so many times before, there was no true divine inspiration from God guiding the authors to write their material. Each person wrote through his own limited interpretations and experiences because no one honestly expected the collection of books to grow in popularity to their current state. In addition, no one had any way of knowing which books were going to be enshrined in the Bible and which ones were destined to face omission. It would have been too daunting of a task for the authors to check every historical record for contradictions with their compositions. Instead, it’s likely that most authors simply tried to keep a steady theme set by preceding authors. As time progressed, the new generation of authors obviously sensed that the Israelites needed a new God. As the Gospel writers were perhaps aware of a growing disdain for the threats from the cruel god of the Old Testament, they set out to create a new one in their own image.