ThinkingAtheist

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The following is a complete debunking of TheThinkingAtheist.com's list of alleged Biblical contradictions. Please note that this is just a concise summary of all answers to the alleged contradictions, for more detail and sourcing please see the related pages. TheThinkingAtheist.com's comments when quoted are italicized.

Allegation Solution
Genesis 1:16-17 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,


The stars gave light to the earth immediately, although the closest star, Alpha Centauri, is 4.3 light years away. So the very first star light would have taken 4.3 years to reach earth. The light we see from the Andromeda Galaxy takes 2.2 million years to reach earth, which also debunks the argument that the earth is only 6,000-10,000 years old.

Ultimately the argument rests upon several assumptions that do not hold up, (1) that the stars gave light immediately, and (2) that Genesis records the original creation of the Earth rather than a creation of life on it specifically. Verse 2 of Genesis 1 seems to show the Earth was already created as an oceanic world per Gap Theory. Both the earth and the depths of the ocean are referred to before God's creation ever began, thus it is logical that the earth had already been created. Even apart from that fact, the sun and moon were not created until the fourth day, so prior days were not necessarily solar days of 24 hours each.

Furthermore, the thesis itself is incorrect in claiming "The stars gave light to the earth immediately." Where is this stated? To make all of those calculations, one must first show where exactly the Bible definitively states the stars gave such light in the first 4.3 years of Earth's creation. However, light had somehow pre-existed the sun, moon, and stars (Genesis 1:3), with Jesus arguably the first light source even as He will be the last (Revelation 21:23), so there is no reason to assume any light in the Garden of Eden came from the sun, moon, or stars unless definitely stated.

The Order of Creation


Genesis 1:11-12 and 1:26-27 Trees came before Adam.
Genesis 2:4-9 Trees came after Adam.

Genesis 1:20-21 and 26-27 Birds were created before Adam.
Genesis 2:7 and 2:19 Birds were created after Adam.

Genesis 1:24-27 Animals were created before Adam.
Genesis 2:7 and 2:19 Animals were created after Adam.

Genesis 1:26-27 Adam and Eve were created at the same time.
Genesis 2:7 and 2:21-22 Adam was created first, woman sometime later.

Genesis 1:1-2:3 (1:1, an account of "In the beginning") is not the same account as Genesis 2:4-4:26 (2:4, "generations of the heavens and the Earth") - Genesis 1 relates God's account of how the Earth and creation were made, Genesis 2-4 relates Adam's account of God creating individual life in the Garden of Eden, including himself. Genesis 2:19 does not relate the original creation of cattle and birds, but recreation of more animals of the types already created to see what Adam will name them. Genesis 2 does not show an additional account of the original creation, which would make no sense, rather it starts with Day 6 and Adam's creation as told from his point of view, and relates God recreating animals already made in the Garden of Eden to see what Adam will name them.
Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

God was pleased with his creation.


Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

God was not pleased with his creation.

Apparently the critic skipped the whole "Garden of Eden" part of the Bible. God originally was pleased with creation, then Satan and mankind rebelled to do evil, corrupting His creation. So God wasn't pleased. Logically if God was pleased and then stopped being pleased you would assume something changed with those involved, just as a parent may be pleased with their children when they are born, but can become displeased when they act naughty. There's no contradiction here, just a critic who can't think critically.
Genesis 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

An omnipotent being required…rest?

Why not? Although actually, the passage never says God "required" rest, only that He rested. Why He did so is uncertain. He may have done so just as precedent for later creation, per Jesus' comments that the Sabbath was made for man as a day of rest. (Mark 2:27

At any rate, it appears the critic may just be misunderstanding the concept of Biblical omnipotence, or the term "Almighty" as used in the Bible. (e.g. Genesis 17:1) God can have all power and might that exists, but not all powers we can imagine may exist or be possible (like time travel). God's powers don't have to fit our concept of what "all powerful" means to include all powers that exist. In other words, the critic is perhaps thinking "omnipotent" means "having all powers I can imagine" instead of "all power that exists." Even if God needed rest, that would not negate the totality of His power.

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.


God placed temptation in the direct path of his two naïve children and allowed them to be tempted by the serpent (Genesis 3:1-7), resulting in a single mistake that would contaminate hundreds of billions with a sin nature worthy of eternal torture?

Actually, God did not create mankind with a sin nature, a tendency to want to sin. They had no inclination to want to disobey God, which is why it took Satan's urging to prompt them to even consider the possibility. So God did not technically place "temptation" in their path, they were created with natural obedience to God so God's commandment to them should have sufficed. Humans today may have accumulated a sin nature that is naturally rebellious, but original humanity was not made that way by God.

What Satan did in tempting them was apparently for his own ends, and to all appearances caught God entirely by surprise. Jesus in Matthew 13:27-28 says that God created His creations good and an enemy, Satan, plants evil among it. Why the tree had to be in the Garden of Eden we aren't told and can only hypothesize. However, the Garden of Eden was also where Satan and the angels dwelt as well. It may be it played a role in the angelic kingdom thriving there, perhaps related somehow to the angels living in the Garden of Eden. Maybe they were able to draw some form of power or knowledge from it. Whatever the case, there were likely very good reasons the tree was there.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

A talking snake. Enough said.

Not snake, dinosaur. Satan is typically portrayed throughout the Bible as a dragon or dinosaur, as he/she apparently is here. (Revelation 12:9) The Hebrew word used here is the word nachash which the KJV translates serpent.[1] It appears probable that, like tanniyn[2], it is a Hebrew word referring specifically to dinosaurs, or at the least to reptiles including dinosaurs.

Biblically, at least some dinosaurs were capable of breathing fire and, at least in the case of Satan/Lucifer, could speak as well. We still know very little from the fossil record or archaeology whether the Bible is correct in the fire-breathing aspect of dinosaurs, and know very little of what their vocal chords or speech capabilities were. Therefore it would be premature to write the Bible off as incorrect in its description of dinosaurs being capable of speech.

Genesis 7:6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.


Eight Bronze-Age humans over 500-years-old built a watercraft the size of a football stadium with only felled trees and pitch?

Why not? Since humans at the time lived over 900 years with regularity (Genesis 5) they were probably stronger and sturdier than humans today, and had much more time to work on the Ark. After all, we are not told how long Noah spent building the Ark, it could have been a century or three.

Furthermore, don't forget that if the Bible is right about the timeline and dinosaurs did coexist with early humans, then Noah might have harnessed their might for use in constructing the Ark. Maybe that could explain why early monuments like Stonehenge and the Easter Island statues could be constructed, perhaps there were rare cases where dinosaurs were used as part of the labor. Noah had the aid of animals it would appear, which were doubtless directed by God to enter the Ark, and thus those same animals could have helped construct the Ark.

Genesis 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.


Answers In Genesis posits that Noah gathered "kinds" of animals and not all "species," an estimated 16,000 pairs, which raises a few animal-related questions:

  • How, exactly, did eight extreme senior citizens load, manage and care for 32,000 animals?
  • What about specialized diets (bamboo for the giant panda, meat for the carnivores, fresh vegetation for the herbivores)?
  • Who cleaned each stall and shoveled the tons of daily excrement through the huge ark’s single window?
  • How did they separate the predator and prey animals? Did the lion lay with the lamb?
  • How do you explain the acquisition and loading of animals not indigenous to the Middle East (many separated by oceans), like the polar bear, the sloth, the crocodile, the fruit bat, the anaconda, etc? And how did the penguins and other cold-climate creatures survive in the blistering desert heat?
  • Wouldn’t freshwater rains from the sky have made the saltwater deadly to ocean marine life? And wouldn’t saltwater have proven equally toxic to all freshwater fish? If water boiled up from beneath the earth’s crust, wouldn’t water temperature changes in the delicate ecosystem have also had a deadly effect?
  • Dinosaurs on the ark. Did they exit the boat and THEN get hit by a comet?
1 - Answers In Genesis actually says 16,000 would be the maximum, and that as few as 2,000 would be required.[3] If each core species were considered a kind, one dog species, one cat species, one bird species, and all of these simply microevolved to become the varieties we see today, there would indeed need to be very few pairs overall.
2 - Given the average human lifespan at the time is recorded as being around 900 years (Genesis 5) you would expect them to be somewhat more physically adept than modern humans, and more suited for the physical task of caring for many animals. Even apart from that however, the animals were directed by God to go into the Ark. To take the Bible account at face value, one must assume the animals themselves were cooperating in the voyage.
3 - The Bible does suggest there were such specialized diets. Genesis 6:21 specifically states all types of food were to be brought to feed the animals, "take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them." The Bible also says extra "clean" animals were taken on board, 7 of each, as opposed to the regular 2 of each, as a food supply. (Genesis 7:2-3). Clean animals are part of what Judaism considers kosher dietary law, as seen in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.
4 - How the excrement problem was handled we can only hypothesize but since there were three stories to the Ark (Genesis 6:16) perhaps the Ark was just designed so excrement would fall to a lower level? Whatever the case, the animals themselves may have assisted in moving the excrement (point 2) and it is not necessary to assume the humans handled it alone.
5 - The Bible says the Ark was composed of rooms (Genesis 6:14) so there is no reason to assume predatory animals were housed with their prey, although again, extra animals were brought on board to serve as food, presumably for other animals. (Genesis 7:2-3)
6 - The Earth originally had just one landmass, a supercontinent called Pangaea, before the Flood. The catastrophe which broke up Pangaea would of course most logically be, for a Bible-believer, the Flood. Animals were originally on a single continent. Furthermore, ancient Earth was originally much warmer than it is today. Why this was is still debated, but those original kinds were all of similar climate before the Flood altered the antedeluvian environment.
7 - Much of ancient marine life was extinguished simultaneously as recorded in the fossil record. Scientists have finally acknowledged an ancient catastrophe did occur but prefer to believe there were many such catastrophes, and have given them names such as the Permian-Triassic extinction event (estimated to have killed 90% of all marine life),[4] Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, and Triassic-Jurassic extinction event. The fossil record contains considerable evidence of mass marine extinction in the past.[5]
8 - Since so many other animals simply are smaller versions of their ancient selves, why assume the dinosaurs ever went extinct at all? They may have simply become much smaller; today's reptiles. This process may have actually begun in the Garden of Genesis went God punished the 'serpent' by forcing it to go on its belly in the dust, which is arguably the main difference between today's reptiles and the dinosaurs of old. Dinosaurs were able to tower above ancient life because of differences in their hip structure.[6]
Genesis 7:19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.
20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.


This would require steady, planet-wide rainfall at the rate of 6 inches per minute, 360 inches an hour, for 40 days and 40 nights, covering Mount Everest under 22 feet of water. How, exactly, did Noah measure this for the record? Where has all of the water gone since? And why is there no legitimate geological evidence of a global flood?

The rain was just one of two sources of water, and possibly not even the main one. The other was the "fountains of the great deep" breaking up. (Genesis 7:11) Science has recently begun confirming the Earth has a large amount of water inside. It was first discovered from experiments in 2002 simulating the Earth's structure that there is quite possibly more water deep underground than in all rivers, lakes, and oceans combined.[7] Then in 2007, scientists discovered from seismograms that a huge amount of water existed below east Asia that is at least the volume of the Arctic Ocean.[8] There is also a huge body of water underneath the Sahara Desert trapped since the Ice Age called the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer, which holds 150,000 cubic kilometers of water, roughly 30 times more than the entire world uses.[9]

Aside from flood legends worldwide that agree even on very minute details like what birds were sent from the Ark (dove and raven)[10] there is considerable evidence from the geologic record that the majority of life was instantly, catastrophically wiped out at the same time.[11]

Genesis 8:8 Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;


Why did Noah require a dove to find land (Genesis 8) if he and God were on speaking terms in Genesis 6?

This is like asking why the servant doesn't ask his king details about how to do his job. Why bother asking God about minutiae he can figure out himself? A healthy respect for God assumes we should choose our words wisely, per Ecclesiastes 5:2. The question assumes that Noah and God talked frequently, when that may not have been the case. For all we know, God only talked directly to Noah four times. That Noah knew these situations were special and reverenced his conversations with God, rather than asking God about irrelevant issues he could figure out for himself, is evident from the verses after these accounts showing Noah took God's words seriously. (Genesis 6:2, Genesis 7:5, Genesis 8:20) As evidenced from these passages, Noah's response to God's commandments each time was simply to obey the first two times, and third time in act of trust, he offered one of each of the animals brought for food supplies as a sacrifice to God.
Genesis 8:15 And God spake unto Noah, saying,
16 Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee.


When the ark landed, what did the carnivores eat? All other animal life had been drowned. And vegetation would’ve also been wiped out in the flood, so what did the herbivores eat to survive?

Logically a supply of clean animals had been brought on board the Ark to begin with for purposes of feeding the carnivores (Genesis 7:2-3) and some were still left, as seen from Noah's sacrifice to God with them (Genesis 8:20). They'd been each brought in greater numbers (7 rather than 2) for purposes of feeding carnivores, the animals on the Ark and possibly even Noah's family as well. Scavengers would certainly be able to eat some of the decaying carcases littering the Earth, of which there were doubtless very many. Dead fish littering the land likely died later, serving as a fresher supply of meat.

As for vegetation, seeds could easily survive the flooding and some floating vegetation might not have died at all, perhaps surviving in logs. Furthermore, Noah's family took all kinds of food with them as commanded by God in Genesis 6:21 so there was an unspecified amount of food already on board to feed herbivores with. As David Wright of Answers in Genesis points out, some trees thrive in water like mangroves.[12]

Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.


8 people of middle-eastern descent practiced incest to produce over 5,000 of today’s ethnic groups in only a few hundred generations?

We aren't told they were of middle eastern descent, just that they were descendants of the old antedeluvian society. Technically it wasn't incest by today's standards since they each had lifespans of 900 years (Genesis 5). Incest was only declared wrong by the time of Moses when people had average lifespans of 70 years (Psalms 90:10) and God when the Flood started began reducing the average lifespan to 120 years (Genesis 6:3. Incest today is considered wrong, as it should be, because children who grow up with one another as part of the same family should not have sexual relationships. However, ancient people like Noah's family lived centuries upon centuries and could be born many centuries apart in age from their siblings, old enough by today's standards to be the great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents of their brothers and sisters. As Romans 5:13 says, "sin is not imputed when there is no law." Before the time of Moses there was no necessity for a law against incest because such vast lifespans made for very different family units, and incest was thus not wrong in the same way it is today. Population growth rates today are above 1% in most of the world's countries[13], and at a 1% growth rate one goes from 2 people to 7 billion in just 2,210 years. Human population growth rates seen today are a strong evidence that the Bible is correct that human civilization is young as the Bible says.
Genesis 9:20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.


The only guy worth saving spent his latter days drunk and naked?

First of all, this is a single incident related so it's a bit hasty to conclude this was typical of Noah's life. Even if it was, it might show just how wicked the ancient world was for God to resort to utter destruction of it. Ultimately, the Bible relates the mistakes of its writers to show God alone is good. Unlike the Quran, Biblical authors like Moses, David, and the apostles are actually portrayed as angering God and being punished accordingly.
NOTE: Much of the biblical flood story was actually plagiarized from "The Epic of Gilgamesh," the mythical Sumerian account of Ut-Napishtim written on stone tablets around 2000 BC. In "The Epic of Gilgamesh, one righteous man was spared from a worldwide flood by building a large boat with a single door and one window. The ark contained a few other human beings plus plant and animal specimens. Rains covered the mountains with water. Birds were sent to find land. The boat landed on a mountain in the middle east. Ut-Napshtim sacrificed an animal as an offering, and the Babylonian gods expressed regret for flooding the earth. Sound familiar? Actually, early critics of the Bible used to claim the Bible could not be correct when speaking of things like ancient Nineveh, the Hittites, or the Mosaic Law since they weren't known by archaeology. They claimed the law of Moses was too advanced for its time, the Hittites couldn't have existed since they weren't known to archaeology, and a major city like Nineveh should likewise be known to archaeology. However, we have since excavated Nineveh, discovered the Hittite capital, and also found the Law of Hammurabi (as well as other ancient laws).[14] Now critics, unable to claim the Bible was incorrect about the ancient world, actually claim the reverse, that since ancient proof exists showing the Bible agreed with ancient records, that it must have "plagiarized" them! They apparently will criticize the Bible whether it disagrees with known discoveries or is corroborated by them! Logically, such evidence has actually revealed the last two centuries of critics were wrong in claiming the Bible incorrect about the ancient world. If the world had a shared history like the Flood, one would expect to see it referenced in numerous ancient records and accounts, which is exactly what we see.

What TheThinkingAtheist.com rather dishonestly fails to mention is that not only does the Epic of Gilgamesh mention an ancient Flood with strikingly similar detail to the Bible, but so do similar accounts in dozens of other countries. Numerous Native American tribes have similar flood legends. Australian aboriginal tribes have such legends. So do South American tribes, Chinese sources, African legends, Icelandic legends, and accounts in India, Wales, Russia, Vietnam, and Canada, to name a few. They can even be found in ancient cultures on islands like Fiji and Malaysia![10] Which is more likely? To think Noah and cultures worldwide all plagiarized from the Epic of Gilgamesh? Or that such an event DID happen and that's the reason all share an ancient, common history found worldwide?

Who Did the Angel Speak to Regarding the Birth of Jesus?


Matthew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

The angel appeared to Joseph.


Luke 1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

The angel spoke to Mary.

Obviously an angel spoke to both of them. As pointed out in the note for Matthew 1:16 the genealogy provided in Matthew is for Joseph while the genealogy in Luke is for Mary. The detail given in the early chapters of Matthew appears to be from Joseph's perspective whereas the detail given in the chapters of Luke from Mary's perspective. Thus, Joseph in the book of Matthew relates his experience with an angel, while Mary in the book of Luke relates her experience. Whether it was the same angel or different angels is uncertain.
Was Mary a Virgin?


Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

The Greek Septuagint which Matthew used translates it as "a virgin shall conceive and bear a son," but the Hebrew word "almah" means "young woman of marriageable age," not a virgin.

This is addressed in the note for 1 Corinthians 7 and in Virgin Birth and Priestly Celibacy. The simple answer is that neither the Old or New Testaments claim Mary was a virgin, the word translated "virgin" in the New Testament (Greek parthenos) means widow, not virgin, and was wrongly translated by the KJV. Likewise the Old Testament Hebrew word translated virgin resembles the word almanah meaning widow. A reading of 1 Corinthians 7 shows the chapter cannot be talking about virgins but is talking about widows.
Did Mary Journey to Bethlehem?


Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.


A woman 9-months pregnant traveled a great distance on the back of a donkey? Why does the book of Matthew mention no census? And If ever there was a decree there was none that all lineage of David should go to Bethlehem to be counted, Mary would have been excluded because she was not a "lineage of David."

First of all, where does it say they traveled via donkey? Neither Matthew or Luke appear to mention this, and Mark and John don't mention Jesus' childhood. Secondly, Joseph in the book of Matthew gave different detail about Jesus' childhood than Mary did. That they chose to relate different aspects of what occurred is not unusual and certainly not contradictory. The event does not need to be mentioned in both books for the Bible to be true, after all. Thirdly, both Mary and Joseph were of David's lineage and both needed to go. Joseph's genealogy in Matthew and Mary's genealogy in Luke show they were both of the lineage of David. For more on how Mary's genealogy was presented in Joseph's name per Jewish custom, see Luke 3.
Was Jesus Born in a House or a Manger?


Matthew 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

In a house.


Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

In a manger. There was no room in the inn.

A manger isn't a living area. Really? And if it was, I doubt it would fit very many people. Humor aside, Luke 2 never says where they lived, only that it had a manger and was not an inn. Presuming more than that is reaching.
Shepherds or Wisemen?


Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Magi (astronomers or astrologers).


Luke 2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

Shepherds.

Obviously there can be both and the passages don't contradict in any way. If all four Gospels provided the exact same detail/wording, what would be the point in having four different accounts? They'd obviously have colluded. Providing different detail is not in any way a contradiction. Claiming this a 'contradiction' is just outright ridiculous, to put it politely.
Did Mary and Joseph Flee to Safety?


Matthew 2:13-16 ¶ And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. ¶ Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.

They fled to Egypt until Herod’s death. But notice Luke’s account.


Luke 2:39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

The Christ child was presented, and Mary and Joseph returned to Nazareth. There’s no mention of Herod’s decree or a flight to Egypt for safety.

Very little is mentioned by the Gospels of Jesus' childhood in general, omission is not equivalent to contradiction. Mark and John do not even mention Jesus' childhood at all. Simply because Joseph and Mary, as seen from Matthew and Luke respectively, considered different parts of Jesus' childhood relevant, does not account for a contradiction, and indeed shows a lack of understanding on the part of the critic of what a contradiction is. As seen from Matthew 2:22, Joseph and Mary returned with Jesus from Egypt once they heard that Herod had died and Archelaus reigned in his place. Herod the Great died and Archelaus began reigning in 4 B.C., so Jesus must have been born 4 B.C. or earlier. If for example Jesus was born in 4 B.C., the flight to Egypt could have lasted a year or less, with Jesus' parents returning from Egypt when they heard Herod was dead. If it was a very short time period, Mary not have thought to mention it.

Solomon’s Temple


1 Kings 6:2 And the house which king Solomon built for the LORD, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits.

Why were 153,300 people required to build such a small structure?


1 Kings 6:38 And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it.

Why did it take 7 years to construct?


1 Chronicles 22:14 Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the LORD an hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight; for it is in abundance: timber also and stone have I prepared; and thou mayest add thereto.

Over 7 million pounds of gold and 75 million pounds of silver were required to construct this small structure.

This is akin to asking why a single building like the One World Trade Center took 7 years to build and $3.8 billion even with modern technology. Solomon's temple was one of the great ancient wonders of the world before it was destroyed; the pride of Jewish architecture. We went to great lengths to rebuild one of our trade centers after a terrorist attack, how much moreso do you think the entire nation of Israel in trying to build the ultimate temple to their God? This was a vast undertaking of arguably greater scope than the famed Sistine Chapel, requiring numerous architectural works, special building materials transported from different regions (1 Kings 5), and multiple highly complex buildings. If it takes 7 years even today to construct a building like the One World Trade Center with all of our vast technology, why consider it unusual for multiple highly complex buildings to take the same amount of time for construction, particularly given the architectural craftsmanship required? For detail about the complexity of the buildings involved, see 1 Kings 6:38.
Solomon’s Sacrifice


2 Chronicles 7:5 And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.

2 Chronicles 7:8 Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt.
9 And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.


That’s 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep in a single week. That’s about 850 animals an hour, 14 every minute.

First of all the math may be incorrect, since verse 9 states the altar was dedicated 7 days, and the feast 7 days. A total of 14 days is mentioned elsewhere as well. If so it would have only been 11,000 oxen and 60,000 sheep per week. Either way 42 million cows die in the United States each year, around 808 thousand every week.[15] The USDA estimates that 112,000 cows are killed daily in the United States, which is actually down from 121,000 last year.[16] That is 5 times as many on a daily basis, and we kill that many cattle constantly rather than for a unique Israelite event. There are 30 million sheep killed each year in Australia, 577 thousand sheep every week.[17] And over 7 billion chickens are killed each year in the United States, 13.46 million chickens every week.[18]

While the critic is free to speculate on whether such a large-scale event could have occurred in the distant past, the fact is that those numbers are dwarfed regularly every week. Under Solomon, Israel had its golden age with more territory and wealth than at any other point in its history, allowing it to put on such a remarkable festivity. Ultimately there is only speculation here on the part of the critic, certainly not a definite contradiction.

Can Man Be Righteous?


Genesis 7:1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

Noah was righteous.

Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

Job was righteous.

Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous.

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Some men are righteous, and their prayers are effective.

1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

Christians become righteous.

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

No one is righteous.

The simple answer is that there are two kinds of righteousness, Biblically, and Paul himself makes this plain. In fact, the entire book of Romans has as perhaps its major theme the contrast between the righteousness of the Law which noone measures up to, and the righteousness through faith which comes by trusting Jesus. Paul is contrasting two types of righteousness, a self-centered righteousness based on our works by which none will be justified because none are good enough in themselves, and a God-centered righteousness based on trusting Jesus to save us where it is God's righteousness that is credited to our accounts.
Who Has Seen God?


Genesis 32:30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
Jacob actually wrestled with God and was renamed "Israel" by God at that moment.


John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
John the Baptist was denying to the Jews of Jerusalem that he was the Christ.


Numbers 14:14 And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou LORD art among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.
Moses was explaining to the grumbling Israelite assembly that God had displayed his presence to free them from Egypt.

John 6:46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
Jesus was explaining why he is the "bread of life"...God’s proxy here on earth.

The answer to this is really pretty simple, and contained in John 1:18 - none have seen God the Father, but God the Father has declared His Son, the Word, to be God as well. A number of times in the Old Testament it appears another, more tangible form of God appears, God the Son, and this is called a 'Christophany.'[19] Jesus after all said He Himself was the original God of Israel (John 8:56) When God spoke to Moses originally in the burning bush, to Abraham even earlier, and to Jacob, it was not God the Father speaking, but the 'Angel of the Lord' who spoke, i.e. Jesus. (Exodus 3:2, Genesis 22:15, Genesis 31:11) Genesis 32:30 refers to Jesus, the Angel of the Lord, as God, as do many other places in the Old Testament. Thus Jesus could be seen face to face, yet be considered God, while God the Father could not be seen face to face as something in God the Father's glorious nature meant those who looked on His face would die.
Who is Punished for Sins?


Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
The penalty of sin is placed upon only the sinner, not the offspring.


Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: 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 of them that hate me;
The penalty of sin affects generations.

Yes, they were destroyed for the "sins of their fathers" but only because they were engaging in them as well. Passages like Jeremiah 31:29-31 and Ezekiel 18:19-24 are clearly referring to God's eternal judgment upon individuals of destruction in Hell or salvation in Heaven for eternity. With regards to this, every person bears their own burden (Galatians 6:5). God does not punish people for eternity because of the sins of their fathers. However, to try and keep the world from becoming horribly evil, God is sometimes forced to intervene and destroy whole nations at times that engage in horribly evil practices like child sacrifice. Thus, while God does visit punishment upon wicked peoples during this life for the "sins of the fathers" to slow the spread of evil in this world run by Satan, God determines eternal life by individual actions.

God is merciful to those who repent and turn from the ways of their fathers. Furthermore, for purposes of human law, the Mosaic Law, it was commanded that nobody be punished for a relative's actions. (Deuteronomy 24:16) Only God is considered wise enough to judge a family's guilt according to the "third and fourth generations" (Exodus 20:5) and even then God quickly pardons individuals who turn to Him, do what is right, and repent. In the case of Nineveh seen in Jonah 3, God pronounced a judgment on the city for the sins of their fathers, essentially, continual wicked practice generation after generation. However, the city repented and turned to God, and a merciful God pardoned the city - more interested in having people do right than keeping His word

Who Brought the Capernaum Centurion’a Request to Jesus?


Matthew 8:5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
It’s the centurion himself who comes.


Luke 7:3 And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.
The centurion sends some elders.


Luke 7:6 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:
The centurion sends friends. Same book, same chapter as "elders."

All of these passages complement one another, rather than contradicting. Luke 7:3-6 shows evidence of a pattern, first the centurion sent elders begging Jesus to come, and then when Jesus was in the neighborhood he sent friends to keep urging Jesus to come. Finally when Jesus arrived the centurion states belief that Jesus can heal the servant without even entering (Matthew 8:5), which may have been why Jesus applauded the centurion for his trust. (Luke 7:9)
Where Did Jesus Go After Feeding the 5,000?


Mark 6:53 And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.

Jesus and the disciples went to Gennesaret.


John 6:24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.
25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?

Jesus and the disciples went to Capernaum.

John 6:24 never says Jesus and the disciples were in Capernaum. It says the people went to Capernaum looking for Jesus and finally found him on the other side of the sea. If the critic had bothered checking a map of the region, they would have found that Gennesaret is indeed partly separated from Capernaum by the sea of Galilee.[20]
Where Did the Devil Take Jesus?


Matthew 4:5-8 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple, then to the mountain top.


Luke 4:5-9 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:

Satan took Jesus to the mountain first, then the temple.

There are two possibilities here which would avoid a contradiction. The first, and in my opinion most likely, is that the devil showed Jesus the Earth's kingdoms twice, as argued by CARM.[21] Perhaps the original starting point was near a high mountain in the wilderness, in which case Satan was simply taking Jesus back to their original starting point. What makes this particularly likely to me is that Matthew 4:8 says "AGAIN" the devil took Jesus to the high mountain, suggesting this was a reoccurrence. This key word "again" is missing from the Luke passage, suggesting it mentioned the first occurrence. What also makes this likely for me is that there were stones in the original area (v. 3) which would fit with an original starting point near a mountain.

The second possibility raised by Eric Lyons of Apologetics Press is that the events are arranged topically rather than chronologically. As argued by Lyons, "Open almost any world history textbook and you will see that even though most events are recorded chronologically, some are arranged topically... Had Matthew and Luke claimed to arrange the temptations of Jesus chronologically, skeptics would have a legitimate case. But, the fact of the matter is, neither Matthew nor Luke ever claimed such."[22] Recourse may be made for this point of view by observing that the Gospel of Luke does not begin chronologically, but opens with Luke's later address to Theophilus presenting the book.

How Many Blind Men Did Jesus Heal on the Road from Jericho?


Matthew 20:29 And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.
30 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.

Jesus healed the two men in verse 34.


Mark 10:46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.
47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

There was only one blind man.

Mark 10:46 never says there was "only" one blind man, it just happens to mention one. It's not uncommon for witnesses in court to only mention people at a scene they consider relevant. No court would take seriously a claim that the testimony of witnesses contradicts because they mention different unconflicting details of what occurred; it's just taken for granted their accounts need to be accepted as different perspectives of what occurred until they disqualify themselves as dishonest, or the evidence does.

Mark perhaps interviewed Bartimaeus or someone in his family who mentioned him specifically, while Matthew mentioned both people. This isn't in any way a contradiction, just mentioning varying levels of detail about what happened. The Gospels are different accounts from different people. You expect different levels of detail in different accounts so long as there's no clear conflict, which there isn't here. Had the Mark passage used the word "only" then there would be a contradiction, but nowhere is the word found in the passage. The critic is putting words in God's mouth, essentially.

Where Did the Anointing of Jesus Take Place?


Matthew 26:6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.

The anointing happens in Bethany, at the house of Simon the leper. An unnamed woman anoints Jesus. Oil is placed on Jesus’ head.


Luke 7:36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.
37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,

The anointing takes place at the house of a Pharisee in Galilee. Oil is placed not on Jesus’ head, but on his feet.


John 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

It isn’t an unnamed woman sinner who anoints Jesus, but Mary who does the honors.

The Matthew and John passages relate the same incident involving Mary, as does Mark 14:3, but the Luke 7 passage is obviously not even the same incident. It doesn't even occur close to the same time! The incident with Mary occurs near the end of the Gospels right before the Passover/Crucifixion, whereas the Luke 7 incident is much earlier in Jesus' ministry. Whoever claimed this as a contradiction has a serious issue with telling time, and that's putting it nicely.

These are obviously two different cases. And as for the critic claiming a contradiction because "It isn’t an unnamed woman sinner who anoints Jesus, but Mary who does the honors"? This would be like someone referring to you as "that person over there" and another referring to you by name, it's obviously not a contradiction to just refer to someone with a descriptor instead of a name. If one writer wants to refer to her as a woman and another by name, they certainly are not contradicting.

Where Did Jesus Meet Simon, Peter and Andrew?


Matthew 4:18-19 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Peter and Andrew are fishing.


John 1:42-43 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. ¶ The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.

Andrew was following Jesus, found his brother and brought him to Jesus.

The verses aren't at all incompatible. Evidently Andrew met Jesus first and brought Peter to Jesus as described in John 1:42. Then the next day Jesus went to Galilee while they were fishing and told both them and Philip "Follow me." Matthew 4 just doesn't mention the initial meeting between Jesus, Peter, and Andrew, perhaps because Matthew was less familiar than John with that meeting and the early history of what occurred. As one of the first disciples and the one closest to Jesus, John likely knew more detail about the early history of the apostles than Matthew did.
Did Jesus Allow His Disciples to Carry a Staff?


Mark 6:8 And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:

They’re allowed to bring a staff.


Luke 9:3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.

Staffs, or "staves," are specifically mentioned as something NOT to bring.

The explanation typically given is that the Greek word airo meaning "lift or take up" was used in Mark 6:8 as indicating they could not take anything on the journey they were not already wearing/equipped with - in other words, they could not "take up" an additional staff, pair of clothes, or provisions to travel with, and were to go only with what they had at the moment, the staff they were holding, the sandals and clothes they were wearing. This argument is made by Answers In Genesis[23], CARM[24], and Apologetics Press[25]. The Pulpit Commentary and Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible both give this argument as well.[26]

Essentially, the argument being made is that the word airo means "remove" as well as "take up" and that the controversial Mark 6:8 passage was simply saying the disciples should not remove additional supplies to take with them, only going with what they had. So for example, if they had staves with them, they could "take up" (airo) those staves, but they could not "remove" (airo) those staves from their houses - they were not to go looking for extra provisions, extra staves, food supplies, money, or extra sandals to take with them on their journey. This is why they were told they could not take two coats, they were to go only with the coat and staff they were equipped with.

Meanwhile, the Greek word ktaomai used in Matthew 10:9 is a rarely used term involving the idea of financial purchase.[27] It is used only 6 other times in the New Testament and 4 of those times with the clear meaning of financially purchasing or acquiring. (Luke 18:12; Acts 1:18; 8:20; 22:28)

Did the Fig Tree That Jesus Cursed Wither Immediately or Overnight?


Matthew 21:19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

It happened immediately, and the disciples were amazed.


Mark 11:20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.

The dried up fig tree was discovered the following morning.

Actually both chapters say that the dried up fig tree was discovered the following morning and that the disciples were amazed. Matthew 21 just doesn't mention the original cursing, but only mentions Peter's recollection of it, while Mark mentions both. As observed by CARM, the order of events is identical.[28]
  1. Jesus is travelling between Bethany and Jerusalem. (Matthew 21:10-11, Mark 11:11)
  2. Jesus while coming from Bethany curses the fig tree. (Mark 11:11-14).
  3. Jesus violently kicks the salesmen out of Jerusalem's temple. (Matthew 21:12-14, Mark 11:15-17)
  4. Worried Pharisees express displeasure with Jesus' actions. (Matthew 21:15-16, Mark 11:18)
  5. Jesus leaves Jerusalem in the evening to lodge in Bethany, presumably for the cheap hotels. (Matthew 21:17, Mark 11:19)
  6. Peter reminds everyone about the fig tree that Jesus cursed earlier, and the disciples marvel that it has withered away. (Matthew 21:18-20, Mark 11:20-21)

The only difference is that Matthew does not mention Jesus' original cursing of the fig tree when it occurred, instead mentioning only Peter's recollection that it occurred - compare Mark 11:21 and Matthew 21:18-20. In both cases Peter recalls what occurred, and marvels that it has withered away so quickly. Matthew just mentions a summary of what occurred the next day.

Did Jesus Speak at His Hearing Before Pilate?


Matthew 27:11-14 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.

Jesus doesn’t answer the charges.


John 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Jesus answers the charges.

What we have here is a critic using a word they don't understand, namely charges. Charges are the accusations the priests and elders made against Jesus, not Pilate's curious questioning of Jesus. If the critic had any reading comprehension they would have noticed this. Jesus refused to answer the accusations the prosecution made, but did carry on a conversation with the judge about who He was, in other words. This really should have been quite obvious since John 18 also mentions Jesus responding to Pilate's questions. It should have been very obvious that Pilate's questions were not considered charges like the accusations of the priests and elders. Either the critic didn't even bother reading the passage at all carefully to see this, making a careless accusation, or deliberately was dishonest in trying to make the passage appear to say something it didn't.
What Color Robe Was Jesus Given? [Greek interlinear shown for this passage]


Matthew 27:28 And <kai> they stripped <ekduo> him, <autos> and put on <peritithemi> him <autos> a scarlet <kokkinos> robe. <chlamus>

Jesus is given a scarlet robe.


Mark 15:17 And <kai> they clothed <enduo> him <autos> with purple, <porphura> and <kai> platted <pleko> a crown <stephanos> of thorns, <akanthinos> and put it about <peritithemi> his <autos> head,

Jesus is given a purple robe.

The critic is apparently ignorant of the fact that the original Gospels were not written in modern English but in Greek. "Purple" and "scarlet" are English words chosen by the KJV translators in an attempt to correspond to the Hebrew words kokkinos and porphura.[29] Kokkinos and porphura are of course Greek words, not English, and may be more synonymous than our English terms purple and scarlet. Even if the colors were different the robe may have been multi-colored. Regardless, there is no contradiction apparent here.
Who Carried Jesus’ Cross?


Mark 15:20-24 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him. And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. ¶ And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.

Simon of Cyrene carried the cross


John 19:16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

Jesus carried the cross.

They both carried it. The "ThinkingAtheist" sneakily omits mentioning the corresponding Matthew 27:31-32 verses which show that Simon did not start out carrying the cross. First Jesus was led away to be crucified, and Simon was pressed into service to bear the cross, presumably after Jesus, who had been scourged, beaten, and tortured, was unable from fatigue to carry the cross the entire way.[30] As further observed by Ty Benbow of Answers in Genesis:
"So then, why does John not offer the same details as Matthew? A possible consideration takes into account the impact Passover would have had on Jerusalem. The population of the city would have swelled to a number higher than any normal week. Thus, it would have been virtually impossible for John or Matthew to follow Jesus every step of the way from conviction to crucifixion. John likely recorded Jesus carrying the crossbeam through the city streets, where he was able to see Jesus. Likewise, Matthew likely recorded Roman officials ordering Simon the Cyrene to carry the crossbeam from outside the gates to Golgotha from his vantage point. Both observations are accurate, and both add a rich depth and power of the final hours of Jesus."[31]
When Was Jesus Crucified?


Mark 15:25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.

The third hour, as noted in the Amplified Bible, is 9am


John 19:14-16 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. ¶ Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.

The sixth hour is Noon.

The crucifixion proceedings began back on the 3rd hour (Mark 15:25) but the crucifixion itself did not begin until after the 6th hour. Confusion occurs because it simply says "crucified" to refer to the crucifixion proceedings/trial, including the scourging and mockery of Mark 15:15-21. The actual crucifixion itself coincided with the darkness over the land lasting from the 6th to 9th hours, beginning with the start of the crucifixion and ending with Jesus' death on the cross. For an exact timeline, see the note for Matthew 12:40.
What Were the Centurion’s Words at the Cross?


Matthew 27:54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

"Surely he was the Son of God!"


Luke 23:47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

"Surely this was a righteous man."

The statements are not remotely incompatible, there is no reason the centurion could not have said them both. Mark 15:39 additionally records the first statement. The critic simply doesn't understand the meaning of the word "contradiction." A contradiction means there are two incompatible statements which are mutually exclusive and cannot both be true, not a case like this where additional detail is given.
Where Was Jesus on the Sixth Hour of the Crucifixion?


Mark 15:32-33 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him. ¶ And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

Christ was already on the cross at 9am.


John 19:14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!
15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

It was 9am as Jesus was being judged at Pilate’s palace.

The confusion here occurs because of the phrase "they that were crucified." The crucifixion proceedings began back on the 3rd hour (Mark 15:25) but the crucifixion itself did not begin until after the 6th hour. Confusion occurs because it simply says "crucified" to refer to the crucifixion proceedings/trial, including the scourging and mockery of Mark 15:15-21. The actual crucifixion itself coincided with the darkness over the land lasting from the 6th to 9th hours, beginning with the start of the crucifixion and ending with Jesus' death on the cross. For an exact timeline, see the note for Matthew 12:40.
What Were Jesus’ Last Words on the Cross?


Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

(Verse 50 says he cried out again before dying, but no mention is made of spoken words.)


Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

None of the passages say what were Jesus' last words, the phrase "Jesus' last words" is an expression originated by the critic, not the Bible. The passages all actually complement one another, since neither Matthew 27 or Luke 23 say what it was that Jesus cried. So presumably the cry of Jesus not specified in those passages included "It is finished" in Luke 23:46 and both "Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit" and "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" in Matthew 27.

As seen from the chronology of the passages, Jesus' first cry was "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46) He then cried out again with a loud voice (Matthew 27:50), a cry that apparently included "It is finished" John 19:30 and then "Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit". (Luke 23:46) Since John 19:30 does not specify a loud cry, this statement presumably is the last of the three.

How Long Did it Take for Jesus to Get to Heaven After the Crucifixion?


Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Jesus wouldn’t ascend to heaven for 3 days. His journey is compared to Jonah’s 3 days in the belly of the fish.


Luke 23:42-43 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Jesus is to be in Paradise that very day.

The critic just doesn't understand the Biblical concept of the afterlife, although this isn't uncommon, many people think there's just one Heaven where God dwells that all go to upon dying. As shocking as people might find this, the Old Testament does not say people go to Heaven upon dying, but a place called sheol divided into halves. Jesus did indeed go to Paradise, or sheol, in the heart of the earth. The critic fails to realize they are one and the same, and that the public's concept of Heaven is not Biblical.
Who Were the First Visitors to Jesus’ Tomb?


Matthew 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary


Mark 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

The two Marys, plus a third person, Salome


Luke 24:10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.

The two Marys, Joanna, and "the others."


John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

Only Mary Magdalene

That this is not a contradiction should of course be patently obvious. None of the verses remotely appear to contradict one another. Matthew 28 mentions two of the three present, Mary Magdalene and another Mary. Mark 16 mentions all three, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Jesus, and Salome. John 20 mentions only Mary Magdalene. Luke 24 mentions Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Jesus, Joanna (who may be the same as Salome and/or the mother of Zebedee's children in Matthew 27:56), and other women.

If one author was aware of one person present, another of two people, and another that three were there, it is in no way a contradiction. One writer may see fit to mention only one, another two, and yet another writer to mention all persons present. In no way does it contradict, it simply means less detail was provided about those present by different writers. Had the Matthew or John passages said "ONLY X persons were at the sepulchre" than that would be a contradiction, but to put words in the mouth of the writers when that is not what they said is to falsely accuse the Bible of a contradiction that does not in fact exist.

Was the Stone Rolled Away?


Matthew 28:1-2 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

The stone was in place when they arrived, and the angel rolled it back.

Mark 16:4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

The stone had already been rolled away upon their arrival, noted also in Luke 24:2 and John 20:1.

The passages do not contradict, Matthew 28:1-4 describes a period where the women were travelling to the sepulchre when the angel rolled the stone away before they had arrived. Matthew 28:1-2 does not say the stone was in place when they arrived, it says they were traveling to the sepulchre when the angel rolled it away. Mark 16:4 does not say how the stone was rolled away, or remove the possibility that the angel did it. The Interactive Bible has an excellent chronology of what occurred, showing that Matthew 28:1-4 and Mark 16:1-3 describe a period when the women were travelling to the sepulchre as the angel rolled away the stone.[32]
Who Did the Visitors Tell of Jesus’ Empty Tomb?


Matthew 28:8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

The visitors were overjoyed, and they ran to tell the disciples


Mark 16:8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.

They were afraid, and told no one.


Luke 24:9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

They told the eleven and others.


Joh 20:10-12 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. ¶ But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

Mary informed Simon and the other disciple about the empty tomb, then she remained at the tomb crying.

In actuality there were two different visits by the women and disciples. Compare Mark 16:8,10, and John 20:2,18 in particular, both of which clearly distinguish between the two visits. The first time only Mary Magdalene ran to tell the disciples, as seen from Mark 16:8 and John 20:2. The Interactive Bible has an excellent chronology of what occurred.[32] The critic is failing to mention crucial verses in Mark 16 and John 20 which reveal there were two different visits by women and disciples who afterward went to tell the disciples what they had seen.
How Did Judas Die?


Matthew 27:3-8 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.

Judas hanged himself


Acts 1:16-19: Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

Judas bought a field, fell down and his intestines spilled out.

There is no reason the verses need to contradict. Judas could have hanged himself from a high area in the field. Hanging literally involves "falling down" after all. The rope could have broken from the stress or been cut after the hanging, so that his body fell onto some rocks and burst open. It could have been hanging there for weeks as it rotted until a buzzard perched on it and it fell apart onto the ground for all we know. Whatever the scenario was, the verses appear complementary in relating it with no clear reason for assuming contradiction.
Where Did Jesus’ Ascension Take Place?


Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. The ascension took place presumably from a room while the disciples were together.


Luke 24:50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.

The ascension happened outside, at Bethany, near Jerusalem.


Acts 1:12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.

The ascension happened at Mt. Olivet

Mark 16:19-20 does not say the ascension occurred while the disciples were eating in a room, indeed this is rather illogical since ascending up to Heaven would be rather odd if having to go through a ceiling first. All the verse says is that Jesus ascended after the event in question, not that it was immediately after, or where it occurred. The ThinkingAtheist makes that presumption because they want to see a contradiction in the Bible, not because there is one.

Secondly, as most could probably guess, the Mount of Olives is located at Bethany and near Jerusalem, so the 2nd and 3rd passages likewise do not contradict. As observed by Bible History Online, "Bethany 'house, place of unripe figs' is a village located on the E slope of Mt. Olivet, about one and one-half miles from Jerusalem."[33]}}

This leaves the 'ThinkingAtheist' with only one complaint, that Matthew does not mention the ascension, as though ever single Gospel should mention every single major event, rather than complementing one another with different levels of detail. Ultimately there is clearly no contradiction here, just an ignorance of cartography and dearth of critical thinking on the part of the critic.

Who is the Ruler of the Earth?


John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

Satan is the ruler, or prince, of this world.


1 Corinthians 10:26 For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.

The earth, and its possessions, belong to The Lord.


Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Jesus is the ruler of the earth.

The Earth belongs to God the Father and Jesus His Son, but Satan was given rulership and control over it early on, as a caretaker if you will. Jesus will in the future take back control of the Earth from Satan, as prophesied in Revelation, which is why Revelation speaks of Jesus appointing Christians as new kings of the Earth, apparently as replacements for the corrupt ones currently ruling it. Had the 'ThinkingAtheist' quoted the next verse, Revelation 1:6, this would have been more apparent.
Is Jesus the Same As God?


John 10:30 I and my Father are one.

Jesus is God.


John 14:28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

God is greater than Jesus.

This is not a contradiction but caused by (A) Jim Meritt's lack of understanding about what the Bible means by "oneness" - something many are confused about, and (B) the incorrect assumption that being 'one' means having the same status. The false assumption is that because they are one, one cannot be greater than the other. For the definitive chapter showing oneness includes distinctions, see ABC:1 Corinthians 12. Oneness seemingly means the indwelling of God. Thus Jesus was indwelt with the Spirit of God the Father and said to be "one" the same as we are all said to be one with both Jesus and God the Father, because God's Spirit indwells us. (John 17:21) Nonetheless, Jesus is greater than Christians (John 13:14), while God the Father is greater than Jesus. (John 14:28) Oneness does not mean one in all things, but refers to a bond whereby we are indwelt with God's Spirit.
Is it Good or Bad to be Wealthy?


Psalms 112:1-3 Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever.

Riches are good.


Matthew 19:24 And again I say unto you, 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.

Riches are a hindrance.

Ultimately the critic makes a very simple mistake in failing to distinguish between this life and the next. Psalms 112 in context is speaking of future rewards, eternal rewards, as evidenced by the phrase "righteousness endureth for ever" (which the 'ThinkingAtheist' dishonestly did not quote). Another verse in the chapter, Psalms 112:6, shows that this is referring to eternal riches, not riches in this life. It is ultimately not riches themselves that are evil, but the love of them, trusting in them, rather than in God and the eternal riches which He gives to the righteous.
Is it OK to Judge?


Leviticus 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

God’s law given to Moses instructs the righteous to judge others.


Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Part of Jesus’ sermon on the mount, instructing not to judge others.

This is also addressed in Judge Not? Jesus reiterates the Old Testament commandment to use righteous judgment. (John 7:24) As seen from ABC:James 2, the principle of Leviticus 19:15 is simply not to give preference to the rich over the poor in evaluating people differently by societal status. Matthew 7 on the other hand is a caution against suing others at court of law, seeking to punish others rather than showing mercy, since we are all guilty before God, and cannot expect mercy if we do not show it. 'Judge not' does not mean the modern perversion claimed in recent years of not criticizing anyone or anything, but Biblically means not punishing others for debts unpaid, as in a legal system. (Matthew 18:28-35, John 8:7-11)) The Greek word translated "judge" in the New Testament, krino, actually means condemnation including at court of law the way a Judge or prosecutor would "judge" someone. It should be pointed out that the critics are only quoting half of what Jesus said when they say "Judge not, that ye be not judged." (Matthew 7:1) That's only half the saying, the other half is in the next verse, which never seems to be quoted, "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." (Matthew 7:2) The reason we are urged not to judge is that God will judge us at the end of time with the same judgment we judged others with, and we will be condemned with the same condemnation we condemned others with. (Luke 6:37)
How Old Was Jehoiachin When He Began to Reign in Jerusalem? And for How Long?


2 Kings 24:8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.

18 years old. Reigned three months.


2 Chronicles 36:9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.

8 years old. Reigned 3 months and 10 days.

Both passages are correct. Jehoiachin began to reign in Judah at age 8 (2 Chronicles 36:9) and in Jerusalem at age 18 (2 Kings 24:8). For a more detailed (and excellent) explanation of this, see KJV Today.[34] As KJV Today points out:
"Jehoiachin’s co-regency of ten years corresponds perfectly with his father Jehoiakim’s reign of eleven years (2 Chronicles 36:5). Moreover, as soon as the Babylonian invasion looms into the picture, Chronicles begins to use the phrase, 'king over Judah and Jerusalem' (2 Chronicles 36:4, 10)."
-KJV Today
In regards to Meritt's quibbling that one account mentioned additional days, the first account was simply giving time in number of months, and never mentioned the days as did the second account. Many Biblical accounts when saying someone reigned for X years, for example, are not mentioning how many months or days, but just giving the number of years, as they would not keep track of the exact number of months, days, hours, or minutes. Rather than a contradiction, it's just a matter of additional detail.
How Old Was Ahaziah When He Began to Reign?


2 Kings 8:26 Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel.

2 Chronicles 22:2 Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri.

Older texts of 2 Chronicles 22 like the Syriac and Arabic actually have the correct number of 22, not 42. As pointed out by McKeever and Hodge:
"Many fail to realize that several ancient texts have 22 (or simply 20) instead of 42 as listed in the Masoretic Text (MT) in 2 Chronicles 22:2. The Syriac version (common to Eastern churches) and Arabic version each have 22. The Septuagint (LXX) has 20. In fact, the version used by the Antioch church in New Testament times was obtained by Archbishop Ussher at great cost and it had 22. These early translations were obviously drawing from another Hebrew text, different from what we know today as the Masoretic or standard Hebrew text used for most translations in modern times."

-Stacia McKeever and Bodie Hodge, Answers In Genesis[35]

Who Did the Midianites Sell Joesph To?


Genesis 37:28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

The Midianites sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites.


Genesis 37:36 And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.

Sold to Potiphar. Same chapter. Same book.

As often happens, the critic's faulty reading comprehension comes into play here. The passage never says "The Midianites sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites." Reading the passage in context clearly shows it was Joseph's own brothers who sold Joseph to the Midianites/Ishmeelites. Ishmeelites was just a synonym for the Midianites. Joseph's own brothers sold him to the Midianites/Ishmeelites. In fact, the passage itself clearly shows this if read in context, but TheThinkingAtheist.com failed to quote the key verse 27 that would've made this obvious. As v. 27 clearly shows, it was Joseph's brothers who sold him to the Ishmeelites, because the Ishmeelites and Midianites are one and the same. For example, I am both an American and an Illinoisan, they are two different names for what I am, but one defines me by continent, and one by state. In the same way, one can be a member of two groups. The context in this passage was very obvious just from a single verse earlier, that this got called a contradiction is simply ridiculous. Therefore, Joseph's brothers sold him to the Midianites/Ishmeelites, who in turn sold him to Potiphar. A reading of the chapter in context clearly shows these were two separate events.
What Was the Population of Israel? And How Many Fighting Men Did They Have?


2 Samuel 24:9 And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.

By my count, 1,300,000 men.


1 Chronicles 21:5 And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword.

By my count, 1,100,000 men

The "ThinkingAtheist" omits the crucial verse, 1 Chronicles 21:6, which explains the discrepancy. Unlike in 1 Samuel 24, 1 Chronicles 21 states "But Levi and Benjamin counted he not among them." In other words, 1 Chronicles 21 is omitting 2 of the 12 tribes of Israel. 1.1 million is 85% of 1.3 million, and 5/6 is 83%, so it appears that for whatever reason two fewer tribes are being counted in 1 Samuel 24. Why that might be we can only hypothesize, perhaps a separate count of Levi and Benjamin was performed once it was discovered Joab had disobeyed, and the full amount given in 1 Samuel 24. At any rate, the two accounts are perfectly congruent in light of the fact that two fewer tribes were being counted in the second passage.
Did Michal Have Children?


2 Samuel 6:23 Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.

sons = zero


2 Samuel 21:8 But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:

sons = five

This may be a scribal error though it appears only in newer manuscripts. As AIG authors Bodie Hodge and Jeremy Ham have pointed out, two ancient manuscripts of the Septuagint and Syriac do correctly have Merab's name in 2 Samuel 21:8 without the error.[36] Since it was Merab who was married to a Meholathite, and not apparently Michal, it would seem the scribe mixed up the names of Saul's daughters. Since both were engaged to be married to David and both given away to different men by Saul, and since both even have rather similar names, it's not hard to see how the scribe when copying from an older scroll may have made the mistake. This conclusion is also reached by CARM.[37]
Who Has Ascended to Heaven?


John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

No man has ascended to Heaven.


2 Kings 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

Elijah ascended to Heaven.


Genesis 5:24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Enoch ascended to Heaven.

As pointed out by Richard Anthony at Ecclesia.org[38], the following should be considered for this passage:
  1. 2 Kings 2:11 never says Elijah was taken to paradise to prevent dying, just like Genesis 5:24 never says Enoch was (which would contradict Hebrews 11:5,13). That would contradict verses clearly stating death passed upon all and it is appointed to men once to die. (Ecclesiastes 3:20; Romans 5:12-14; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Hebrews 9:27) 2 Kings 2:11 never specifies which heaven.
  2. There are three heavens referred to in the Bible (1 Corinthians 12:2). There's the sky/atmosphere (Genesis 1:20, Jeremiah 4:25; 34:20; Lamentations 4:19; Zephaniah 1:3), outer space (Genesis 1:14-17; 15:5; 22:17; 26:4; Deuteronomy 1:10; 17:3; Psalm 8:3, Jeremiah 8:2; Matthew 24:29), and the dwelling place of God (1 Peter 3:22) which is called the "heaven of heavens." (Deuteronomy 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chronicles 2:6, 6:18, Nehemiah 9:6; Psalms 148:4) As Richard Anthony points out[38], that there is more than one heaven is evidenced in the Old Testament also by Psalms 115:16, "The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S..."
  3. As specifically pointed out by Eric Lyons of Apologetics Press[39] the Old Testament concept of paradise was not the future heaven where God dwells but part of sheol which is divided into two halves, one being punishment and the other peace. (Luke 16:19-31) Biblically this will give up its dead to be judged for the final Judgment and a "new heaven and a new earth" will be brought in. (Revelation 20:13-15, 21:1)

Because the Bible throughout uses the word heaven in three different ways and other similar Biblical events involved transportation to other parts of Earth rather than death-defying removal to heaven, there is no reason to assume other Bible verses saying none have ascended to heaven and all have died are incorrect. Rather, they form a composite whole showing the heaven Elijah ascended to was not the third heaven Jesus spoke of ascending to where His Father lived.

Who Killed Saul?


1 Samuel 31:4: Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. Saul committed suicide.


2 Samuel 1:8-10: And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite.
9 He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me.
10 So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord.

Saul was killed by the Amalekite.

The first account from 1 Samuel is an account of what occurred, while the second account from 2 Samuel is given by a stranger claiming to have watched what occurred. Most commentators, as summarized by H.D.M. Spence, view the Amalekite's story as a fabrication designed to induce a reward from King David.
"Most commentators—for instance, Kiel, Lange, Bishop Hervey, &c.—regard the Amalekite’s story as an invention framed to extract a rich gift from David, who, the savage Arab thought, would be rejoiced to hear of his great enemy’s fall. If this be so, then we must suppose that the Amalekite wandering over the field of battle strewn with the slain on the night which succeeded the battle, came upon the body of Saul, and, attracted by the glitter of the golden ornaments, stripped off the precious insignia, and hastened with his lying story to David."
-Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers[40]

The Phillistines, who like the Amalekites were enemies of Israel, found Saul's body and mutilated it, cutting off the head and removing the head as war trophies. The Amalekite may well have been an opportunistic enemy soldier who originally found the body and saved the crown and bracelet for himself, hoping to sell them, or perhaps got hold of the items when the body was being sent throughout the Phillistine cities. Perhaps the Amalekite thought that King David, because Saul had been his enemy, would pay a far higher price for the items. Whatever the case, David was horrified by the slaughter of Israel's king, and had the Amalekite executed. (2 Samuel 1:14-15) If so, the schemer's ruse backfired horribly upon him.

Is Incest Wrong?


Genesis 17:15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.

Abraham marries his half-sister. God blesses the union in Genesis 22:17.


Leviticus 20:17 And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.

Incest is a disgrace.


Deuteronomy 27:22 Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.
23 Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen.

The perpetrator is "cursed."

The commandment against incest was not given until the time of Moses because incest was not wrong before that, since people lived such extraordinarily long lives, centuries longer than we do today. Technically it wasn't incest by today's standards since early humans each had lifespans of 900 years (Genesis 5). Incest was only declared wrong by the time of Moses when people had average lifespans of 70 years (Psalms 90:10) and God when the Flood started began reducing the average lifespan to 120 years (Genesis 6:3. Lifespans did not reach this point until about the time of Moses, who lived exactly the 120 years specified. (Deuteronomy 34:7) Incest today is considered wrong, as it should be, because children who grow up with one another as part of the same family should not have sexual relationships.

However, ancient people like Noah's family lived centuries upon centuries and could be born many centuries apart in age from their siblings, old enough by today's standards to be the great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents of their brothers and sisters. As Romans 5:13 says, "sin is not imputed when there is no law." Before the time of Moses there was no necessity for a law against incest because such vast lifespans made for very different family units, and incest was thus not wrong in the same way it is today. Under the Biblical model, such ancient patriarchs could have siblings considerably older and more distant in relation than is seen today, which is why the commandment against incest was not yet given, and incest at the time was not wrong.

Who Were the Sons of Eliphaz?


Genesis 36:11 And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz.

Five sons.


1 Chronicles 1:36 The sons of Eliphaz; Teman, and Omar, Zephi, and Gatam, Kenaz, and Timna, and Amalek.

Seven sons.

The Bible wasn't written in modern English, the Old Testament was written in ancient Hebrew. We translated the Hebrew word ben as "sons" but it's not used the way we would use it today and simply means any male children descended from the person in question, not necessarily members of one's direct family. When C.S. Lewis (a Christian apologist) wrote the "Chronicles of Narnia" he actually followed the Biblical example of referring to the human children as "sons of Adam" and "daughters of Eve."[41] TheThinkingAtheist.com probably intentionally omitted the crucial next verse showing this was what was occurring. If they had quoted v. 12 and not just v. 11 it would have been very clear that Amalek was indeed descended from Eliphaz, just not a son, but rather a grandson. Timna was actually the name of Eliphaz' wife, but it appears a later descendant was named after her, probably in her honor, as seen from both passages. Since it was a female name, it may be that Timna was actually a daughter yet considered a ruler or "Duke" (Hebrew alluwph[42]) nonetheless because of her heritage, and counted as a Canaanite ruler.
Honor Thy Parents?


Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Part of the Ten Commandments.


Deuteronomy 5:16 Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Honor your parents.


Matthew 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

Curse your parents and be executed.


Matthew 10:35 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.
36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

What, exactly, happened to "Honor your father and mother?"


Luke 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

Division, parent against child.

Notice that Jesus nowhere contradicts the commandment to honor one's parents, He simply prophesies that because of Christianity division of families will occur where the families of Christians persecute them. In other words, this has nothing to do with a commandment, but rather Jesus prophesying that Christians would be put to death for their belief in Him. Had TheThinkingAtheist.com observed the passage's context, they would have noticed this, e.g. the verses immediately preceding Matthew 10:35-37:

When read in context with proper reading comprehension it is very obvious Jesus was never saying one shouldn't honor their parents, but warning His disciples they would be put to death for believing in Him, see especially Matthew 10:22 which sums it up, "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." Jesus told His disciples to flee into other cities if persecuted (v. 23), told them "the disciple is not above his master" and if they hated Jesus they'll hate His followers also (vv. 24-25), that Christians should not fear those who can kill the body but not the soul (v. 28), that God watches over even the number of hairs on our heads (vv.30-31), and that those who deny Jesus under such persecution He will deny, and those who confess Him He will confess. (vv. 32-33)

The entire chapter, read in context, shows the subject was persecution Christians would endure, even from their own families, and certainly not a commandment to disobey one's parents and one of the 10 commandments. Jesus elsewhere reaffirmed that children should honor their parents, see also Matthew 19:19; Mark 7:10, and 10:19.

Does God Remember Sin?


Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

God remembers sin.


Jeremiah 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

God does not remember sin.

The answer to this should be obvious. The covenant is conditional, conditioned upon the repentance of those engaged in sin to turn from their wicked ways. God is willing to forgive utterly those who reject their old evil ways, and makes this clear even in the Old Testament. (Ezekiel 18:21-29, Luke 13:1-5)

To put it simply, the critic put words in God's mouth. The Bible never says in Jeremiah that God never remembers sin at all. God said He would not remember sin for those He was making the New Covenant (i.e. "new testament" or "new contract/agreement") with specifically. If the critic had quoted the full context of the passage, Jeremiah 31:31-33, this would have been more clear. The entire New Testament is written around this concept, that God will not remember sin for those who repent and trust in Jesus Christ. (Romans 4:6-8)

Where Did Aaron Die?


Numbers 33:38 And Aaron the priest went up into mount Hor at the commandment of the LORD, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the first day of the fifth month.

Aaron died on Mount Hor.


Deuteronomy 10:6 And the children of Israel took their journey from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera: there Aaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest's office in his stead.

Aaron died in Moserah.

The possibility exists that Moserah is near the location of Mount Hor in which case both passages would be correct. ChristianAnswers for example claims Moserah is associated with a fountain named el-Tayibeh at the base of Mount Hor.[43] The location of Moserah, like many other waypoints for the Exodus, remains sharply disputed by scholars.

If we knew where Moserah was and that it was far from Mount Hor, only then could this definitely be called a contradiction. However, it could just be the name of the land Mount Hor was in, with the Deuteronomy passage simply referring to the region where Mount Hor was, in which case there would be no contradiction. In lieu of archaeological discovery, one certainly should not jump to assumptions here.

Was Sisera Sleeping or Standing?


Judges 4:21 Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

He lay asleep.


Judges 5:26 She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples.
27 At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.

Same book. Next chapter. Sisera was standing and fell at her feet.

It never says he was standing, this is a faulty assumption on the part of the critic. All it says is he fell and was sleeping while she went to him. There are a number of reasonable explanations for what happened:
  1. He started to wake up and rise as she arrived when she killed him and sank back down.
  2. He was on a bed and his body fell off when dead.
  3. His body underwent death throes during the killing that made him rise partly before sinking back down.

Nowhere does it say he was standing, and nowhere does it even say what position Sisera was in when the killing took place. We are told he was tired and sleeping when Jael went to him and fell at her feet as being killed, beyond that is uncertain. To assume a standing position is to dishonestly put words in the Bible's mouth, as it were.

How Much Did Solomon Pay for His Property?


2 Samuel 24:24: And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

50 shekels.


1 Chronicles 21:25: So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight.

600 shekels.

There is no definite contradiction here because different things are mentioned as being purchased. As numerous commentaries point out, the first passage mentions the purchase price for the threshing floor and oxen for 50 shekels, while the second passage gives the price paid for the entire site.[44] Answers In Genesis concludes, "The account found in 2 Samuel 24 records only David’s purchase of the threshing floor and oxen... the account in 1 Chronicles 21 records a higher price for the full purchase, including the surrounding land."[45]
Is Revenge Acceptable?


Psalms 58:10-11 The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.

Revenge is celebrated.


Proverbs 24:17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:
18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.

Do not rejoice over the calamity of your enemy.

The critic's error lies in a failure to tell time, quite simply, and to discern the context of what's being referred to in both passages. The Bible is speaking of how we should not gloat over the stumbling of our enemies so that in the future Judgment God will not turn away his wrath from them. The New Testament reiterates this as well, it is stated throughout the Bible. (Romans 12:19-21, Revelation 6:9-10, Luke 18:7-8, Deuteronomy 32:43) In context, the entire reason for not rejoicing over one's enemy in this life is so that God won't turn away wrath from them before the Judgment. However, once this life is over, God promises that those who have been wronged will rejoice at seeing that judgment.

In other words, Psalms 58 is referring to the rejoicing that will occur at the end, the Final Judgment of the wicked. This is the same thing referred to by Revelation 6:9, Luke 18:7, Deuteronomy 32:43, and the heaping of coals in Romans 12:20. Proverbs 24 warns us not to gloat over the downfall of enemies in this life but to do good to them so that at the Final Judgment they will be punished for their evil deeds by God, whose wrath will be far more severe than ours. In Romans 12 one can see the whole thing in context, we are to do good to enemies in this life that they may be punished in the next. The critic simply ignored all of this context and jumped at the opportunity to declare a contradiction where none in fact exists.

Should You Answer a Fool?


Proverbs 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

Don’t answer.


Proverbs 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

Do answer.

There are times not to answer a fool's foolishness because he is only using insults or distorting your arguments through logical fallacies dishonestly because he cares nothing for truth, only appearing to be right for reputation's sake, and making his opinions seem correct. However, there are also times when to let a fool's claims go unchallenged would allow the unlearned to think a fool is correct, and thus one must confront publicly the claims of a fool. To phrase it another way, we should not sink to the level of a fool in using insults and distortions, dishonest arguments, their "folly" or foolishness in other words, yet to let them go unrefuted would be to give credence to their claims; thus one must publicly rebuke them, making their foolishness apparent that the easily misled are not deceived by their false claims.
Is There an Unforgivable Sin?


Mark 3:28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:

There is an unforgivable sin.


1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Jesus forgives our sins. No exceptions mentioned.


Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

"All" of our sins are forgiven.

Modern translators may have translated this as "sins" (especially in whatever translation TheThinkingAtheist.com was quoting - I quoted the KJV which translated Colossians 2:13 as trespasses instead of sins). However, all three passages actually use three different words that got translated into English as sin, so they're actually all referring to different things. We just get confused over this because our English translators didn't do a very good job translating from the original Greek text.

As is apparent from reading the original text, these are actually three different words, hamartema in Mark 3:28,[46] hamartia in 1 John 1:9,[47] and paraptoma in Colossians 2:13.[48] The word translated unrighteousness in John 1:9 that one is to be cleansed utterly of is adikia.[49] Critics don't seem to bother learning or studying the Bible in depth enough to realize it wasn't written in 21st century English, and just make negligent mistakes like this as a result.

Sources

  1. Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. Hebrew Lexicon entry for Nachash. The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.
  2. Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. Hebrew Lexicon entry for Tanniyn. The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.
  3. Ham, Ken & Lovett, Tim (2007, October 11). Was There Really a Noah's Ark & Flood? Answers in Genesis.
  4. CNRS (1969, December 31). Mass extinctions: 'Giant' fossils are revolutionizing current thinking. ScienceDaily.
  5. Lessons for today in ancient mass extinctions. Understanding Evolution. University of California Museum of Paleontology.
  6. Morphology of the Dinosauria. University of California Museum of Paleontology Berkeley.
  7. Harder, Ben (2002, March 7). Inner Earth May Hold More Water Than the Seas. National Geographic.
  8. Than, Ker (2007, February 28). Huge 'Ocean' Discovered Inside Earth. LiveScience.
    Washington University in St. Louis (2007, February 11). Earth Mantle 'Ocean': 3-D Seismic Model Of Vast Water Reservoir Revealed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
  9. Science Serving People. Great Lakes Beneath Their Feet: Probing North Africa’s Oldest Water Treasures. International Atomic Energy Agency.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Flood Legends from Around the World. Northwest Creation Network.
  11. NASA Science News (2002, January 28). The Great Dying. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
  12. Wright, David (2012, October 10). How Did Plants Survive the Flood? Answers in Genesis.
  13. Country Comparison: Population Growth Rate. Central Intelligence Agency.
  14. Thompson, B. (1998). In Defense of...the Bible's Inspiration. Apologetics Press.
  15. Cows Used For Food (n.d.). PETA.
  16. USDA National Daily Cattle and Beef Summary (2014, July 7). USDA.
  17. The Truth About Sheep Used For Food. PETA Australia.
  18. Chickens Used for Food. PETA.
  19. What is a theophany? What is a Christophany? Got Questions Ministries.
  20. http://newine.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/galilee.jpg
  21. Where Did the Devil Take Jesus First, the Pinnacle or Somewhere Else? Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.
  22. Lyons, E. (2004). In What Order Did Satan Tempt Jesus? Apologetics Press.
  23. McKeever, Stacia (2009, January 12). Contradictions: A Staff or Not. Answers In Genesis.
  24. Did Jesus Tell His Disciples to Take a Staff or Not?. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.
  25. Lyons, Eric (2004). Take It or Leave It. Apologetics Press.
  26. Mark 6:8. BibleHub.
  27. Thayer and Smith. Greek Lexicon Entry for Ktaomai. New Testament Greek Lexicon.
  28. Did the Tree that Jesus Cursed Wither Immediately or Overnight? Christian Apologetics Research Ministry.
  29. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. 4209: porphura.
    Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. 4209: porphura.
  30. Did Jesus or Simon of Cyrene carry the cross? Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.
  31. Benbow, Ty (2013, July 30). Who Really Carried the Cross of Jesus? Answers in Genesis.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Rudd, Steve. Matthew 28:1 Sequence of Events at the Tomb with Mary and the Apostles. The Interactive Bible.
  33. Cities of Ancient Israel: Bethany. Bible History Online.
    Masterson, E.W.G. Mount of Olives. BibleAtlas.org.
  34. 'Eight years old' or 'Eighteen years old' in 2 Chronicles 36:9? KJV Today.
  35. McKeever, Stacia & Hodge, Bodie (2008, December 15). Contradictions: Two Ages At Once. Answers In Genesis.
  36. Hodge, Bodie & Ham, Jeremy (2010, July 23). Feedback: Did Michal Have Children or Not? Answers In Genesis.
  37. Christian Apologetics Research Ministry. Did Michal Have Any Children or Not?
  38. 38.0 38.1 Anthony, Richard (n.d.). Elijah, Enoch, and Moses. Ecclesiastic Commonwealth Community.
  39. Lyons, Eric (2004). No one has ascended to heaven. Apologetics Press.
  40. Spence, H.D.M. (1905). A Bible Commentary for English Readers by Various Writers.
  41. Human. WikiNarnia.
  42. Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. Hebrew Lexicon entry for 'alluwph.' The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.
  43. Bible Encyclopedia: Moserah. ChristianAnswers.net.
  44. 2 Samuel 24:24. BibleHub.
  45. Runge, K. (2011, August 23). Contradictions: Balancing the Budget. Answers in Genesis.
  46. Thayer and Smith. Greek Lexicon entry for Hamartema. The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon.
  47. Thayer and Smith. Greek Lexicon entry for Hamartia. The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon.
  48. Thayer and Smith. Greek Lexicon entry for Paraptoma. The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon.
  49. Thayer and Smith. Greek Lexicon entry for Adikia. The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon.