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.
| 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,
|| 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 1:20-21 and 26-27 Birds were created before Adam.
Genesis 1:24-27 Animals were created before Adam.
Genesis 1:26-27 Adam and Eve were created at the same time.
|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.
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.
| 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. It appears probable that, like tanniyn, 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.
|| 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.
|| 1 - Answers In Genesis actually says 16,000 would be the maximum, and that as few as 2,000 would be required. 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), Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, and Triassic-Jurassic extinction event. The fossil record contains considerable evidence of mass marine extinction in the past.
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.
| 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.
| 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. 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. 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.
Aside from flood legends worldwide that agree even on very minute details like what birds were sent from the Ark (dove and raven) there is considerable evidence from the geologic record that the majority of life was instantly, catastrophically wiped out at the same time.
| 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;
||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.
| 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.
| Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
||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, 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.
|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). 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! 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?
The angel appeared to Joseph.
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?
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?
||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?
In a house.
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?
Magi (astronomers or astrologers).
|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?
They fled to Egypt until Herod’s death. But notice Luke’s account.
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
Why were 153,300 people required to build such a small structure?
Why did it take 7 years to construct?
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 7:8 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.
| 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. The USDA estimates that 112,000 cows are killed daily in the United States, which is actually down from 121,000 last year. 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. And over 7 billion chickens are killed each year in the United States, 13.46 million chickens every week.
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?
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?
John 6:46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
|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.' 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?
|| 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?
||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?
Jesus and the disciples went to Gennesaret.
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.|
| Where Did the Devil Take Jesus?
Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple, then to the mountain top.
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. 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." 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?
Jesus healed the two men in verse 34.
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?
The anointing happens in Bethany, at the house of Simon the leper. An unnamed woman anoints Jesus. Oil is placed on Jesus’ head.
The anointing takes place at the house of a Pharisee in Galilee. Oil is placed not on Jesus’ head, but on his feet.
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?
Peter and Andrew are fishing.
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?
They’re allowed to bring a staff.
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, CARM, and Apologetics Press. The Pulpit Commentary and Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible both give this argument as well.
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. 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?
It happened immediately, and the disciples were amazed.
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.
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?
Jesus doesn’t answer the charges.
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]
Jesus is given a scarlet robe.
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. 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?
Simon of Cyrene carried the cross
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. As further observed by Ty Benbow of Answers in Genesis:
| When Was Jesus Crucified?
The third hour, as noted in the Amplified Bible, is 9am
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?
"Surely he was the Son of God!"
"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?
Christ was already on the cross at 9am.
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?
(Verse 50 says he cried out again before dying, but no mention is made of spoken words.)
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?
Jesus wouldn’t ascend to heaven for 3 days. His journey is compared to Jonah’s 3 days in the belly of the fish.
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?
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary
The two Marys, plus a third person, Salome
The two Marys, Joanna, and "the others."
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?
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.|
| Who Did the Visitors Tell of Jesus’ Empty Tomb?
The visitors were overjoyed, and they ran to tell the disciples
They were afraid, and told no one.
They told the eleven and others.
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. 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?
Judas hanged himself
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?
The ascension happened outside, at Bethany, near Jerusalem.
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."}}
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?
Satan is the ruler, or prince, of this world.
The earth, and its possessions, belong to The Lord.
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?
Jesus is God.
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?
Riches are good.
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?
God’s law given to Moses instructs the righteous to judge others.
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?
18 years old. Reigned three months.
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. As KJV Today points out: |
| How Old Was Ahaziah When He Began to Reign?
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:
| Who Did the Midianites Sell Joesph To?
The Midianites sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites.
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?
By my count, 1,300,000 men.
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?
sons = zero
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. 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.|
| Who Has Ascended to Heaven?
No man has ascended to Heaven.
Elijah ascended to Heaven.
Enoch ascended to Heaven.
| As pointed out by Richard Anthony at Ecclesia.org, the following should be considered for this passage:
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?
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.
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?
Abraham marries his half-sister. God blesses the union in Genesis 22:17.
Incest is a disgrace.
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?
|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." 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) nonetheless because of her heritage, and counted as a Canaanite ruler.|
| Honor Thy Parents?
Part of the Ten Commandments.
Honor your parents.
Curse your parents and be executed.
What, exactly, happened to "Honor your father and mother?"
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?
God remembers sin.
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?
Aaron died on Mount Hor.
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. 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?
He lay asleep.
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:
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?
|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. 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."|
| Is Revenge Acceptable?
Revenge is celebrated.
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?
|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?
There is an unforgivable sin.
Jesus forgives our sins. No exceptions mentioned.
"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, hamartia in 1 John 1:9, and paraptoma in Colossians 2:13. The word translated unrighteousness in John 1:9 that one is to be cleansed utterly of is adikia. 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.
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- Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. Hebrew Lexicon entry for Tanniyn. The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.
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- Thayer and Smith. Greek Lexicon entry for Hamartema. The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon.
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- Thayer and Smith. Greek Lexicon entry for Paraptoma. The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon.
- Thayer and Smith. Greek Lexicon entry for Adikia. The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon.