WVW: Bible Contradictions - Part 1
I recently watched a video by Cosmic Skeptic which covers the endless contradictions found in the Bible. The credit for this claim was given to this list that was linked in the description –
It will not be an easy process, but I am going to work little by little in order to explain the contradictions laid out on this list. I hope that this will help many who are having doubts.
1. GE 1:3-5 On the first day, God created light, then separated light and darkness. GE 1:14-19 The sun (which separates night and day) wasn't created until the fourth day.
Response: I’m glad this list starts off with an easy one. The sun is not the only source of light. Other stars are a thing. By your own admission, verses 3-5 say “separated light and darkness” while 14-19 say “separate night and day”. Let’s keep it moving!
2. GE 1:11-12, 26-27 Trees were created before man was created. GE 2:4-9 Man was created before trees were created.
Response: Genesis 1 is an overview of the entire creation process, and I believe the correct interpretation isn’t the Ken Ham literal interpretation. Either way, Genesis 2 is a zoomed in view of the events pertaining to early garden of Eden life. Genesis 2 is referring to vegetation within the actual garden of Eden.
3. GE 1:20-21, 26-27 Birds were created before man was created. GE 2:7, 19 Man was created before birds were created.
Response: Again, I believe the creation story in Genesis 1 is not literal, however even if it is literal, Genesis 2:19 says that God “had” formed all the wild animals. That means the event already took place.
4. GE 1:24-27 Animals were created before man was created. GE 2:7, 19 Man was created before animals were created.
Response: See last response.
5. GE 1:26 Man is to have dominion over fish, birds, cattle, and all wild animals, yet-- GE 2:15-17 It is wrong to be able to tell good from evil, right from wrong.
Response: This was not a prohibition against knowledge as much as it was a call to obedience. Also, this is not even a contradiction. The only argument that could possibly be made is that you don’t like that fact that God gave humans dominion over animals, because you think the species that has dominion should know right from wrong. Humans do know right from wrong…
6. GE 1:26-27 Man and woman were created at the same time. GE 2:7, 21-22 Man was created first, woman sometime later.
Response: See response to the 2nd contradiction.
7. GE 1:28 God encourages reproduction. LE 12:1-8 God requires purification rites following childbirth which, in effect, makes childbirth a sin. (Note: The period for purification following the birth of a daughter is twice that for a son.)
Response: The further I dive into this list, the sillier I find these contradictions to be. Cleansing rituals were not performed in order to atone for sin. They were in order to maintain cleanliness. Women need recovery time after giving birth.
8. GE 1:31 God was pleased with his creation. GE 6:5-6 God was not pleased with his creation. (Note: That God should be displeased is inconsistent with the concept of omniscience as well as with the fact that God allegedly does not change his mind: NU 23:19-20, 1SA 15:29, JA 1:17.)
Response: Genesis 6:5-6 contains a literary device called anthropopathism. This is when human authors attribute a humanly trait to God, so that we might slightly understand the mind of God. So firstly, it must be understood that this was simply the way the authors portrayed God’s actions. Secondly, it must be understood that anger or being displeased is not the opposite of love. Hate is the opposite of love. Although He was angry with His creation, He still loved His creation and was overall pleased with His creation. Thirdly, this is a straw man. In Genesis 1:31 God was pleased with all of His creation (stars, oceans, vegetation, etc). In Genesis 6:5-6 He is displeased with one aspect of His entire creation.
I suppose it’s also worth rebutting the note in parentheses. In what way would being displeased contradict omniscience? The contradiction of omniscience would be if God did not know everything, not that He is displeased with the actions of humans. They are independent facts.
9. GE 2:4, 4:26, 12:8, 22:14-16, 26:25 God was already known as "the Lord" (Jahveh or Jehovah) much earlier than the time of Moses. EX 6:2-3 God was first known as "the Lord" (Jahveh or Jehovah) at the time of the Egyptian Bondage, during the life of Moses.
Response: Just because “the Lord” was mentioned in narratives that predate the narrative of Moses, does not mean that he was called “the Lord” by the people within those narratives. Moses was the author of Genesis. “The Lord” revealed His name during Moses’s time. Moses in turn retrospectively wrote about “the Lord’s” work that predated himself.
10. GE 2:17 Adam was to die the very day that he ate the forbidden fruit. GE 5:5 Adam lived 930 years.
Response: “In the day” is an idiom that means “for certain”. Simple misunderstanding of Hebrew phraseology.
11. GE 2:15-17, 3:4-6 It is wrong to want to be able to tell good from evil. HE 5:13-14 It is immature to be unable to tell good from evil.
Response: The sin was not in being able to tell good from evil. The sin was simple disobedience. Being able to tell good from evil is indeed a good thing. I mentioned this in my response to the 5th contradiction.
12. GE 4:4-5 God prefers Abel's offering and has no regard for Cain's. 2CH 19:7, AC 10:34, RO 2:11 God shows no partiality. He treats all alike.
Response: We should zoom out to see what one of these references actually says in context.
5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.
The Bible teaches that God is impartial judicially. In other words, He does not have favoritism nor give leniency when it comes to who receives just punishment. He does not let certain people off the hook because He favors them. However, we are all judged the same for our actions. God did not show partiality in judgement of Cain’s offering versus Abel’s. He had a standard which Cain did not meet, and therefore God does not regard Cain’s sacrifice.
13. GE 4:9 God asks Cain where his brother Able is. PR 15:3, JE 16:17, 23:24-25, HE 4:13 God is everywhere. He sees everything. Nothing is hidden from his view.
Response: Clearly, God is rebuking Cain in this portion of Scripture. He is calling Cain onto the carpet for his sins. God is not literally wondering where Able is.
14. GE 4:15, DT 32:19-27, IS 34:8 God is a vengeful god. EX 15:3, IS 42:13, HE 12:29 God is a warrior. God is a consuming fire. EX 20:5, 34:14, DT 4:24, 5:9, 6:15, 29:20, 32:21 God is a jealous god. LE 26:7-8, NU 31:17-18, DT 20:16-17, JS 10:40, JG 14:19, EZ 9:5-7 The Spirit of God is (sometimes) murder and killing. NU 25:3-4, DT 6:15, 9:7-8, 29:20, 32:21, PS 7:11, 78:49, JE 4:8, 17:4, 32:30-31, ZP 2:2 God is angry. His anger is sometimes fierce. 2SA 22:7-8 (KJV) "I called to the Lord; ... he heard my voice; ... The earth trembled and quaked, ... because he was angry. Smoke came from his nostrils. Consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it." EZ 6:12, NA 1:2, 6 God is jealous and furious. He reserves wrath for, and takes revenge on, his enemies. "... who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and rocks are thrown down by him." 2CO 13:11, 14, 1JN 4:8, 16 God is love. GA 5:22-23 The fruit of the Spirit of God is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Response: As I said before, anger is not the opposite of love. Hate is the opposite of love. In fact, a point that I think is important, is God’s anger is proof of His love. Does love breed indifference? I think not. Love breeds emotion. If God was indifferent towards the actions of His beloved, that would be damning proof that He does not love us. I say all that to say that love and anger are not mutually exclusive. They can and do coexist both in people and in God.
15. GE 4:16 Cain went away (or out) from the presence of the Lord. JE 23:23-24 A man cannot hide from God. God fills heaven and earth.
Response: This is a misunderstanding of the phraseology and of the term “presence”. Of course, God is omnipresent and lives extra-dimensionally, however this verse is saying that Cain and the Lord no longer had a relationship. I’m sure you’ve heard it said that someone is “here but not present”. The meaning of this phrase in our modern use is that someone is physically present, but not paying attention. Although that’s not exactly what Genesis 4:16 means, you can still understand how the Lord was both physically present, but not present in relationship with Cain.
This is a huge list to tackle, but I promise to respond to the entire thing!