WVW: Bible Contradictions - Part 3
Updated: Aug 19, 2020
This is part 3 of my response to this list of supposed contradictions in the Bible –
I decided to start taking out bigger chunks at a time just so there won’t be 100 parts to this series.
1. GE 17:7, 10-11 The covenant of circumcision is to be everlasting. GA 6:15 It is of no consequence.
Response: The covenant which God made to Abraham is everlasting. Circumcision was just a sign that man is in covenant with God, similar to water baptism, which is just a physical declaration of salvation. Circumcision is not what caused the covenant to occur, nor was the covenant dependent on circumcision. We see this in Genesis 15. The covenant is completely dependent on God, therefore circumcision truly is of no consequence when it comes to God’s covenant with us.
2. GE 17:8 God promises Abraham the land of Canaan as an "everlasting possession." GE 25:8, AC 7:2-5, HE 11:13 Abraham died with the promise unfulfilled.
Response: I’ll let the quoted verse Genesis 17:8 speak for itself on this matter.
And I will give to you AND TO YOUR OFFSPRING AFTER YOU the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God
3. GE 17:15-16, 20:11-12, 22:17 Abraham and his half sister, Sarai, are married and receive God's blessings. LE 20:17, DT 27:20-23 Incest is wrong.
Response: Incest is indeed wrong. Isn’t God a gracious God, that although we constantly and consistently sin, He still blesses us. Of course, nowhere does the Bible say that Abraham and Sarah are blessed because of their marriage. They’re blessed despite it.
4. GE 18:20-21 God decides to "go down" to see what is going on. 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: Yet again we have an example of anthropopathism. Anthropopathism is a literary device used to attribute a humanly trait to God, in order to understand Him with our finite minds. This has been explained in detail in the last two posts, and I hope I don’t encounter this “contradiction” many more times as I grow tired of writing out the word anthropopathism.
5. GE 19:30-38 While he is drunk, Lot's two daughters "lie with him," become pregnant, and give birth to his offspring. 2PE 2:7 Lot was "just" and "righteous."
Response: A couple things on this. First, I already noted in my response to the third item on this post that God blesses us despite our sins. Also, 2 Peter mentions that God saved Lot “a righteous man” from Sodom. At the time that God saved Lot, he was indeed considered righteous. Lot’s daughters did not lie with him until after God had saved the righteous man.
6. GE 22:1-12, DT 8:2 God tempts (tests) Abraham and Moses. JG 2:22 God himself says that he does test (tempt). 1CO 10:13 Paul says that God controls the extent of our temptations. JA 1:13 God tests (tempts) no one.
Response: I think it’s interesting that the writer of this list says “God tempts (tests) Abraham and Moses” as if tempting and testing are the same thing. God does not tempt anyone to sin. Temptation is persuasion to sin while testing is a measurement of someone’s attributes. The deception and manipulation of words pertaining to this objection is astounding. I encourage you to read the Bible verses for yourself.
7. GE 27:28 "May God give you ... an abundance of grain and new wine." DT 7:13 If they follow his commandments, God will bless the fruit of their wine. PS 104:15 God gives us wine to gladden the heart. JE 13:12 "... every bottle shall be filled with wine." JN 2:1-11 According to the author of John, Jesus' first miracle was turning water to wine. RO 14:21 It is good to refrain from drinking wine.
Response: At this point, I feel the need to remind myself why I’m doing this project. I am doing this in order to give people a solid explanation for each and every objection or contradiction, so that people will have confidence in the Bible. That doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten frustrated in the process as I feel that the majority of these are purposely crafted in order to appear like a contradiction.
With that being said, Romans 14:21 says it is good to refrain from drinking if you’re with someone else that feels like they shouldn’t drink. A common scenario would likely be if someone is recovering from alcoholism, it is not good to drink around them.
8. GE 35:10 God says Jacob is to be called Jacob no longer; henceforth his name is Israel. GE 46:2 At a later time, God himself uses the name Jacob.
Response: DiD God SeRIoUSLy cAlL jaCoB bY HiS oLD NaME?? thE BibuhL is faYKe.
9. GE 36:11 The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. GE 36:15-16 Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz. 1CH 1:35-36 Teman, Omar, Zephi, Gatam, Kenaz, Timna, and Amalek.
Response: The genealogies in the Bible are not comprehensive. There is always a purpose for a genealogy to be listed in the Bible, and once you know what that purpose is, you’ll know why certain people are mentioned and certain ones aren’t. Typically people are mentioned because of their significance to the motivation of the genealogy, or their significance in general. If someone was not a major character in history, they’re likely not mentioned.
10. GE 49:2-28 The fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel are: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph, and Benjamin. RE 7:4-8 (Leaves out the tribe of Dan, but adds Manasseh.)
Response: This has a lot of eschatological implications that I’m not going to bother getting into, but Manasseh is not just some random tribe thrown into the mix in Revelation. Manasseh is a division of Joseph’s tribe. They’re a totally legitimate tribe mentioned all throughout the Bible.
It is likely that God left out the tribe of Dan from being part of the sealed 144,000 because of its idolatry or some other sin. Judges 18:14-31 shows us that they’re not the holiest of tribes. God has the right to bless whichever tribes he desires to bless.
11. GE 50:13 Jacob was buried in a cave at Machpelah bought from Ephron the Hittite. AC 7:15-16 He was buried in the sepulchre at Shechem bought from the sons of Hamor.
Response: It is important to note the context of Acts 7:15-16. This is a record of a speech that Stephen is giving, recorded by Luke. What is important to note is that just because the Bible records an error that someone made or said, does not mean that the Bible is in error. Luke inerrantly recorded exactly what Stephen said in his speech, although Stephen had a minor goof. The Bible is not purporting that the patriarchs are buried at Shechem. Stephen is. Would it be better if Luke corrected what Stephen said? That would therefore cause the Bible to be errant, because Luke would be claiming that Stephen said things he didn’t actually say, and then we would have a real problem.
12. EX 3:1 Jethro was the father-in-law of Moses. NU 10:29, JG 4:11 (KJV) Hobab was the father-in-law of Moses.
Response: The only verse that may seem to contradict here is judges 4:11. Numbers 10:29 says that Hobab was the son of his father in law. That would make Hobab his brother in law.
So, the word used in these verses really just means “male in-law”. So context needs to be examined in order to determine if it is a father in-law, brother in-law, etc. Some English translations correctly named Hobab Moses’s brother in-law, while others mistakenly translated it as father in-law.
13. EX 3:20-22, DT 20:13-17 God instructs the Israelites to despoil the Egyptians, to plunder their enemies. EX 20:15, 17, LE 19:13 God prohibits stealing, defrauding, or robbing a neighbor.
Response: There are two different situations happening here. In Exodus 3, this is God’s instruction for Israel to go around house to house in order to ask for money/possessions. Although the creator of this list calls it “stealing”, this is really Egypt simply paying for the free labor they had received for years. This is essentially the first example of “reparations” that we see in history.
The second situation is that God allows the Israelites to take possessions after a battle from the losers of the battle. Although it seems grim, this is not stealing because one must be alive in order to be stolen from. Exodus 20 and Leviticus 19 do not prohibit “plundering”, they prohibit stealing.
14. EX 4:11 God decides who will be dumb, deaf, blind, etc. 2CO 13:11, 14, 1JN 4:8, 16 God is a god of love.
Response: There are two camps here. One camp says that Exodus 4:11 is hyperbolic language used by God as He is rebuking Moses’s unbelief. Many in this camp would say that you need to interpret Old Testament passages in light of the New Testament and Jesus. Jesus constantly went around healing these ailments, showing that God wills us to not suffer these.
Another camp says that it is indeed God’s will to ail certain people, and that it is in order to glorify Him in some way. We know this can be true, as we see in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that in our weakness He is made strong. They would say that there is nothing wrong with being blind or deaf and that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
15. EX 9:3-6 God destroys all the cattle (including horses) belonging to the Egyptians. EX 9:9-11 The people and the cattle are afflicted with boils. EX 12:12, 29 All the first-born of the cattle of the Egyptians are destroyed. EX 14:9 After having all their cattle destroyed, then afflicted with boils, and then their first-born cattle destroyed, the Egyptians pursue Moses on horseback.
Response: There are several reasons why this is not a contradiction. The first is that there is a lot of exaggeration in the Scriptures, just like there is today. We say things like “I do all the work around here” or “Everyone from Boston has a funny accent”. Exaggeration is also all over the place in the Bible. This is not misleading, it is just common language.
Secondly, we have no idea how much time was in between each plague. It could have been days, it could have been weeks, maybe it was months! It wouldn’t be surprising for a nation as powerful as Egypt was in that time to confiscate livestock from their Israelite slaves or buy them from the surrounding nations in order to replace the ones that have died.
Thirdly, Exodus 9:3 says all the animals “in the field” will be killed. It seems unlikely that Pharaoh’s war horses would be in the field. They were likely kept in stables.
16. EX 12:13 The Israelites have to mark their houses with blood in order for God to see which houses they occupy and "pass over" them. PR 15:3, JE 16:17, 23:24-25, HE 4:13 God is everywhere. He sees everything. Nothing is hidden from God.
Response: This is obviously a call for obedience. God did not actually need some sort of indicator in order to receive physical direction.
17. EX 12:37, NU 1:45-46 The number of men of military age who take part in the Exodus is given as more than 600,000. Allowing for women, children, and older men would probably mean that a total of about 2,000,000 Israelites left Egypt. 1KI 20:15 All the Israelites, including children, number only 7000 at a later time.
Response: This “contradiction” is multi-deceptive, if I may create my own word. The first thing to note is that by the time 1 Kings 20:15 comes around, Israel has split into the Southern Kingdom of Judah and the Northern Kingdom of ISRAEL. So we know for sure, the group of “Israelites” here will be significantly less than if Israel were united as one kingdom. Secondly, Ahab is not gathering “all the Israelites, including children” as stated. He is gathering all of the Israelites that are going to go to battle. The word Israelite here is just the descriptor of the soldiers. The President gathered all the Americans and went to invade North Korea. An example of how the nationality of the soldier is used to describe the soldier. The president didn’t gather every American.
18. EX 15:3, 17:16, NU 25:4, 32:14, IS 42:13 God is a man of war--he is fierce and angry. RO 15:33, 2CO 13:11, 14, 1JN 4:8, 16 God is a god of love and peace.
Response: There is so much to respond to here, that I will never be able to do this topic justice in a blog post. I suggest for further insights to read Is God a Moral Monster? By Paul Copan or Crucifixion of the Warrior God by Greg Boyd in order to learn two thoughtful views regarding this subject.
19. EX 20:1-17 God gave the law directly to Moses (without using an intermediary). GA 3:19 The law was ordained through angels by a mediator (an intermediary).
Response: Exodus 20:1-17 does not say that the law was given directly to Moses from the Lord. It simple says “and the Lord said”. In fact there are three other verses that speak to this event.
Deuteronomy 33:2 - He said: “The Lord came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran. He came with myriads of holy ones from the south, from his mountain slopes.
Acts 7:53 - you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.
Hebrews 2:2 - For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment,
It is pretty clear that angels were present during the giving of the law.
20. EX 20:4 God prohibits the making of any graven images whatsoever. EX 25:18 God enjoins the making of two graven images.
Response: Exodus 20:4 does not prohibit making any graven images whatsoever. It prohibits making graven images in order to worship as idols.
I will concede that this list was tougher than the last two, however after thoroughly researching each objection, it is clear that the Bible still stands as inerrant. I look forward to continuing this project!