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Featured Dealing With Biblical Contradictions

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by Skwim, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    I just finished watching a video critiquing another video by Kyle Butts who argues that the Bible has no contradictions. At the end of the video I was watching its host observed that Butt's audience is fine with his contention because Butts, having settled the issue in their minds "don't want to look to closely at the Bible anyway." This got me thinking about all the contradictions I've come across in the Bible . Contradictions such as

    There were many languages before the Tower of Babel.
    Genesis 10:5
    5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.​

    There was only one language before the Tower of Babel.
    Genesis 11:1
    11 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.​

    **********************************
    8,000 and 500,000 men
    2 Samuel 24:9
    9 And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.​

    1,100,000 and 470,000
    1 Chronicles 21:5
    5 And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword.​

    ***********************************
    Judas throws the money away, and dies by hanging himself
    Matthew 27:5
    5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.​

    Judas buys a field with the money, and dies by falling down.
    Act 1:18
    18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.​

    ***********************************
    Jesse has seven sons
    1 Chronicles 2:13-15
    13 And Jesse begat his firstborn Eliab, and Abinadab the second, and Shimma the third,14 Nethaneel the fourth, Raddai the fifth,15 Ozem the sixth, David the seventh:​

    Jesse has eight sons
    1 Samuel 17:12
    12 Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.​


    and wondered how Christians here on RF handle Bible contradictions. Do they deny them, ignore them, accept them but dismiss them as irrelevant, or wring out an explanation for them all? So, to all the Christians on board here, just what do you do with the contradictions in your Bible?

    Just deny they exist and go on about your day.

    Admit they exist, but totally ignore them

    Accept them, but go on to dismiss them as irrelevant,

    Wring out the best explanation you can, in effect rendering them non-contradictory.

    Or_______________________________ .

    .
     
  2. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    As I read it, I read it differently than you. It appears that you read 10 & 11 as chronological. When I read it, I found 10 to be a general statement and 11 as more specific as to how. Especially when it said "As they moved Eastward in chapter 11 whereas in 10 they had already moved everywhere.

    To double check, I looked up a commentary of Gill

    "everyone after his tongue, after their families, in their nations;
    this shows, that what is said concerning the division of countries to the sons of Japheth is by way of anticipation; and that, though thus related, was not done till after the confusion of languages, since the partition was made according to the different languages of men; those that were of the same language went and dwelt together, the several nations of them, and the several families in those nations; by which it appears that this was done by consultation, with great care and wisdom, ranging the people according to their tongues; of which nations were formed, and with them were taken the several families they consisted of."

    He confirmed my reading.

    However, if one WANTS it to be a contradiction, feel free to believe that.
     
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  3. Kelly of the Phoenix

    Kelly of the Phoenix Well-Known Member

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    I don't buy most of the population numbers anyway. This is prior to skyscrapers and stuff, so there's no way those little rinky dink towns have that many people.
     
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  4. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    So far from my study of Genesis I find that the contradictions can be allowed as stories that have overlapping concerns (like the "two creations stories") but could be so easily corrected to not contradict that their contradiction is minor. This does make a good case for the Bible NOT being the perfect Word of God, but rather a collection of teachings and stories woven together by imperfect authors (you know, actual human beings). Overall, the weave is of high quality in Genesis IMO, but there are some tricky spots.

    The contradictions between the gospels I find much more compelling and indicate clearly that even to the original collators of the canon that such contradictions weren't as important as the stories themselves. Clearly these are not consistent eyewitness accounts but rather creative elaborations of story-tellers who worked from similar source material but felt free even as they were inspired to creatively reorganize, remove and create content in the process.

    There is no reasonable ground for arguing the Bible's perfection on this ground unless contradiction is seen as a sign of perfection.
     
    #4 sealchan, Oct 25, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
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  5. Jumi

    Jumi Well-Known Member

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    The options are rather limited... especially awareness of the non-literalist type of Christians seems always absent in these kind of OPs.
     
  6. lewisnotmiller

    lewisnotmiller Grand Hat
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    The most charitable historical estimates probably allow for 150,000 people.
     
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  7. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Interesting. And it does make sense of sorts if one accepts the notion of anticipation, but because the narration of events throughout Genesis are in chronological order I find it hard to make an exception for this one case.

    .
     
  8. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    The contradictions are real, though you gave only a very few of them. From that, it must be taken that the Bible cannot be accepted as presenting factual truth. And if it can't be taken as factual truth, I have to ask myself why I need to take it as any sort of truth at all.
     
  9. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Yeah, it isn't the truth of the numbers that's important, but the contradiction between them.
    .
     
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  10. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    One truth is certainly clear. The Bible is certainly not a divinely-inspired piece of work. It's all man-made. The contradictions are clearly there , and those who say they are not are akin to an alcoholic who says he/she doesn't have a drinking problem.

    If you cross reference apologetics with the same versus you'll find different responses furthering the fact that contradictions are certainly there within the Bible's pages with people shotgunning just about anything on the reasons why they are supposedly not contradictory.
     
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  11. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    I found a really interesting place to start understanding how the Bible came to be is Richard Elliott Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible. It is a truly fascinating read.
     
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  12. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    I agree in spades, and can only say that the reason it's taken as any sort of truth is because of an overwhelming need to preserve one's faith.

    .
     
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  13. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

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    For the same reason that we take Aesop's fables as a sort of truth, even if the truth isn't in the literal telling of the story, but in the principles illustrated by them. Jesus/God makes a lot of hay by using parables to illustrate truths, and I don't have a big problem with that. My salvation isn't dependent upon how Judas died or the number of generations between David and Jesus, or how many days it took evolution to play out from swimmy things to crawly and flying things to animals to man, as described in Genesis 1.

    The POINT of the book is to love God and love others, because our fundamental nature of selfishness (the opposite of love) separates us from both of them, and if it takes some stories with talking snakes and unicorns to get the message across, I'm ok with that.
     
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  14. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    Happens in Gen 1 vs 2 also - so not an exception--- of course... it you want it to, then have at it.
     
  15. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Hell, the whole Gen 1 Vs Gen 2 thing is a mess.

    .
     
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  16. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    In Samuel "valiant" in the Hebrew is "chayil" which means men of valor; army; host etc.

    It is possible that in Samuel it is referring to experienced men whereas Chronicles simply numbers men that had swords.

    Mine is a reasonable answer. If I am wrong, then it is a contradiction.
     
  17. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    If you want it to be, yes.
     
  18. Jollybear

    Jollybear Hey

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    Greetings.....

    Ill address the one on judas.

    I dont see it as a contradiction. In fact, even if i was not a christian, id still not see it as a contradiction.

    Its supplementational information. It builds on itself.

    The one in mathew generalizes that he hanged himself, while the one in acts gives additional details, after hanging, he fell and burst open.

    Thats supplementation. A true contradiction would look like this > judas hanged himself. Then > judas stabbed himself.

    So, we dont have a true blue contradiction here.

    In fact, its kinda funny, ive had conversations with folk in the past and they percieved me as contradicting my own self, and yet it was not the case. Which i made it clear by giving them additional information.

    Let me give you example.

    I walked around the wearhouse.

    I joged around the wearhouse.

    That looks like a contradiction doesent it?

    Well, if i gave you more info, it dont apear as a contradiction at all. Watch:

    I did intervals of walking and joging around the wearhouse.

    Supplementation and intended meaning have to be taken into account before we jump the gun and say contradiction.
     
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  19. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    :) Your resolution to the hanging and falling contradiction is an old one, one I recall from my teens, and one which no doubt goes back hundreds of years. The contradiction was only included because it's in the same verse where a true contradiction does occur: Judas is said to have done two very different things with the money.
    .
     
  20. Jollybear

    Jollybear Hey

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    Theres 3 possibilities.

    He kept just enough to buy the field and threw the rest in the temple.

    Or, the priests bought the field in his name.

    Or it was 2 different fields, potters field and field of blood.

    I gauss the question id have is if it was a true contradiction, would that mean memory laps or dishonesty?

    But, supplementation and intended meaning are very real things and it can cause things that are not contradictions to look like contradictions.
     
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