Three articles appear below:
1 Brian De Kretser lists alleged "Bible Contradictions".
2 Kevin Rogers gives a brief response.
3 "Anonymous" responds to each and every "contradiction".

Bible Contradictions

(Investigator 149, 2013 January)


The Christian Bible is the world's best example of self-contradictions, misinformation and plagiarism. Biblical scholars have known this for centuries. "God's Word" the Bible has been edited, re-interpreted, mistranslated, revised, censored, re-written, interpolated a countless number of times down the centuries.
The first council 325 a.d. voted out "Acts of the Apostles" and "Revelation" from the Bible, the second council 363 a.d. voted them in again. Another council 406 a.d. voted these two and others out of the Bible once more. Thus various books were voted in and out of "The Infallible Word of God" over the centuries by 24 different councils. These were altered and amended by 50 or more translations and more than 150,000 alterations.

Here are a few more examples-
•    In Genesis 1. God made plants before the sun. God made man and woman together, after the plants, the lights of heaven, fishes, birds, animals. In Genesis 2 this is contradicted — God made man first, then plants and trees, rivers etc, then animals, birds and the rest then, last of all Eve from Adam's rib.
•    God told Adam, if he ate the fruit of "knowledge" he would die at once, this was a lie, Adam ate and lived to 930 years (Genesis 5:5) Obviously a good health food.
•    God decided to destroy everything on earth. (Genesis 6: 7-17) He then changed his mind and saved Noah, his family, and two of every kind — animal, bird, insect etc. Some say seven.
•    J.C. said "Everyone that asketh, receiveth, and he that seeketh, findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8) OR "Only a few will be saved, and many will seek to enter but will not be admitted." (Luke 13:23-24)
•    J.C. tells his followers to go forth and preach without shoes and staves  (Matthew 10:10) OR to preach with nothing but shoes and staves (Matthew 6:8-9)
•    God's assurance that the earth will abide forever. (Ecclesiastes 1:4) OR "Heaven and earth shall pass away..." (Matthew 24:35 & Luke 21:33)
•    J.C. called himself "Prince of Peace" OR not to send peace but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)
•    J.C.'s last words "My God my God why hast thou forsaken me?" OR "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit" (Luke 23:46) OR "It is finished" (John 19:30)
The Roman Church claims that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome or Pope. But many scholars are of the opinion that such a person as Peter never existed.

The Church created its own history using forged documents, but in the earliest writings listing the Bishops of Rome, Peter's name never appears. According to Irenaeus an early church father, the first Bishop of Rome was Linus, followed by Clement. Peter never had that title; he was invested centuries after he died.

More Examples-
•    "The dead know nothing, and have no reward, there is no consciousness after death." (Ecclesiastes 9:5-10) OR "They are deceased, they shall not rise." (Isaiah 26:14) OR "The sea, death and hell will give up their dead to be judged." (Revelation 20:13) OR "Believers will live forever." (John 11:26) OR "The dead shall be raised incorruptible." (1 Corinthians 15:52) Take your pick what ever suits you — Ha! Ha!
•    "Ye are saved through faith...not works."(Ephesians 2:8-9) OR "By works is man justified, and not by faith." (James 2:24)
•    "Drink wine not water." (1 Timothy 5:23) OR "Don't drink wine (Proverbs 20:1 & Romans 14:21)
•    "God has been tempted 10 times." (Numbers 14:22) OR "God can't be tempted." (James 1:13)
•    "Nations shall not lift up sword against Nations." (Micah 4:3) OR "Nation shall rise against Nation." (Matthew 24:7)
•    "Love your enemies." (Luke 6:27) OR "Kill your enemies." (Luke 19:27)
•    "With God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26) OR "God can't prevail against chariots of iron." (Judges 1:19)
•    God punishes children for their parent's sins unto the 3rd and 4th generations. (Exodus 20:5) OR The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father. (Ezekiel 18:20)
•    J.C. was given vinegar and gall to drink on the cross. (Matthew 27:34) OR J.C. was given wine and myrrh to drink on the cross (Mark 15:23)
•    "The Lord is very pitiful and tender of mercy." (James 5:11) OR "I (God) will not pity nor spare, nor have mercy." (Jeremiah 13:14)
•    "Blessed are the peace makers." (Matthew 5:9) OR "The Lord is a man of war." (Exodus 15:3)
It is estimated that over 9,000 scientific errors have been found in the Bible (e.g. cud-chewing Hares, straw eating Lions, a flood covering every mountain on earth, etc)

Yet the Catholic Church's "Dogmatic Constitution" declares in 1965 that God is the true author of the Bible and all the biblical stories are "accurate and true and without error."

In 1972 Evangelical Divinity Schools were requiring that all affirm that the "Bible is free from error."

The notion of a god or gods is rejected by the intelligent or by any person with common sense and power to reason. But embraced by the fundamentalist no-brains who have lost the power of reason. They still believe in "fairies at the bottom of the garden."

Those who choose to live without this mythical God's convoluted plan for some mythical salvation, are quite well off without it, free of guilt or need to believe in a mythology handed down from the Dark Ages, that cannot stand up to reason or investigation.

Brian de Kretser
Institute for Research into Religions
Darwin
N.T. Australia.



Bible Contradictions?

(Investigator 150, 2013 May)

Kevin Rogers


I refer to Brian De Kretser's article in Investigator #149 on Bible Contradictions.

In this article Brian provided a list of supposed contradictions in the Bible to demonstrate its unreliability.

Now for some of them I actually agree that it appears that way. One example that Brian cites is when Jesus sent out the 12 disciples. In Mark 6:8 Jesus says "take nothing for your journey except a staff". (Brian incorrectly attributes this to Matthew 6:8). However, in Matthew 10:10 and Luke 9:3 Jesus is recorded as saying "Take nothing for your journey, not even a staff". Now I am sure that some clever person has provided a reconciliation of this contradiction. However, explanations of this type appear lame to me. I don't seek to prove Biblical inerrancy, and inconsistencies at this level do not concern me. Who cares if the disciples carried a staff or not? (Actually both Matthew and Luke had a copy of both Mark and Quelle when they authored their gospels. They may have simply preferred Quelle to Mark on this occasion.) What I do contend is that the gospels reflect records based on highly reliable historical testimony.

The more serious inconsistencies that Brian claims reflect more on Brian than on the Bible. He just fails to read the Bible intelligently. I will just demonstrate this with a few examples:
In Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus says "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." However, in Luke 13: 23-25 Jesus says, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.' But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'" So in Matthew Jesus says "Ask and you will receive" but in Luke some ask to enter but are denied. According to Brian this is a contradiction. However, in Matthew, Jesus is addressing his followers, but in Luke he is addressing those who are not his followers. Brian has just failed to take the context into account.

In Luke 6:27 Jesus commands his followers to love their enemies. However in Luke 19:27 the enemies of the king are killed. Again Brian ignores the context. The first passage applies to Jesus followers and it is well known what it means. The passage from Luke 19 is taken from Jesus parable of the vineyard. God is the king and the event refers to the final judgment. Between now and the final judgment Jesus followers should be kind to their enemies. They should leave judgment to God. However, the enemies of God will not get away with their evil forever and will finally be judged by the king in accordance with their deeds. There is no contradiction.
If you fail to take context into account and do not read the text sympathetically then you can discover all kinds of contradictions that aren't really there, but that is your problem, not a problem with the text.

Brian concludes, "The notion of a god or gods is rejected by the intelligent or by any person with common sense and power to reason..." By this he compliments himself and maligns those who disagree with him. However, I don't think that Brian has demonstrated his case.



"CONTRADICTIONS" CLEARED UP

Anonymous

(Investigator 151, 2013 July)


EVIDENCE SUMMARIZED

In the 1980s the world of science began to accept that global destruction by asteroid impact could one day come from Space. This, however, is something I learned from the Bible years earlier. (Investigator #62) To appreciate the power of such evidence Mr De Kretser — who accuses the Bible of "contradictions, misinformation, plagiarism and mistranslation" (#149) — should try returning science to its previous position of denial.

Then there is racism which is opposed in the Bible. Racism killed tens of millions in the 1940s and was defended by numerous scientists but is now refuted by the science of genetics. To appreciate the power of such evidence De Kretser should try getting racist beliefs re-accepted as science.

And there are a thousand other examples showing the Bible regularly correct and its critics mistaken.

This includes hundreds of geographical locations archaeologically confirmed, about 100 Bible people confirmed, and scores of statements in ethics, medicine, psychology, astronomy, history, theology and zoology, plus numerous alleged contradictions cleared up (in the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties and other publications).
   

CONTRADICTIONS

De Kretser seems to consider it a contradiction if something is done on one occasion but something different next time. By this viewpoint someone who breathes in and then out, or starts his car and later stops it, is contradicting himself.   

Are the two statements "Tony opened the door" and "Tony did not open the door" contradictory? Only if both statements refer to the same door, the same Tony, and the same point in time. Change one of these — the person, the door or the time — and there's no contradiction.


"CONTRADICTIONS" CLEARED UP

Let us go through De Kretser's list:

Q. Is the sequence of creation in Genesis 1 different to Genesis 2?

A. Genesis 2 is not an alternative "creation story" to Chapter 1 but focuses on the Garden of Eden. Compare this to a book in which Chapter 1 gives a broad summary (e.g. a broad summary of World War I) and subsequent chapters discuss specifics (e.g. specific battles). To do this is not "contradictory".


Q. Was Adam told he "would die at once" if he ate of the fruit?

A. Adam's dying began the same day but took many years to finish. (Genesis 5:4)


Q. Did God decide to destroy everything on earth (Genesis 6:7-17) but changed his mind and saved some?

A. Genesis 6:13 says: "I will destroy them from the earth [i.e. the land]". Subsequent verses (6:14 to 7:4) state that representatives of all "kinds" would survive on the Ark.


Q. "Everyone that asketh, receiveth, and he that seeketh, findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8) OR "Only a few will be saved, and many will seek to enter but will not be admitted." (Luke 13:23-24)

A. Everyone is invited into the Kingdom of God but many refuse or delay until too late.


Q. Did Jesus tell his followers to preach without shoes and staves (Matthew 10:10) OR to take shoes and staves (Mark 6:8-9)?

A. Matthew 6:9-10 says: "Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff…" The point (which is clearer in Mark 6) is, don't take a second pair of sandals or second staff.

Jesus doubtless often repeated his teachings on the same day to changing audiences. In Matthew's version some disciples who already had a staff may have asked about a second staff, so that "Take no staff" meant no additional staff.


Q. Will the earth abide forever (Ecclesiastes 1:4) OR "Heaven and earth shall pass away..." (Matthew 24:35; Luke 21:33)

A. Ecclesiastes describes what people could find out about the world by observation and experience. One observation is: "A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever." The Hebrew "olam" refers to unknown/indefinite lengths of time which can be forever but not necessarily. And that's what was observable — people die but the land stays. The New Testament goes beyond what ancient people could observe and foretells of "new heavens and a new earth." (II Peter 3:13)


Q. J.C. was "Prince of Peace" OR not to send peace but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)

A. Jesus will bring universal peace (Isaiah 9:6-7), and preached "Blessed are the peacemakers…" (Matthew 6:9) But until universal peace occurs many people oppose Jesus. The "sword" refers to conflict within families. (Matthew 10:34-36)


Q. What were Jesus' last words on the cross?

A. The Gospels are based on "eyewitnesses". Different witnesses would have observed from different distances, were present at different but overlapping times, experienced different distractions, and therefore heard and noticed different details.

In Matthew and Mark Jesus says: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (27:46; 15:34) These were not the final words since Jesus was then offered sour wine (Matthew 27:48) and "gave a loud cry and breathed his last." (Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:37)

John 19:30 states: "When Jesus had received the wine, he said, 'It is finished.' Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." These words occurred after "My God, My God…" but they are not the "loud cry".

Jesus' "loud cry" occurred between saying "It is finished" and bowing his head. Luke gives the words of this loud cry: "Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, 'Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.' Having said this, he breathed his last." (Luke 23:46)


Q. The Roman Church claims that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome or Pope. But many scholars are of the opinion Peter never existed. Peter never had that title; he was invested centuries after he died.

A. Hundreds of New Testament claims are already confirmed by archaeology, which suggests that confirmation of Peter will eventually occur. Human bones excavated under the altar of St Peter's Basilica in Rome in 1968 have been forensically identified as a 1st century man in his 60s. Peter's bones? Perhaps. http://religion.wikia.com.wiki/Saint_Peter


Q. Do the dead "know nothing" (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6), "they shall not rise" (Isaiah 26:14), or are they conscious?

A. The theme of Ecclesiastes is what someone who believes in God could discover about life's purpose by observing the world. Observation tells him that the dead "know nothing" (9:5-6) and people die like animals. (3:18-21) Observation therefore finds no final meaning — "everything is vanity".

The last chapter of Ecclesiastes goes beyond observation and states: "the spirit shall return to God who gave it." (12:7) Other Bible passages foretell a future "resurrection". (Daniel 12:2; John 5:28-29; 11:24-26; Acts 23:6; Revelation 20:13)

"They shall not rise" (Isaiah 26:14) is true of that time in history and assured the Jews that the nations (Isaiah 14-25) that had oppressed them and their rulers (26:13), won't oppress them again.


Q. "Ye are saved through faith...not works." (Ephesians 2:8-9) OR "By works is man justified, and not by faith." (James 2:24)

A. Faith that "Jesus died for sinners" (Romans 5:6-8) comes first, but faith also produces "good works" which demonstrate one's faith.


Q. "Drink wine not water" (1 Timothy 5:23) OR "Don't drink wine (Proverbs 20:1 & Romans 14:21)

A. In I Timothy wine is prescribed for Timothy's stomach ailments. Aside from illness, it's OK to drink wine in moderation for enjoyment without getting drunk. (Psalm 104:15) However, avoid wine or anything else if it "stumbles" those "weak in faith" — Romans 14:1-23.


Q. "God has been tempted 10 times." (Numbers 14:22) OR "God can't be tempted." (James 1:13)

A. In the Old Testament the Hebrew for "tempt" ("Nahsah") can mean "test" as in testing someone's loyalty, patience or truthfulness. God's patience is "tested" when evil-doers ignore Him and persist in their evil. God too can "tempt" by testing people's worthiness for a task or assignment. In modern English "tempt" often implies trying to entice someone to act unethically. In this sense God cannot be tempted nor tempts. (James 1:13)


Q. "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation." (Micah 4:3) OR "Nation shall rise against nation." (Matthew 24:7)

A. Matthew refers to wars between the 1st century and Christ's second coming; Micah refers to the peace afterwards when God rules humankind.

Q. "Love your enemies." (Luke 6:27) OR "Kill your enemies." (Luke 19:27)

A. There's a time for both. Luke 19:27 refers to Christ at his return when he judges — read from verse 11 onwards.


Q. "With God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26) OR "God can't prevail against chariots of iron." (Judges 1:19)

A. "The LORD was with Judah, and he [Judah] took possession of the hill country, but could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain because they had chariots of iron." (Judges 1:19)
That "the LORD was with Judah" is seen in verses 4-19, but having God's favor does not guarantee getting everything immediately when one wants it. Jesus himself said "Not what I want but what you want…"  (Matthew 26:39)


Q. God punishes children for their parent's sins unto the 3rd and 4th generations. (Exodus 20:5) OR The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father. (Ezekiel 18:20)

A. "Punishing the children" refers to them suffering consequences of their parents' behavior. That this commonly happens is obvious. New Scientist magazine reports: "The sins of the fathers are, indeed, visited on subsequent generations. Nutrition and smoking in early life may influence the health of men's sons and grandsons, a new study has revealed." (7 January, 2006, p. 10) Ezekiel 18 refers to judicial punishment for crime, sin, unrighteousness and negligence. Punishment for any of these is on the perpetrator, not his relatives.


Q. Was Jesus given vinegar and gall to drink on the cross (Matthew 27:34) or wine and myrrh? (Mark 15:23)

A. Not "on" the cross but before. Two soldiers may each have offered a different drink and Jesus refused both. Alternatively the vinegar contained both "gall" (a bitter additive, possibly pain-killer) and myrrh.


Q. "The Lord is very pitiful and tender of mercy." (James 5:11) OR "I will not pity nor spare, nor have mercy." (Jeremiah 13:14)

A. Compare today's judicial system which can protect or punish depending on innocence or guilt. God is "tender in mercy" but ultimately judges unrepentant, merciless evil-doers without mercy.


Q. "Blessed are the peace makers" (Matthew 5:9) or "The Lord is a man of war." (Exodus 15:3)

A. The Bible teaches peace, and followers of God promote peace. (Romans 12:18) Many people, however, see peace as weakness and start conflicts and wars. This makes God their enemy and ultimately brings out his "man of war" or warrior side.


SCIENTIFIC ERRORS

De Kretser claims thousands of errors such as cud-chewing hares, straw-eating lions, and a flood covering all mountains.

Hares and rabbits eat their own partly-digested fecal pellets and the food therefore goes through the digestive system twice — a fact discovered in 1940. (#145) Ruminants such as cattle and deer regurgitate their food for re-chewing and it goes through part of the digestive system twice. This similarity explains why Moses refers to hares as "chewers of cud".  (#149)

What about "straw-eating" lions? Isaiah 11:7 pictures straw-eating lions to describe future world peace. Lions, however, also literally eat grass. Carr (1965) says: "I am sure it is also the desire to make up a dietary deficiency which sometimes makes lions eat quantities of fresh grass… This habit is also quite common with wild lions…" (Return to the Wild, p. 108)

And regarding Noah's Flood: This was a large local flood since there was "earth" i.e. land not covered by the water — Genesis 8:1.


REASON

De Kretser claims that all who can reason reject the notion of God.

Actually modern science developed out of Christianity, millions of science graduates believed in prayer, and the Human Genome Project was headed by a Christian.

Professor Paul Davies, physicist and cosmologist, writes: "Through my scientific work I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute fact." (The Mind of God, 1992)

Scores of Bible debates on this website:

http://users.adam.com.au/bstett/

http://ed5015.tripod.com/