"Errors and Contradictions in the Bible"
Dr. Ray Dykes and the Personal Faith Program "Errors and Contradictions in the Bible" [#406]
There are contradictions in the Bible. The details of a few of the errors and contradictions in the Bible are presented below. I find that its errors and contradictions make it more credible rather than less. A contradiction indicates that one may be right and one may be wrong, or both may be wrong, but both cannot be right.
Therefore, it is fair to classify a contradiction as an error on the part of someone. Contradictions in two of the creation stories and in the two stories of Noah and the Flood are outlined. Other errors and contradictions from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament make it clear that this issue must not be brushed aside. Here is a listing of some of the contradictions in the Bible, beginning with the most blatant and obvious:
1. I Samuel 17:50-51 says that David killed Goliath. II Samuel 21:19 says that Elhanan killed the same Goliath.
2. Matthew 28:2 and Mark 16:5 say that there was one "angel" or "young man" at the empty tomb on Easter morning. Luke 24:4 says that there were "two men."
3. In Matthew 28:7 and Mark 16:7, the women are told to tell the disciples to go to Galilee, where they will see the resurrected Christ. In Luke 24, Jesus appears to the disciples in Jerusalem and ascends to heaven from Bethany, whereas in Matthew 28, Jesus appears to ascend to heaven from a mountain in Galilee.
4. In the first two chapters in the Bible are found two contradictory accounts of creation. There are eight points of contrast between the accounts:
a. The story comes from the southern storyteller of this and other stories.
b. It was first written about 1000 BCE (before the common era, same as BC)
c. The pre-creation situation is dry desert because that's what you find in southern Israel.
d. Creation of humanity precedes the creation of vegetation and animal life.
e. Man and woman, Adam and Eve, are created in two separate acts.
f. The Creator is called "the Lord God."
g. Creation is a hands-on experience for the Lord God.
h. One important aspect of the concept of the Lord God presented in this story is fertility.
a. This is the religious establishment's official authorized description of creation.
b. This description was first written about 500 BCE, in or around the time the Jews returned to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon.
c. The pre-creation situation is watery chaos because Babylon sat between the Tigris and Euphrates.
d. Order of creation is light, sky, sea, earth, vegetation, sun and moon and stars, birds, sea creatures, land animals, and lastly, humanity.
e. Creation of humanity is single act.
f. The Creator is called "God."
g. The Creator is present only through the commands that cause the creative acts to occur.
h. One important aspect of the concept of God presented in this description is bringing order out of chaos.
5. In Genesis 6-8, there are two stories of the Great Flood, a common story in the literature of the Middle East. These stories have been intermingled in the text by the editors and redactors. The older of the stories is found in Genesis 6:8-10; 7:1-10, 16c; 8:6-12, 20-22. This story comes from 1000 BCE and may have Egyptian influence. The newer story is found in Genesis 6:9-22; 7:11-24; 8:1-5, 13-19; 9:1-17, and comes from 500 BCE with Babylonian influence. Here are six contradictions:
Old Flood Story
a. Human wickedness prompted "Yahweh" to wipe out descendants of Adam, along with animals, reptiles and birds, but not sea creatures.
b. No details are given about the size of the ark or what it's made from or how it's made.
c. Noah is instructed to take seven (7) pairs of edible animals on board, and one pair of animals that you don't eat.
d. The flood is a simple matter of too much rain falling for "forty days and forty nights," a Hebrew idiomatic phrase meaning "long enough."
e. The ark lands in an unknown location after Noah sends out a dove on three occasions to test for dry ground. All passengers disembark soon after, it seems.
f. Noah initiates a covenant-making ceremony with Yahweh. He builds an altar, kills one of every edible specie of animal and bird and cooks the meat on the altar. Yahweh is pleased and promises never again to destroy every living thing.
New Flood Story
a. "God" decided to kill everything under the heavens in which there is the "spirit of God," in response to humans filling the Earth with violence.
b. Details are given of the size and shape of the ark, along with specific directions as to how it is to be built and from what it is to be made.
c. Noah is instructed to take one pair of all animals on board, and is reminded to take food for all.
d. The flood is a complex matter involving the undoing of creation. The dome that divided the waters above the Earth from the waters below the Earth is severely threatened when water comes down from above, and comes up from below for one hundred fifty days.
e. The ark lands in the mountains of Upper Mesopotamia and Noah and his family and all the animals remain in the ark for several months before disembarking.
f. God initiates a covenant-making ceremony with Noah. He gives the humans similar instructions to those he gave to the humans in the description of creation in the first chapter of Genesis. God gives the rainbow as a sign of his promise that he will never again drown every living thing.
Other contradictions could be listed but they are more complex than these and require more background explanation. One such is the two burial places of Jacob in Genesis. An important point is that you don't have to believe everything in the Bible is literally true to have a solid faith. But if you want to talk about your faith with other people, you better know where you stand on Scripture.
This is one of the most contentious matter in the Christian faith right now. It has ripped Christian families asunder in the past twenty years. It is the centerpiece of many religious discussions.
For further information, contact Dr. Ray Dykes, 405-728-2844 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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