Jump to content
Science Forums

Apparent contradictions in the Bible


Recommended Posts

The Bible is full of contradictions, and we will keep on debating it and disagreeing over it for millennia to come...
B- I understand your perspective, but the purpose of this thread was to have folks surface those things that they see as contradictions, and have them discussed. Reiterating that the Bible is "full of" or"riddled with" contradictions is just basically untrue, and does not add much to the discussion.

 

No one has yet in this thread offered an example that I think is contradictory. There may well be some examples, and some may disagree with the interpretive style(s) or approach(es) that address some of the Biblical complexity. In the spirit of the thread, I think you ought to offer some examples that you see as contradictions rather than offering a faith-based postulate.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 162
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Regarding the Gen 1 and 2 issue of creation, it was suggested to me some time ago that "creating" something (gen 1) wasn't necessarily the same as "forming from dust" in the case of man (gen 2), or "c

I would like to suggest that Genesis, for one is but a fragment of an expanded story written in clay tablets of the Sumarian Civilization, some 5000 yrears BC. I suspect that Skippy will not budge mu

My point was that kids don't learn to lie. It is something that is natural for them. Have you ever met a totally honest person, even a child? I doubt it. I know that I have never met one. Was it 'unsa

Regarding the Gen 1 and 2 issue of creation, it was suggested to me some time ago that "creating" something (gen 1) wasn't necessarily the same as "forming from dust" in the case of man (gen 2), or "causing to spring forth" in the case of plants, etc. And I can personally see the logic in this distinction. Deciding what humans will be made of and how they will be framed is not the same as forming one (think objects and instances for you programmers.) The fusion of these two actions is an unfounded assumption and hence causes unnecessary contradiction. "Creating man" could mean deciding the DNA that will be transferred throughout the whole of humanity, in effect creating everyone at once. Just a thought, though.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Have you ever seen "Casablanca"? Or "The Way We Were"?

 

Irish - Well, I've only seen parts of those movies, actually, but I don't at all think you're crazy for comparing it that way - I mean, we have to put in into perspective in a way we can understand, and I think we're all familiar with the old flashback Hollywood likes to use... so yea, I get it. Thanks for the analogy. :)

 

I do understand the differences between Gen 1 and Gen 2. I can see what Gen 2 is. I mean, the books say, "the beginning" and "adam and eve" in their titles. I get that the first one is the big picture, and then they go back to describe Adam and Eve. I think this sets the tone for why a man and woman were created (although I don't understand why, if God made both sexes of all other animals, he didn't just make both for humans, too, but I guess I'm not supposed to understand God.) I just don't like that the orders are different, and I can't help but see them as inconsistencies. I am a linguist - and I have the bible in several languages - and I understand that sometimes translations are intricate and can be tricky, and that is why I don't completely dismiss it. But, in Genesis 1:9, on the third day, God created the plants and everything; then on the fifth and sixth days, God creates animals (beasts) and sea life, and then he goes on to make Man. In Genesis 2:5, it says "no shrub of the field had yet appeared on Earth"... and then God creates Man, and then the garden of Eden (does it exist on Earth? Many think it did - what do you think?) - but it doesn't say he moved to a different area that had been untouched by his formation of all those plants and everything.. ANd then God forms Animals. And then, woman. I can understand that this might be due to translation, but the orders of operation, so to speak, are different in both books.

 

And - I do not think that Satan can or does exist as a separate entity. If God exists, God is everything - everything. Unless... and forgive me to think outloud here for a moment - that God is not entirely "perfect" - which does fit in with my wondering about how perfection warrants "jealousy" and "rage" and "wrath", etc. and is not entirely a part of "everything" which would allow me to accept that evil is separate from God, but which would not make sense with him forming a tree of good and evil... sigh. Well, a conundrum for me to think about, anyway. I have always been told that God is a part of everything, so Satan doesn't make sense to me, and a struggle between God and Satan would simply mean to me that God is having some kind of schitzophrenic episode. I like Bio's explanation involving quantum physics, it ties the problem into something real and tangible (kind of ironic considering what quantum physics covers) for me to grab on to for understanding. Anyway, I'd like to know your opinion on this - Irish, and Bio as well... maybe I need to ask in another thread?

Link to post
Share on other sites
The Bible is full of contradictions, and we will keep on debating it and disagreeing over it for millennia to come. ....

 

B, I consider you highly intelligent; I value your input and I agree with you almost every time you post something. And, I agree with what you are saying here, to some extent. I am searching for something to believe in, myself, and I am also studying religions. I guess I'd say that I couldn't take any document that I know of as being 100% literally believable as related to spirituality/religion (though I don't know enough yet to speak for many documents....) If I choose to believe in Christianity, I will not be, as I said in another post, a fundamentalist - which at this point I've come to believe is someone who takes the bible quite literally in their belief. There are some things within it that I don't agree with - but I try to take into consideration the way things were at the times it was written. Many things were unknown then that we now consider base knowledge; if any of them had thought about gravity and had written about God saying, "Let the people be drawn into the earth, and the moon into the orbit of the Earth" or something, I'd pretty much figure out that gravity was an unkown at the time, and they explained it using mysticism. I hope I can figure out what things are to be taken that way, though - to take with a grain of salt, just because at the time, they were second nature - such as talking about women who are divorced being untouchable and adulteresses, no matter what.... I obviously disagree with that and think it was a sign of the times. However, I think there are things like this to be taken into consideration in any documents from old times, and not just the bible itself. I'm searching inconsistencies to find out why certain people think that the bible should be taken literally when I feel things to add up in any reasonable way in my mind for it to be taken that way, and I'm trying to be open to the very possible (and probably) phenomenon of human error. Because, even if all of it is true, the bible would not be 100% accurate, due to our inherent human error, in my opinion. If God had written it, then I would simply wave off the human error problem and the entire book- God does not make mistakes, according to the written words there, and so I would negate it. But, I keep it open to possibility.

 

I often wonder about Greek mythology and why it's not still followed by many people. I can only attribute this to the history behind Mesopotamia and Greece and the intolerance to other religious studies in many periods of history. Even Wiccan religion was really just the indigenous religion in some areas of Europe before Christianity moved in. I don't see anything wrong with studying all religions - but you're right, I'll probably never pore through Greek Mythology and ask about some of the confusing passages... I consider it more of something fun to read about. Even though the cities involved really exist/ed (for the most part). Anyway, I really intend to look at more than one religious scripture and see how I feel about it. I hope to be able to ask questions in here when I get to them, too, although I have a feeling that as I look at religions other than Christianity, there will be less passionate discussions.... and probably some criticism. Still... onward I go. I admit I'm really excited to read about Confucianism and other Eastern religions - but that might be just because I've not really heard of them or have any idea yet of what they are about (more of a learning excitement than religious).

Link to post
Share on other sites
...I do not think that Satan can or does exist as a separate entity. If God exists, God is everything - everything. Unless... and forgive me to think outloud here for a moment - that God is not entirely "perfect" - which does fit in with my wondering about how perfection warrants "jealousy" and "rage" and "wrath", etc. and is not entirely a part of "everything" which would allow me to accept that evil is separate from God...
There are a number of credible philosophical views on the existence of evil. They basically fall into three categories:

 

 

  1. Evil does not exist. The perception of evil is a misinterpretaion of facts. Poop occurs. Deal with it.
  2. God is all. He is neither good nor bad. He (or they) just is (are). This is only a shade different than saying that evil does not exist. It extends the lack of definition of evil to include a lack of definition of good.
  3. God exists. He is good. Evil is separate. Evil is only defined as the set of things in oposition to good. In the absence of good, there is no such thing as evil.

Christianity is in category 3. Your view is in category 2 1/2. You need to ask yourself the question about why "good" has to exist at all. If you are not sure it does, then you fall into category 1. If you think it does, you move toward category 3. It is pretty hard to establish a definition of "good" in the absence of a definition of "bad".

 

If you accept that "good" exists, you will obligatorily have to accpet that "bad" exists. If it does (and many think it seems to exist empirically) you need to allow for the source of it.

 

The Bible is unique in its definition of good, definition of evil, source of evil, the nature of mainkind's failings, the nature of the remedy for mankind's failings.

 

Personally, I think this is far too complicated story for a set of unrelated folks to fabricate.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I do think that good exists, and yet I don't find myself following any of these categories. If God created everything from nothing, when there was nothing yet, then Satan wasn't here yet, and therefore, was created by God. Doesn't it say, "in the beginning there was nothing"? I don't see where it says God created evil, only that God created man in his image - but apparently not quite in his image. So... where does it come from, if not from God, then? Did Satan exist in the beginning, too? It doesn't say, "in the beginning there was noone" so perhaps Satan was hanging around somewhere. Is this what you are implying here? Because, in my interpretation of the Bible, I took it to mean that God created all. At least, that's what it looks like it's saying to me. If God didn't create all, then we have more contradictions.

Link to post
Share on other sites
...Doesn't it say, "in the beginning there was nothing"? I don't see where it says God created evil, only that God created man in his image - but apparently not quite in his image....
Genesis does not address the creation of evil. Many folks thnk the initiation of evil is characterized in the Revelation, but this is a particularly difficult book to figure out, mostly because it does not appear to be chronologically sequential.
So... where does it come from, if not from God, then? Did Satan exist in the beginning, too?
Satan was created, but evil was not. Satan (probably) rebelled of his own accord. To get this piece of theology, it takes a complex walk through a number of books.
...If God didn't create all, then we have more contradictions.
It seems to me that you are confusing complexity with contradiction. The Bible is loaded with complex ideas. At least half of what Jesus said was pretty compliated (e.g., I in them, and You in me- John 17:23; dozens of other examples). The fact that a point is complex does not make it contradictory. Calculus is confusing to some because of its complexity. That does not make it contradictory.
Link to post
Share on other sites
Doesn't it say, "in the beginning there was nothing"?

No. It says "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." — Genesis 1:1-2 nkjv

 

I don't see where it says God created evil, only that God created man in his image - but apparently not quite in his image. So... where does it come from, if not from God, then? Did Satan exist in the beginning, too?

Satan's name is Lucifer. And he was an angel before he turned away.

Luke 10:18 nkjv

 

And He [Jesus] said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven."

When he was kicked out of heaven I do not know. But he was booted for trying to overcome God.

Isaiah 14:12-15 nkjv

 

How you are fallen from heaven,

O Lucifer, son of the morning!

How you are cut down to the ground,

You who weakened the nations!

 

For you have said in your heart:

"I will ascend into heaven,

I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;

I will also sit on the mount of the congregation

On the farthest sides of the north;

 

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,

I will be like the Most High."

 

Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,

To the lowest depths of the Pit.

And he tempted Adam and Eve in the garden, condemning mankind, and he deceived a third of the angels in heaven, condemning them as well.

Revelation 12:4 nkjv

 

His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.

So, you see, God did not "create evil." Satan did.

John 8:44 nkjv

 

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So, you see, God did not "create evil." Satan did.

 

I'd like to point out that God did create the angel lucifer in those stories you cite. And if God is all knowing, he knew lucifer would rebel, etc, etc, in fact, he created him to rebel. If God is all powerful and all knowing, you are left with the inescapable conclusion that God created evil as well as good.

-Will

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd like to point out that God did create the angel lucifer in those stories you cite. And if God is all knowing, he knew lucifer would rebel, etc, etc, in fact, he created him to rebel. If God is all powerful and all knowing, you are left with the inescapable conclusion that God created evil as well as good.

-Will

Let's just say He allowed it. He affords us a free will, also. And in allowing one to rebel and to deceive many others, He will fact expose and purge the less allegient from among His creation, won't He? Or will... in the last day.

Psalm 9:1-6 nkjv

I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart;

I will tell of all Your marvelous works.

 

I will be glad and rejoice in You;

I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

 

When my enemies turn back,

They shall fall and perish at Your presence.

 

For You have maintained my right and my cause;

You sat on the throne judging in righteousness.

 

You have rebuked the nations,

You have destroyed the wicked;

You have blotted out their name forever and ever.

 

O enemy, destructions are finished forever!

And you have destroyed cities;

Even their memory has perished.

So, He is neither unwise nor vindictive.

 

And if God is all knowing, he knew lucifer would rebel, etc, etc, in fact, he created him to rebel.

Not necessarily. If that is so, then God created ALL things to rebel, because we ALL were given free will (iow, the ability to rebel,) Yet, however, not everyone utilizes this ability.

Link to post
Share on other sites
...So, you see, God did not "create evil." Satan did...
Thanks for the theological walk, ST. Good summary.

 

You will note that Genesis 1-2 is not a comprehensive story. It describes creation of the material universe and the creation of mankind. But other stuff was going on contemporaneously that is not addressed in Genesis.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So, you see, God did not "create evil." Satan did.

John 8:44 nkjv

 

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

 

And, southtown, how can the spirit of God be hovering over waters that weren't yet created? ;) My copies do not have that particular passage... it may just be different versions.

 

Okay - so you're saying that Angels then existed before other men did. I didnt' see where it said Angels were created in Genesis. Perhaps they just existed and the bible doesn't mention them in Genesis. Apparently they were created right in the beginning there, if Lucifer was able to fall and become that snake. And, unless those angels were already here, they were also created by God; which means that God created evil (or what he knew would become evil). Which is what I said previously.

 

Sorry - but I don't see this as a complexity. I see it as contradictory. God knows all, God is all, etc etc. God knew evil would be; he knew man would be tempted and fall, he knew these angels would turn. God either created everything or he did not; he either knows all or does not. I don't feel that anything has been rationally explained. I feel like these are contradictions. I did not feel like calculus had any contradictions. I wish I had time to voice this better but I have to get to class now. I'll reread these later. ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites
And, southtown, how can the spirit of God be hovering over waters that weren't yet created? ;) My copies do not have that particular passage... it may just be different versions.

Reread that first... "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." — Genesis 1:1 nkjv

 

K. Earth. Heaven. Got it? Now we proceed: "The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." — Genesis 1:2 nkjv

 

What versions are you reading? "Spirit of God" has also been interpreted as "wind from God." If you're going to criticize the bible, delve a little deeper into the translation principles of the available versions, and maybe even a little textual criticism of ancient manuscripts.

 

Okay - so you're saying that Angels then existed before other men did. I didnt' see where it said Angels were created in Genesis. Perhaps they just existed and the bible doesn't mention them in Genesis. Apparently they were created right in the beginning there, if Lucifer was able to fall and become that snake. And, unless those angels were already here, they were also created by God; which means that God created evil (or what he knew would become evil). Which is what I said previously.

I always thought the angels and heavenly creatures were around before God created the earth. (the "heavens" He created means the universe.)

 

Sorry - but I don't see this as a complexity. I see it as contradictory. God knows all, God is all, etc etc. God knew evil would be; he knew man would be tempted and fall, he knew these angels would turn. God either created everything or he did not; he either knows all or does not. I don't feel that anything has been rationally explained. I feel like these are contradictions. I did not feel like calculus had any contradictions. I wish I had time to voice this better but I have to get to class now. I'll reread these later. ;)

You might have missed my reply to Erasmus00:

 

And if God is all knowing, he knew lucifer would rebel, etc, etc, in fact, he created him to rebel.

Not necessarily. If that is so, then God created ALL things to rebel, because we ALL were given free will (iow, the ability to rebel,) Yet, however, not everyone utilizes this ability.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry - but I don't see this as a complexity. I see it as contradictory. God knows all, God is all, etc etc. God knew evil would be; he knew man would be tempted and fall, he knew these angels would turn. God either created everything or he did not; he either knows all or does not. I don't feel that anything has been rationally explained. I feel like these are contradictions. I did not feel like calculus had any contradictions....
So, when you ran across those 3-space shapes in calculus that have infinite surface area and finite volume (such that you could fill them with paint and yet not cover the inside surface), were those contradictions or complexities?
Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry - but I don't see this as a complexity. I see it as contradictory. God knows all, God is all, etc etc. God knew evil would be; he knew man would be tempted and fall, he knew these angels would turn. God either created everything or he did not; he either knows all or does not. I don't feel that anything has been rationally explained. I feel like these are contradictions. I did not feel like calculus had any contradictions. I wish I had time to voice this better but I have to get to class now. I'll reread these later. ;)

 

Think of it this way. I don't have kids yet, but I most likely will. I know they will do bad things- lie, cheat, etc. It just happens, it's a consequence of their independence. Now, if I wanted to avoid that "evil," I wouldn't have kids. Simple as that. But somehow, the benefit of kids outweighs the costs (I assume ;)), and their independence, and freedom to do good or bad things, is worth the fact that they WILL, in fact, do bad things.

 

It's funny how some people want to blame God for all the bad things happening by saying He could have created us without the ability to do evil, yet hold on to the concept of free will. If we couldn't be bad- there would be no freedom. The Fall is often taken as our loss of ability to not do evil at some point, a taint, if you will. Regardless- is the parent responsible for all the bad things a child does? No.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Think of it this way. I don't have kids yet, but I most likely will. I know they will do bad things- lie, cheat, etc. It just happens, it's a consequence of their independence. Now, if I wanted to avoid that "evil," I wouldn't have kids. Simple as that. But somehow, the benefit of kids outweighs the costs (I assume ;)), and their independence, and freedom to do good or bad things, is worth the fact that they WILL, in fact, do bad things.

 

It's funny how some people want to blame God for all the bad things happening by saying He could have created us without the ability to do evil, yet hold on to the concept of free will. If we couldn't be bad- there would be no freedom. The Fall is often taken as our loss of ability to not do evil at some point, a taint, if you will. Regardless- is the parent responsible for all the bad things a child does? No.

 

The difference is that a god, being all knowing, would know ahead of time how the kids will turn out. If you knew before you had the child that it would become a mass murderer would that effect your decision to have the child?

-Will

Link to post
Share on other sites
The difference is that a god, being all knowing, would know ahead of time how the kids will turn out. If you knew before you had the child that it would become a mass murderer would that effect your decision to have the child?
Good question, E.

 

But if you are going to go down this path, you have to take it all the way to the conclusion. You have to know not only that your child will be a mass murderer, but also that all people adversely impacted by your child are dealt with justly, and that you child him/herself will have been dealt with justly as well.

 

Now make the decision.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...