We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bible “Contradictions” Rebutted, #5

We’ve been looking at claims of contradictions in the Old Testament.  Now we will begin looking at claims which compare something in the O.T. with something in the N.T.

Contradiction claim #32, Can God be seen?

God CAN be seen:
Gen. 32:30:  For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
Exod. 33:23: 
And I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my backparts. 
Exod.33:11: And the Lord spake to Moses face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend.
God CANNOT be seen:
Exod. 33:20: 
And he said, “Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me and live."
John 1:18: No man hath seen God at any time.
1 Tim. 6:16: 
Whom no man hath seen nor can see.

God has revealed portions of his glory, but even that is too much for man. The first passage is an anthropomorphism since God doesn’t have “back parts” because He is spirit (John 4:24).  Speaking to God “face to face” merely means God was talking to him audibly in some vision or the like.  The follow from “When Skeptics Ask” addresses this issue with Exodus 24:9-10:
First, it should be noted that God invited them to see Him. In Exodus 19:12–13 God told Moses to set the boundaries around the mountain so that no one should even touch its base without the punishment of death. However, God specifically invited these people to ascend the mountain in order to consecrate them for the service to which they had been appointed, and to seal the covenant which had been established between God and the nation of Israel.
Second, it is clear from the description and from other passages of Scripture (Ex. 33:19–20; Num. 12:8; John 1:18), that what these people saw was not the essence of God, but rather a visual representation of the glory of God. Even when Moses asked to see God’s glory (Ex. 33:18–23), it was only a likeness of God which Moses saw (cf. Num. 12:8 where the Hebrew word temunah—“form,” “likeness”—is used), and not the very essence of God.

Contradiction claim #33, Does God tempt people?

Gen. 22::  And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham. 
James 1:13: Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. 

Context, context.  The word in KJV that is translated “tempt” has different meanings.  In the first passage God was “testing” Abraham.  In the second passage the context is temptation to sin, which is something God does not do.  Before someone makes these sorts of claims they should investigate the original languages since KJV English is quite different from current English. Using a modern translation will eliminate much of this type of problem.

Contradiction claim #34,  Does God change?

Mal. 3:6:  For I am the Lord, I change not…
James 1:7: 
Every good gift…cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness…
1 Sam. 15:29: 
For he is not a man, the he should repent [meaning change his mind] 
Johan 3:10:  and God repented of the evil, that he had said he would do unto them; and he did it not.
Gen. 6:6: 
And it repenteth the Lord that he had made man on earth.

The first three demonstrate that God is unchanging.  Jonah’s passage is from man’s view that God changed his mind, but actually God had given a condition for not bringing destruction, so the condition was satisfied and the destruction not done.  Gen. 6:6 is translated in modern English as saying that God was “grieved.”  God is always grieved over our sin.

Contradiction claim #35, Whose sepulchers?

Acts 7:16:  And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.
Gen.23:17,18:  And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city. 

 Henry Morris makes the following observation on Gen. 23:17:  There is a seeming discrepancy between this passage and the statement of Stephen (Acts 7:16) that Abraham’s purchased sepulcher was in Shechem.  A possible explanation is that he bought the latter for his later family born of Keturah (Genesis 23:1; 25:1).  These children then eventually lost it to the Hivites, from whom Jacob repurchased it for an altar eighty-five years after Abraham’s death (Genesis 33:20).  It later was given to Joseph, and he and probably his brothers were eventually buried in it (Joshua 24:32; Acts 7:15,16).

Contradiction claim #36, Is God of War or Peace?

Exod. 15:3:  The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.
Rom 15:33:  Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Ex. 15:3 is telling about how God was a warrior on the side of Israel leading them out of Egypt.  Rom. 15:33 is a different context.  God’s peace is that which comforts the believer.  God is a God of war and peace, as  the United States is a nation of peace and war.  The character is whatever the situation demands.  God certainly can have both attributes.   

Contradiction claim #37, Ascend to heaven?

2 Kings 2:11:  And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
John 3:13:  No man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, ... the Son of Man.

Here we again have a context problem.  I’ll let “When Skeptics Ask” explain this:  In this context, Jesus is setting forth His superior knowledge of heavenly things. In essence He is saying, “No other human being can speak from firsthand knowledge about these things, as I can, since I came down from heaven.” He is claiming that no one has ascended to heaven to bring down the message that He brought. In no way is He denying that anyone else is in heaven, such as Elijah and Enoch (Gen. 5:24). Rather, Jesus is simply claiming that no one on earth has gone to heaven and returned with a message such as He offered to them.

Contradiction claim #38, Does every man sin?

1 Kings 8:46:  If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; 
2 Chron 6:36:  If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near; 
Prov. 20:9: Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
Eccl. 7:20:  For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. (Ecc. 7:20)
1 John 1:8-10: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 3:9:  Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

The Bible plainly says in many, many passages that all mankind sins.  The last passage cited, in context, is saying that the one who is a Christian does not live a lifestyle of sin, that his life is not defined by sin, not that he will never sin.

Contradiction claim #39, Is it folly to be wise or not?

Prov. 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
Eccl. 1:18  For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
1 Cor.1:19: For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

Context, context, context.  Prov. 4:7 is the general principle, because having wisdom is very important in life.  Now, Ecclesiastes is about the vanity - the futility - of life.  The more wisdom and knowledge one has, indeed the more sorrow one ends up with because of all the stuff you know about that does bring sorrow (learning about Planned Parenthood’s destruction of babies, e.g.).  Wisdom is still good, but one needs to understand that wisdom and knowledge leads to more and more understanding of the sinful condition of the world.  1 Corinthians is addressing those who think by their wisdom they have God figured out.  Paul here is citing Isaiah 29:14 where the leaders of Israel were placing their own teachings over God’s law.  The context of 1 Cor. is continued in 3:18-19 where Paul says one must give up worldly wisdom so that he can become wise in the things of God.

Contradiction claim #40, Views of marriage?

Proverbs 18:22
1 Corinthians 7 (whole book. See 1,2,27,39,40)

Proverbs 18:22 says that “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord” (NIV).  1 Corinthians 7 has a long discussion about marriage that must be read in its entirety if one wants to understand the context.  Paul is repeating questions about whether it is good to touch a woman, questions that were sent to him in reference to some false teachings.  Paul says it is indeed good to touch a woman but it must be in the context of marriage.  While he feels it is better to be single so as to spend more time working for the Lord without distractions, he realizes that not everyone has that gift and so says marriage is okay.  However, he also gives rules for divorce and remarriage.  Marriage is indeed good because God ordained it from the beginning and at the end of creation - after giving Adam and Eve in marriage - God said it was “very good.”  

Contradiction claim #41, The shape of the earth

Isa. 40:22  It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
Matt. 4:8   Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
Astronomical bodies are spherical, and you cannot see the entire exterior surface from anyplace. The kingdoms of Egypt, China, Greece, Crete, sections of Asia Minor, India, Maya (in Mexico), Carthage (North Africa), Rome (Italy), Korea, and other settlements from these kingdoms of the world were widely distributed.

Isaiah describes the earth’s shape quite well as a “circle”; it is indeed circular as a globe.  The same word translated “circle” here is translated “compass” in Proverbs 8:27 and “compassed” in Job 26:10.  There certainly is nothing wrong with this shape description.  As for Matthew’s passage, Jesus is God and Satan is an angel, both of which have the ability to spiritually see anywhere.  From the “high mountain” they could have seen physically much of the area’s kingdoms, while in a vision could have seen the entire world.

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