Countering Alleged Bible Contradictions III

21 . Because of man's wickedness God destroys him

[Gen 6:5,7]

Because of man's wickedness God will not destroy him

[Gen 8:21.

This is only a contradiction because the critic interprets it as so. Does Genesis 8:21 say that God will not destroy man because he is wicked? Not really. For God says that he will never again curse the ground, even though man's heart is evil (NIV). Furthermore, cursing the ground does not necessarily mean the same thing as destroying man, now does it?

22 . God's attributes are revealed in his works.

[Rom 1:20]

God's attributes cannot be discovered

[Job 11:7/ Is 40:28]

Romans 1:20 simply notes that Creation points to the Creator - a divine being of great power. Job 11:7 points out that we can never fully grasp the divine, it does NOT say that God cannot be inferred from nature. Is 40:28 notes that we can never hope to fully scrutinize the understanding of God. None of this is contradictory.

23 .23. There is but one God

[Deut 6:4]

There is a plurality of gods

[Gen 1:26/ Gen 3:22/ Gen 18:1-3/ 1 John 5:7]

This, of course, would lead us to a discussion of the Trinity, something that is beyond the scope of this article. Trinitarian theology is a classic example of "both/and" thinking. Besides, what of Deut 6:4?

Deut. 6:4 reads, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one."

Now it is important to note that the Hebrew word used for 'one' is NOT yahid, which denotes absolute singularity elsewhere in the OT. Instead, Moses chose the Hebrew word ehad, which signifies unity and oneness in plurality. This word is used in Gen 2:24 where Adam and Eve are instructed to become "one flesh". It's also found in Numbers 13:23, where the Hebrew spies returned with a "single cluster" of grapes. So Deut 6:4 actually supports the concept of the Trinity, by noting that God is "oneness in plurality". The same word which describes the oneness of a marriage relationship is also used to describe God's essence!

24 . Robbery commanded

[Ex 3:21,22/ Ex 12:35,36]

Robbery fobidden

[Lev 19:13/ Ex 20:15]

It's not at all obvious that you can refer to the instances in Ex 3, 12 as "robbery." When African-Americans demand recompensation for their history of slavery, are they demanding to rob white people? Thus, these are not obvious examples of God commanding robery. Besides, in Ex. 3 and 12, the Israelites asked the Egyptians for goods.

25 . Lying approved and sanctioned

[Josh 2:4-6/ James 2:25 . Ex 1:18-20/ 1 Kings 22:21,22]

Lying forbidden

[Ex 20:16/ Prov 12:22/ Rev 21:8]

Rev speaks all of liars be cast into the lake of fire. Since the first set of scriptures do not say otherwise, we can dismiss this one. Proverbs speaks of lying as an abomination. Since the first set of scriptures do not say lying is not an abomination, we can dismiss this one. The verse in Ex is one of the Ten Commandments.

It's not obvious to me that lying is approved of in the above situations. Concerning Rahab (Josh 2:4-6), James says, "the harlot was justified by works, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way" (James 2:25). Her act of saving the lives of these men is what is approved of. The same goes for Ex 1, where the midwives refuse to kill the male infants which were birthed. As for 1 King 22:21-22, once again it is unclear if lying is truly approved of. According to one Bible scholar:

"The whole declaration of a figurative and poetical description of a vision that he had seen. Putting aside its rhetorical drapery, the gist of the whole passage is that God for judicial purposes suffered Ahab to be fatally deceived."

Another scholar says:

"Because Ahab had abandoned the Lord his God and hardened his own heart, God allowed his ruin by the very instrument Ahab had sought to prostitute for his own purposes, namely, prophecy. God used the false declarations of the false prophets that Ahab was so enamored with as his instruments of judgment."

Since it is unclear that God truly approves of lying in this case, the contradiction is not established.

26 . Hatred to the Edomite sanctioned

[2 Kings 14:7,3]

Hatred to the Edomite forbidden

[Deut 23:7]

The account in Deut indeed forbids hatred against the Edomite. Does the account in 2 Kings sanction it? Not at all. It merely mentions that Amaziah slew many Edomites. And while hatred can be part of warfare, it need not be. And since the account in 2 Kings doesn't even mention hatred of the Edomites, this is obviously a concocted contradiction.

27 . Killing commanded

[Ex 32:27]

Killing forbidden

[Ex 20:13]

Ex 20:13 reads, "You shall not murder." Not all killing is murder.

28 . The blood-shedder must die

[Gen 9:5,6]

The blood-shedder must not die

[Gen 4:15]

Gen 4:15 makes no such generalization. It is specific to Cain. This is an example where the critic takes an incident and transforms it into an absolute principle. Besides, the covenant in Gen 9 are made with Noah, who existed much later than did Cain.

29 . The making of images forbidden

[Ex 20:4]

The making of images commanded

[Ex 25:18,20]

Ex 20:4 states than one should not make idols and bow down and worship them. The cherubims in Ex 25 are not idols, nor were they worhipped.

30 . Slavery and opression ordained

[Gen 9:25/ Lev 25:45,46/ Joel 3:8]

Slavery and opression forbidden

[Is 58:6/ Ex 22:21/ Ex 21:16/ Matt 23:10]

Slavery and oppression (two different things in the Bible)

Gen. 9:25 Canaan is punished, sentenced to be a bondsman. (slave) This is a punishment by God upon Ham through the mouth of his father Noah for his rebellious insubordination and disregard for God's authority on earth at that time - his father. He could have been killed for this, but instead he was merely told that some of his descendents would be slaves. This is not a condoning of oppression, but a prophecy that such a judgment would indeed be carried out. (Ones who died for rebellion include Korah and Absalom; Miriam was judged with a case of leprosy for a few days.) This verse says nothing to those who would be the slave owners as to whether their action is condoned or not.

Lev. 25:45 It's ok to buy a stranger for a bondsman/woman if someone sells him/her to you, as long as it's not a fellow Israelite.

Joel 3:8 God punishes Tyre (?) by selling the people to the Israelites as slaves and then selling them to the Sabeans.

Still no mention of condoning oppression.

Isa. 58:6 mentions a particular fast to Jehovah as a breaking of every yoke. Surely that cannot refer to (include) the yoke on the oxen, so there is some limitation to which yokes are broken. Some yokes are forbidden - i.e. yoking a fellow Israelite- and are undoubtedly included. The case of a foreign slave could be argued either way and hence this verse is not a clear contradiction of any of the above.

Exo. 22:21 Not permitted to vex or oppress strangers. Does not say, not permitted to buy them.

Exo. 21:16 Not permitted to steal and sell people. Does not say, not permitted to buy and sell them.

Matt. 23:10 is irrelevant. It says, "Neither be called instructors, because One is your Instructor, the Christ." (RV). Footnote: "Or, guides, teachers, directors." This section is talking about how we address fellow believers. It earlier says to call no one "father." Obviously it is talking here about differentiating among believers by bestowing titles of honor. These titles should be reserved for God alone, not bestowed on men. But our physical father is still our father, our school teachers are still our teachers, and our masters, if we are slaves, are still our masters and are to be called such if they so demand. The President is still the President, etc. We are admonished in the Bible to show honor to those in authority over us in our families, in the government, etc. -- MAW


Gen 9:25 has Noah stating that Canaan will be the servant of Japheth. This does not necessarily read as the ordination of "slavery and oppression" by God. The verses in Lev refer to a mild form of servitude. Joel simply threatens captivity as a punishment for sin. None of these verses unequivocally ordain "slavery and oppression."

On the other hand, the verses on Is and Exodus do forbid truly oppressive behavior. The verse in Mt. is irrelevant to this subject.