Saturday, November 3, 2012

Questioning the consistency of the Bible

Recently I (kind of) got suckered into a discussion of the consistency of the Bible.  Namely, someone said that the Bible has two different dates for when Jesus was born and one of them couldn't have happened because it would have been before he was born.  References given were Matt 2:1 and Luke 2:2.  I found an interesting response to this idea here.  To save you the time of reading that (rather lengthy and well formed) response, I'll sum it up: No one knows exactly when Jesus was born and the dating system is based on tradition and conjecture and is subject to men's opinion.

I responded to the person that pointed out this inconsistency and his response remained that those two events (mentioned in those verses) were not at the same time.  Though he did point out that at the most they are only different by about 10 years which is pretty close given the extreme length of time that has passed since.

Well, all this discussion, by the way my counterpart in this discussion has challenged me to find an extra-biblical account of Jesus even existing, led me to do some research into what people perceive as biblical contradictions.  I found a rather lengthy list and started going through them.  Now, to be fair the introduction to the list does state that some of the "contradictions" listed are explainable by a variety of translations.  So, I started going through the list reading as much of each example given as I could.  It was an interesting exposition of the Bible and led me to reading quite a bit.  I didn't make it through the whole list, but of all the supposed contradictions I did read through only one or two made me scratch my head and didn't have an immediate and obvious explanation.  I didn't notate which ones... but I'll be going through the list in more detail in the future.  What I would like to mention about that list is that all but a couple were so easily explained.  It was like the person who compiled the list didn't really read what was written in the verses listed as "contradictory."

Prime example:

Gen 7:7 Noah and his clan enter the Ark.  (KJV)

7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.

Gen 7:13 They enter the Ark (again?) (KJV)

13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;

No one claims the the historical accounts in the Bible are in exact chronological order every time.  Obviously verse thirteen is NOT saying they went into the ark AGAIN after they had already entered.  It's simply a restatement about their activities during that time when they were entering the ark, also, who says they didn't go in and out of the window on the deck or some other explanation.  It's not a contradiction at all.  Many of the contradictions listed on that site follow a very similar pattern to this example.  Many mis-translate the word day to an exact 24-hour period of time when often times it's obviously used as just a 'period of time' or similar meaning.

Anyways, all this to say none of this is making me question my faith, but (ironically) it is making me get into the Word more and study a variety of Biblical passages that I may not have studied before.  I wonder if this (obviously anti-Christian) site ever expected that kind of reaction to their post?

Gosh I miss home