ABC:Leviticus 20

From BibleStrength

Verse 10

The ReasonProject lists the following as a Bible contradiction with the headline "How should adulterers be punished?"[1]

This involves a distinction between the Old and New Testaments in who has the right to punish, not what the punishment should be. Observe that Jesus never said she wasn't worthy of death.

The New Testament writers, particularly Paul, point out that while the Old Testament Law including Leviticus 20:10 was a just Law (1 Timothy 1:8, Romans 7:7) it declares everyone is guilty of death and by it none will be justified. (Romans 3:20) As Paul says, the Law is just (Romans 7:7, 1 Timothy 1:8), but was just a schoolmaster to show us our faults (Galatians 3:24-25) that we might repent and turn from them (Romans 6:1-2, Galatians 6:7-8, Philippians 3:18-19), forgiving others as God wants so He can forgive us.

Thus there is no contradiction. Adultery like all sin is worthy of death, but God alone has the authority and position to render that judgment. Since we are all equally guilty of death, we should not sentence others to death unless sinless ourselves, which is all Jesus was pointing out. Notice that Jesus did not deny the adulteress was sinful or worthy of death, to the contrary, Jesus told her "go and sin no more." (John 8:11)

Rather than claiming the Old Testament Law's punishments were wrong, the New Testament seen in Romans 3 claims that all are guilty according to the Law, and that we must forgive others their violations of it if we want God to likewise forgive us. (Matthew 6:12, 18:35; Mark 11:25-26) The Law, including Leviticus, was just, but could not justify, and was given to show us our faults and sinfulness.

Verse 17 claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage, and makes the following comments (italicized):[2] American Atheists also claims the Bible is wrong about the passage.[3]

See also Pre-Flood Longevity

As Romans 5:13 says, "sin is not imputed when there is no law." Before the time of Moses there was no necessity for a law against incest because such vast lifespans made for very different family units, and incest was thus not wrong in the same way it is today. The commandment against incest was not given until the time of Moses because incest was not wrong before that, since people lived such extraordinarily long lives, centuries longer than we do today. Technically it wasn't incest by today's standards since early humans each had lifespans of 900 years (Genesis 5).

Incest was only declared wrong by the time of Moses when people had average lifespans of 70 years (Psalms 90:10) and God when the Flood started began reducing the average lifespan to 120 years (Genesis 6:3). Lifespans did not reach this point until about the time of Moses, who lived exactly the 120 years specified. (Deuteronomy 34:7) Incest today is considered wrong, as it should be, because children who grow up with one another as part of the same family should not have sexual relationships. However, ancient people like Noah's family lived centuries upon centuries and could be born many centuries apart in age from their siblings, old enough by today's standards to be the great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents of their brothers and sisters.

In the case of Abraham, he lived to be 175 years old, whereas his half-sister and wife Sarah lived to be 127 years old. (Genesis 25:7, Genesis 23:1-2) Both lived longer lives than anyone today can live. People lived such long lives at the time that Abraham's great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather, Noah himself, did not die until 18 years after Abraham was born, at the ripe age of 950 years old! Under the Biblical model, such ancient patriarchs could have siblings considerably older and more distant in relation than is seen today, which is why the commandment against incest was not yet given, and incest at the time was not wrong.


  1. Marlow, Andy (2009). Contradictions in the Bible. Project Reason.
  2. TheThinkingAtheist. Bible Contradictions. Retrieved from
  3. N.a. (2019). "Biblical Contradictions? American Atheists.