|1. Should We Kill?
Exodus 20:13 Thou shalt not kill.
Leviticus 24:17 And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.
Exodus 32:27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.
1 Samuel 6:19 ¶ And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter.
1 Samuel 15:2-8 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. And Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah. And Saul came to a city of Amalek and laid wait in the valley. And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
Numbers 15:36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.
Hosea 13:16 Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.
For a discussion of the defense that the Commandments prohibit only murder, see "Murder, He Wrote", chapter 27 (Losing Faith In Faith: From Preacher To Atheist).
|The Hebrew word translated "kill" in Exodus 20:13, ratsach, is translated as "murder" or "murderer" 17 out of the 47 times it is used in the Old Testament by the KJV. It is also translated "slayer," "slain," or "slayeth" 21 times, and twice it is translated as manslayer. Only 5 times is it translated as "kill." The confusion is in large part caused by the KJV not translating the same Hebrew words identically throughout the New Testament, and the word ratsach, had it been correctly translated into English as murder, would have removed any confusion.
God allows killing to stop, punish, or deter evil in cases of war or judicial punishment. See e.g. the commandment of "eye for an eye." However, harming others without provocation or even out of vengeance is prohibited; for God has always commanded that "vengeance is mine, I will repay." (Leviticus 19:18) The cases mentioned above do not violate the Biblical prohibition against murder; and were all judicial punishments ordained by God. In Exodus 32:7 the Israelites were sacrificing their own children alive to a golden calf to honor Baal and Molech while committing sexual perversions, so God ordered those responsible destroyed to prevent the spread of wickedly immoral practices.
In 1 Samuel 15:2-8 God ordered the destruction of a wicked group of people that had attacked the Israelites, murdering Israel's feeble rather than fighting Israel's warriors, presumably women, children, and the elderly. (cp. Deuteronomy 25:18) In the case of Hosea 13:16 the sins of Israel included idolatry involving child sacrifice (Ezekiel 16:20), for which they were punished horribly as a nation by God allowing their enemies to destroy them. The cases of 1 Samuel 6:19 and Numbers 15:36 were similarly judicial punishments commanded by God for disobedience, specifically working on the Sabbath and looking into the Ark of the Covenant, which represented God's Holy of Holies. At any rate, none of the cases could be considered murder as they clearly involved God-directed punishments through God's governance/government, not willful decisions by individuals to harm others without provocation or take vengeance into their own hands.
|2. Should We Tell Lies?
Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Proverbs 12:22 ¶ Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
1 Kings 22:23 Now, therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.
2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
|Strange as it might seem, God does allow dishonesty for the purpose of defeating wickedness, by using their own tactics against them. As it is written, "With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward." (Psalms 18:26) Job observes that "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness." (Job 5:13) Jesus called Christians to be wise as serpents but harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16) God sends punishments on the wicked for their sins. (Lamentations 3:38-41) God used lying spirits throughout the Bible to deceive those engaging in sin and idolatry that they might be punished. (cp. Ezekiel 14:7-10; Judges 9:23; 1 Kings 22:23; 2 Chronicles 18:19-22; Job 12:16-17; Isaiah 19:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:11)
Unfortunately righteous people cannot always be honest with the wicked, lest they be destroyed. Evil people do not play by the rules, and the righteous cannot always be open and honest with evil people, which is why even Jesus simply ignored evil people trying to entrap Him at times. (Matthew 26:63; 27:12; John 8:6) From a government standpoint, always speaking truthfully will result in betrayal by evil people who use espionage, allowing for the downfall of good governments unless they fight back through counter-espionage. Even righteous people in the Bible used lies and deception to avoid danger from those they considered wicked. (cp. Genesis 12:13-20; 20:1-13; 26:6-11; 34:13-26; Judges 4:19-21; 1 Samuel 21:13)
So how then can the two concepts be reconciled? False witness in Exodus 20:16 involved more than just dishonesty but distorting the truth when testifying legally (as in court of law) to harm the innocent and pervert justice. (cp. Deuteronomy 19:16-19; Exodus 23:1-8) The condemnation was not for occasional dishonesty, but using that dishonesty to destroy others without a cause. (Proverbs 3:30) As for Proverbs 12:22, lying lips are those which lie habitually to harm others without a cause, as contrasted with those that deal truthfully. (cp. Psalms 31:18,13; Proverbs 10:18; 17:7; Psalms 120:2-4) However, even righteous, ordinarily truthful people in the Bible had, at times, to use deception to avoid the traps of the wicked, as mentioned previously.
|3. Should We Steal?
Exodus 20:15 Thou shalt not steal.
Leviticus 19:13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.
Exodus 3:22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.
Exodus 12:35-36 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
Luke 19:29-34 And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? And they said, The Lord hath need of him.
|FFRF omits the context of both Exodus 3:22 and Exodus 12:35-36, quoting only a small part of the verses, the phrases about spoiling the Egyptians. If reading the entire verses (as quoted here), it is apparent that the spoiling was done through the Israelites asking the Egyptians to give them things, rather than any form of theft. Indeed, Exodus 3:21 shows that the Egyptians did so willingly because God "will give these people favour in the sight of the Egyptians."
The Egyptians gave willingly to the Israelites whom they had enslaved for centuries, eager to get rid of the plagues God was sending. (Exodus 12:33) The Egyptians willingly loaned to the Israelites. (Exodus 12:36). There was no theft involved.
As for Luke 19:29-34, the owners of the colt were clearly followers of Jesus; or they would not have accepted an explanation that "the Lord hath need of him." Jesus knew they would ask, and thus told the disciples what to say. It may be that Jesus had already arranged with the colt's owners ahead of time that he would one day have need of the colt. Whatever the reason, the owners accepted the explanation and allowed the disciples to take the colt for the Lord's use. (cp. Mark 11:3,6) More than that we are not told, but the owners willingly relinquished the colt; there was no theft involved.
|4. Shall We Keep the Sabbath?
Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exodus 31:15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
Numbers 15:32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.
36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.
Isaiah 1:13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
John 5:16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
Colossians 2:16 ¶ Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
|The FFRF want to focus on the Sabbath rules under the Old Covenant, not the New Covenant which Christians are under (Jeremiah 31:31); ignoring the context of the Sabbath for which it was given, as the Israelite Pharisees did. In doing so, they ignore the principles emphasized in the New Testament by Jesus about the Sabbath, that it was intended primarily for the good of people, not as a burden. (Mk. 2:27) What matters is that the Sabbath be used to do good for others. (Mt. 12:12)
The Sabbath was intended to protect the poor from overwork, not create onerous regulations that govern what everyone can do on a certain day of the week (as the Pharisees viewed it). The Old Testament Covenant, including its rules on the Sabbath, was not kept properly by the Israelites for thousands of years, which is why Jesus brought in the New Covenant which emphasizes the underlying spiritual principles the Sabbath was intended for; protecting and helping mankind while focusing on God.
|5. Shall We Make Graven Images?
Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Leviticus 26:1 ¶ Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.
Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.
Exodus 25:18 And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
1 Kings 7:15-16 For he cast two pillars of brass, of eighteen cubits high apiece: and a line of twelve cubits did compass either of them about. And he made two chapiters of molten brass, to set upon the tops of the pillars: the height of the one chapiter was five cubits, and the height of the other chapiter was five cubits:
23 And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.
24 And under the brim of it round about there were knops compassing it, ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about: the knops were cast in two rows, when it was cast.
25 It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward.
|The confusion is caused by translation from Hebrew into English. The phrase "graven image" derives from a single Hebrew word, pecel, that should've been translated idol instead, since that is how it is always used throughout the Bible. For that reason Hebrew lexicons consistently define it as "idol."
Furthermore, the context of the passages themselves shows that it is idols being discussed, not merely graven images. (cp. Exodus 20:3,5; Leviticus 26:1) To quote Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe, "The prohibition against making graven images was distinctly set in the context of worshiping idols... there was no chance that the people of Israel would fall down before the cherubim in the most holy place, since they were forbidden to go in the holy place at any time. Even the high priest went only once a year on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16)... These cherubim were not given to Israel as images of God; they were angels. Nor were they given to be worshiped. Hence, there is no way in which the command to make them violated the commandment in Exodus 20."
|6. Are We Saved Through Works?
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Romans 3:20,28 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Matthew 19:16-21 ¶ And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
|This is one of the most well-known claims of a contradiction in the Bible, and has been excellently debunked by the Scofield Study Bible III.
As mentioned by the Scofield Study Bible III, Ephesians 2:8-10 is the passage which brings both views together:
In other words, we are saved by faith, not works, it's God's gift not man's doing, lest anyone should boast. However, we are created by Jesus to do good works and it is God's will that we do them. The works themselves do not save, but are the outward evidence to others, and to ourselves, that we have indeed undergone an inward redemptive process of salvation.
True saving faith will ultimately produce good works as the result of a changed heart and a new spirit. Thus if a person shows no interest in doing good works once becoming a Christian, and for years lives without any change, then as James points out, that faith without works is a dead faith and no faith indeed.
|7. Should Good Works Be Seen?
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
1 Peter 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Matthew 6:1-4 ¶ Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Matthew 23:3-5 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
|Jesus when doing miracles took this a step further, strictly telling those He healed not to tell anyone about what He'd done. (Mt. 8:4; 9:30; 12:16; Mk. 5:43; 7:36; Lk. 5:14; 8:56) As should be readily apparent, there is no contradiction here. Matthew 5:16 does not say to do good works before all - obviously those receiving alms will "see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven." Matthew 5:16 is not a commandment to do alms openly in contradiction of 6:3, but to do them at all.|
|8. Should We Own Slaves?
Leviticus 25:45-46 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.
Genesis 9:25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
Exodus 21:2 If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.
Joel 3:8 And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the LORD hath spoken it.
Luke 12:47-48 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
Colossians 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:
Isaiah 58:6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to lose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
Matthew 23:10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
Pro-slavery bible verses were cited by many churches in the South during the Civil War and were used by some theologians in the Dutch Reformed Church to justify apartheid in South Africa. There are more pro-slavery verses than cited here.
|See Slavery. The Old Testament Law required that those who enslaved and sold others were to be put to death. (Exodus 21:16) The Bible also commanded that escaped slaves be sheltered from their masters. (Deuteronomy 23:15-16) Slaves injured in the most minor ways, such as loss of a tooth, were to be freed. (Exodus 21:26-27) In the case of Leviticus 25:46-47, this was part of a system to free slaves from the Middle East, because slaves purchased from other nations were freed along with all they owned twice each century, at regular 50-year-intervals known as Jubilees. (Leviticus 25:8-10)
As such, ancient Israel was unique among the ancient world in designing a system that made it profitable for Israelites to perpetually purchase and then free slaves, so that slaves would constantly be freed from the surrounding slave-capturing nations. Rather than perpetuating slavery like the nations around it, it served as a beacon of abolition in the ancient world, with a system designed to continually free slaves. Hebrew slaves could be purchased from other nations, but not enslaved, and after six years would go out free, per (Exodus 21:2). Furthermore, they were not to be treated as slaves but employees. (Leviticus 25:39-43) They could be freed every seven years, and be released from all debts along with their families and belongings at the 50-year Jubilees. If reading Exodus 21:7 in context it is apparent that betrothal, not slavery is being referred to. Verses 8 and 9 specifically mention betrothal. Indeed, the passage describes protection for betrothed wives, to ensure they could not be exchanged to others, had to be treated as daughters, and would be allowed to leave if not treated honorably. (vv. 8-11)
Israel disobeyed God by sacrificing their own children alive to idols (see Destruction of the Canaanites) and oppressing the poor including orphans, widows, and immigrants by stealing their homes and impoverishing them. (Ezekiel 22:7, Malachi 3:5, Isaiah 3:14) As such, God punished the wicked nation by sending them into captivity in Babylon and other nations. (Joel 3:8) In spite of this, He delivered Israel each time. It was because Israel was persecuting the poor and children, rather than letting the oppressed go free and break every yoke as commanded in Isaiah 58:6, that God subjected Israel to captivity. God had warned Israel that if they oppressed widows and orphans, He would destroy them and make their own wives widows and their children orphans. (Exodus 22:23-24)
Since the New Testament, opposition to slavery has been motivated by the Bible's teachings in Philemon and elsewhere, that Christians should treat one another as a family; and slaves should be freed. In the early United States, Quakers from William Penn's Province of Pennsylvania were the primary force opposing slavery. Roger Williams' Colony of Rhode Island, run by the Baptists, established the first anti-slavery organization in the U.S. The radically Christian Quakers would prove the primary opponents of slavery throughout early America, figuring prominently in William Penn's Province of Pennsylvania, along with Roger Williams' Rhode Islanders. Christian churches played a prominent role in the Underground Railroad, just as they would do so a century later during the 1950s-60s civil rights movement. The Quakers were the earliest to assist escaped slaves in gaining freedom, with George Washington complaining they had attempted to liberate one of his slaves, but numerous other denominations were involved in the Underground Railroad as well. Harriet Beecher Stowe's Christian beliefs led her to write Uncle Tom's Cabin, which was a primary source of anti-slavery sentiment leading up to the Civil War.
|9. Does God Change His Mind?
Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Ezekiel 24:14 I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Exodus 32:14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
Genesis 6:6-7 ¶ And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
Jonah 3:10 Jon 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
See Genesis 18:23-33, where Abraham gets God to change his mind about the minimum number of righteous people in Sodom required to avoid destruction, bargaining down from fifty to ten. (An omniscient God must have known that he was playing with Abraham's hopes for mercy--he destroyed the city anyway.)
|Clearly God by saying "I change not" is referring to His covenants with Abraham, Jacob, and David to preserve a lineage as His chosen people. God does not change His covenants and promises, and this is repeated throughout the Bible. Nonetheless, God can be seen numerous times to change His mind or regret His decisions. (e.g. Ge. 6:6; 1 Sam. 15:11,35; Jon. 3:10) While God does not regret doing wrong (since God does not sin or do wrong), He can be seen to regret justifiable punishments enacted on evil human beings.|
Some of the confusion may be caused the archaic usage by the KJV of the word "repent" which is used to mean God simply being sorrowful, even for executing just punishments, and usage of the word "evil" which is used simply to mean a harsh punishment. See for example its usage in Jeremiah 18:8-13 where God says He will "repent of the evil" He does in punishing evil nations as long as they turn from their evil, and that if they do evil then He will "repent of the good".
|10. Are We Punished for our Parents' Sins?
Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
Exodus 34:6-7 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
Deuteronomy 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
|The same teachings both appear in the book of Deuteronomy.
These commandments were both given to Moses at the same time. While God only commands capital punishment for those who sin, not their children, there are genetic consequences not involving death which occur from sin which affect one's descendants. For example, incest can cause birth defects. In some cases, God even curses the descendants of the wicked. (Psalms 109:13) Thus, children are not put to death for what their parents have done (Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:20), but can to a degree still "bear the iniquity" of their parents' actions in the form of negative circumstances. (Deuteronomy 5:9-10; Exodus 20:5)
Nonetheless, God shows mercy to those who do good, judging them based on their own actions. (Ezekiel 18) God can turn away wrath and consequences as He did from Nineveh. In the case of King Josiah for example his individual righteousness resulted in God delaying a punishment that would have otherwise come upon him. (2 Kings 22:19-20)
|11. Is God Good or Evil?
Psalms 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Lamentations 3:38 Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?
Jeremiah 18:11 ¶ Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.
Ezekiel 20:25-26 Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the LORD.
|Biblically, mercy is the result of repentance and turning from evil, it is conditional upon one's actions. Ultimately God could not be good if He did not punish the evil actions of wicked people. God does send goodness upon all, sending rain on both the just and unjust, but must ultimately punish the wicked to stop their perpetuation of evil. With the Jeremiah passage, the unusually harsh punishment was in part because Israelite society was burning their own children alive in sacrifice to idols. (See Destruction of Canaanites)|
|12. Does God Tempt People?
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:
Genesis 22:1 ¶ And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
|God tests Christians to see what is in their hearts, not to tempt them to do evil, but to make them stronger for His kingdom and ensure they are loyal to Him. For a description of the difference between testing and tempting in the Bible, see the Scofield Study Bible III's note for James 1:14, which reads as follows: "1:14 Test/Tempt, Summary: The concept of testing or temptation is expressed in both the OT and NT not only by the words translated 'test' or 'tempt,' but also by the words rendered 'provoke,' 'snare,' 'trials,' etc. (e.g. Gen. 22:1; Ps. 7:9; 11:5; Luke 22:28; James 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:5; compare Job 31:27; Prov. 22:25; Is. 3:8.) The primary meaning is usually that of proving by testing, or testing under trial. Less frequently the sense is that of enticement or solicitation to evil (e.g. 1:13-14; Gen. 3:1-6; 2 Cor. 11:3-4)."|
|13. Is God Peaceable?
Romans 15:33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
Isaiah 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Exodus 15:3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.
Joel 3:9-10 ¶ Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.
|This is no more a contradiction than God saying He gives us peace inside even though we will have tribulation outside.
We have peace in God even though outwardly there is trial, war, and tribulation. God is a God of inward peace and yet a warrior as well. This is no contradiction, indeed some of the great martial artists like Bruce Lee focused on inner peace even as their fighting capabilities were honed to a razor's edge. The concept of God's glory is as aptly stated by John Dryden and characterized by Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy, "Beware the wrath of a patient man."
Also, note the time periods being referred to in the passages. Isaiah 2:4 mentions a future period of peace, probably during the thousand-year reign of Christ, whereas Joel 3:9-10 is referring to a call to arms at the time. A straightforward reading of the book of Revelation is sufficient to show that God ushers in a final era of peace only through violently subduing Satan's world kingdom.
|14. Was Jesus Peaceable?
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Acts 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Luke 22:36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
|For the sake of this present age, Jesus came to save the world, but it is only a matter of time before He returns to restore righteousness to the Earth at the head of an army. (cp. Matthew 12:20 and Revelation 19:11-21) However, both passages suggesting Jesus actively promoted violence are taken out of context. In Matthew 10:34 Jesus had the disciples purchase swords to fulfill a Scripture that He would be placed among criminals. (Luke 22:37-38) Jesus told the disciples not to use the swords, and even healed an arresting soldier whose ear was cut off by Peter. (Luke 22:49-51; John 18:10-11)
Matthew 10:34 involved Jesus warning that those who follow Him will face division within their own families. The truth divides families apart, parents against siblings, siblings against parents, and siblings against one another. Jesus thus warned that people's enemies will become those of their own households. Christians will be persecuted and betrayed by their own family members. (Matthew 10:21-22,36; Luke 12:51-53) Rather than telling Christians to use violence against others, Jesus was warning Christians that violence would be used against them.
|15. Was Jesus Trustworthy?
John 8:14 Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.
John 5:31 ¶ If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
|The critic omits the surrounding verses which show Jesus' words in both passages to be entirely consistent. In John 8, Jesus says that because God the Father is with Him and also bears witness, that what He says is true, since according to Israelite law the testimony of two witnesses was required. (John 8:16-18) This is consistent with what Jesus said in John 5, that there was another who bore witness of Him (John 5:32), the Father Himself, (John 5:37) as evidenced by the works Jesus was doing. (John 5:36) As Jesus said, He is not concerned with man's testimony, but God's. (John 5:34) Jesus repeated the same points in both passages, the critic just cherrypicked what He said out of context to make it appear there was a contradiction where there is none.|
|16. Shall We Call People Names?
Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Matthew 23:17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
Psalms 14:1 ¶ <<To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.>> The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
|The obvious mistake by the critic here is concluding that the Pharisees criticized by Jesus in Matthew 23:17 should be counted as brethren (Greek adelphos) to Jesus in Matthew 5:22. However, Jesus drew a sharp contrast between the wicked Pharisees as the children of Satan, and those who are children of God. (John 8:44; Matthew 13:38; 23:31)
Jesus did not consider everyone His brethren. For example, He urged everyone to do good to their enemies, saying that if they only treat their brethren well, they are no different than the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:47) Jesus also specifically stated that even His biological siblings were not His brethren, only those who did the will of God the Father. (Matthew 12:49-50; Mark 3:35; Luke 8:21) Similarly in John 20:17, Jesus identifies His brethren as believers. In each of these cases, it is the Greek adelphos that is translated as brethren. As such, there is no reason to assume that Jesus' commandment not to call one's brethren fools applied to those who are doing wickedly like the Pharisees (whom He rightly called fools in Matthew 23 for misleading people into Hell's damnation).
|17. Has Anyone Seen God?
John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Exodus 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
John 6:46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
1 John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
Genesis 32:30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
Exodus 33:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.
Isaiah 6:1 ¶ In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
Job 42:5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
|No one has seen God the Father at any time. That it is evident a distinction is being drawn between God the Father and Jesus, the Son of God, is evident from John 1:18, as they are both mentioned separately. However, Jesus as the Old Testament Angel of the Lord has been seen, and seen consistently throughout the Old Testament. Jacob even later states that it was Angel whom he was wrestling, and whom he called God. See Genesis 48:16, "The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." When God spoke to Moses originally in the burning bush, to Abraham even earlier, and to Jacob, it was not God the Father speaking, but the 'Angel of the Lord,' Jesus the Son of God, who spoke. (Exodus 3:2, Genesis 22:15, Genesis 31:11, Genesis 32:28, Genesis 48:16) For more on Jesus as the Old Testament Angel of the Lord, see Christophanies.|
|18. How Many Gods Are There?
Deuteronomy 6:4 ¶ Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
Genesis 1:26 ¶ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Genesis 3:22 ¶ And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
It does no good to claim that 'Let us' is the magisterial 'we.' Such usage implies inclusivity of all authorities under a king's leadership. Invoking the Trinity solves nothing because such an idea is more contradictory than the problem it attempts to solve.
|God the Father, Jesus the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit are all separate individuals, contrary to the false doctrine of the Trinity. Jesus, the Son of God, has been declared by God to be the spitting image of God the Father, and to be equal to God. (Hebrews 3:1-12, John 1:18, John 12:45) Nonetheless, God the Father knows more than Jesus, and has greater authority than Jesus. (Mark 13:32, Colossians 1:12-17, Acts 1:7)
Jesus and God the Father are one with one another in the same way that Christians are one with them, through them indwelling us with their spirits and the Holy Spirit. (John 17:11,20-26; 1 John 4:12-16; John 14:20; 1 John 3:21) While Jesus as the Son of God is superior to the rest of creation, He is nonetheless still a created being, the "beginning of the creation of God" (Revelation 3:14) and "the firstborn of every creature, for by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in Earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist." (Colossians 1:16-17) Thus as Paul concludes, "to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." (1 Corinthians 8:6)
|19. Are We All Sinners?
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Psalms 14:3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Job 1:1 ¶ There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
Genesis 7:1 ¶ And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
|There are two kinds of righteousness, Biblically, and Paul himself makes this plain. In fact, the entire book of Romans has as perhaps its major theme the contrast between the righteousness of the Law which noone measures up to, and the righteousness through faith which comes by trusting Jesus. Paul is contrasting two types of righteousness, a self-centered righteousness based on our works by which none will be justified because none are good enough in themselves, and a God-centered righteousness based on trusting Jesus to save us where it is God's righteousness that is credited to our accounts. (Romans 10:3-11; 3:19-28) There is no contradiction here. Paul is contrasting two types of righteousness, a righteousness according to the Law of works that nobody but Jesus measures up to, and a righteousness of faith where God credits righteousness based on trust in Jesus. (4:1-8)|
|20. How Old Was Ahaziah?
2 Kings 8:26 Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel.
2 Chronicles 22:2 Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri.
|Although other explanations exist, the most likely appears to be that posed by AiG's McKeever and Hodge of scribal error since older texts of 2 Chronicles 22 like the Syriac and Arabic actually have the correct number of 22, not 42. As pointed out by McKeever and Hodge:
This was originally pointed out by Dr. John Gill in John Gill's Exposition of the Bible in the 1700s:
Because other ancient texts have the correct number of 22, it appears a scribe simply made a mistake which crept into the Masoretic Text considered authoritative by many translators. However, the original text clearly did not have such a discrepancy/contradiction.
|21. Should We Swear an Oath?
Numbers 30:2 If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.
Genesis 21:22-24 ¶ And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest: Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned. And Abraham said, I will swear.
Genesis 21:31 Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them.
Hebrews 6:13-17 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
Matthew 5:34-37 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
James 5:12 ¶ But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
|As perfectly summarized by Verse by Verse Ministry International, the context of Matthew 23:16-22, Matthew 5:34-37, and James 5:12 shows that it is not all oaths being referred to, but voluntary oaths. As pointed out by J.P. Holding of Tektonics, the Greek word holos translated "at all" by the KJV in Matthew 5:34 would be better translated as "commonly" which is how the KJV translates it in 1 Corinthians 5:1. The word holos only appears four times in the New Testament, the others being in 1 Corinthians 6:7 and 15:29, and the context of 1 Corinthians 6:7 also provides basis for a more suitable translation of "commonly" rather than "at all."
Thus it was not all oath taking as in court of law which was being forbidden, but frivolous, common, voluntary oathtaking. As Holding further observes, "Now, who makes a serious, solemn oath on heaven, the earth, a city, or their own head? The NT is condemning people who treat oaths with contempt by making them thoughtlessly." As pointed out by VBVMI,
It should further be pointed out that Jesus Himself testified in court of Law when questioned under oath. (Matthew 26:63-64) As pointed out by Ben Van Noort of Contradicting Bible Contradictions, had oath-taking in court of law been wrong, Jesus logically would have spoken against it, or at the least remained silent. His answer itself is strong evidence that oath-taking when required by court of law or other legality is acceptable, consistent with Paul's teachings of generally obeying legal tributes and customs so long as to do so does not go against God's will and commandments. (Romans 13:7) Thus as observed by Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe, "Even Jesus submitted to being put under oath by the high priest at His trial (Matt. 26:63)."
|22. When Was Jesus Crucified?
Mark 15:25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.
John 19:14-15 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
|The crucifixion proceedings began back on the 3rd hour (Mark 15:25) but the crucifixion itself did not begin until after the 6th hour. Confusion occurs because it simply says "crucified" to refer to the crucifixion proceedings/trial, including the scourging and mockery of Mark 15:15-21. The actual crucifixion itself coincided with the darkness over the land lasting from the 6th to 9th hours, beginning with the start of the crucifixion and ending with Jesus' death on the cross. For an exact timeline, see the note for Matthew 12:40.|
|23. Shall We Obey the Law?
1 Peter 2:13 ¶ Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
Matthew 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
|Christians are generally commanded to obey government. (Romans 13:1-7) However, in cases where to do so would mean disobeying God and sinning, Christians are to obey God over people. (cp. Acts 4:19, 5:29; Daniel 3:16-18, 6:10) The passages are complementary; whereas government regulations are to be generally respected, when to do so would mean disobeying God, it is God that must be obeyed rather than people.|
|24. How Many Animals on the Ark?
Genesis 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
Genesis 7:8-9 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.
Genesis 7:15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
Genesis 7:2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
|All animals were being brought in pairs of two except clean animals which were brought in pairs of 7 for purposes of food, though whether that was for Noah or the other animals is unclear. Thus 'clean' animals were the exception because more were needed as a food source. I'm sure any Jew familiar with kosher could have told the critics this as well. Critics who've claimed this as a contradiction are just entirely ignorant of the whole kosher concept of Judaism and what clean/unclean meant in the Torah. As seen from the Mosaic Law, clean animals were those allowed for eating.
Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 are dedicated to explaining which animals specifically were considered clean and unclean. God declared some things clean and others unclean apparently for purposes of keeping Israel from infectious diseases by having them avoid animals and situations likely to cause diseases, e.g. not touching the blood of what is unclean or the clothing of infected people, even unclosed jars in diseased areas were considered unclean. (Leviticus 5:2, 7:26, 12:4-7, 13:59, 15:2-33, 19:14-15)
|25. Were Women and Men Created Equal?
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 2:18 ¶ And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
Genesis 2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
|Nothing in this passage says that men and women weren't created equal. Regardless of who was made first, as the Apostle Paul says, "neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God." (1 Corinthians 11:11-12) Even though woman was made from man, yet man is made from woman through birth. For the controversy over whether women should preach, see Women Teaching.|
|26. Were Trees Created Before Humans?
Genesis 1:12-31 Ge 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. ¶ And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. ¶ And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. ¶ And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. ¶ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. ¶ And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. ¶ And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Genesis 2:5-9 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. ¶ And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
|The Genesis 1 and 2 passages are of course not accounts of the same event with contradicting details. Rather, Genesis 1:1-2:3 is God's account of creation, and 2:4-4:27 is Adam's account of the Garden of Eden. Genesis 1:1-2:3 (1:1, an account of "In the beginning") is not the same account as Genesis 2:4-4:26 (2:4, "generations of the heavens and the Earth") - Genesis 1 relates God's account of how the Earth and creation were made, Genesis 2-4 relates Adam's account of God creating individual life in the Garden of Eden, including himself. Genesis 2:19 does not relate the original creation of cattle and birds, but recreation of more animals of the types already created to see what Adam will name them. Genesis 2 does not show an additional account of the original creation, which would make no sense, rather it starts with Day 6 and Adam's creation as told from his point of view, and relates God recreating animals already made in the Garden of Eden to see what Adam will name them.
Genesis is actually subdivided into different accounts with the Hebrew word "towl@dah" meaning "generations" or "genealogy." For more on this, see the Wiseman Hypothesis, aka the Tablet Theory, the competing theory to the Documentary Hypothesis. This word marks the start of a new account in Genesis 2:4 just like it marks the beginning of accounts throughout the book of Genesis. Genesis appears to be a collation of different accounts by patriarchs like Adam, Noah, and Abraham that are each comprised of a genealogy and a narrative the same way ancient Mesopotamian family tablets are, with Moses the one who likely combined them.
|27. Did Michal Have Children?
2 Samuel 6:23 Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.
2 Samuel 21:8 But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:
|At least two early manuscripts preserve the name Merab as the mother of the five children, Michal's sister. As observed by Bodie Hodge and Jeremy Ham of Answers in Genesis, "'Michal' appears in some of the manuscripts of the Masoretic text, which was utilized by the translators. Two ancient manuscripts—some copies of the Septuagint and the Syriac—use 'Merab' (Michal’s sister), who was married to Adriel (see 1 Samuel 18:19). Michal was married to David, who became king, and he would not have stood for his wife having children with her sister’s husband." The Dead Sea Scrolls which preserve 1 Samuel 21 are fragmentary, and do not preserve whether Merab or Michal was the mother of the five children. As such, given that some of the earliest manuscripts available correctly mention Merab as the mother of five children married to Adriel, it seems best to conclude that a scribal error was made in the Masoretic Text, yet one not present in the original text as evidenced by its absence in other early manuscripts.|
|28. How Many Stalls Did Solomon Have?
1 Kings 4:26 And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.
2 Chronicles 9:25 And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.
|As observed by KJV Today the verses do not contradict because they describe different stalls. Whereas 2 Chronicles 9:25 mentions 4,000 stalls for chariots only, 1 Kings 4:26 says there were were 40,000 for both chariots AND horses. Logically far fewer stalls would be needed for only chariots than for both chariots AND horses.
We are told there were 12,000 horsemen, presumably in addition to the 4,000 chariot crews. So 12,000 stalls for their individual horses, plus 4,000 for chariots. (16,000) This means the chariot horses likely accounted for the bulk of the remaining 24,000 stalls. (40,000-16,000) 6 horses to a chariot is hardly unthinkable (24,000 stalls / 4,000 chariots) although some stalls could be for spare horses. At any rate, the math makes perfect sense between the two passages.
|29. Did Paul's Men Hear a Voice?
Acts 9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
Acts 22:9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.
|Acts 9:7 mentions that the men heard voices. Acts 22:9 says they didn't hear the voice of the One speaking to Paul. These are not contradictory statements, since they could have heard voices, but not the voice of the One who spoke to Paul.|
|30. Is God Omnipotent?
Jeremiah 32:27 Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Judges 1:19 And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
|The context of the chapter shows that the subject was Judah, not God; and thus it was Judah's weakness that was being discussed, not God's. The verse in context is saying that Judah was allowed by God to drive out the mountain inhabitants but not those in the valley.
So, why would God allow Judah to drive out one but not the other? God did not want to let Israel conquer too quickly so the lands being conquered wouldn't fall into disrepair and chaos. As such it was deliberate on God's part to let Judah win one major battle but not conquer everything in sight.
|31. Does God Live in Light?
1 Timothy 6:15-16 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
John 12:35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
Job 18:18 He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world.
Daniel 2:22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
1 Kings 8:12 ¶ Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
2 Samuel 22:12 And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.
Psalms 18:11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.
Psalms 97:1-2 ¶ The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.
|The Hebrew word translated darkness by the KJV in these passages is araphel meaning dark stormclouds. It is translated as "dark cloud" by KJV in Job 22:13. God dwells with light in Heaven but surrounds Himself with dark stormclouds when coming down to meet human beings on Earth. God the Father dwells with the ultimate source of light, Jesus the Son of God, who at the end of time will be the only light source needed for the New Jerusalem. When Jesus said He was the "Light of the World" in other words He wasn't just figuratively speaking. (Revelation 21:23)
However God surrounds Himself with dark stormclouds when He comes down to meet human beings (Ex. 19:9,20:21; Deut. 4:11, 5:22; 2 Sam. 22:10-12; Ps. 18:9) God ultimately uses these dark storm clouds as a covering, a curtain or barrier. (Job 22:14) Thus, dark stormclouds are used to surround light. Many of these passages do not refer to where God lives at all. 2 Samuel 22:12 and Psalms 18:11 do not refer to God surrounding Himself with dark clouds to live among, but rather for purposes of war, to go down into Hell to save Jesus, His Son. (cp. 2 Samuel 22:44 and Psalms 18:11 and Psalms 2:7-8 in the context of 2 Samuel 22) 1 Kings 8:12 is a reference to Leviticus 16:2 where God surrounded Himself with stormclouds in the Tabernacle when dwelling among the Israelites and speaking to Moses. Psalms 97:1-2 appears to refer to God coming down to Earth to render judgment; cp. vv. 3-7.
|32. Does God Accept Human Sacrifice?
Deuteronomy 12:31 Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.
Genesis 22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
Exodus 22:29 Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.
Judges 11:30-40 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands. And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel. And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back. And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the LORD hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon. And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows. And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel, That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.
2 Samuel 21:8-14 But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite: And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest. ¶ And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night. And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done. And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabeshgilead, which had stolen them from the street of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa: And he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged. And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father: and they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God was intreated for the land.
Hebrews 10:10-12 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
1 Corinthians 5:7 ¶ Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
|In Genesis 22:2 God never required Abraham to sacrifice his son, merely used the situation to test the depth of Abraham's obedience and loyalty. This is clearly not a case of God accepting human sacrifice, but rather showing that He does not allow it, since He deliberately put a stop to it.
As for Exodus 22:29, it has nothing to do with human sacrifice, but is rather referring to firstborn sons serving as the original priesthood of Israel, prior to the institution of the Levitical Priesthood. To quote from 'Hebrew Roots' by Meniktah, "As soon as they were delivered from Egypt, out of bondage and foreign dominion to Himself, Yahweh instructed, 'Sanctify unto Me all the firstborn,' ... 'all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.' (Exodus 13:2,13; 22:29) Yahweh redeemed and sanctified them to Himself during the slaying of Egypt's first-born which had been in lieu of theirs. (Numbers 3;13; 8:17) They were purchased with the blood of the sacrificial lamb, as of a lamb without spot or blemish, a type of THE Lamb which was to come and redeem His people. (Exodus 12) These firstborn of every family, as patriarchal heads, were then the officiating priesthood until the time of the golden calf incident, when the tribe of Levi was appointed instead of them. (Exodus 19:22,24)"
God repeatedly and consistently condemns human sacrifice, to the extent that it was a major reason the nations of the Canaanites were destroyed for practicing it, so that the abominable practice would not spread to other nations (including Israel, who were warned against adopting the practice). Israel was horribly punished for practicing human sacrifice in defiance of God's commandments. See Destruction of Canaanites. American Atheists put words in God's mouth by falsely claiming that He approved of Jephthah's actions; indeed Jephthah himself met a horrible end, executed and burned down with his whole house. (Judges 12:1-7) If God approved of Jephthah like American Atheists insinuate, why didn't God let Jephthah face a more peaceful end to his life, such as those God actually approved of? (cp. 2 Chr. 34:28; 2 Ki. 22:20; 2 Chr. 34:28; Jer. 34:5)
God can know the future, but does not always choose to know it. If He did not have the ability to not know the future, He would not be all-powerful. The Bible calls God omnipotent but never omniscient. As such, God is surprised throughout the Bible by the actions of mankind in rebelling against Him. (Genesis 4:9-11, 6:6) See Problem of Evil. God is not the author of evil. Satan sows evil among mankind to sabotage God's good creation, per Jesus' Parable of the Tares. (Mt. 13:27-43)
The Bible constantly describes mankind, even leaders of Israel like Jephthah, constantly doing evil actions that God disapproves of, for which Israel is punished. See e.g. King Ahab. Just one chapter before the case of Jephthah being discussed, in Judges 10:10-14, God goes on one of the most epic rants against the Nation of Israel found in the Bible, pointing out that He delivered the Israelites from the Amorites, Ammonites, Philistines, Zidonians, Amalekites, and Maonites; because each time they sinned against Him and He delivered them from one nation, they would go right back and sin again, so that He would punish them all over again by sending them into captivity to another foreign nation. A fed-up God screams at Israel in chapter 10, "You have forsaken me and served other gods, so I'm not going to deliver you anymore! Go and cry to the gods you've chosen, let them deliver you from your trouble." (vv. 13-14)
Needless to say, any degree of reading the Bible in context shows that God hardly preordains the actions of people, or knows what they will do ahead of time. God constantly punishes the Israelites and their leaders for disobeying Him, indeed it would be difficult to find a more consistent theme throughout the entire Old Testament. God never once in the Bible approves of human sacrifice, and made a point of showing Abraham that his son Isaac should be spared. (Genesis 22:12) Many things are written throughout the Old Testament which describe cases God disapproved of, and for which those responsible were punished. The end of Jephthah, a violent execution and burning down of his house, in contrast to the peaceful deaths of those blessed by God, is itself indicative of God's disapproval of his immoral actions.
In 2 Samuel 21, the actions were undertaken by David in response to a request by the Gibeonites, and were never directly approved by God. Nor was it human sacrifice involved, but rather the Gibeonites requesting vengeance against Saul's family because Saul had overseen genocide against them. (vv. 1-2)
As for Hebrews 10 and 1 Corinthians 5, they relate to Jesus' sacrifice on behalf of mankind. Jesus made the decision willingly (John 10:18) and was killed by the rulers of this Earth, not by God. (Acts 4:26-28) If this world was not so wicked and disobedient towards God, it would have reverenced God's Son. (Matthew 21:37) Furthermore, human sacrifice is only wrong because the one sacrificed is dead, but since Jesus rose from the grave, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father, the situations cannot be equated. Jesus' sacrifice, rather than resulting in loss of life, resulted in not only His resurrection, but the saved lives and souls of everyone who believes in Him, who will likewise rise from the grave to find eternal life. (John 6:40) Rather than being done to produce death, it was done to destroy death. (1 Corinthians 15:20-26) Through Jesus' sacrifice, He took the power of death from the devil (Hebrews 2:14) to free the souls of the righteous who had died, like Moses. (Jude 1:9)
|33. Who Was Joseph's Father?
Matthew 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
Luke 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,
|Every person has two genealogies, one through their father, and one through their mother. As Halley's Bible Handbook points out:
This has been recognized since at least 1917 when the Scofield Reference Bible printed a similar explanation:
Per the Scofield, it accords with Jewish usage to present the mother's genealogy in the father's name, thus the confusion over two seemingly differing genealogies. It also explains why the Luke account begins with a focus on Mary, giving detail only she would know, detail specific to her life. Luke ch. 1 delves into the history of Mary's cousin Elisabeth and Elisabeth's child, John the Baptist, the angel's greeting of Mary, Mary's thanksgiving to God, and how Mary stayed with Elisabeth afterward. Luke 2:19 says, "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:34 records Simeon speaking to Mary specifically, while Luke 2:48 records her conversation with Jesus.
In short, a logical reading of Luke shows the narrator of the early chapters appears to be Mary, not Joseph, and seems to be written from her point of view distinctly. Matthew 1, on the other hand, tells a more matter-of-fact account from Joseph's point of view, telling detail from his vantage point and only that pertaining to him. Just as Luke relates Mary's feelings and thoughts, so does Matthew's early account with Joseph. Matthew 1:19-20 describes Joseph's thought process to send Mary away privately, and his discussion with the angel that persuades him otherwise. Matthew 2:19-23 describe the angel's message to Joseph specifically that it's alright to return to Israel.
Just as the early chapters of Matthew appear written from Joseph's view, so the early chapters of Luke appear clearly written from Mary's, and the genealogies in Matthew those of Joseph's while Luke records Mary's genealogy.
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Strong's Hebrew Lexicon (2019). "Lexicon: Strong's H6459 - Pecel." BlueLetterBible.
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- Scofield, Cyrus I. (2003). The Scofield Study Bible III. pg. 1625. Oxford University Press.
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- Geisler, N. & Howe, T. (2014). "James 5:12-Is Oath-Taking Forbidden or Blessed?" In "When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties." (Wheaton, Il.: Victor Books, 1992). Defending Inerrancy.
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