Debate:Grave errors/inconsistencies in the Bible make literal translation worthless.

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The bible cannot truly be taken literally, because its facts contradict itself. Take the gospels of Luke and Matthew, for example. Matthew states that in the lineage between Jesus and David there are 42 entires, and Luke proclaims only 27, and only three of them overlap. Obviously, both cannot be right, and cannot be used with literal conviction. Also, if Jesus is truly of virgin birth, then he cannot be the Messiah. The Old Testament clearly proclaims that the messiah must be David's descendant. Since Joseph was supposedly a descendant of David, this would make sense, but if he didn't shoot his DNA at Mary, then how can Jesus be the messiah at all? Something is clearly amiss here, and removes credibility from a literal bible. Finally, Matthew chronicles a census ordered by Caesar Augustus happening during the time that Mary and Joseph settled in Bethlehem. However, there were no censi taken at this time by Caesar Augustus. The closest on was done by Qurinin, and that was in 6 AD, no sooner. I question whether any of these bible literalists have actually read the bibles they claim dictate their lives, as if they did, they'd realize how truly ridiculous some of the errors are. [[AdamNelson 23:17, 17 April 2007 (EDT)]]

This is not a problem as it is far more appropriate to say that the Bible is only intended to be literarily true, as many of the comments below elaborate upon. Be careful; the Bible has withstood the test of scholarship for milenia and you are putting your scholarship (or lack thereof) on display. Qwestor 09:32, 02 January 2008 (EST)

Matthew and Luke give two different liniages. Matthew gave Joseph's, and Luke is giving Mary's. As such, Mary is also a descendant of David, and thus Jesus could still be born of a virgin and be the Messiah of David's lineage.Ultimahero March 3 2008

Firstly, if one is of Joseph and the other of Mary, why are there 41 generations between David and Joseph and only 27 between David and Mary? I know a generation isn't a fixed period of time, but still, it's unbelievably impractical to believe that Mary and Joseph could be anywhere near the same age. By rights, Mary should be several hundred years older than Joseph if you believe that both geneologies are the literal truth. Also, it doesn't say anywhere that Luke is describing the geneology of Mary - in fact, in Luke 3:23, he says "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," and continues from there, which shows that Luke is describing the geneology of Joseph. And finally, Jesus was not the son of Joseph, He was the son of God. What you're doing there is taking two pieces of evidence, realising that they don't fit together, and making up a third piece to try and cover it, and that's how atheists get you. You have to remember that the Gospels were written by imperfect human beings, not God, and that's why they tell two different tales. It's likely that some elements from both are true, but neither is the literal truth, and they certainly can't both be the literal truth. JohnR28 15:02, 27 December 2008 (EST)
As the Scofield Reference Bible has noted, one is giving Jesus' Davidic line emphasizing His kingly heritage, and those focuses on kings and noble lineage. Some descendants are omitted it would seem to focus on the ruling line.
To quote the Scofield Reference Bible (I prefer the newer version but the 1917 one is the only one online):

(CF) 1 Samuel 24:16 The conclusion is therefore inevitable that in Luke we have Mary's genealogy; and Joseph was "son of Heli" because espoused to Heli's daughter. The genealogy in Luke is Mary's, whose father, Heli, was descended from David.

That's why in Matthew 1 you see more noble ancestors: David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Joram, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, etc. These were ruling ancestors showing the ruling line through David. Some which didn't rule were apparently omitted because the line's emphasis was on showing descent of rule, not all ancestors. --Jzyehoshua 17:21, 20 July 2012 (EDT)

No discernment

If you are looking for the truth then you'd better start looking harder and longer. Understanding the Word of God is a little different then reading your school textbook. It sounds like you did a rudimentary scan of the Bible only to find everything not to be totally synchronic. The lineage answer is here: You go on from there, but it is only the same type of faulty logic used with an incomplete picture of actual history. You use selective facts in a subjective manner in order to prove your agenda that the Bible cannot be taken literally. What context are you trying to find these literal inconsistancies? The Creation, the Garden of Eden, the Flood, or the Exodus? These are the literal truths of the Bible. If you don't believe in the One that wrote the Bible then don't waste your time in finding any literal truth in it because you don't have the key.--Roopilots6 19:26, 18 April 2007 (EDT)

Wow. So, this book which you and your sort wish to hold out to me and my sort as being ultimate revealed truth, cannot be understood properly unless I have already accepted your worldview? You know, there are same Christians out there who love the bible, and Jesus, and God, and don't worry about literalism. Human 21:49, 20 April 2007 (EDT)

Typical response. My main argument against a literal interpretation of the Bible is that "the One" didn't write the entire bible, which includes texts that were never meant to be incorporated with others. Also, the Bible as we knew it has gone through numerous translations; it wasn't originally written in English, because it didn't exist back then. Because of the multiple translations needed to get to English, all sense of context is lost since the original Aramic or Hebrew. A crude but effective test can be done on those free translations websites. Take a slang phrase (or any other phrase) such as "All dressed up and nowhere to go", or something like that. Translate it from English to French, then French to German, then from German to English. You'll find that the new phrase has zero relationship with the original one. Admittedly, translation would be more sophisticated via the human element, but the point is the same. Nobody can accept a literal interpretation of the bible through the English version; the ONLY way to get an accurate interpretation of the Bible is through the original root languages. Otherwise, any literal interpretation is simply a fallacy. And I SINCERELY doubt that you have read the entire collected works of the Bible in its original Hebrew and Aramic. By the way, those websites do not describe how Jesus could have been the Messiah AND of virgin birth. He cannot be both, for if he is of immaculate conception, he doesn't meet the requirements of the prophecy in the Old Testament (on a side note, isn't it funny how god is much meaner and nastier in the Old Testament than in the New?). However, if he is descended from David through Joseph, making him the messiah, that denies a main tenet of Jesus being of immaculate conception. Ergo, it is silly and plain false to take a literal interpretation of the Bible, which was purely meant to describe a template for good and compassion in a world lacking those qualities. One other point: after the Flood, God used the rainbow as a symbol to people that he was so distraught by his destruction of the world that he would never do anything cataclysmic again. So how does that hold against the claims of a coming Judgement or any of that other stuff? [[AdamNelson 12:19, 20 April 2007 (EDT)]]

In the eternal worlds of Homer Simpson: 'Facts, schmacts. Facts can be used to prove anything that's even remotely true.' That's exactly what you are doing: flying in the face of the facts. [[AdamNelson 12:25, 20 April 2007 (EDT)]]

Typical legalism. I've heard them a thousand times. Usually a big waste of time trying to argue a point. Fine then, for you, this point is worthless. Since you won't accept what it says is the antithesis of your religious belief. Be a nihilist. You wish to slander the wisdom of a book thousands of years older then you'll ever be. You offer nothing to fill the void. By the way the rainbow was the symbol God used to show mankind He would never again destroy the entire world by flood. The Judgement day is when all of mankind will come before their Creator and be judged worthy to live or die. Then you can argue all of your legalist points and tell Him how badly he goofed everything up. That should go good for you. The final 7 year Tribulation that culminates at a little place called Har Megiddo, a.k.a. Armegedon, doesn't result in the total destruction of mankind. Just a third or two of it. But why do I wast my time here? You have no faith in Him, so His words are meaningless to you. They are foolishness to those without faith.--Roopilots6 22:19, 20 April 2007 (EDT)
You are right, do not waste any time of yours. If you are part of the establishment on this wiki, take such blasphemists off the board since they obviously do not believe in the book that holds ALL the truth and ALWAYS has. Evolution is a theory, what the Bible says about man/life is the truth. All the stuff about fossils and carbon dating and gene structure and function and the similarity between genes and proteins among humans, chimps, worms, mice and rats are all a scientific conspiracy designed to make believers in the literal truth of the Bible look bad. I mean, scientists make up things and are dishonest while men of God are honorable and are always seeking the truth as stated in the Bible. The real problem is that Gutenberg came along and made it possible not only to make copies of the Bible but blasphemies like textbooks in the sciences and humanities. Worse, Galileo was let off the hook last century for his blasphemies, the Sun does go around the Earth and we are the center of the Universe. The real enemies are not Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus or Bahais or the Jews - but teachers and professors who have the temerity of teaching students how to think and question everything. And how dare does anyone question the eternal truths in the Bible? All of it is true, and anyone who says anything else is evil. User:Seekcommon

Roo, just s simple question, "Why do you believe the bible to be true?". Really, what happened in your life for you to believe that this 2000 year old book has more validity than physical evidence that has been provided over the past 100 years? Did you know that most people are Christian, not because they studied other religions and chose one, because they were indoctrinated into it by their parents and communities? Perhaps you should ask yourself the reason why it irritates you so much when people question your beliefs. Maybe it is because you want to answer them but can not find the answers in the religion and now you are starting to doubt what you have been taught? Take the higher road and look at research or research for yourself, if you start to make things up or provide information that is misleading then you are just getting trapped.--TimS 09:05, 23 April 2007 (EDT)

I know the Bible to be true not only because I have studied it for decades. But because of people who know nothing about it continue to make fun of it just as little children make fun of someone they don't understand at elementary school. They are the reasons why I am, as well as others, are driven to study it. I read the simplistic little smug attacks on Judaism and Christianity and see only foolishness. Whether or not they are Humanist or Nihilist, I'd prefer them to stick to commenting on something they know something about. There are no grave errors or inconsistencies within the Bible. This is only professed by those who hate Christians and Jews that keep repeating it in the vain hope someone will believe them. Just because you don't get it doesn't make it errant. It may be your just not scholarly enough. The religious beliefs in evolutionary theories are what have well documented grave errors and inconsistencies. The theory of evolution is a delusion hatched from a fantasy that never happened and continues not to happen. It is unfalsifiable. This is all that is offered as the antithesis to Gods word. This religious belief you profess as science isn't at all scientific. It's rather called a FAITH. Of which the foundations of that faith are crumbling into dust. Its priestly class of teachers and professors have indoctrinated their faithful students only to mock and belittle those who don't believe in the religion of evolution.--Roopilots6 10:26, 24 April 2007 (EDT)
Wow, Roo, sounds harsh. I just wanted to know was what made you a Christian? I have to mention that I am a bible scholar, have read many different translations and have seen first hand some of the inconsistencies found in the bible and its chapters. I keep an open mind and look at the bible as metaphorical instead of literal so that I can keep faith in its message, however logically it does have issues. Perhaps you could study it a little bit more and try to see these things yourself? The point I made above about indoctrination still holds true, very few people actually take the time to study the Quran and other religious texts, and perhaps you should spend some time to see the difference between the bible and these texts. As for Evolution, I would have to say you seem not to be aware of the biological sciences. Many biological predictions have come about due to evolution and many observable events have roots in evolutionary theory. It is far from a delusion and fare from unfalsifiable, I have pointed these things out to you on the debate page before but you have yet to respond.--TimS 10:36, 24 April 2007 (EDT)
TimS, Yeshua Messiach's death and resurrection is what makes me a Christian. How about you? I would be very interested to hear about some of your first hand inconsistencies that you've found in the bible and its chapters. Also, be careful in using the open mind or being more open adage. Being so open that you fall for anything while also standing for nothing comes to my mind. Not to infer to be close minded either. Just be mindful. Metaphorically speaking, as it were.--Roopilots6 13:50, 25 April 2007 (EDT)
Roo, just a few things. First, how do you know that the story of Jesus is true and not embellished? Second, I am agnostic, I do not claim to be right with any religion. Third, here is a list for you [1]. Forth, having an open mind does not mean you take everything at face value. Having an open mind means that you are willing to listen and try to understand the logic of something before judging it false. I have studied the bible, have you studied evolution yet? Here is a link to a wonderful book that would give you the background in evolutionary theory to better debate your position. [2] I believe it would help you understand the theory and perhaps come to accept it but if not then it will at least provide you with some background information so you do not fail when debating with someone.--TimS 15:10, 25 April 2007 (EDT)
Tims, the link you give is from the University of Maryland's Department of Computer Science. When using the search function input with bible I found the list of over 700 inconsistencies along with a description below it that says: "has been used by bible believers to justify all kinds of cruelty to ..."
Your so-called list is merely 700 childish statements of ignorant mockery towards the Word of God. None of which presented any actual inconsistencies that couldn't be solved with any serious examination. I'm sure it wasn't intended to be malicious. Since you say you are an agnostic then it's a waste of time to give you directions to a place you've no intention to go to. As for the reference to the book: The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen Jay Gould, it is another good example of how the adherents to the ideology of Darwin keep changing itself. That's what makes it UNFALSIFIABLE. It is able to change itself by evolving to conform to any new hypothesis, or evidence, especially the lack of it, that comes down the road. Get it? It just keeps evolving.--Roopilots6 10:44, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
That is correct Roo, a link that was a PDF, easier to read. Did you happen to read through the list? There are many inconsistencies that can only be resolved by a liberal application of interpretation, like you mentioned above serious examination. If you take it literally, like you seem to take the creation account in the bible, then you can not explain the inconsistencies. For example how do you explain these two points 1. "The Amalekites were smitten before Amalek (from whom they descended) was born. Amalek was the grandson of Esau (Gen.36:12). 14:7" 2."Noah kills the "clean beasts" and burns their dead bodies for God. According to 7:8 this would have caused the extinction of all "clean" animals since only two of each were taken onto the ark.” Just looking on line and reading the bible you can see the other inconsistencies that stand out, when you are looking. The logic of the bible is often flawed. I believe it has some very good points about how to live with others but I think it should not be taken literally when other evidence has shown it to be false.
If I understand correctly you are talking about heaven when you said direction to a place where I have no intention to go. Just a point, when you look at the logic of heaven did you ever wonder how a person could be truly satisfied? Think on it, if you are in heaven and your family is below then you would have a longing for them. If you were doing the same thing day after day then you would have a longing for something different. The only logical way for a heaven to exist is to wipe the mind and individuality away of the human. So in essence destroy the being. Does not sound like heaven to me. Perhaps I am wrong but the heaven of the bible sounds worse than any prison on earth.
Roo, once again you show your lack of scientific understanding. Theories do adapt to new research but if the basic premise of the theory is not proven false it still stands. For the theory of evolution the basic premise is that organisms evolve over time in response to their environment. Has anyone provided proof to the contrary of this? That is the falsifiablity of the theory. As we learn more about molecular biology we learn more about the mechanisms that contribute to evolution. It does not change the basic premise of the theory only reinforces it. Like I said it would behoove you to read more on this subject to better educate yourself.--TimS 10:02, 27 April 2007 (EDT)
Well, that meets the definition of being unfalsifiable, doesn't it? There will never be the evidence that once and for all will prove its validity, so that neither can it be invalidated. A perfect example of its own circular logic. The only reinforcement you will ever see within the field of evolution theory is the evolution of the theory itself. Forever adapting to whatever the next great new hypothesis comes down the trail. But before you accuse me again of having a lack of scientific understanding let me say that you too also show a lack of understanding. By believing the statements made in the PDF from your link you have indeed proven your own lack of understanding of the Bible. Although as a matter of simple logic you wouldn't want to seek any truth within the Bible. It is inconsistant with your belief in evolutionary theory. You can't believe in a Creator since only creatures are acknowledged without their Creator to an evolutionist. It would be only logical to embrace evolution and reject the Bible. Yes, you are also way wrong with that Heaven thing you got there.--Roopilots6 15:53, 30 April 2007 (EDT)
Roo, it does not meet the definition of being non-falsifiable. I gave you examples in previous conversations as to what would falsify evolution. Please read and try to understand them. I never said I believe the statements in the PDF, just that they point out some issues in the logic of the wording. You made a claim that the bible had no errors, I just showed you some of the logic errors that have been reported. I can not understand where you get that my understanding would be flawed when what I presented was black and white. Your statement about not believing in a creator is a bit far fetched, I could be some other religion besides Christian and not believe the same as you do but believe in evolution and a creator. Your logic seems to be limited based on your worldview of the situation. I would advise that you open your mind and try reading some research and come to your own conclusions.--TimS 16:49, 30 April 2007 (EDT)
TimS, you say you don't believe in the statements of the PDF and yet they point out issues of logic? That in itself isn't logical. The worldview of believing in a Creator while at the same time believing in a theory of Evolution that rejects a Creator is also illogical. I also believe that the kind of open mind your talking about is the kind that stands for nothing and will fall for anything. You can begin to see where this is going, don't you?--Roopilots6 21:53, 27 May 2007 (EDT)

I got to say, I looked through that list of inconsistencies (reference 1), hoping to find something really juicy, but most of them were nit-picky while the rest were not 100% inconsistent. I didn't read the whole thing, but that list seems pretty bogus (that is, if it were created with the intention of proving false a literal interpretation). I don't like things like that; they foster anger and not discussion.

I just wanted to say a few things here. In reference to an earlier comment made by SeekCommon, I'm a scientist, and I don't think that I make things up more than any given man of God. We are all human, and it is all of our capacities to lie and falsify.

Also, I'd like to defend evolution. Evolution is a theory. So are gravity, the jet stream, eyesight, relativity, electricity, and so on and so on. We scientists realize that we can never be sure to know that anything is completely, certainly, without-any-doubt-at-all true. So we use the word "theory." For instance, in paper I'm writing for publication (hopefully soon), I show some peculiar behavior I've observed in certain compounds then I come up with a theory to explain it. Once published, other scientists might realize that my theory helps explain phenomenon they've noticed, so they would write a paper and reference my theory. This might continue until so much work is at least slightly based on my theory that not many people question it. But we would still call it a theory because, unless God himself comes down and tells us to grab a pen because he's about to explain it to us, we will never be absolutely sure that our theories are correct. There are cases throughout history of relatively-recent theories being proven wrong (classical physics is a famous example of a theory that couldn't understand why it couldn't explain everything), but these are surprisingly rare. That's the beauty of our system; we take nothing for granted, and this makes us able to explain how the world works (and at this point we recognize that we can't be too wrong considering that we having working cars, computers, medicine, and the like).

So, I hope that helps people understand what is meant by "theory." In some sense, the concept of evolution does have to slightly change to stay recent with respect to new research. But the sort of thing that changes in the theory are the scientific details lay-folk don't understand anyway. If the crux of the argument, that slow genetic changes occur in populations over long periods of time, turns out to be wrong, then evolution will be proven false. But a new theory will take its place. So if your problem with evolution is that it contradicts the Bible (which, judging by where this argument is taking place, it probably is), let's not argue the falsifiability since 1) making up new theories could be viewed as ways of extending evolution's lifespan and 2) I could make similar arguments about your beliefs. I read a book about evolution and creation in high school, and it seems from that book that *most* (not all) of the noted inconsistencies (used loosely) can be resolved with metaphoric interpretation of the Bible and consideration of the Bible's original language being Aramaic/Hebrew. I suppose that's why we are talking about evolution on this page.--Remainder 15:08, 29 May 2007 (EDT)

      AdamN, you are wrong about the censi. If you care to educate yourself to the truth about this time in history, see the page
      Although it is easy to make blanket statements that you may parrot from your educators, it's quite another to engage in good scholarship. OkieDoc 17/08/07

Two accounts of creation - the Bible contradicts itself in the first chapters of the first book

In Genesis there are two conflicting accounts of creation that are so blatent the only logical explanation is that they are two different stories about the same thing, written at different times by different people. If the Bible is the literal word of God, this can't possibly be the case.

In Genesis 1 the animals are created on the fifth day, man and women on the sixth day (from the New American Bible):

"Evening came, and morning followed--the fifth day. Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures: cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds." And so it happened: God made all kinds of wild animals, all kinds of cattle, and all kinds of creeping things of the earth. God saw how good it was. Then God said: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground." God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying: "Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth." God also said: "See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food." And so it happened. God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed--the sixth day.

Then in Genesis 2, the seventh day is described, where God takes a coffee break, and then he goes and creates man when the land is completely barren, and then gives man creatures to play with (again, from the New American Bible):

"Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation. Such is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation. At the time when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens-- while as yet there was no field shrub on earth and no grass of the field had sprouted, for the LORD God had sent no rain upon the earth and there was no man to till the soil, but a stream was welling up out of the earth and was watering all the surface of the ground--the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being."

Now, I've heard from Biblical literalists that Genesis 2 is supposed to be describing the creation of Eden, but this can't be the case because of the next verse:

"Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and he placed there the man whom he had formed."

The accounts are written in cronological order, so there is no dispute about when things happened, to me, anyway. I challenge anyone to try to give me a convincing argument about why I should believe that the Bible is the literal word of god. Where does this idea come from anyway (let me guess, from the Bible, right? Circular reasoning...)? [stubbstarbuck] 16:24, June 28th, 2007.

Did you ever stop to think that Genesis 1 describes the Creation, while Genesis 2 just goes into a little more detail as to what happened? Unless of course it's your opinion that it just has to contradict itself... Karajou 19:33, 28 June 2007 (EDT)
There is only one account given of the Creation in the book of Genesis. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." -Genesis 1:1. It is literal and chronological. What apparently has confused you is the recounting of it in Genesis 2 which is merely an account from a second perspective. Which is why it gives the precondition of: "This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created." -Genesis 2:4. Two perspectives of one event. Now that wasn't hard at all, was it? Why are there two pespectives given here? Well, you'll just have to read the rest of it yourself in order to fully understand that enigma.--Roopilots6 20:44, 8 August 2007 (EDT)

Toledoth Accounts

There's a good explanation here of the "Wiseman Hypothesis" or "Tablet theory", which basically says that the book of Genesis is made up of numerous Mesopotamian family tablets, similar to those found by archaeologists throughout Mesopotamia, and that they were combined by Moses into a single account. Each tablet would have a genealogical table and a narrative about the family's history:

Basically, the book of Genesis is divided into separate accounts all throughout using the Hebrew word "towl@dah" or toledoth, which roughly translates to "generation":

The word is used in the following places to indicate different generations:

  • Genesis 2:4 - Generations of the heavens and the earth
  • Genesis 5:1 - Generations of Adam
  • Genesis 6:9 - Generations of Noah
  • Genesis 10:1 - Generations of sons of Noah; Shem, Ham, and Japheth
  • Genesis 10:39 - Generations of families of sons of Noah
  • Genesis 11:10 - Generations of Shem
  • Genesis 11:27 - Generations of Terah
  • Generations 25:12 - Generations of Ishmael
  • Generations 25:13 - Generations of sons of Ishmael
  • Genesis 25:19 - Generations of Isaac
  • Genesis 36:1 (repeated Genesis 36:9) - Generations of Esau
  • Genesis 37:2 - Generations of Jacob

Genesis 1:1-2:3 was something different. There were no heavens or earth for descendants to come from, so this section might properly be said to be a history of God's creation, a genealogy if you will. Genesis 2:4-4:26 on the other hand would be a generation of the heavens and earth specifically, and how once created their history and descendants continued, a narrative of specific events.

It's a pattern for the whole book of Genesis to give two sides, a genealogy, and a narrative of major events relating to people in the genealogy. For example, Genesis 5 tells of Noah's genealogy, but then goes into detail about his life in chapter 6-9. Genesis 10 tells of Noah's son's genealogies, Genesis 11:1-9 tells detail about events. Genesis 11:10-32 tells of Abraham's genealogy, while chapters 12-25:11 give detail about events. Genesis 25:12-18 gives detail about Isaac's genealogy, while 25:19-35:29 gives detail about events.

So in other words, it appears to me the first account in Genesis 1:1-2:3 was a genealogy if you will, a factual account about the creation by God, mentioning descendants. Genesis 2:4 was a specific narrative about the events of early mankind. This is a pattern seen all throughout the book of Genesis, and is consistent with the style used in early Mesopotamian genealogical tablets as recovered by archaeology. --Jzyehoshua 18:01, 20 July 2012 (EDT)


Being a Christian is bad for a person's mental health because according to the Bible, the Bible contains "leaven". Matthew 13:33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. Luke 13:21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

According to the Bible, "leaven" is to be avoided. Matthew 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Mark 8:15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.

According to the Bible, "leaven" can be avoided by sorting the Bible. Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. Matthew 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

According to the Bible, it contains "leaven", "leaven" is to be avoided, and "leaven" can be avoided by sorting the Bible. The unsorted Bible is therefore bad for a person's mental health. -heretic5 [Being a heretic is not automatically being wrong.]

You are making a simple reading comprehension mistake. Jesus never said "leaven" was wrong. He said the "leaven of the Pharisees" was wrong. You're misinterpreting the passage, mis-reading it. It's silly reading mistakes like this that drive me crazy. If a lot of "skeptics" had reading comprehension and took basic English courses they wouldn't think the Bible had all these errors, because by and large many "inconsistencies" alleged are just reading comprehension problems on the part of skeptics. --Jzyehoshua 18:09, 20 July 2012 (EDT)

Not Inconsistencies

The "inconsistencies" found in the bible are NOT inconsistincies at all. They are merely different points of view, its that simple. If three people went on vacation together to Disney world, then came back home and they decided to write their accounts of what happened in their journals, I can promise that they would have a few similarities; However, they would ALSO show a few different stories. They may include certain by-standers that were important to them, but maybe not important to another person who tells the same story so then left out that person. The story is still the same, with NO lies, or inconsistencies, just simply different points of view. -matt

...but not all of those points of view can be correct, if they differ in detail. If Susie says that everybody bought Mickey Mouse t-shirts, and Jack says that only half of the family bought Mickey Mouse t-shirts, then someone is remembering inaccurately.

It's interesting that the majority of scholars I've researched who defend the Bible against accusations of inconsistency do so by frequently making the point that the English translation doesn't always carry the same context as the original Aramaic. In other words: something was lost in translation.

How can the Bible continually remain whole and inerrant when even its most learned defenders acknowledge translation issues that obscure the original meaning?

In the example of Jesus' resurrection, some gospels say there's one angel present, some say two. But, is that a contradiction? No. It would be if it was said that there were only one and only two. That's a contradiction. But, one of the writers could have seen just one and wrote about that one, while another could have seen both there. It's not necessarily a contradiction.Ultimahero 00:22, 1 May 2008 (EDT)

That's an extremely precarious argument to raise in defense of the notion of Biblical inerrancy, Ultimahero. In a court case today, if two witnesses to a crime were questioned, and one said that there were two suspects and the other said there was one, significant effort would be taken to ascertain which one was right. If, in fact, there were two suspects, then the person who said that there was one is, in fact, in error. He's made a mistake. That mistake might not say anything at all about his honesty--it's quite likely that he honestly believes there was only one--but it does say something about his powers of observation. It would especially say something about his powers of observation if the person he failed to notice was had an appearance like lightning and clothes as white as snow.
Accepting that the authors of the Bible were fallible men, capable of errors of this sort, is an absolute denial of the concept of inerrancy.
Your argument is also flawed in another respect: the authors of these books weren't at the tomb. They didn't see anything--not one angel, not two. Their accounts aren't based on first-hand observation, but on the reports of the witnesses who were there: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (I suppose the guards at the tomb could also have given an account, but it seems unlikely, given that they were ordered to lay the blame on the Apostles.)
Thus, the several Apostles received the same account of the episode at the tomb from the same witnesses.
There are stronger arguments for the difference in accounts; it would be prudent to raise these arguments rather than then one you raise.
BenP 09:52, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

Let's say that you and a friend were walking down the street and saw a car crash happen right in front of you. If the police asked you and your friend to give an account of what happened, do you think that you would both give the same story down to the exact details? Of course not. In a court of law, if two independent witnesses gave the exact same testimony with the exact same language and not even the slightest difference, those testimonies would be thrown out. It would be obvious to the judge that they had gotten together and collaborated the evidence. Similarly, if the disciples had reported the exact same things with no variations at all, then they would instantly be discredited.

Now if the variations they give contradict one another, then there's a problem. But they don't. For example, John says that Mary Magdalene was at the tomb. He doesn’t say "only" Mary, just says that Mary was there. Mark, on the other hand, says, Mary Magdalene and th other Mary were there. That's no contradiction. Neither said that it was only those they were mentioning. They most likely just considered that the ones they mentioned to be the only relevant ones. There's no mistake there. And the women came back and told the disciples, and there were several women, so they had different accounts, as well. Maybe on woman told Peter something and another woman talked to John. That isn't a contradiction. Ultimahero 17:35, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

...but, again, it tacitly acknowledges that what the authors of Scripture write may not be the whole truth...which is a very risky road to pursue when arguing for Biblical inerrancy. If the authors can leave things out in one place, they can leave things out in other places; who's to say what those things might be, and whether or not they might be important?
I remain unable to embrace the grammatical-historical doctrine of Biblical inerrancy. Though I accept and believe in the Truth of the Bible, I do not believe that God would restrict true knowledge of His Word to a select few elite scholars capable of semantically parsing the autographic texts.
 BenP 21:23, 6 May 2008 (EDT)

It was written by men, that's certainly true. But these men were inspired by God to write what He put in them. Spiritually speaking, God was writing it through them. They left out the things that they considered unimportant, but everything that mattered is in there. The miracles of Jesus, His divinity, crucifixion, burial and resurrection, etc.

What leads you to believe that God has revealed other spiritual truths anywhere else? 2 Timothy 3:16 says "All Scripture is inspired by God...". The Bible itself claims it's inspired. Granted, this isn't an essential issue, so not holding to Biblical inerrancy doesn't negate your salvation. (I'm assuming your a Christian.) But, it does lead down to the path of liberalism in regards to Christianity and can lead to heresy. Not trying to judge you, just saying. Ultimahero 23:36, 6 May 2008 (EDT)

Let's qualify that stetement a bit, Ultima. As I'm sure you know, not every translation of the Bible renders 2 Timothy 3:16 in the same fashion. My New American Standard does, indeed, say that "All Scripture is inspired by God." My King James says "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God." On the other hand, my reprint of the American Standard Version says "Every scripture inspired of God..." My Wycliffe says "For al scripture inspirid of God is profitable..." Other translations, if I recall correctly, use more metaphorical language (the phrase "God-breathed" springs to mind, though I can't immediately recall which edition employs that metaphor...ESV, perhaps?)
Now: I know that some of these translations are regarded as having greater validity than others. Certainly, I would tend towards the NASB in matters of serious Bible scholarship. However, it is important to keep in mind that we're dealing with interpretation on many levels. The authors of the various editions engaged in interpretation when formulating the modern English wording; I am engaging in interpretation when I select one translation over another.
Assuming we can agree on a translation, there's also the matter of what is actually said. The NASB confirms that all Scripture is inspired by God, and profitable for instruction; it does not say that all Scripture is literal. Clearly, that is not the case, and I don't think anyone with a serious interest in the Bible would claim that it was; Christ's parables were certainly "profitable for instruction" (and more than inspired by God, since they came directly from the source.) They were not, on the other hand, meant to be taken literally.
There's also the matter of "Scripture" (or alternately, "Writing" in certain translations) versus "Bible." 2 Timothy doesn't say "The Bible is inspired..." It says "All Scripture is inspired." What, then, of the Apocrypha and other texts rejected by the early Church? Did they overstep their boundaries in using fallible human judgement to determine which writings were a part of "All Scripture" and which were not? (One might argue that God would not permit them to make an error in such a selection, but I am not familiar with any textual support for that notion in the Bible. Certainly, history teaches us that the Church is capable of serious error and corruption.)
As a result, while mindful of, say, 2 Peter 1:20's warning that " prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation," it seems to me as if it's impossible to engage in a study of the Bible WITHOUT engaging in interpretation. To claim that 2 Timothy establishes that the Bible is inerrant is certainly a valid interpretation, but it IS an interpretation, and not the only one.
To touch upon your question of spiritual truths elsewhere, I should think that would be self-evident: God's will is revealed to us when we earnestly seek him through prayer. (I find Jeremiah 29:11-13 to be a particularly moving affirmation of this.) The Bible is the map by which we may begin our search for Him, but the search itself takes a lifetime.
BenP 17:31, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

Well, let's eliminate the problem of differing English interpretations right off the bat. Let's look at the Greek, which the New Testament was originally written it. The word inspired is "theopneustos", literally meaning "God-Breathed". All Scripture comes from God.

As far as literal interpretation compared to figurative, the answer is to look at what it says. If Jesus is giving a parable, as you said, then obviously it is intended to be a figurative story used to illustrate a spiritual truth. If the Bible says, "Jesus went to Jerusalem", then that's literal. What does it say? Also the book that it comes out of is important. Things coming out of the Book of Revelation deserve more scrutiny when coming to literalism because it's a book filled with symbolism. Compare that to the four Gospels, which are accounts of what Jesus did and said.

The cannon of the Scripture was established by the early Christians. They new which books were inspired and which weren't. The four Gospels were written by the people who either traveled with Jesus personally (Matthew, John) or by those who associated with those close to Jesus (Mark was a companion of Peter, Luke that of Paul). Matthew, Mark and Luke were all written within a generation of the death of Christ. This means that the people who were around at the time could easily determine if they were lying or not. That gives legitimacy to them. John was written towards the end of the 1st century, by Jesus' close disciple and friend. He knew what happened. Compare these to some of the other alleged gospels that were left out. They were written hundred of years after the death of Christ and were obviously not written by those they were attributed to. And a lot of those other accounts contain things that are simply untrue. That Christ never died, etc. These were clearly not true as they went against the understanding of what happened to Christ. It things like this that made it easy to figure out what was Scripture and what wasn't.

Do you consider yourself a Christian? If so, the think about this. Christ says that He is "the way, the TRUTH and the life." (John 14:6) And, He says that He alone reveals the Father (Matthew 11:27, Luke 10:22). So if Jesus is the Truth, and He alone reveals the Father, then how do you find God? Only through Jesus. No one comes to the Father but through Him. (John 14:6). You have to go through Jesus. And where is Jesus revealed? In the Bible. Only the Bible can teach about Christ. So logically, you have to go through the Bible if you want to find the truth, Jesus, and want to find God. Ultimahero 23:51, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

...but that's precisely it. Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Bible is not the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Old Testament is not the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Bible is valuable, but it is a starting point--not an end. The Pharisees and Saducees were quite proud of their learning and knowledge of Scripture, but their ability to quote the law of the Old Testament did not make them holy; if anything, it pulled them away from God, for it made them prideful.
Consider the number of Christians throughout history who have lived and died without ever reading a single word in the Bible. Consider the fact that the early Christians dealt with such fragments of Scripture as they could find; and that although the canon was established by the fourth century AD (and much of it was generally accepted by the third,) Bibles with significant variations in text would continue to be circulated and used for many, many years past this point. The Wycliffe Bible springs to mind, as do the (comparatively recent) examples of Bibles containing the Apocrypha.
How, then, were those early Christians brought to the Word? Through the witness of Christians, most of whom had also never read the Bible. The conclusion, I think, is inescapable: while the Bible is important, it is entirely possible to come to salvation without it; the Gospel was meant to be spread through witness. Christ commanded His followers to go forth and spread his Word actively. I believe that that would have happened regardless of the establishment of canon, and regardless of the development of the printing press.
While you assert that the fathers of the early Church would be able to select which books were and were not canonical and inspired with accuracy, I think that's by no means certain. Consider the huge docrtinal schisms of the early church over such fundamental issues as whether Christ was God or Man and the nature of the Trinity. There was a great deal of uncertainty as to the meaning of God's revealed Word in the early church.
Moreover, I think some of their choices remain questionable to this day. The book of Enoch is rejected as part of the canon, but it's explicitly quoted in Jude 1:14-1:15. Those responsible for establishing the canon concluded that Enoch was probably not the author, even though Jude clearly says that those were Enoch's words, and even though many of the early church fathers considered it a prophetic text and inspired of God. If Jude is inerrant Scripture, and Jude clearly says that the words of Enoch as referenced in Enoch 1 were prophetic, then was the early church truly right to exclude it from the canon?
As to the subject of what is literal and what is figurative, it's important to bear a number of things in mind. Languages change over time, and figurative language is especially susceptible to this. If I say "Hold your horses" to a group of friends today, it is clearly understood as a metaphor for "Be patient." Thus, it's possible and even likely to miss metaphors due to a lack of shared cultural context.
Even a few hundred years ago, such an injunction would have been taken as a literal command. Mastery of idiom in the modern version of a language does not guarantee mastery of idiom in the ancient version. Consider how much difficulty the typical English speaker would have with the comparatively recent writings of Geoffrey Chaucer, for instance. Scholars can, by using historical accounts, arrive at a reasonably accurate understanding of such language, but it's still an approximation.
I have faith in God and in Christ. I do not have as much faith in the ability of man to know His will infallibly; even if the original authors of Scripture were inspired of God and incapable of error (a position which I acknowledge can be derived from Scripture,) I remain skeptical that subsequent generations were similarly infallible in their decisions concerning these writings, and that those of us alive today are infallible in our ability to interpret His Word. Minds far better than mine have misinterpreted the Bible in the past, and so been led to erroneous conclusions about the nature of the universe; Martin Luther believed in the firmament, for instance. If the finest minds of the Church could and did make errors of comprehension, I consider it prideful in the extreme to believe that such errors cannot occur today.

--Benp 17:48, 8 May 2008 (EDT)

But Christ is represented in the Bible. You have to go to the Bible to get the history of Christ’s death and resurrection. I agree that Biblical knowledge isn’t going to impress God. It’s important and we should study it, but it doesn’t save us. If we rely on our own efforts and our own knowledge for salvation, then we’re lost. It’s faith in Christ and what He did that saves us. But we can only learn about that from the Bible.

In the early Christian church, they’re were people who had traveled with Christ and knew Him personally. So they could understand things in a way that we couldn’t, due to the personal connection. And even in the first few hundred years, they did have the written words of the Apostles. But, they consisted of a much smaller group that what we see today, so there wouldn’t have needed to be as spread out as Christians are today, so it would be easier to spread the Gospel.

The Apocrypha was written in the four hundred year gap after the Old Testament was completed and before the time of Christ. It was rejected by the Jews, so there is no reason to accept it today. If the Jews didn’t put it into their Scripture, why should Christians who built upon that original Old Testament?

I would certainly agree that you don’t have to read to the Bible to be saved, because, again, it’s about what Christ did on the cross that cleanses us from sins. But, you have to go to the Scripture to find the truth, which is Christ. And only the Bible contains the Truth.

There were certainly debates about various doctrines in the early church. But, we have the written work he main church fathers, the Apostles, in our hands. We can see what the correct doctrines are because we can see what they taught.

As far as Enoch goes, it’s debatable whether Jude was quoting from the Apocryphal book of Enoch or something else. But, for arguments sake, let’s say he was quoting that specific book. That doesn’t make it inspired. That just means the author got it right on that one point. Besides, Paul quotes Epimendies, who was a Greek philosopher from the 6th Century BC in Titus 1:12. That doesn’t make Epimendies inspired. And most Christian fathers didn’t accept the book of Enoch. Some did, but the majority didn’t.

Yes, culture is absolutely important. But scholars can reconstruct what the culture was like at the time based on early writings from that time period. It may not be perfect, but it’s really good, and the only thing we have to indicate that they’re wrong is the assumption that they are.

The Bible has been meticulously worked on to make sure it was translated correctly for generation to generation. In fact, it has been better preserved than any other ancient document. There are over 5,600 early Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, all written within 100 years of it’s completion. Compare that with the next well-transcribed document, Homer’s Iliad. That had 643 manuscripts and were written 500 years after it’s completion. The New Testament just blows everything else out of the water. We have very good reason to believe that it an accurate version of what was originally written.

Anyone can make mistakes. I would never claim that I’ve got everything perfectly figured out. But, I do look at the evidence and conclude that the Bible is extremely accurate and is the inspired word of God.

Not to change the subject, but you said something interesting. You said, “I have faith in God and in Christ.” Do you consider God and Christ to be different entities, or do you think Christ is God? I’d be interested to hear our opinion on that. Ultimahero 23:23, 8 May 2008 (EDT)

Err...well, the only answer I can give to that question is "Yes." Yes to both; Christ is God, and Christ is a distinct entity...God and the Son of God. My choice of phrase was most likely an echo of the Nicene Creed (which was drilled into me pretty thoroughly at a young age.)

--Benp 17:11, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

So would that mean that there are two Gods? Ultimahero 01:42, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

No, that would mean that there is one God with three distinct and equal aspects: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I'm not quite sure what you're looking for here, Ultima; short of resurrecting Arianism, how could any Christian believe otherwise? While we may disagree on whether certain truths in the Bible are literal or allegorical, the nature of God is such a central tenet that I don't think you can reasonably call a faith that rejects it Christian.
Please don't take offense, but it seems as if you're trying to interpret acceptance of the Holy Trinity as something unusual or exotic.
--Benp 09:10, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Hold on, now. Don’t assume anything. You don’t know what I believe on the subject because I haven’t stated anything yet. I simply asked about what you believe. I actually do hold to the doctrine of the Trinity, as it is the Biblical truth. I was simply trying to follow up on what you said about different Christ and God being different entities. If they are, then Christ couldn’t be the one God. Because by definition two entities are two entirely separate beings, so God and Christ wouldn’t be the same. That’s why the Trinity is referred to as one God, three persons, not three separate beings. But it sounds like you hold to the doctrine as well, so we agree on that. Perhaps it’s just a communication error. I wanted to make sure you weren’t rejecting the divinity of Christ. Ultimahero 13:30, 10 May 2008 (EDT)