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There are No Contradictions within the Bible. You Heard Me.


1. If I say, “I hate oatmeal” after which flip to another person and say “I like oatmeal,” I’m contradicting myself.

2. If I stated 20 years in the past “I hate oatmeal” and now say “I like oatmeal,” I’m not contradicting myself. Fairly my view of oatmeal modified over time.

3. If I say “I hate oatmeal” however my son says “I like oatmeal,” that may not be a contradiction. We’re two totally different individuals voicing our opinions.

The Bible works extra just like the second two examples, and by no means like the primary. We create issues for ourselves after we assume the primary instance is related. It isn’t.

Somebody would possibly say, “Aha. I’ve acquired you, Enns. The primary instance IS the appropriate instance as a result of God impressed the Bible, and subsequently there is solely one voice within the Bible: God’s. So for God to say one factor after which the other is a contradiction (and we are able to’t have that) so we all know there aren’t any contradictions.”

However certainly that’s merely a incorrect mind-set.

Nonetheless inspiration works (and I defy anybody who thinks they’ve a deal with on it), the next is demonstrably true:

  • The Bible is written by actual stay individuals over an extended time period (2nd oatmeal instance). In some circumstances, the impact of time and circumstance may be seen in a single individual (extra intently consistent with the 2nd oatmeal instance), for instance, Paul, whose letters present differing tones, emphases, and even shifts in pondering.
  • The Bible data the voices of various individuals who have totally different factors of view on the identical subject (third oatmeal instance), together with what the Regulation of Moses says, how God acts towards outsiders, what number of gods exist, whether or not the reign of Manasseh was optimistic or destructive, when Jesus cleansed the Temple, what Paul thinks of the Regulation, and on and on.

The writers of the Bible spanned centuries, lived in several occasions and locations, confronted totally different circumstances (private and political), and responded to these circumstances from the perspective of their settings in life. A e-book that brings all of this below one cowl is, in fact, going to exhibit a number of range.

What are known as “contradictions” are solely so if one assumes that the aim of inspiration (nonetheless it really works) is to align or override the down-to-earth numerous voices we really encounter within the Bible.

But when inspiration implies that God is all about corralling these totally different voices as a result of “God wrote the Bible” then God did a reasonably unhealthy job of it.

So perhaps “Does the Bible contradict itself?” is posing a false query rooted in unhealthy theology.

The “contradictions” within the Bible aren’t contradictions, for the Bible doesn’t replicate the “completely constant thoughts of God,” however the range of time and place of the writers.

I don’t know the way else to respect the Bible and what I learn there however by arriving at a conclusion like this.

Others might argue that (1) since [as we all know]  God DID “write the Bible” and (2) since God by definition can’t be self-contradictory, subsequently (3) any contradictions are solely “obvious contradictions”—they seem so to us, however are simply resolved in God’s thoughts. In that case, our job is just to belief that that is so and defend the Bible in opposition to the cost of contradiction.

However that has all the time struck me as a really, very unhealthy answer.

It appears nonsensical to me to argue “God impressed the Bible, and subsequently the Bible doesn’t contradict itself,” and but—that divine inspiration produced a e-book that appears so untended and raises so many questions.

And it appears much more nonsensical to me to assume that, in response to this untended Bible, the “really devoted” are referred to as by God to see previous all that self-evident messiness and affirm with absolute conviction that behind all of it God is totally constant and someday while you’re lifeless and also you face Jesus you’ll see for your self, however within the meantime your job is to not settle for the presence of “contradictions” however to defend the Bible in opposition to the cost, understanding by religion that regardless of the Bible appears to be doing it isn’t actually doing should you had sufficient religion in God to see previous what you’re seeing.

And I’m exhausted simply writing that.

How about one other mind-set about what seem like contradictions within the Bible:

  1. Inspiration is a matter of religion, and irrespective of how fervently it’s believed that doesn’t imply it’s comprehended.
  2. The Bible we now have is a numerous and sophisticated literary product, not reflecting persistently one perspective.
  3. Due to #2, we are able to and will say that inspiration, nonetheless it really works, should embody in its definition the notion that the Bible was written after which edited by individuals residing in and reflecting their explicit time and place.
  4. If we imagine by religion that God impressed the Bible, we’d like additionally to imagine that God is OK with how the Bible really works and subsequently, by religion, so ought to we.

Though I by no means as soon as point out oatmeal, I do speak in regards to the nature of the Bible fairly a bit in The Bible Tells Me So (HarperOne, 2014), The Sin of Certainty (HarperOne, 2016), Inspiration and Incarnation (Baker 2005/2015), and The Evolution of Adam (Baker, 2012).

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