Bible Contradictions

January 4, 2009 at 12:27 am 6 comments

Yesterday I came across a blog post by Christbearerscott arguing against homosexuality.  I took exception to some of his claims, so I left a comment.  Scott argued back that when I meet God I will have some explaining to do.

To this, I responded that after reading the bible a number of times I concluded, based on biblical errors and contradictions, that the bible was not the word of God.  Mythos, another blogger, saw this and asked if I could mention some of the errors and contradictions that I claimed existed in the bible.

I am happy to oblige, but I figured it would make more sense to create my own post on the topic than to include all of this within the comments on another blog.

To begin with, I want to define ‘contradiction’.  This is important.  Invariably, when discussing contradictions in the bible, people will say, “That’s not a contradiction!”  What they really mean is, “That’s not a contradiction I wish to acknowledge!”  But, they can’t bring themselves to say the whole sentence.

Wikipedia has a good definition of ‘contradiction’.

In classical logic,a contradiction consists of a logical incompatibility between two or more propositions. It occurs when the propositions, taken together, yield two conclusions which form the logical inversions of each other.

What this means is that if we can find two statements that are the logical inversions of each other, i.e., “X is true” and “X is false”, then we have a contradiction.  Or, if we can derive such statements from what the bible says, we also have a contradiction.

We don’t have to go far in order to find a contradiction in the bible.  Genesis contains contradictions.  Genesis 1,11-13 says (New International Version),

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”  And it was so.  The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.  And God saw that it was good.  And there was evening, and there was morning — the third day.

Genesis 1,26-27 says,

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

This happened on the sixth day, according to Genesis 1, 31.

Then, in Genesis 2, 4-7,

This is the account of the heavans and the earth when they were created.

When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens — and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground — the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Genesis 2, 8-9 says,

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.  And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground — trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.  In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

So, in chapter one of Genesis we have the plants being created before man.  In chapter 2 we have man being created before the plants.  ‘Man was created before plants’ is true according to chapter 2.  ‘Man was created before plants’ is false according to chapter 1.  This is a contradiction.

Mythos also asked for accounts of errors in the bible.  We know that chapter 2 of Genesis has to be in error because all animals depend on plant life for sustanence.  Therefore, how could man precede plants on earth?

The bible is rife with contradictions.  This is but one of them.  What this implies, of course, is that God did not write the bible if God is infallible.

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Geography of Nowhere Why is Belief in Christ Necessary?

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. A Pilgrim  |  January 4, 2009 at 4:34 am

    I never understood where the idea came from that “God wrote the Bible.” Why do people believe this?

    Reply
  • 2. Mythos  |  January 4, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Thanks again for your answers and I look forward to reading more on this blog.

    ~ Mythos

    Reply
  • 3. Errancy  |  January 19, 2009 at 6:10 am

    This is just scratching the surface when it comes to apparent errors in the Bible.

    Reply
  • 4. Brian  |  April 3, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Its always good to take a closer look at what the text says before concluding error or contradiction.
    Notice the types of plants mentioned in Chapter one – “seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it…good for food..”
    In chapter 2:4-7, it may be resonably argued that the “shrub of the field” and the “plant of the field” do not refer to the “vegetation” of chapter 1 but are other forms of plants, including the non-edible type.
    The comments in 2:8-9 may be taken to provide a summary of God’s creative “activity to date” as the Eden story unfolds.

    Reply
  • 5. The New Heretics  |  April 3, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    I like to think of the bible as a conceptual book to be read as a whole to get the basic ideas down. Instead of getting hung-up on the details, we take it as a whole and use it as a stroy that helps us better understand a god, how to know him, and use it to motivate us; motivate us towards sexism, hate, war, racism, slavery, homophobia, and hopefully (god willing) a great apocalypse:)

    Reply
  • 6. Thaddeus Dombrowski  |  April 4, 2009 at 7:19 am

    Brian,

    You are bending over backwards to avoid acknowledging a clear contradiction! Don’t do that. You might hurt yourself.

    Reply

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