Monday, November 15, 2010

Book Review: Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions

book cover

Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions,Volume 1:
Exploring Forty Alleged Contradictions
edited by Ken Ham

ISBN-13: 978-0-89051600-3
Trade Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: MasterBooks
Released: Nov. 2010

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
One of the most popular misconceptions by people who have walked away from the Church and their faith is that the Bible contains errors or inaccurate accounts. Many people also simply accept without question the claim by others that the Bible is full of contradictions. Even more disturbing is that a growing number of Christians are unable to respond when presented with an apparent inconsistency in the Bible.

Now in a bold defense for the accuracy of Scripture, Ken Ham leads a powerful team of contributors in providing core biblical truths to help refute claims regarding the inaccuracy of God’s Holy Word. Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions:
  • Addresses over 40 issues of contention in the Old and New Testaments including Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Matthew, John, Acts, and Revelation

  • Contains vital and relevant context by Steve Fazekas, Bodie Hodge, Roger Patterson, Stacia McKeever, Gary Vaterlaus, Dr. Jason Lisle, Paul F. Taylor, John Upchurch, and Dr. Georgia Purdom

  • Equips you to accurately defend your faith while challenging secular or humanistic agendas

With nearly two-thirds of young people leaving the Church when they move from home, there has never been a more important time to have a reasoned response for those who desire only to undermine your faith. This book is a great starting point in teaching you how to think and then respond to false claims regarding the Bible. It is imperative that believers are able to stand firm in their faith, and have answers to the culture’s attacks on the Bible.

My Review:
Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions is a collection of articles written by various people explaining why various alleged contradictions in the Bible aren't actual contradictions. Dr. Jason Lisle started the book out with an article explaining what, exactly, a contradiction is. He also explained the general categories these alleged contradictions fell into and why these categories aren't true contradictions (like the word is used in a difference sense in different places or the dilemma wasn't an either/or but both are possible). This will help the reader identify the problems with and know how to respond to alleged contradictions even if they're not specifically answered in this book.

After that, various authors took turns explaining how this applied to a variety of specific examples. The arguments were easy to follow and well-written. I'd highly recommend this book, especially to anyone who has been asked about (or wondered about) apparent contradictions in the Bible and didn't know the answer.

The alleged contradictions that were specifically covered were:
  • If Abel kept flocks, did he eat meat?
  • Why didn't Adam and Eve die immediately in Gen 2:17?
  • Does Genesis 1 teach the sky is solid ("firmament" in KJV)?
  • Does Genesis 1:22 imply a first creation and then a second re-creation ("replenish" in KJV)?
  • Were Noah's sons triplets born when Noah was 500 or were they born several years apart?

  • Why are some location-names the same before & after the Flood if the locations no longer existed?
  • Do Genesis 10 & 11 contradict each other about the origin of the post-Flood nations?
  • Was Lot Abraham's nephew or brother?
  • Do snakes really eat dust like Genesis 3:14 says?
  • Are Genesis 1 and 2 different, conflicting creation accounts?

  • Does Genesis 1:15 say that the moon emits its own light?
  • Is it okay to kill or did God forbid it?
  • Did Moses really call a bat a bird?
  • Did Moses say that insects have only four legs?
  • How could Moses be the author of Deuteronomy when his obituary is listed as the last chapter?

  • Does God bless or condemn marriages between close relations?
  • Can God be seen face to face or not?
  • Does God change his mind?
  • If God is loving, how could he order the complete destruction of the inhabitants of Jericho?
  • Was Solomon really going to cut the baby in half?
  • Does God condone polygamy or not?

  • How could Ahaziah be both 22 years old and 42 years old when he started to reign?
  • Was Jehoiachin set free from prison on the 25th day or 27th day?
  • Did Matthew falsely attribute a prophecy to Jeremiah that came from Zechariah?
  • How could the young Samuel have been sleeping in the temple when the temple was not built until much later?
  • Does the Bible incorrectly claim that pi equals 3?

  • Was Matthew incorrectly counting in Matthew 1:17 when he summarized Christ's genealogy?
  • Was Jesus wrong in Matthew 13:31-32 when he said that the mustard seed was the smallest seed?
  • Didn't Jesus contradict Old Testament law by not stoning the adulteress?
  • How can Jesus be God's "only begotten son" when angels and Christians are also called God's sons?
  • Did Jesus tell His disciples to take a staff or not?

  • Was Joseph's father named Jeconiah or Heli?
  • Is Jesus lesser than or equal to God the Father?
  • Why do the inscriptions on Jesus' cross differ among the four gospels?
  • Why does the genealogy in Luke 3:36 give an extra Cainan not found in similar genealogies, such as Genesis 11:12?
  • If Jesus was to be in the grave three days and nights, how does that fit between Good Friday and Easter Sunday?

  • Is lying okay or not?
  • How did Judas die--by hanging or falling into a field?
  • Can all sins be forgiven or not?
  • How could Jesus be the Creator if He was the firstborn of all creation?
  • Can man be held accountable for his sinful actions and yet have Christ act as substitute for his sins?

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Introduction
If the Bible asserts a particular claim and also asserts a contrary claim, clearly they cannot both be true at the same time. If the Bible contains genuinely contradictory information, then it cannot really be completely true, since one of the two claims would have to be false. Thus, unlike mere subjective opinions about what is plausible, the claim that the Bible contains contradictions is a real challenge — one that Christians should take seriously.

But what constitutes a contradiction? Most alleged biblical contradictions are not even “apparent” contradictions because there is no necessary conflict between the two propositions. For example, the statements, “Jesus is descended from Adam” and “Jesus is descended from Noah” are not contradictory since both are true. A contradiction is a proposition and its negation (symbolically written, “A and not A”) at the same time and in the same relationship. The law of non-contradiction states that a contradiction cannot be true: “It is impossible to have A and not A at the same time and in the same relationship.” The last part of this definition is crucially important. Obviously, A and not A could each be true at different times. And this resolves a number of alleged biblical contradictions. They could even be true at the same time if the relationship is different.

Difference of Sense or Relationship
Since words can be used in different senses, it is possible to have A and not A at the same time as long as the relationship or sense of the word is different. A man can be a bachelor and also married, in the sense that he is “married to his job.” This does not conflict with the fact that the bachelor is unmarried in the sense of not having a wife. There is no contradiction if the sense of the word differs.

Some of the alleged Bible contradictions fall under this category. For example, it is claimed that James contradicts Romans on the topic of justification.

Romans 4:2–3 teaches that Abraham was justified by faith alone, not by works. However, James 2:21, 24 teaches that Abraham was justified by works and not by faith alone. Do we have a contradiction here? We do have A and not A at the same time, but the relationship differs. Romans 4 is teaching about justification before God; by faith alone, Abraham was considered righteous before God. But James 2 is teaching about justification before men (James 2:18); by works (as a result of faith), Abraham was considered righteous before men. There is no contradiction here.

Read the table of contents and introduction.

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