Continuing with some more Bible contradictions and inconsistencies, and again I warn, this is not an all inclusive list by any means, but merely representative of the thousands that can be noted.
According to Genesis 1:31, God saw his creation and knew that it was good. But then in Genesis 6:5-6 we read, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Now while Biblical apologists will scurry to speak of the wickedness of man and the free-will that he exercised, and the influence of Satan, and all manner of other specious arguments, none of those arguments can explain how an omnipotent, omniscient god could not have known before he created man, that man would be wicked and that this fact would grieve him. He would then have known at creation that what he had made was not all that good by his standards.
God told Adam in Genesis 2:17 that in the day that Adam might eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he, Adam, would surely die. Of course that not only didn’t happen, but Adam, we are told in Genesis 5:5, lived 930 years. Was God a liar? Was he like the parent who tells the child, “If you get in that cookie jar, I’ll spank you,” only to not follow through with the prescribed punishment? Did he change his mind? Any of these, or any other answer to why Adam lived well past the noted failure to do as God had ordered, once again calls into question the issue of omniscience. If God idly threatened Adam on this count, how do we know that God has not idly threatened all who have disobeyed his edicts and reputed dispensations?
So, maybe in the above instance, God merely changed his mind, and is that such a bad thing for an omnipotent being to do? Well, possibly not. However, we are told in Numbers 23:19-20, Isaiah 15:29, and James 1:17 that God does not change his mind. On the other hand, we are told in Genesis 6:6, Exodus 32:14, Numbers 14:20, and elsewhere in the Bible that God DOES change his mind. Yet another inconsistency pops up even when trying to find a justification for Adam’s longevity in the face of God’s warning to the contrary.
Everybody knows the story of Noah and the Ark. As children we all learned in Sunday School that Noah took, at God’s instruction, two of each kind of living thing into the Ark. Now without even belaboring the obvious problems with that scenario: rounding up animals indigenous to the Arctic, Australia, and elsewhere that would have been unknown and unreachable in Biblical times, having enough feed for everything without some living things feasting on their Ark-mates, the removal and disposal of animal waste, etc., we have another glaring inconsistency. Genesis 7:2-5 tells us that Noah took seven pairs of some kinds, not the two by two that we so fondly remember from childhood. So if Noah took two of each, how could he have taken seven pairs of some and not cancel out the two by two story? Yet both stories exist there, virtually side by side, and yet few wonder why.
Numerous places in the Old Testament we are told that God is seen by mortal man. Genesis 12:7, Genesis 17:1, and 18:1 tell us that God appeared unto Abram. Genesis 26:2 has God appearing unto Isaac. In Genesis 32:30 Jacob names the place where he dwelt, “Peniel”, meaning, as Jacob says, “I have seen God face to face and have lived.” Of course, Moses saw God’s face multiple times, and in Exodus 24:9-11 Moses even took Aaron, Nadab and seventy elders with him, and they all saw God and even ate and drank in his presence. These are just some examples of man seeing God contained in the Bible.
Then we read in Exodus 33:20, “And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me and live.” This is reiterated in John 1:18 and 1John 4:12 where we are told, “No man hath seen God at any time.” So has God been seen or not? If he was seen, and we’re told elsewhere that he never was, then the Bible is wrong. If he never was seen but we are given examples of man seeing him, then again, the Bible is in error. Either way, infallibility is in question.
The Tower of Babel is another nice story in the Bible that seems pretty straight forward in the telling. It tells of the creation of different languages in order to confound mankind in order to keep heaven safe from invasion by man via a tower. An obvious fairy tale or myth to explain something that ancient man didn’t understand. Genesis 11:1 in order to set up this story tells us that mankind had only one language prior to this event. However, in the previous chapter of Genesis we read on three separate occasions that there were many languages long before the ill-fated tower was ever conceived. So which is it? One language or many languages? It can’t have been both, for each is mutually exclusive of the other.
I think I’ll end today’s post with what is to me one of the most egregious inconsistencies, and hence one of the funniest. We are told multiple times and places in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, that God is omnipotent. Nothing is impossible with, or for, God. Of course that’s an understood attribute of God even without written indications to tell us that.
Then we read in 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.”
What? God can do anything but he can’t overcome a tribe who possessed iron chariots? He who blinked the universe into being. He who created a universal flood and started it all over again. He who transcends time and space and all other barriers is foiled by iron chariots? It’s a good thing that they didn’t have helicopter gunships and heat seeking missiles or we’d be worshipping Baal or Thor or Odin, for this god would have been annihilated.
What is it? Omnipotence or the weakness of mortals? He can’t be a god if he’s not omnipotent, for that’s part of the definition. Is this another inconsistency or is it an early admission by a human writer or editor that God did not exist, for by being limited in his power by mortal man, he ceased being a god.