Smith 101 Cleared-up Contradictions in the Bible 101 is a short work on apologetics on Scripture.
101 Cleared-up Contradictions in the Bible
By Jay Smith
By: Jay Smith, Alex Chowdhry, Toby Jepson, James Schaeffer
“The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.” (Proverbs 18:17) Smith 101 Cleared-up Contradictions in the Bible
Excerpt from Smith Cleared Up Contradictions Bible 101
The Charge of Contradiction
Muslims talk often about the many contradictions in the Bible. The number of contradictions vary depending on whom you are talking to. Kairanvi’s Izhar-ul-Haq presents 119 contradictions, while others such as Shabbir Ally have supposedly found 101. The problem as they see it concerns their supposition that any religious book claiming absolute divine authority must not include any contradictions, as a message emanating from an Omniscient being must be consistent with itself.
The Muslims quote from the Qur’an (4:82) which says “do they not consider the Qur’an (with care). Had it been from any other than Allah, they would have found there-in many a discrepancy.” Smith Cleared Up Contradictions Bible 101
A Definition of Revelation:
In order to respond to this challenge it is important we understand the presupposition and thinking that underlies such a challenge. The principle of non-contradiction has been elevated to the status of an absolute criterion, capable of being applied by human beings in judging the authenticity of God’s word. This is not a proposition to which Christians can or should give assent. The Christian will gladly admit that scripture is ultimately non-self-contradictory. But the Christian cannot agree that the principle of non-contradiction is given to men as a criterion by which they are to judge God’s word. It is this criterion which the Muslims have imposed upon the discussion of revelation. And it is a criterion which is lethal to Islam as the QurÕan is filled with internal contradictions as well as errors of fact, history, and science. Smith 101 Cleared-up Contradictions in the Bible
Setting a false standard is a mistake which many of us fall into; measuring that which is unfamiliar to us by a standard which is more familiar; in this case measuring the Bible with the standard which they have borrowed from the Qur’an. Their book, the Qur’an, is falsely believed to have been ‘sent down’ from heaven unfettered by the hands of men. It is this misconception of scripture which they then impose upon the Bible. But it is wrong for Muslims to assume that the Bible can be measured using the same criteria as that imposed on the Qur’anÑa criterion upon which the QurÕan itself fails miserably.
The Bible is not simply one book compiled by one man as the Muslims errantly claim for their Qur’an, but a compilation of 66 books, written by more than 40 authors, over a period of 1500 years! For that reason Christians have always maintained that the entire Bible shows the imprint of human hands. Evidence of this can be found in the variety of human languages used, the varying styles of writing, the differences in the author’s intellects and temperaments, as well as the apparent allusions to the author’s contemporary concepts of scientific knowledge, without which the scriptures would not have been understood by the people of that time. That does not mean, however, that the Bible is not authoritative, for each of the writers received their revelation by means of inspiration.
A Definition of Inspiration: (from Smith 101 Cleared-up Contradictions in the Bible)
In 2 Timothy 3:16, we are told that all Scripture is inspired. The word used for inspiration is theopneustos which means “God-breathed,” implying that what was written had its origin in God Himself. In 2 Peter 1:21 we read that the writers were “carried along” by God. Thus, God used each writer, including his personality to accomplish a divinely authoritative work, for God cannot inspire error.
The Bible speaks many times of its inspiration: In Luke 24:27,44; John 5:39; and Hebrews 10:7, Yahshua says that what was written about him in the Old Testament would come to pass. Romans 3:2 and Hebrews 5:12 refer to the Old Testament as the Word of God. We read in 1 Corinthians 2:13, “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit.” This is corroborated in 2 Timothy 3:16, as we saw above. In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul when referring to that which he had written says, “…you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the Word of God…” Peter speaks of the inspiration of Paul’s writings in 2 Peter 3:15-16, where he maintains that, “…Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters…” Earlier, in 2 Peter 1:21 Peter writes, “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along [moved] by the Holy Spirit.” And then finally in Revelation 22:18,19 the writer John, referring to the book of Revelation states, “…if anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life…”
Charles Wesley summarizes this high view of inspiration brilliantly when he says, “The Bible must be the invention either of good men or angels, bad men or devils, or of God. However, it was not written by good men, because good men would not tell lies by saying ‘Thus saith the Lord;’ it was not written by bad men because they would not write about doing good, while condemning sin, and themselves to hell; thus, it must be written by divine inspiration” (McDowell 1990:178). Smith 101 Cleared-up Contradictions in the Bible
How does God inspire the writers? Does He simply move the writers by challenging their heart to reach new heights, much like we find in the works of Shakespeare, Milton, Homer and Dickens, all of which are human literary masterpieces? Or does that which He inspire contain the words of God-along with myths, mistakes and legends, thus creating a book in which portions of the Word of God can be found, along with those of finite and fallible men? Or are the scriptures the infallible Word of God in their entirety? In other words, how, Muslims will ask, is this inspiration carried out? Does God use mechanical dictation, similar to that which we find erroneously claimed for the Qur’an, or does He use the writersÕ own minds and experiences?
The simple answer is that God’s control was always with them in their writings, such that the Bible is nothing more than “The Word of God in the words of men” (McDowell 1990:176). This means that God utilized the culture and conventions of his penman’s milieu. Thus history must be treated as history, poetry as poetry, hyperbole and metaphor as hyperbole and metaphor, and generalization and approximation as what they are. Differences between literary conventions in Bible times and in ours must also be observed: Since, for instance, nonchronological narration and imprecise citation were conventional and acceptable in those days, we must not regard these things as faults when we find them in Bible writers. When total precision of a particular kind was not expected nor aimed at, it is no error not to have achieved it. Scripture is inerrant, not in the sense of being absolutely precise by modern standards, but in the sense of making good its claims and achieving that measure of focused truth at which its authors aimed.
The truthfulness of Scripture is not negated by the appearance in it of irregularities of grammar or spelling, phenomenal descriptions of nature, reports of false statements (for example, the lies of Satan), or seeming discrepancies between one passage and another if they can be explained or if they are minor. It is not right to set the so-called ‘phenomena’ of Scripture against the teaching of Scripture about itself. Apparent inconsistencies should not be ignored. Solution of them, where this can be convincingly achieved (as we have attempted in this paper), will encourage our faith. However, where for the present no convincing solution is at hand we shall not pretend to create one, but instead hope for future enlightenment. For example, not too long ago the OT was considered false because there was no evidence that the Hittites existed. Today, proof abounds.
This is not a blind hope in other areas either. For instance, a century ago there were about 100 parts of the body whose function were mysterious to doctors, and people would say “This is proof of evolution as these are left over parts which we don’t need anymore”. However, because of on-going and diligent research we are now left with only one organ in the body which appears to be redundant. In time, perhaps we will find a use for that organ as well. This principle can also be seen with the Bible. So many ‘discrepancies’ have also been cleared up due to greater research and understanding. Had Shabbir been around a century or even 25 years ago his list could easily have been 1001 contradictions. As new data is uncovered, we are continually finding answers to many of the historical mysteries. Therefore we have every reason to believe that, in God’s time, the rest will be solved as well.
We are fully aware that the Christian criteria for revelation is not acceptable to Muslims, as it is in seeming conflict with their erroneous view of the QurÕan. Yet, by simply measuring the Bible against the ‘sent down’ concept which they wrongly claim for their Qur’an, Muslims condemn themselves of duplicity, since they demand of the New Testament that which they do not demand of the previous revelations, the Taurat and Zabuur, though both are revered as equally inspired revelations by all Muslims. Muslims believe that Moses wrote the Taurat and David the Zabuur. However, neither claimed to have received their revelations by a means of a nazil (‘sent down’) transmission. So why insist on such for the New Testament, especially since the document makes no such claim itself? Especially since, the QurÕan fails miserably in this regard.
The underlying reason perhaps lies in the misguided belief by Muslims that the Qur’an, because it is the only revelation which came “unfettered” by human intervention, is thus the truest and clearest statement of Allah’s word, and therefore supersedes all previous revelations, even annulling those revelations, as they have supposedly been corrupted by the limitations of their human authors.
Left unsaid is the glaring irony that the claim for a nazil revelation for the Qur’an comes from one source alone, the man to which it was supposedly revealed, Muhammad. Yet there are no external witnesses both before or at the time who can corroborate Muhammad’s testimony. Not even miracles are provided to substantiate his claims, nor are there any known documents of such a Qur’an from the century in which it is claimed to have been revealed (see the paper on the historicity of the Qur’an versus the Bible.)
Even if we were to disregard the historical problems for early Qur’ans, a further problem concerns the numerous Muslim traditions which speak of the many differing copies of Qur’anic codices which were prevalent during the unverified collating of the Uthmanic recension in the mid-seventh century. Since the conflicting copies were allegedly destroyed, we cannot know today whether the Qur’an in our possession was even similar to that which was first revealed.
What Muslims must understand is that Christians have always maintained that the Word of God, the Bible, was indeed written by men, but that these men were always under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21). Further, the QurÕan was recited by a man who claimed to have forgotten much of it. Not only was it ultimately written down by men, it had to be passed along orally for decades. WhatÕs more, the resulting book is a jumbled mess, often plagiarized, and very poorly written. Even when one takes the worst passage of the Bible and contrasts it with the best of the QurÕan, the comparison is shocking.
God in the Bible deliberately chose to reveal His Word through inspired prophets and apostles, so that His Word would not only be conveyed to humanity correctly, and comprehensively but would be communicated to their understanding and powers of comprehension as well. This may be why the Qur’an says that only Allah understands portions of it.
There are other problems with the contention maintained by Muslims that the Bible is full of contradictions. For instance, what then will Muslims do with the authority which their own Qur’an gives towards the Bible? How can a book which the Quran says its God-inspired not measure up to the standards it imposes? Smith Cleared Up Contradictions Bible 101
The Qur’an gives authority to the Bible:
The Qur’an, itself, the highest authority for all Muslims, gives divine authority to the Bible and claims itÕs authentic, at least up to the seventh-ninth Centuries. Consider the following Suras:
Sura Baqara 2:136 points out that there is no difference between the scriptures which preceded and those of the Qur’an, saying, “…the revelation given to us…and Jesus…we make no difference between one and another of them.” Sura Al-I-Imran 3:2-3 continues, “Allah…He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus)…as a guide to mankind.” Sura Nisaa 4:136 carries this farther by admonishing the Muslims to, “…Believe…and the scripture which He sent before him.” In Sura Ma-ida 5:47,49,50,52 we find a direct call to Christians to believe in their scriptures: “…We sent Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him. We sent him the Gospel… Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein, if any do fail to judge by the light of what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel…” Again, in Sura Ma-ida 5:68 we find a similar call: “People of the Book!…Stand fast by the law, the Gospel, and all revelation that hath come to you from YOUR LORD. It is the revelation that has come to thee from THY LORD.”
To embolden this idea of the New and Old Testament’s authority we find in Sura 10:94 that Muslims are advised to confer with these scriptures if in doubt about their own, saying: “If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee. The truth had indeed come to thee from thy Lord.” And as if to emphasize this point the advice is repeated in Sura 21:7, “…the apostles We sent were but men, to whom We granted inspiration. If ye realize this not, Ask of those who possess the message.” This is crucial as it doesnÕt say: Òthose who possessed the message.Ó That means according to the QurÕan at the time of this revelation in the seventh century the Bible was the uncorrupted Word of God.
Finally, in Sura Ankabut 29:46 Muslims are asked not to question the authority of the scriptures of the Christians, saying, “And dispute ye not with the people of the book but say: We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and that which came down to you.” This in itself is devastating to Islam as the ÒrevelationsÓ are mutually exclusive and completely incompatible. Smith Cleared Up Contradictions Bible 101
More Apologetics theWord modules
- Greear, D. – Evidences of the Christian Faith
- Alexander, A. – Evidences of the Christian Religion
- Smith Cleared Up Contradictions Bible 101
- Anonymous – Cleared-Up Contradictions in the Bible
- Kimble, E. – Alleged Discrepancies in the Bible
- Benson, R.M. – The Manual of Intercessory Prayer
Smith 101 Cleared up Contradictions in the Bible is a short work on apologetics on Scripture.
In theWord format here.
|Date:||October 1, 2015|
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