Posted by: edhensley | December 25, 2016

Is the Christmas Story true? Contradictions in Matthew, Luke, and history.


Matthew 1

The Genealogy of Jesus

1A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:

2Abraham was the father of Isaac,

16and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

17Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.

The Birth of Jesus Christ

18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23″The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” —which means, “God with us.”

24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Matthew 2

The Visit of the Magi

1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5″In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6″ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for out of you will come a ruler

who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’”

7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The Escape to Egypt

13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

slaughter_innocents

 

16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18″A voice is heard in Ramah,

weeping and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children

and refusing to be comforted,

because they are no more.”

The Return to Nazareth

19After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

21So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14″Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Jesus Presented in the Temple

21On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

22When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

25Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29″Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,

you now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.

30For my eyes have seen your salvation,

31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,

32a light for revelation to the Gentiles

and for glory to your people Israel.”

33The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

39When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Luke 3

23Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,24 the son of Heli, the son of Matthat,

I have posted this previously, but will repost annually near December 25.

Super Gospel

These two stories contain many internal contradictions (they conflict with each other) and external contradictions (they conflict with know facts of history). I will demonstrate these contradictions to my Christian friends in the hope that they will become enlightened this holiday season.

As Dr. Bart Ehrman notes in his books, most Christians do not believe in a gospel, but rather they believe in a “super gospel.”  The Christmas story is an example of a story from a “super gospel.”  There is no gospel in the New Testament where both wise men and shepherds visit Jesus. The wise men visit in Matthew and the shepherds visit in Luke. By combining these two separate stories, Christians create a “super story.”  The authors of Matthew and Luke probably never imagined that their two books would be placed next to each other (and Mark and John) in a single collection of books. Each author took existing legends of Jesus and adapted the legends for their particular agendas.

Geneaologies

As previously noted (rarebible.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/who-is-josephs-daddy-contradictory-genealogies-in-matthew-and-luke), the genealogies of Jesus are completely different. In Matthew, Jacob is the father of Joseph, but in Luke, Heli is the father of Joseph. The lists from David to Joseph are completely different.

Jesus is not Immanuel

Matthew 1:22 says the parents will name the baby Immanuel in fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. That verse, however is not a messianic prophecy but mentions a baby as a sign for Ahaz. Furthermore the Hebrew Masoretic text and most translations of the bible indicate that the virgin will call the baby Immanuel. Mary does not do that, and nowhere in the New Testament is Jesus ever called Immanuel.  Please see the following post for more information on that topic: https://rarebible.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/mary-loses-her-virginity-isaiah-7-in-the-new-english-bible/.

Herod (reign ended 4 BC) and Quirinius (reign started 6 AD) never reigned at the same time

Matthew claims Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod. Luke claims Jesus was born while Quirinius was governor of Assyria. However, Herod died 10 years before Quirinius became governor. Either Matthew or Luke is wrong on this issue, or they are both wrong. Only one the is certain: the Bible contains an error regarding the year Jesus was born.

Massacre of the Innocents not recorded in history

Matthew claims Herod killed all boys near Bethlehem who were 2 or under. No other gospel makes this claim. There is no evidence outside the Bible of any atrocity like this. Historians recorded many things about Herod. We know he was born around 74 BC, that he died in 4 BC, and that he expanded the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem (destroyed in 70 AD but 4 walls, including the famous wailing wall, exit today). It is recorded that he improved water sources, built water supplies, built Massada and Herodium, leased copper mines, killed his wife and two sons, and did much else. The massacre of the innocents is missing from any historical record. There are many amazing stories in the bible that are not recorded in historical records.

The senseless census is not recorded in history

There is a historical census recorded during the time of Quirinius.  However, that census and no other Roman census ever required anyone to return to their ancestral homes. If you think about it, why would anyone care where your ancestors lived 1000 years ago?

Luke has no Trip to Egypt, Matthew has no trip to Jerusalem

In Matthew, Jesus is born in his home town of Bethlehem, they flee immediately to Egypt, and upon their return from Egypt they travel directly to Nazareth to avoid the son of Herod.

In Luke, Mary and Joseph start in their home town Nazareth, travel to Bethlehem for a census, go to Jerusalem, and then return to their home town of Nazareth.

Many apologists try to create a super story in which they combine the travel of the two stories above into one journey. This is impossible. Luke specifically mentions circumcision on the eighth day and the required purification time. This refers to Leviticus 12, which states when a boy is born the mother is unclean for 7 days, the foreskin is removed on the 8th day, and she must not touch holy objects for 33 days (if Jesus were a girl, Mary would be unclean for 14 days and could not touch holy objects for 66 days).  Luke 39 notes that when this 33 day period was complete they returned to Galilee.  A trip to Egypt is not mentioned at all!

Stories Created to Fulfill Prophecy

As previously noted, Matthew and Luke probably never thought their stories would be next to each other in one book. They created the stories about the birth of Jesus to fulfill two Old Testament prophecies: 1) that Jesus was born of a virgin; 2) that Jesus of Nazareth was born in Bethlehem. An angel visits Joseph in Matthew 1:18-21, and an angel visits Mary in Luke 1:26-38.

As previously noted, the “prophecy” that Jesus would be born of a virgin is not really in the Old Testament. Anyone who takes an honest look at Isaiah 7 and 8 would not come to the conclusion that this is a prophecy that the messiah would be born 1000 years later to a virgin and named Jesus. There were numerous stories of miraculous births and children of women fathered by gods at the time the New Testament stories were created. Hercules is an example of someone believed to have been born of an earthly woman and a god. Alexander the Great and Augustus Caesar are examples of known historical figures who had stories of miraculous births and supernatural fathers. There are hundreds of additional examples. It was a common idea 2000 years ago that an important person would have a miraculous birth and/or a supernatural father.

It is likely that there was a Rabbi named Jesus from the town of Nazareth. The name Jesus is simply the Greek form of Joshua. Jesus was a very common name in the middle east 2000 years ago, just as Jesus is a very common name in Mexico today. Since this Jesus was known to be from Nazareth, Matthew and Luke had to invent ways to have him born in Bethlehem. As noted above, Matthew made Bethlehem the home town, and Nazareth became a safe place to return to avoid the son of Herod. Luke made Nazareth the home town, and Bethlehem a place to go for a census. What Matthew and Luke never realized is that when their books were placed in the same bible, their books would be providing evidence that the stories were fabricated.

Bible publishers are aware of the contradictions, so they add subtitles. For example, Matthew 2 includes a subtitle that says “The Return To Nazareth”. The original scriptures do not contain this text at all.

When reading all these stories, we should remember what Luke admits in Luke 1:1-4. “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.” These are not stories of eye witnesses, but are stories that have been “handed down”. These stories evidently included some embellishments that reflected mythological elements of the time.

Prophecy Not In The Bible

Matt 2:23 ends with, ‘So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”’

The problem with this claim is that there is no mention of Nazareth or Nazarenes in the Old Testament at all, and there is no prophecy that Jesus will be called a Nazarene.

First of all, note that a Nazarite in the Old Testament is someone who voluntarily took the Vow Of The Nazarite described  in Numbers 6:1-21. A Nazarite is not someone from Nazarene.

Christian apologists do incredible mental gymnastics when trying to explain who the “prophets” were that Jesus would come from Nazareth. Some say the prophets were some that were known orally but not written down in the Old Testament. My favorite one that shows the depths to which Christians will delude themselves, is that this was a play on words, such as this one at http://www.crivoice.org/branch.html.

“In Hebrew, the word “branch” is netzer, actually only three consonantal letters: NZR. Note that the town NaZaReth contains the same three primary letters… He was identifying the obscure Galilean town of Nazareth in which Jesus grew up with the Old Testament reference to a netzer (Branch) God would raise up to bring justice and righteousness and peace to His people.”

So Nazarene is a town and netzer is a branch, both words contain NZR, so therefore Matthew is really saying Jesus is a branch god would raise up. WOULD YOU CHRISTIANS LET A MUSLIM GET AWAY WITH SUCH RIDICULOUS APOLOGIES FOR THE KORAN? These same people who make such apologies for the contradictions in the bible would never let Muslims get away with doing the same thing. I encourage all Christians to read the bible again (or for the first time for most Christians), but this time question whether it is truly the perfect word of a perfect god.

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Responses

  1. Well there are many issues with your arguments. One being that in this and prior posts, the aim is clearly to show humanist moral superiority over Christianity. You are im sure aware that there have been many ideals that have been promoted in the name of moral superiority by pretty deceived leaders across history. Your focus clearly on denouncing reliability of Christianity, as they are they ones you accuse of not accepting the Koran’s explanation. However, your argument is reversible, as atheists won’t accept the Christians defense of the Bible – “Unless there is sufficient evidence.” That is weak argumentation. Christianity is to spread the love of Christ – not to proclaim superiority – including over you.

    For starters, we Christians believe in the resurrection and eternal life, we have documentation that tells us who God is, what comes after, and what is required for salvation. This good news that comes to us is insufficient to you yet there is not one piece of evidence from any one perfect source that the Atheist/Humanist can draw on to say once we are dead we are just worm food – only belief or lack of belief.

    Romans 1:21-22
    …21For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and darkened in their foolish hearts. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools,

    You may roll your eyes and think cliché. But this is true, You certainly are proclaiming to contain enlightenment and wisdom, and not from the word of God – yet in turn are doing a dangerously foolish thing. This is out of self-love, you want people to things your way or “free them” from what has already made them free. And what happens to those you enlighten? Ensentially you have lured them into condemnation

    You referenced Bart Ehrman – another young fundamentalist, turned agnostic Atheist, who did so because he struggling with the philosophy of pain and suffering – unless the biography is wrong – His issue was involved in reconciling with the word of God. Unbelievers believing the words of struggling former believers is not evidence.

    Also, yes there are many things that appear to be contradicting. What they really are is paradoxes – if my wording is correct. Tackling every one you’ve stated is a pointless endeavor and ought not to be the goal of the Christian to the unbeliever. You are not seeking convincing as to why accept Christ, just attempting to knock down others who don’t share your view. You recommend people read the Bible in it’s entirety – so do I, as hopefully those who do will see it’s majesty and fall in love with Christ seeing how desperately we need him.

    Nobody does history as you suggest. When uncovering the thousands of manuscripts and fragments, and putting it together. It sounds reasonable, and Jesus is accepted as historical. When you find a difficulty you don’t throw out the whole body of work and call it myth. Historians don’t – or shouldn’t. The problem here is that you do not like this God of the Christians, so anywhere your sensibilities are confronted, you throw it out, or try to find a flaw. There are no contradictions – just things that are difficult to reconcile.

    For example the Gospels of Matthew and Luke you state “Herod (reign ended 4 BC) and Quirinius (reign started 6 AD) never reigned at the same time

    Here, does this position satisfy your belief, are you open to others? there are inscripturated monuments that suggest Quirinius may have reigned twice, or held other high positions. My guess is that unless it spells out his name without doubt, you will not believe. There are other possibilities as well. As long as there is a plausible explanation, you cannot say with certainty that this is a contradiction. You only have your human opinion – not enlightenment my friend. But what you believe, or how you feel about something isn’t a method of determining truth. Not a logical one anyhow.

    The wonderful thing is that in eternity, those of us that choose Christ will be told things that we never knew or understood. The very sad thing is that those who don’t will be eternally separated. Christians should be known for their love for Jesus and that we want to be in eternal fellowship with everyone – Prayer for all those seeking enlightenment and not from individual person’s uncertainty

    https://bible.org/article/problem-luke-22-ithis-was-first-census-taken-when-quirinius-was-governor-syriai

    http://biblehub.com/library/ramsay/was_christ_born_in_bethlehem/chapter_11_quirinius_the_governor.htm

    Do you Ed, do public speaking? Interested in engaging in dialogue with a well versed pastor? I have one who would be most interested in speaking with you. Im sure I don’t say all the right things – but Ed, I do love you, Christ loves you, infinitely more than anyone close to you ever could. God Bless.

    • Also, yes there are many things that appear to be contradicting. What they really are is paradoxes – if my wording is correct. Tackling every one you’ve stated is a pointless endeavor and ought not to be the goal of the Christian to the unbeliever.

      Actually, that is what this blog is all about. Read my about section. Is the bible the perfect word of God? In the Southern Baptist churches in which I was raised, it WAS the endeavor of Christians to tackle the paradoxes or contradictions of the bible.

      There are many known details on the reigns of Herod and Quirinius. In addition to the time problems that you weakly addressed, there was never any census that required someone go to the land of their ancestors 1000 years ago, and you failed to address that point entirely, as well as any other point I made. The sources you referenced mentioned multiple possible interpretations of Luke 2. We do not have the autographs (original texts). An all powerful god who cares about whether or not people are tortured for eternity could have preserved his words in a permanent format.

      As long as there is a plausible explanation, you cannot say with certainty that this is a contradiction.

      I do have to roll my eyes and say, “Yes, I have heard this Christian cliche before.” For example, I noted this in the contradictory genealogies in Matthew and Luke. Christians have claimed it could be 1) one is about Joseph, the other is about Mary; 2) one is kingly, one is priestly; 3) son of god could be great-grandson of god, etc. If people are allowed to make infinite conjectures about a claim, there is no way to find whether or not any claim is true or false (or likely true or likely false). I hold Muslims and all others to the same standard, even if I am less familiar with their text.

      I speak publicly with Christians at our state fair booth, but I have never done anything like a formal debate and have no real interest in that.

    • In other words:

      “I DON’T LIKE YOUR ARGUMENTS, BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIKE JESUS.”

      “I DON’T HAVE ANY COUNTERARGUMENTS, BUT GOD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS.”

      If you are a well-versed anything, it’s certainly not in logic.

      By the way, you don’t love him, Christ doesn’t love him (since he’s imaginary), and it’s BARBARBICALLY EVIL and INSULTING to claim that you (who hates reality so much that you assert the primacy of an imaginary all-powerful rapist mass-murderer) could possibly love anyone, let alone more than the author’s loved ones.

      I WISH THERE WERE A HELL, SO PEOPLE LIKE YOU COULD STAY THERE.

  2. […] via Is the Christmas Story true? Contradictions in Matthew, Luke, and history. — Bible Verses Rarely R… […]

  3. Christ is imaginary? That is just an irrational comment..He is widely accepted as real by historians, even if you don’t believe he is God. Our Bible doesn’t need to be backed by evidence anyway. Just so happens it is.
    Are you aware you live by a timeline that was centered right around Christ? BC/AD.. Christ in history is the dividing point between the 2. I’m certainly not ok with living by a timeline surrounding an imaginary character. Who is out of touch with reality?
    There is a hell, and I do love you who I respond to enough to share that with you. Tiffany, God loves the author, you and everyone else infinitely more than anyone on earth can.
    There is nothing remotely logical in your hatred. If there is one thing you are, it is created, as is the case with every man woman and child. in all your strength and knowledge, you can’t be uncreated.

    Do you believe every behavior is equally wholesome? Where does your morality come from? Doesn’t sound like a humanist who would claim from empathy. You who talk poorly of the God I love, how can you condemn murder, rape then turn around and wish hell upon people who simply want to share Christ? Makes no sense seeing those actions as wrong, yet wishing eternal conscious torment in fire on millions of people. The bible calls this people opposing themselves.

    There are things that will never be answered without God. Christians have a rational starting point.

    I will pray for you, Yes Jesus loves you. He died for EVERYONE..even those who will forever reject him. God Bless 🙂

    • I see you are responding to Tiffany, but I have never claimed Christ is imaginary. It is possible that there was a Rabbi named Yeshu (Helenic form of Joshua) who was crucified by Romans. Even though I submit that Jesus likely existed, he was unimportant in his time since no contemporary historian, philosopher or other writer wrote one word about him.
      Most bible believing Christian scholars claim Jesus was born in 4 BC. The timeline you refer to was founded long after Jesus lived, so long in fact that when historians started synchronizing dates, they realized that Herod’s reign ended in 4 BC, so Christ must have been born 4 years “Before Christ”. Even though that makes no sense, BC is still used by many today. Many other scholars use BCE and CE, Before Common Era, and Common Era, which creates a timeline not linked incorrectly to the birth of a non-historically founded person.

    • I won’t dignify your subhuman presence with a real response.

      But I will uneqivocally state that you have NO IDEA what love is and your utterly disgusting statements ought to be condemned.

      Thanks to the author of this blog for an enlightening article about the fallacies of the bible, though!

  4. In order for there to be an “ought”, there must be a completely objective standard that you adhere to, where is your standard of what ought to be? This standard clearly has you wishing hell on people like me, whereas I want it for NOBODY! I want EVERYONE to eventually live in love-relationship with God for all eternity with no more pain, tears, sorrows – You, the author, ANY unbeliever or struggling believer. If you have loved ones, is your hope for them to be happy in this life, then worm food when they die? It’s not a choice we get to make. I would hope that even if you have no such concern for yourself, that you’d want better for family or friends. I feel no love when someone says the lie “Sorry, this life is all there is”. There is only ONE way. Jesus Christ. Steering people from the truth is not love. Well, it is self-love I suppose.
    By telling me I have “No idea what love is”, you are telling me as an absolute truth, and also by extension claiming an absolute truth that you do know what love is, which according to the humanist manifesto, absolute truth does not exist in the humanist worldview. And since you know uneqivolcally what love is, any other definition aside from what you believe is absolutely false.

    Now if what you say, you don’t claim to be 100 % guaranteed truth, then please don’t frustrate with what I know in my heart to be true, merely disagree.

    And while it is part of in church teaching to diffuse seeming contradictions, it ought not be the goal. We are to be known for our love for Jesus, and others, believe in God by faith, not by sight. Yes there are answers, but if we lose sight of Christ, focus on trying to satisfy the skeptic, make out mission to be smarter or better than others, this is not what God wants. Everybody displays faith in their lives in one way or another, even you. Evolution Scientists have to have faith commitments in their science. Faith does not oppose logic. We want unbelievers to come to Christ, but when skeptics want our answers to contradictions, just to say it is not sufficient, just wanting to prove a point or superiority, we are not to beat a dead horse.

    Proverbs 26:4

    4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

    But thank you for explaining why you don’t have a response.

    • And while it is part of in church teaching to diffuse seeming contradictions, it ought not be the goal.

      Some people do not pre-suppose the bible is true. Some people will require resolutions to apparent contradictions before they can believe something is the perfect word of god. While I was a Christian, I asked many preachers for resolutions on these contradictions, but no good resolutions were available for most of them.
      You accuse atheists and humanists of wanting to be superior, but then your comments are so smug you cannot see how rude and arrogant you are. Also, your posts violate the principals for comments laid out in the ABOUT section. Your comments are much too long and involve much preaching not relevant to the verses discussed.
      At the end of your last comment, you basically called everyone who disagrees with you fools. I am aware that Tiffany said she wished hell was real so you could be in it, but I think you are unaware of the harm done by people speaking as you have been. To you, your comments are Christian love. To others your comments appears as rudeness, arrogance, illogic, and hate.
      If your future comments are like the 3 here, I will simply choose not to approve them.

  5. I do apologize for misconceptions, that verse is not to label everyone in disagreement as fools, but that we aren’t to stray from our faith,and our conversation is not to be of worldly nature, even if others curse us. I hold no ill will whatsoever to this Tiffany individual. My response is not one of “smugness”, and I am not of the opinion that Christians are superior. This arrogance you feel you detect is merely certainty that death doesn’t end at the grave and that faith is crucial, and that you don’t throw away an entire body of work because of a few unresolved parts. There are plenty of explanations for many of these, but it’s not that simple, they must satisfy you to whatever standard you deem acceptable. Evolution is nothing but theory, with evidence that can be interpreted for or against creation depending on your view, but there is nothing rock-solid to back it.

    It may seem like another contradiction, but if we do not warn others of condemnation without Christ, we aren’t showing love. It’s not intended as offense, but often comes out that way to the unbeliever. God Bless everyone on this post

    • Apology accepted. I understand you are promoting what you perceive to be truth, while I am promoting what I perceive to be truth.

  6. Thank you again, much appreciated. I do think I may be able to promote in a manner more in line with the boundaries of this blog. I’d like to give what I believe to be reasonable, believable suggestions to some of these apparent Christmas contradictions. I don’t want to fall into heresy by claiming some of these interpretations as certainties, as the psalmist in 139:6 writes “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it”. I do believe God works in mysterious ways, which is seen as cop out or crutch to many. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have God-given minds to see answers to perceived problems, but I it do think that some things will not be known until we are with him, where we will eventually find the knowledge even scientists today can only dream of finding through human interpretation. I do say God is certain though

    As Dr. Bart Ehrman notes in his books, most Christians do not believe in a gospel, but rather they believe in a “super gospel.” I don’t discount his qualifications, but is still just fallible man.

    There have also been skeptical biblical scholars set to disprove the Gospels,
    such as Sir William Mitchell Ramsay who concluded
    ” Further study … showed that the book could bear the most minute scrutiny as an authority for the facts of the Aegean world, and that it was written with such judgment, skill, art and perception of truth as to be a model of historical statement’ (The Bearing of Recent Discovery, p. 85). On page 89 of the same book, Ramsay accounted, ‘I set out to look for truth on the borderland where Greece and Asia meet, and found it there [in Acts]. You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian’s and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment…

    A few things I see and agree with from the book of apologist and Pastor John Feakes

    1. That there is no collusion between the Gospels. The apparent discrepancies show they independent sources of information. That number of witnesses in court of law count for something. And it so happens that the differences be the Gospels including Luke and Matthew are reconcilable.

    Each of the Gospels, I believe were written for a different audience. I think four identical Gospels would show clear attempt at creating a forgery.

    2. The gnostic Gospels are embellished, with a giant resurrected Jesus and a talking cross. The Gospels of the bible point out bare facts of Christ’s teachings and resurrection, much more like an historic event and not sensationalized.

    3. Also from Feakes book, The Christian faith rises and falls on the truth or falsity of the proposition that Jesus actually did the things recorded of him, places Christianity in the vulnerable position unlike the hindu vedas or Bhagavad-Gita, which can’t be evaluated based on historical trustworthiness (making them impervious to proof or refutation). It’s as though the Bible is begging to be put to the test.

    Many have taken the challenge to test it, only to become ardent defenders. Although, I will grant that there are those, who have been believers, found faith overrated, somehow tied faith to lack of reason, or for reasons unknown to me, have fallen the other way and refute the Bible.

    Ill try to keep things shorter in the future, but hopefully still on topic. God Bless – Dan

    • What Bart Ehrman said about Super Gospels is true and not disputed by Christian scholars, although they may not use that term. One gospel had wise men, one gospel had shepherds, neither gospel had both, but yet all fundamentalists Christians I know believe there were both wise men and shepherds at the birth. Ehrman went to undergraduate school at Moody Bible Institute while he was a believer in a perfect bible. Moody is a fundamentalist school. Simply dismissing the point I was making because Ehrman is no longer a believer is not relevant to the point I was making.

      Yes, the Gnostic Gospels were embellished, as were Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. Gospel of Peter has a giant walking and talking cross, so you say it is embellished. Matthew 27 (and no other gospel or historical writing) says there was a massive zombie invasion of Jerusalem that was seen by many. A walking and talking cross is no greater of an embellishment than a zombie invasion. Although historical documentation of many events in the gospels should have been recorded (zombie invasion, star of Bethlehem, slaughter of the innocents, etc), there are no record of these events. Some events in the bible are wrong in time and details (tax of Quirinius was not as described in the gospel and could not have happened during the reign of Herod, and there was never any tax that required going to a supposed ancestors home town from 1000 years earlier).

      Sorry, but the known facts of history and archaeology do not support all the writings of the bible.


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