Alleged Bible Discrepancies – Byran Hatcher

Carolina Messenger

When a skyscraper in a large city needs to be demolished specialists come in, study the blueprints of the building, plant a large amount of explosives at key points, and attempt to bring the building down in its own footprint. It is called an implosion. The first places explosives are positioned are the large support structures that begin at the foundation and, typically, run up through the structure. When these key supports are destroyed, gravity takes over and the building comes down.

Jesus Christ, in conjunction with the facts of the gospel, is the foundation of Christianity (Matthew 16:16-18; 1 Corinthians 3:11; 15:3, 4). The inspired Word of God, the Bible, is the pillar of Christianity that rises from the foundation and is the support for every saint. Since this is the case, enemies of God have continued to lay explosives on the column of inspiration in the form of…

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IS GOD JUST AND IMPARTIAL OR UNJUST AND PARTIAL?

The psalmist sings, “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.  Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.  They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; To shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”  He says that the Lord is upright, and in him is no unrighteousness.  As evidence for this he cites the righteous who flourish, grow, and bring forth fruit in old age.  In Genesis 18 Abraham pleads for God to spare his nephew Lot from destruction with Sodom and Gomorrah.  To do so, he says to God, “That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen 18:25).  In Deuteronomy 32, Moses sings a song in the hearing of Israel.  In verse 4 he sings, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” 

Now, in Exodus 20:5-6 God says, “…I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”  Does this show that God is partial because he visits the inqiquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation, but shows mercy to a thousand generations?  Do we have a contradiction here?  This likely is hyperbole.  Otherwise Moses has God counting out a literal four generations then stopping visiting the iniquity, and counting a literal thousand generations and stopping showing mercy.  An absurdity.  God is actually saying that He is a merciful God who shows mercy on all who repent, but punishes those who refuse to do so.  Does God punish or reward the children, and grandchildren of sinful fathers and grandfathers?  Would that not be unjust?  God says in Ezekial 18:20, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”  If the children continue the sins of their fathers, they will be punished just as the fathers.  But if they do not continue in their fathers’ sins, they will not be punished.  If they do so for a while, then repent, God will have mercy on them.

God is a just and impartial God.  He rewards all who obey Him, or repent when they disobey, and punishes those who disobey Him and refuse to repent.  After all, He sent his Son to die so that all might be forgiven (John 3:16;  2 Pet. 3:9).  It is as Peter says in Acts 10:34-35, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” –2 Chronicles 7:14

IS THE GOD OF THE BIBLE CRUEL, UNMERCIFUL, AND SADISDICT, OR KIND, MERCIFUL AND FORGIVING?

It has been alleged that the God of the Bible is  cruel, unmerciful, and sadistic because He punishes humanity with plagues, mass murder, ethnic cleansing, slavery, genocide, incest, torture and other horrors.  Is it true, or is He the benevolent God that Christians believe that He is?

In Jeremiah 13:14, God says that He will “Fill all the inhabitants of the land….with drunkenness ..and I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the Lord: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.”  In Deuteronomy 7:16, Moses tells God’s people, “And thou shalt consume all the people which the Lord thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.”  In 1 Samuel 15:3, God tells Saul, “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”  Sounds cruel, does it not? 

First, consider the context of Jeremiah 13:14.  In verse 11, God says, “For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the Lord; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear.”  In verse 13, God tells Jeremiah to tell (as in warn) the people what He intends to do to them.  Then, in verses 15-16, He urges them, “Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken.  Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness…”

 

Second, in Deuteronomy 18 God tells Israel, “Thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee:  That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the Lord your God.”  These people were a wicked people. From the Bible and archaeological findings we learn that in the time leading up to and during the conquering of Canaan by Israel, the inhabitants of Canaan and surrounding nations were involved in wicked behavior. Such things as idolatry, sexual immorality (including temple prostitution), and sacrificing babies to pagan gods were prevalent activities of the Canaanites before the Israelites attacked them. Further, through the counsel of Balaam, the Israelites had been seduced by Moabites and Midianites to commit fornication and join themselves to idols (Numbers 25:1-3; 31:15,16). If they were left to live among God’s holy people, they would influence them to practice their evil ways.    Further, they had opportunity to know of God’s will, but had rejected Him (Romans 1:20).  But, what of the innocent children among them?  Was God not evil in ordering their destruction?  Think about it.  If their wicked parents were destroyed, thousands of children would be left orphans.  Further, these innocent children would be with the Lord, and far better off than on earth where they would likely grow up to be evil like their parents.  So it was a benevolent act of God to spare them from an evil life here on earth. 

Now consider some additional passages.  In 1 Chronicles 16:34, David sings, “ give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.”  Jeremiah writes in Lamentations 3:33, “For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.”  In Ezekiel 18:32, God says, “or I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”  Under the New Covenant of Christ Paul writes that God “…will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).  Peter writes,  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  Indeed, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”  (John 3:16).

 

So, what do we have?  Do the passages in the latter paragraph contradict those of the previous paragraphs?  Is God a cruel, unmerciful, sadistic God, or is he a kind, merciful, forgiving God?  The truth is that God is a kind, merciful, sinless God.  As such, He cannot overlook sin.  When men sin, and refuse to repent, He must punish them.  But, He always gives them plenty of warning, so that they are without excuse.  That is why He has commanded us to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), and makes the promise/warning, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). 

IS GOD ALL POWERFUL OR NOT?

Christians believe that God is all powerful, omnipotent.  In other words, as Jesus says  in Matthew 19:26, “With God all things are possible.”   He is frequently referred to as “almighty.”  But, in Judges 1:19 we read,  “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.”  Here there appears to be a contradiction.  Was God not able to drive out the inhabitants of the valley?   

The apparent contradiction is derived from a misreading of the verse.  The “he” who drove out the inhabitants of the mountain, but could not drive out the inhabitants was Judah, not God!  The reason they could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley is given – “because they had chariots of iron.”  Later God rebukes Israel for making a league with some of the inhabatants, and not driving them out as He had commanded (Judges 2:2).  “Wherefore,” said He, ‘I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you'” (Judges 2:3).  They could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they did not trust God to help them.  There is no contradiction!  God is all powerful!