In the book of Isaiah, God gives a comforting message to a desolate, barren woman. She has never been able to have children, but God says now she will have children. You can tell she still doesn’t have a husband, though. After this woman has children, God contrasts her with a woman who does have a husband, making it clear that the first woman does not.Continue reading Does the desolate woman have a husband?
Category Archives: Contradictions
Was Solomon a wise man when he became king?
Joab and Shimei were both violent men who had wronged King David at some point. David let them live, but before he died, he told his son Solomon to kill those men. David said he trusted Solomon to know how to deal with those people, because Solomon was a man of wisdom. But David also described Solomon as young and inexperienced.Continue reading Was Solomon a wise man when he became king?
Should people be circumcised?
God made an everlasting agreement with Abraham that required all his male descendants to be circumcised, as well as any other males who lived with them.
God doesn’t just want babies to be circumcised. Even if you’re 99 years old, you should still get circumcised. That’s what Abraham did, and he always did what God wanted him to do. God also once had Joshua circumcise all the Israelite men, all at once.
Jesus thinks circumcision laws are so important that they override Sabbath laws. In addition to mandating the circumcision of Israelite boys, God’s law says even a Gentile man can only celebrate God’s holy days if he and every male he lives with are circumcised. The Bible also says if you’re not circumcised, you can’t marry a daughter of Israel. That would be a disgrace.
Even if God’s chosen nation and other nations do practice circumcision, God isn’t satisfied. He thinks they’re not circumcised enough.
The apostles were troubled when they heard rumors that Paul was teaching Jews to give up circumcision, so they suggested a way Paul could try to disprove those rumors. Paul agreed to do so, because he actually thought circumcision was a valuable thing.
Paul says he used to think it was good to be circumcised, but now he considers it a loss. He calls people who practice circumcision evildoers and mutilators of the flesh.
He even says circumcised people can’t be saved! If you’re circumcised, you’re trying to be justified by the law. To actually be justified that way, you would have to follow all of God’s laws perfectly, but no one can actually do that. So if you get circumcised, all you’re really doing is rejecting God’s gift of forgiveness. You’re alienating yourself from Jesus, who will therefore be of no value to you at all.Continue reading Should people be circumcised?
Should people make images?
Right near the top of the Ten Commandments, God says you shall not make an image of anything on earth or anything in heaven. (And you shouldn’t worship those images, either.) That would mean you had become corrupt. God’s law says not to make any idols or any metal gods. That would definitely mean you had become corrupt (at least if you made them in the form of something God had forbidden). If you do that, God will get angry, and soon everyone in your land will die.
According to the prophets, idols and the people who make them are worthless. Those people are sinning, and they will all be disgraced. There is shame and scorn and terror and destruction in store for them. God will punish people because of the lifeless forms of their images. And images doesn’t just mean idols. God also thinks wall paintings of certain kinds of animals are wicked and detestable. God gets so angry over images people have made, he feels the need to destroy entire cities.
Joshua mentions that the Israelites were already worshipping idols back when they were slaves in Egypt. And rather than deciding that this made them evil people who didn’t deserve to live, God performed miracle after miracle in an elaborate effort to rescue those pagans and give them a land of their own. He didn’t even mention their idolatry until later, so it must not have bothered him all that much.
God commanded Moses to make some things in the image of things on earth, like plants and a snake.
God also told Moses to make two cherubs out of gold. These cherubs were not only a graven image of something in heaven, but part of the ark of the covenant, which, just like other idols, was treated as a representation of a god and an object of worship. When Joshua bowed down to the ark, God rebuked him not for idolatry, but only because God didn’t happen to like what Joshua was asking for. Apparently God doesn’t have a problem with this particular idol.
The whole temple that God had Solomon build was a copy of something in heaven.
God himself has made images of something in heaven. He made man in his own image. And he made some people in the image of Jesus, who he had also made in his own image, as an exact representation. Everything God does is perfectly good, so we should follow his example and make our own images of God.Continue reading Should people make images?
Did the disciples know Jesus would be resurrected?
The gospel of John says that Jesus’s disciples still didn’t understand that Jesus was going to rise from the dead… even after Jesus had already risen from the dead.Continue reading Did the disciples know Jesus would be resurrected?
Can folly be removed?
Solomon says flogging people is a good way to make people less simple-minded. He says you can cure your child’s folly by beating your child with a rod.
But later, he says no matter how much you crush and pulverize fools, you can’t remove their folly. After all, the Bible says witless people becoming wise is as impossible as a donkey giving birth to a human.Continue reading Can folly be removed?
Should people turn to the left or the right?
Moses told the people to be careful to do what God commanded, and not to turn aside to the right or to the left. He said they also needed to do whatever the priests said, not turning aside to the right or to the left. Their king should never turn from God’s law to the right or to the left, either.
Moses’s successor Joshua said, both at the beginning and at the end of his time leading Israel, that they should not turn aside from the law of Moses to the right or to the left.
The Bible says King Josiah didn’t turn aside to the right or to the left from the ways of David, and that what he did was right in the eyes of the Lord.
Solomon advised his son to fix his gaze straight ahead, and not turn to the right or the left, in order to avoid evil.
Yes, but only to the right.
Solomon also says the hearts of the wise are inclined to the right, but the hearts of fools are inclined to the left.
Yes, either way is good.Continue reading Should people turn to the left or the right?
Is God easily angered?
God claims to be compassionate, forgiving, and slow to anger. And that’s what other people always say about him in the Bible, too. David repeatedly said God was compassionate and slow to anger. The prophets Joel and Jonah said the same thing, and that he relents from sending calamity. Nahum, too, said God was slow to anger, and Jeremiah described him as long-suffering. And the New Testament says that God is love, and that love is not easily angered.
Here are all the stories in the Bible where God demonstrates how slow he is to anger:
- God wasn’t too hard on Sarah for laughing at his message. (Though he must have done something to make her so afraid to admit she’d done it.)
- God didn’t get angry when Abraham repeatedly challenged God’s plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. He didn’t seem to mind him asking what God would do if there were increasingly small numbers of good people there. (Though Abraham wasn’t confident enough to go all the way down to one good person. And he seemed awfully timid about the whole thing.)
- God cooperated with Gideon when he repeatedly tested God by asking for signs that it was really him. (Though Gideon sure seemed to expect God to be angry.)
- When Job spent most of his story talking about how cruel and unjust God was, God waited a long time before reacting at all. And then he didn’t do anything worse in response than making fun of Job. (Because he had done way more than enough to him already. And God was still intimidating enough that Job ended up declaring himself to be in the wrong, for no logical reason at all.)
That’s about it. If God is really so slow to anger, how can there be so few accounts of him acting that way? And why do the people even in those stories expect him not to be so? Because most of the time, God is not actually slow to anger at all.
Some people said “Does the Lord become impatient?”, apparently implying that they think that’s not the kind of thing he would do. But the prophet Micah didn’t seem to think people should say that, because God does become impatient, very easily.
In the Bible, God is always getting ridiculously angry over the most insignificant things, and killing people before they have a chance to do anything good to redeem themselves. (And often before they even have a chance to actually do anything bad to deserve it.)
Getting angry is not a rare thing for God. He displays his stormy wrath every day. It terrifies and consumes people. He is a jealous and avenging God, who is filled with wrath and vents it against his enemies. His surges of anger may not always last very long, but he gets so angry that the mountains shake and the whole earth trembles. No one can stand before him and endure his wrath.
God pursues people with anger and slays them without pity. His anger reduces people to nothing. It drives him to kill and kill and kill, and then he’s still just as angry. Sometimes the Bible says God will stay angry at his people forever. Even when he sets aside all his wrath, he’s still angry!1
(Keep in mind that God is being “patient” and “merciful” and restraining his anger throughout all of this. So he’s really even angrier than he seems. If he let his true anger show, he would have just killed everybody a long time ago. And the only reason he holds back his wrath at all is that he figures he can get more people to praise him that way, not because he cares about anyone other than himself.)Continue reading Is God easily angered?
Should husbands love or hate their wives?
Paul instructed the husbands among his followers to love their wives and not be harsh with them. He said they should love their wives as much as they love and care for their own bodies. They should love them as much as Jesus loved and cared for the church. And Peter seemed to agree. He at least thought husbands should be considerate of their wives and treat them with respect.
Hate them.Continue reading Should husbands love or hate their wives?
Do people only get drunk at night?
When the apostles demonstrated their new ability to speak to multiple people in multiple languages at once, some people dismissed them by saying they were drunk. Then, rather than pointing out that that made no sense as an explanation, Peter’s response was that they couldn’t possibly be drunk, because it was still morning.
Peter apparently had the same belief Paul had. Paul said those who get drunk do it at night. And he said the daytime is when people behave decently, and not in drunkenness. The Old Testament disagrees with them, though…