Paradoxes Investigated

So, with this essay I am offering explanations about some alleged contradictions in the bible. I could add to this list in the future. If anyone is having trouble with a contradiction, e-mail me or contact me. In general, contradictions in the bible are mostly derived from the reliance on a single translation of the bible, failure to reference original languages, failure to take manuscript variation into account, fixation on the appearance of a single word instead of thinking about the meaning of that word, refusal to address theological issues proposed by the appearance of different texts and verses that reference complex theology, and just a refusal to take context into account. The bible does have a small number of typographical errors that do not affect the meaning of the text. And the bible is in fact reliable because instead of being the result of a concocted story by collaborating witnesses, it is a collection of early independent witness accounts. So, there are variations in details in the accounts, though this does not amount to falsehood, nor does it indicate actual contradictions.

Abraham listened to Ephron, and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants.

Genesis 23:26

And Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, on his way from Paddan-aram, and he camped before the city. And from the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, he bought for a hundred pieces of money the piece of land on which he had pitched his tent.

Genesis 33:18-19

As for the bones of Joseph, which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt, they buried them at Shechem, in the piece of land that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money. It became an inheritance of the descendants of Joseph.

Joshua 24:32

And Jacob went down into Egypt, and he died, he and our fathers, and they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

Acts 7:15-16

The difficulty here is that the Hebrew Bible in Genesis talks about a field that Abraham bought from Ephron and a field that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor, where Joseph’s bones were buried, but Acts says that Abraham had bought a field from the sons of Hamor, where Jacob’s bones are buried. So first, we are not talking about any point of theological significance nor of any point of grand historical significance. Some patriarchs bought some fields, some patriarchs were buried in those fields. Further, Luke is not definitively stating under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the divine truth that Abraham bought the field from the sons of Hamor. Luke is quoting a guy named Stephen who was ranting at some Jews before they stoned him to death. That is, Luke is definitively stating under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that Stephen said that Abraham bought a field from the sons of Hamor. That is, if Stephen misspoke before he died, and Luke recorded that accurately, Luke made no error. Stephen may have made an error, but when analyzed, that error is really insignificant, as the point of his rant is to describe the history of the Jews and depict it as a history of rebellion against God. Standing there quaking in fear and rage while railing at some people holding stones that they are about to kill you with, and confusing Abraham with Jacob really doesn’t diminish your point whatsoever. Overall, though, this is not an error of the New Testament. It is an error of a guy the New Testament is telling you about. The New Testament makes references to fictions of Greek poets and apocryphal Jewish literature that are not necessarily historically accurate while it is accurately telling you divine truths. Stephen was merely telescoping the practice of the burial of the patriarchs, and really can’t be considered an error of any substance. Just speaking with imprecision on the day of his death.

So, Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”

Genesis 32:30

But, he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”

Exodus 33:20

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Joann 1:18

This is a theological issue. In the Hebrew Bible, God can refer to God himself or to the Word of God. In the New Testament, God is normally called simply God or the Father, while the Word of God is normally called the Son of God, the Son of Man, or the Messiah. I don’t honestly get why John 1:18 gets used as an example of a contradiction. God (meaning God the Father in the New Testament or Ein Sof in the Jewish literature) has no physical form and is beyond our comprehension, so any attempt to behold him would result in the destruction of the beholder. The Word of God takes various forms in the Tanach before show up as Jesus in the New Testament. Some of these forms are so glorious that they would indeed kill anyone who saw him in his form. These forms are intended to be representative of God’s full infinity. Other forms, though, are subtler, and can be beheld by humans without harm to observers. The form that the Word of God took in Exodus 33:20 was indeed so brilliant that anyone seeing the face of that form would not be able to survive. This form conveys the message that God in his totality is beyond comprehension. The form that the Word of God took in Genesis 32:30 was not so brilliant that anyone seeing that form would not be able to survive. This conveys that the Word of God appears in ways to certain people at certain times that are quite comprehensible.

If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

Leviticus 17:10-11

Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 9:22

People think Hebrews contradicts Leviticus because they somehow get the idea that “blood that makes atonement by the life” and “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” are not saying essentially the same thing. They point out that the Hebrew Bible contains examples of people being forgiven without animal sacrifices. However, the New Testament does as well. Hebrews here is simply making reference to the fact that animal sacrifice is the only system of atonement laid out in the Torah. The verse in Hebrews is essentially saying the same thing as Leviticus 17:11. It’s hard to imagine that someone could see these verses in Leviticus and Hebrews as contradictory. The issue in general is that these people are really addressing their own understanding of the tenets of the sacrificial system and how God forgives in general rather than pitting these two verses against one another. What they are actually saying is that Hebrews is a misquote of Leviticus in this instance because Leviticus is not trying to say that without blood there is no forgiveness. There must be another understanding of Leviticus because there are examples in scripture of people being forgiven without sacrifice. The actual verses themselves, however, do not contradict each other.

And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.

2 Samuel 6:23

The king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite;

2 Samuel 21:8

A number of Hebrew manuscripts here say, “the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul”, so people imagine that there is a contradiction between these two verses. However, other Hebrew manuscripts, as well as the Greek translation of the Tanach, the Septuagint, have “Merab” as the text of the English Standard Version has here. So of course, there is no contradiction.

Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah; she was a granddaughter of Omri king of Israel.

2 Kings 8:26

Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah, the granddaughter of Omri.

2 Chronicles 22:2 – English Standard Version

Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri.

2 Chronicles 22:2 – King James Version

The Hebrew for 2 Chronicles 22:2 actually reads “forty-two” (like in the King James Version). The Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, reads “twenty” for the verse (like in the English Standard Version). This is an instance where certain Hebrew manuscripts had an error, and certain translations preserve that error, but the English Standard Version here has the “twenty-two” that has been identified as being correct by looking at the majority of the manuscripts. The age of the king does not have significance for the meaning of the text anyway.

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.

2 Kings 24:8

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.

2 Chronicles 36:9 – English Standard Version

Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.

2 Chronicles 36:9

The ancient Greek translation of the Tanach has “eight” for 2 Chronicles 36:9. Actually, the majority of Hebrew manuscripts available have “eight” in that verse. However, the particular text of the Hebrew Bible that has been used to translate Christian bibles since the Reformation is a particular type called the Masoretic Text, known generally for its use by Jews and for the reliability of its transmission. Our English bibles preserve the particular error in the Masoretic Text in 2 Chronicles 36:9. There was a simple scribal error in one type of Hebrew Bible. It doesn’t impact any particular meaning. We are aware of where the error was.

In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month—that was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon—Nebuzaradan, the captain of the bodyguard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.

2 Kings 25:8

In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month—that was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon—Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, who served the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 52:12

This is not a contradiction. It is in fact a sign that the accounts came from early independent sources. Independent witness statements concerning a crime always have these sorts of independent descriptions. So, the captain comes to Jerusalem on the seventh day. There is fighting going on. He stays in his tent outside the city three days. When it’s safe, and after he has been briefed, he enters the city on the tenth day to survey the scene. Two different witnesses make note of the events with slightly different details. When accounts agree in every detail, they are evidence that the sources have collaborated. And again, these little differences in detail do not affect the meaning of the text.

Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but killed his son. And when he was dying, he said, “May the Lord see and avenge!”

2 Chronicles 24:22

so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.

Matthew 23:35

Chronicles says Zechariah’s father was Jehoiada, but Matthew quotes Jesus saying Zechariah’s father was Barachiah. However, the events of 2 Chronicles took place during the reign of Joash in the 9th century BC, but the ministry of Zechariah the prophet took place during the reign of Darius in the 6th century BC. Jesus talks about all of the blood shed from Abel, the first person killed, to Zechariah the prophet, one of the last prophets. Zechariah the son of Jehoiada is not particularly late in the biblical history. If describing a history of bloodshed from beginning to end, Zechariah the son of Jehoiada would not have been a particularly good name to pick. So then, there were two people named Zechariah killed in the temple three hundred years apart. Chronicles talks about one, Matthew quotes Jesus talking about another. There is no contradiction. Jesus just isn’t quoting Chronicles. Jesus liked to throw stumbling blocks at his haters. Obviously the godless are going to assume that they know everything about everything and the Zechariah they read about is going to be the only one who could have ever been killed in the temple.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

Matthew 1:2-16

So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

Matthew 1:17

Yes, that’s right, the alleged contradiction is between Matthew 1:17 and the verses that come immediately before it. The allegation is that Matthew 1:17 talks about 14 generations plus 14 generations plus 14 generations, but if you actually count all the names in the genealogy that precedes this summary, you don’t get 14 names plus 14 names plus 14 names. Rather than try to muddle through all the names in the big chunk of text from verses 2 to 16, it’s better to just lay everything out in a table that compares the New testament with the Hebrew Bible.

So from the table above a few things are apparent. First, as I have been saying all throughout these comments, judging from the table compared to the Hebrew Bible, we see on the one hand that there are tiny apparent inconsistencies between the hodge-podge of genealogies in the Hebrew Bible as recounted in Kings, Ezra and Chronicles in a general picture of overwhelming consistency. This, however, indicates that the texts are immediate and based on information close to the events rather than a concocted fabrication dreamed up centuries later. That is, information that is insignificant but apparently inconsistent at first glance indicates the high quality of the sources, not fabrication, and generally reveals that actual “errors” are limited to variations of spelling or variant names known to different sources of the different writings, and overall, the Hebrew Bible comes off as extremely impressive and reliable, with any difficulties usually indications that the authors had more information than you do and didn’t bother to explain some things, rather than being any sort of conscious alteration or conspiracy or legitimate false information. Having said that, the comparison of the New Testament generally compares with the Hebrew Bible in the same way. Overall, the information is consistent. There are some spelling differences accounted for by differences of orthography or pronunciation, some nicknames, and there are a few names left out around the name of Uzziah which indicates that Matthew didn’t consider some of those names to be actual parts of the messianic genealogy for one reason or another, bearing some investigation and explanation, but as a whole, the genealogy of Matthew is about as consistent with the Hebrew Bible as the Hebrew Bible is with itself, and as a whole the bible comes off as accurate and based on immediate and early knowledge rather than being a clean forgery. That said, however, the issue here is the character of the three groups of 14 generations. Now you can see from the table that Matthew has 14 names from Abraham to David including both Abraham and David. So there is no issue with the first statement in Matthew 1:17. Then Matthew says there were 14 generations from David to the deportation at the time of Jechoniah. Now starting with Solomon, the name after David, there are fourteen names from Solomon to Jechoniah including Solomon and Jechoniah. So there are no issues there. So finally, Matthew 1:17 says there are 14 generations from the deportation to the Christ. There are 14 names from Jechoniah to Jesus including Jeconiah and Jesus. So there are no problems there. Basically the problem people try to dig up is that when it says David to the deportation (Jechoniah), the counting starts with Solomon AFTER David, but when it says deportation (Jechoniah) to Christ, it INCLUDES Jeconiah. This has them screaming ERROR! It’s just the way Matthew decided to describe it. In fact, he is saying “deportation”, and that can be understood to include or exclude Jechoniah, as he says “at the time of Jechoniah and his brothers”. Matthew knows what he wrote in the chapter. The author can look right there and see what he wrote. In the first and third grouping, the first and last name are included in the counting. In the second grouping, the counting starts after the name mentioned because the first name mentioned in the second grouping is the last name mentioned in the first grouping. But the third grouping goes back to including both the first and last name mentioned because the first name mentioned is associated with a general time, the time of “the deportation” of Jechoniah and his brothers. Overall the list contains 41 names from Abraham to Jesus including Abraqham and Jesus. 14 times 3 is 42. The reason for the additional number is because Jechoniah is counted twice in the reckoning because his name is attributed to “the deportation”. This is just the way the author decided to count. It is not any “error” by any stretch of the imagination. And finally, the overall picture is one of a high degree of accuracy, without any actual error, but the author decided not to count the way the scoffers think he did. They can’t figure out how he counted, and then they say he counted wrong. Then they say all of this means the New Testament is inaccurate, when the form of it actually indicates genuineness and accuracy rather than slickly render forgery.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Matthew 4:1

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.

James 1:13

Oh dear. So, the complaint here is that if Jesus is God, he cannot tempt or be tempted. The scoffer of course completely disregards context. James is addressing the issue of people saying, “God is leading me astray.” The scene in Matthew is a scene of the devil trying, and failing, to lead Jesus astray. So first, the question itself presupposes specific assumptions about the validity of various expressions of the Trinity. As the Trinity or any specific formulation of that doctrine is not in the bible, a charge of contradiction cannot be leveled at the bible. These guys should complain to the pope. They really can’t complain about the bible. Now the New Testament does undeniably indicate various divine features of the Messiah, as does Jewish literature in general when referencing a large variety of Messianic candidates. That the Messiah somehow represents God is widely stated throughout huge swathes of Christian and Jewish literature. So with that in mind, I need only to point out that Jesus was not successfully tempted by the devil. This therefore represents the divine attribute of not being temptable by evil. So the devil trying to and failing to tempt Jesus does not in any way indicate that God can be tempted by evil. There is no contradiction whatsoever.

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.

Matthew 17:1

Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray.

Luke 9:28

If you look at the context of these verses, you will notice that they are describing a complex event involving a trip up the mountain, prayer, Christ’s transfiguration and conversation with Moses and Elijah. The exact time related to these various events is vague. Essentially, after six days they went up to the mountain, hung around and prayed a while, and after eight days Christ was transfigured and they saw Moses and Elijah. That’s basically my read. However, getting worked up over two days in the context of these narratives is ridiculous. Six days after what? Eight days after what? What exactly is the begin point of these six or eight days? One narrator may be referring to six days after Peter argued with Jesus, while another might be saying eight days after Jesus foretells of his crucifixion. Again, the text is vague. The six days/eight days simply shows that there were two narrators giving independent accounts. This points to them being more reliable than if the events described were cooked up to agree perfectly.

As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross.

Matthew 27:32

and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.

John 19:17

This is imagined by some to be a contradiction. One website claims that Matthew says Jesus gets help, while John says that Jesus carries his own cross the whole way. John doesn’t say that Jesus carried his own cross the whole way. John says he was carrying his own cross when he set out to Golgotha. So he went out carrying his own cross to Golgotha, and along the way, they found Simon to carry his cross before him. I often have to debate whether to actually put an alleged contradiction in this essay, as often the failure to just look at the text is so blatant that it really does not warrant any kind of input from an informed person. When you see someone saying that Matthew 27:32 contradicts John 19:17, you should just be able to look at the two verses and see that there is no contradiction. This phenomenon is like a wife asking her husband (or, let’s not be sexist here, a husband asking his wife) to figure out the remote control. It’s not like the husband (or wife) has gone to college and gotten a degree in remote control usage, as if the use of remote controls is only practicable by those who have received special training or have somehow acquired special knowledge. One person simply looks at the remote control and refuses to think about it, and refuses to figure it out, and demands that the other do so. That’s what a lot of these “contradictions” are like. When you look at these websites by these people listing all these contradictions, some of them written by people who have gone to college, some even with graduate and post-graduate degrees, and you see things like this, you have to wonder if something supernaturally bizarre, or some peculiarity of human psychology, is going on here. Like someone actually felt confident enough to print this in a book or on a website for everyone to see, actually thinking they won’t be embarrassed. And this then gets read by one and passed around by hundreds who won’t even open the bible to take a look at the actual verses. Understanding this does not require familiarity with manuscript variations as some of the entries on this essay. Figuring this out does not require knowledge of Greek or Hebrew, as some of the entries in this essay. This is just a case of people trying as hard as they can not to understand what the text is saying so they can find contradictions. That you can find silliness like this on websites and in books should be telling you about the psychology of those who hope deeply that the bible is false and that there is no God. I mention this because there are many, many “contradictions” listed in books and on the internet that I won’t put on here because you only need an eighth-grade education to see that they are not contradictions. This entry is an example of such, and is the only instance of this type that I will be putting in this essay.

And it was the third hour when they crucified him.

Mark 15:25

Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So, he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

John 19:14-16

Again, differences in detail actually show that accounts are based on independent testimony of early eye witnesses. They actually speak to the reliability of the accounts. If every detail were the same, we would have evidence that they were collaborating to cook up a perfect story. So, keep in mind here, we are talking about the difference between 9 AM and noon. The actual meaning is not affected. One simply says they crucified him at the 3rd hour. Actually, the crucifixion was an all-day event that involved Jesus being sent to be crucified, him being nailed to the cross, his garments divided, getting taunted with vinegar, being given a crown of thorns, having the sign “King of the Jews” put over his head, being stabbed with the spear, Jesus’ cry to his father, and his giving up his spirit. One account says this happened at the third hour. Another says the sixth hour. Two witnesses mention two different hours three hours apart to describe the “crucifixion”, referring to different points on this all-day event. This is hardly a contradiction pointing to the falsehood of the event. Rather, the differences in detail indicate that the accounts come from independent, early witnesses. They actually speak to the reliability of the accounts. The accounts would be more likely to be based on collusive testimony if there were no such differences. Yet finally, and here is the rub, investigation reveals that Mark uses the Jewish reckoning of a day, when John uses the Roman definition of a day. That is, in the Gospel of Mark, a day starts at 6 PM (sunset) and continues to 6 PM (sunset) the next day. In Mark, there are 12 hours of day and 12 hours of evening. In John, a day starts at midnight, and continues until the following day. In John, there are 24 hours in the day. So in Mark, the third hour of the day equates to 9 AM, or three hours after sunrise. In John, the sixth hour equates to 6 AM, or six hours after midnight. So then, according to John, Pilate presented Jesus to the Jews, and the Jews demanded that Jesus be crucified at 6 AM. According to Mark, Jesus was crucified three hours later at 9 AM. So in this instance, the difference in minor detail is not even an error of fact. If it were, it would simply be an error of a few hours in a coherent story about the crucifixion of Jesus. Yet that is not the case. The difference in detail that we encounter is the use of two different systems of recording the time of day. It’s perfectly plausible that Jesus was crucified three hours after Pilate tried to exonerate him.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

James 2:24

This is a problem of failing to address context and to conceptualize the larger issue. All through the New Testament Paul argues that all men are saved by God’s mercy because God has made them his children on account of their faith and love for him. However, both Paul (the writer of Ephesians) and James agreed that a true faith in and relationship with God results in a changed person who desires to obey God’s commandments and do good deeds. James’ verse is merely a reflection of that.

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

Titus 1:1-3

So verse two in the verses from Titus says that God never lies, but verse 11 in the verses from 2 Thessalonians says that God sends delusion. Some maintain that God’s sending delusion is lying, therefore 2 Thessalonians contradicts Titus. This is an interesting conclusion because it shows a liberal application of hostile interpretive perspective to the point that a contradiction is manufactured. Now, a delusion is the warping of the truth into a fantasy. A lie is making a false statement. One can quite easily cause someone to be deluded without making any false statements. What the critics suggest here is that having any proximate role in any sort of deceptive behavior is a lie. A reasonable person would not conclude this to be the case. So what we have here is a classic case of someone with a biased perspective running around looking for any set of verses that they can make into a contradiction. In the above instance described by the verses, God does not make any false statement. God simply arranges a situation where someone who does not want to see a true statement will not see a true statement. The context of 2 Thessalonians is that the individuals mentioned do not love the truth, and therefore they are deceived by Satan. Not God. The implication here is that the individuals don’t love the truth to begin with, so Satan comes and deceives them, and they believe Satan’s deception because God sent them a spirit of delusion, again because they didn’t want the truth, but rather wanted to be unrighteous. At no time does God ever make a false statement. Therefore there is no contradiction. This is simply shoehorned into being of some sort of contradictory character because God was not utterly uninvolved in these people’s desire to be deceived by Satan who deceived them. Allow me to offer an analogy. You show disdain for me and indicate that you have no interest in knowing me at all. So, I offer you an iPod with every form of music and every film known to man along with a set of noise cancelling ultra-high quality headphones. In utter excitement you instantly don the headphones and dial up your favorite movie and get to watching. I then factually state that my name is Jonathan, and anyone who wants to be my friend is more than welcome to be my friend. You of course don’t hear. You don’t want to. You don’t like me. I’ve just given you a method of ignoring me. But have I lied to you? Of course not. So again, by any technical definition of relevant terms, the causing of a delusion is not lying. The enabling of one to distort truth into a lie by another does not equate to the making of a false statement by the other. By any direct rendering of the meaning of the terms, there is no contradiction. Only by some very loose reckoning of a very tenuous chain of proximate cause can God’s causing delusion among those who do not want to hear his true statements amount to a lie. God allowing those who hate his true statements to not recognize his true statements is by no means God lying , according to any reasonable person. This particular allegation of contradiction was actually pulled from lists containing literally thousands of alleged contradictions aimed at making basically every sentence in the bible contradictory to some other sentence in the bible by means of utterly superfluous and very tendentious reasoning. It’s like trying to win an argument with your ex wife when she says in a fit of hostility that your not taking out the trash like she asked you ten years ago constitutes a marriage of unabating spousal abuse perpetrated against her by your venomous hands. This particular entry has been included here in order to highlight that type of tendentiousness that constitutes an entire category of alleged “contradictions” proffered by those hostile to God. There’s no logic to it whatsoever. A motive to deceive has been imputed to God. This imputed motive for unqualified deception is then inflated into a false statement. God is then called a liar. Then the contradiction with the statement in Titus that God does not lie is created. To have a contradiction, you need definitively unreconcilable statement. “John always, in every circumstance, puts ketchup on his French fries.” “John never, under any circumstances, puts ketchup on his French fries.” These are contradictory statements. You never find such statements in the bible, and you never find such statements on any lists of contradictions compiled by your friendly neighborhood atheists. They basically try to understand every statement of scripture to be contradictory to every other statement of scripture via tendentious, highly interpretive observations in utter absence of any consideration of context or any analysis whatsoever. In essence, they are suffering from the strong delusion mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:11, basically proving the wisdom and truth of that statement.

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