American Atheists (atheists.org) provides an indictment against the Bible, claiming it is contradictory. The article, adapted from a piece by Frank Zindler, includes fifteen contradictions dealing with the internal consistency of the text of Scripture. Most errors in the article are of a simple contextual or categorical nature, but I expect a response to them may prove helpful to some. One minor problem with the article (which only becomes relevant once, I believe) is the author utilizes the King James Version. God has done many glorious things with this translation over the past several hundred years, but it has several errors which I will not gloss-over. I will be utilizing the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. One major problem with the article is, as I have already noted, the author’s failure to recognize basic contextual and categorical distinctions.
From the outset, notice the distinction between contradiction and antinomy. I define contradiction as, “Two statements which cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense.” I define antinomy as, “Two statements which are superficially contradictory yet reasonable and consistent upon further analysis of context and category.” Contradiction demonstrates what your reading isn’t logical. Antinomy demonstrates what your reading isn’t on your level. Contradiction means the text is fallacious, antinomy means you can’t wrap your mind around it. A simple contradiction requires two statements which are equivalent in all respect, except that one denies what the other affirms. A simple antinomy will seemingly deny what another statement affirms, but in such manner that both statements are nonequivalent – there is some contextual or categorical distinction between them.
First, “the Sabbath day” (Exodus 20:8, Romans 14:5). When Paul says, “One person esteems one day as better than another,” he is probably talking about the Sabbath. The Sabbath was law under the Mosaic Covenant, but in the New Covenant Paul says Sabbath keeping changes. The Sabbath is not simply a ceremonial law which passes away with the Old Covenant (Colossians 2:16-17), it is a creational principle (Exodus 20:11) fulfilled and expanded in the eternal rest God’s people have in Christ with the New Covenant (Hebrews 4:1-11). Paul allows Christians to either keep the Sabbath as Old Covenant members did or to consider all days of the week the same (Romans 14:5) – both practices are permissible, as long as God is honored and worshiped (v.6). Several “contradictions” in this article are of similar nature to this one: a failure to recognize the administrative distinctions between the Old and New Covenants. Which is to say: just because God commanded something of a particular people in the past, does not mean a particular people in the future are obligated to obey said command.
Second, “the permanence of earth” (Ecclesiastes 1:4; 2 Peter 3:10). Ecclesiastes is a poetic work, which immediately makes its literal statements suspects of careful evaluation. The meaning of “forever” (1:4) must be determined by verse 4a, “a generation goes… comes.” The author means my one, solitary life cannot affect the stability of the earth. Life goes on regardless of my coming and going. Therefore, 2 Peter 3:10 and other references to the earth passing away are not contradicting this poetic expression.
Third, “seeing God” (Genesis 32:30; John 1:18). Jacob says he saw God, but in what form? God took the form of a man (Genesis 32:24-25). God is only invisible when He has not revealed Himself to us in material form, for His substance is Spirit (John 4:24). Therefore, John 1:18 does not contradict Jacob’s testimony. In fact, this passage (vv.1-18) concerns the glorious reality God has revealed Himself to us in the flesh, in the person of Jesus Christ (vv.14-18).
Fourth, “human sacrifice” (Leviticus 18:21; Judges 11:29-34). The law prohibited sacrificing children to Molech. Jephthah did not sacrifice his child to Molech. Therefore, these texts are not contradictory. However, I will give further commentary on latter, in order to make plain the ethical factors involved. Jephthah’s daughter died because Jephthah made a foolish, brash vow to God. This story demonstrates the seriousness of covenants, not the glory of child sacrifice. Further, his daughter was not sacrificed. Sacrifices carry themes of propitiation, expiation, atonement, etc. Sacrifices appease God/gods, especially when we sacrifice to someone. The Mosaic sacrificial system and sacrifices to Molech are Old Testament examples of sacrifice. God never required the death of His people in order to make atonement, though Molech did. God always provided the sacrifice Himself (Genesis 22:13) and eventually would become the sacrifice Himself (Philippians 2:5-11).
Fifth, “the power of God” (Judges 1:19; Matthew 19:26). The apparent conundrum is God was with Judah, yet Judah was unable to defeat an army of iron chariots (Judges 1:19). If God can do all things (Matthew 19:26), why can’t He give Judah victory here? First, God nowhere expresses intent on defeating this army at this particular instance. Second, He does actually hand over the army of iron chariots (Judges 4:1-24) as Joshua had promised (Joshua 17:18). There is no semblance of contradiction.
Sixth, “personal injury” (Exodus 21:23-25; Matthew 5:39). These texts represent the distinction between civil (Exodus 21:23-25) and personal (Matthew 5:39) procedures. God gives government a sword with which to quell wicked men and uphold justice (Romans 13:1-7). He does not give this sword to individuals for personal vengeance, which is what Christ refers to in Matthew.
Seventh, “circumcision” (Genesis 17:10; Galatians 5:2). Circumcision was the sign of the Old Covenant, between God and His people. When Christ came, He inaugurated a New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Matthew 26:27-29) which came with a new sign (Matthew 28:18-20; Colossians 2:11-12). Therefore, God wanted His people to transition to baptism, and those who refused were in sin. The Judaizers were such group of people, who Paul warns against in Galatians. To “accept circumcision” (Galatians 5:2) after hearing the Gospel of the New Covenant, would be to do things your way instead of God’s. Hence, “Christ will be of no advantage to you.”
Eighth, “incest” (Genesis 17:15-16; 20:11-12; Leviticus 20:17; Deuteronomy 27:22). First, God never approves of the marriage union between Abraham and Sarah. After they are married, God clearly wants them to remain so – but this is not to say it was a good idea to begin with. God blessing them is not a stamp of approval upon every decision they made. This demonstrates there is no contradiction here, but I will continue. Second, the Mosaic Law certainly prohibited marriage to full or half siblings. Before this, however, we find no such prohibition. The practice was not as risky as today or even in Moses’ time, due to a purer gene pool. Further, it was at least temporarily necessary for population growth.
Ninth, “trusting God” (Job 2:3; Proverbs 12:2). Job’s trust in God was not in vain (Job 42:10). God is not obligated to give ease and comfort to us, yet those who trust Him will have joy after suffering (Philippians 3:8-11), as Christ Himself experienced (2:5-11; Hebrews 12:2).
Tenth, “the holy lifestyle” (Ecclesiastes 9:7; 1 Corinthians 7:30). Solomon (who I take to have written Ecclesiastes) is explaining the brevity of life, saying life is too short to live unhappily and unfaithfully. Paul does not contradict this to the Corinthians, but admonishes them to not live as though this present state is eternal. Live like your time will end soon, as though “the present form of this world is passing away,” (1 Corinthians 7:30). Earthly affairs should be dealt with open hands, ready to meet Christ. Paul clearly was not calling them to abandon joy, as he calls them to and exemplifies it elsewhere in 1 Corinthians (12:26; 13:6; 16:17).
Eleventh, “punishing crime” (Exodus 20:5; Ezekiel 18:20). Exodus 20:5 (cf. 34:6-7) explains at least two truths. First, sin has generational consequences. This is manifestly true. Second, God is involved in the administration of these consequences. However, this does not mean subsequent generations cannot break the cycle of sin through repentance. God clearly allows that (Exodus 20:6). Ezekiel, therefore, by no means contradicts this truth. Just because the poor decisions of your parents have left you in a bad spot, that doesn’t excuse you from making good decisions.
Twelfth, “temptation” (Genesis 22:1; James 1:13). No English translation of the Bible is perfect, including the King James Version, which reads “tempted” in Genesis 22:1. The Hebrew word is nsh and is never translated “tempted” in the ESV. It means “to venture; to put someone to the test; to give experience, train.” All veritable Hebrew lexicons agree (CHAL, TLOT, BDB, GHCLOT), this word should not be translated “tempted.” This is important because testingand tempting are very different concepts. Tempting is an attempt to corrupt, testing is an attempt to manifest. David tested (nsh) his armor (1 Samuel 17:39) but Satan tempted Christ (Matthew 4:1-11). Daniel’s diet was tested (Daniel 1:12-14) but Eve was tempted (Genesis 3:1ff; 2 Corinthians 11:3). The testing of the Lord is a thing to be desired (Psalm 26:2; James 1:3), but He never tempts (v.13).
Thirteenth, “family relationships” (Exodus 20:12; Luke 14:26). Honoring parents is a holy duty reflected in the New Testament (Ephesians 6:1-2). Seeing disharmony between this and Christ’s word in Luke 14:26 is to fail in recognizing various types of speech. Hyperbole (an exaggerated claim not meant to be taken literally) is used frequently in Scripture. Christ did not literally mean to hate your parents, for He loved His own (e.g. John 19:26). In this monologue (Luke 14:25-33), Christ is explaining the cost of discipleship. Following Christ requires we renounce all that we have (v.33), submitting it to Him to do what He wills with it.
Fourteenth, “resurrection of the dead” (Job 7:9; John 5:28-29). Job is considering the stifling power of death. He specifically is contemplating how a dead man cannot return to his home, and how his home eventually forgets him (Job 7:10). However, this does not mean Job thought God could not or would not exercise power over death (42:2). Therefore, the anguish of Job is not contradictory to the promise of resurrection.
Fifteenth, “the end of the world” (Matthew 16:28; Luke 21:32-33; Romans 13:11-12; James 5:8; 1 John 2:18; 1 Peter 4:7). These texts will be taken in two groups. First, the New Testament calls Christians to live anticipating Christ’s return (James 5:8; 1 Peter 4:7; 1 John 2:18), labelling the entire church age the “last days” (Hebrews 1:2). This does not require Christ to return circa. 200 AD, but only that “our salvation [is] nearer than when we believed,” (Romans 13:11-12). Second, at least two texts reference the span of one generation. Matthew 6:28 says the generation of Christ would see Him coming “in His Kingdom.” Christ is visible in numerous ways in His New Covenant church, His Kingdom. The church became the sole Covenant body by which God interacts redemptively with man in 70 AD, when the temple was destroyed. Christ’s predictions in Luke 21 (also Matthew 24) are apocalyptic and truly came to pass in 70 AD.
I pray this analysis was informative, yet not too winded. One of the glories of Scripture is its internal consistency. Man is a true author of Scripture, but Almighty God is the ultimate Author. His Authorship shines through every page.
 https://www.atheists.org/activism/resources/biblical-contradictions/ accessed December 4, 2019.
 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” (Exodus 20:8). “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind,” (Romans 14:5).
 “A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever,” (Ecclesiastes 1:4). “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed,” (2 Peter 3:10).
 Also, “forever” does not always mean, “with no end,” but can also mean, “a long time,” (e.g. Genesis 9:12; Hebrew olam).
 “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). “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known,” (John 1:18).
 “You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord,” (Leviticus 18:21). “Then the Spirit of the Lord was upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh and passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord and said, “If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, 31 then whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” 32 So Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the Lord gave them into his hand. 33 And he struck them from Aroer to the neighborhood of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim, with a great blow. So the Ammonites were subdued before the people of Israel. 34 Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah. And behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances. She was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter,” (Judges 11:29-34).
 “And the Lord was with Judah, and he took possession of the hill country, but he could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain because they had chariots of iron,” (Judges 1:19). “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible,’” (Matthew 19:26).
 “But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe,” (Exodus 21:23-25). “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also,” (Matthew 5:39).
 “This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised,” (Genesis 17:10). “Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you,” (Galatians 5:2).
 “And God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her,’” (Genesis 17:15-16). “Abraham said, ‘I did it because I thought, “There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.” 12 Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife,’” (Genesis 20:11-12). “If a man takes his sister, a daughter of his father or a daughter of his mother, and sees her nakedness, and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace, and they shall be cut off in the sight of the children of their people. He has uncovered his sister’s nakedness, and he shall bear his iniquity,” (Leviticus 20:17). “‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his sister, whether the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen,’” (Deuteronomy 27:22).
 “And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason,’” (Job 2:3). “A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of evil devices he condemns,” (Proverbs 12:2).
 “Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do,” (Ecclesiastes 9:7). “And those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods,” (1 Corinthians 7:30).
 “You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,” (Exodus 20:5). “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself,” (Ezekiel 18:20).
 “After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am,’” (Genesis 22:1). “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).
 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you,” (Exodus 20:12). “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple,” (Luke 14:26).
 “As the cloud fades and vanishes, so he who goes down to Sheol does not come up,” (Job 7:9). “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment,” (John 5:28-29).
 “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom,” (Matthew 16:28). “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away,” (Luke 21:32-33). “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light,” (Romans 13:11-12). “You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand,” (James 5:8). “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour,” (1 John 2:18). “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers,” (1 Peter 4:7).