Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 2 (Part Nine)

How Long Did the Flood Last, 40 Days or 150 Days?
            Genesis 7:17 (NIV) reads: “For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth,” and the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures says: “The flooding continued for 40 days on the earth.” In “opposition” to this the skeptic cites Genesis 7:24 (NWT), which states: “And the waters continued overwhelming the earth for 150 days.”
            It is apparent, though, that the flooding of the earth last 40 days, but the water were there for a total of one hundred and fifty days! There is no contradiction! However, the skeptic prefers older versions which say something like, “The flood continued on the earth for 40 days,” which to them suggests that the flood is the same thing as the waters; if this is the case, then there would be a contradiction. Yet, the Hebrew word denotes a flood or deluge of waters, but not the waters such floods bring. In fact, the English word means such as well. I can flood your house for a day, but your house might be flooded longer.
            That is why it is preferable to have translations that are clear to those not willing to take the time to ponder thing, whose translation is both accurate to the text and the context. The latter half of the verse shows that during this time the waters increased – which is what happens during a flood. Further Genesis 7:12 mentions that during the forty days, and not the one hundred and fifty days of the earth being covered, it rained. Therefore there is no contradiction here.

Did Israel Listen to Moses or Not?
            Turn to Exodus 4:31 (NWT), which says: “At this [when Moses preformed the signs Jehovah told him to do – the first time] the people believed.” Then to Exodus 6:9, which says: “Moses later gave this message [again a message that Jehovah will deliver Israel], but they did not listen to Moses.”
            It is clear to anyone with the eyes to read that these scriptures refer to separate times. And while the message given is the same, that Jehovah would save Israel, the circumstances changed. Why did Israel not believe? Exodus 6:9 (NWT) answers: “because of their discouragement and because of the harsh slavery.” This refers to the fact that after the first time Moses came to Pharaoh they were required to keep their quota of bricks, but also get their own straw, whereas previously their slavery, while harsh, did not entail this burden. (Exodus 5:18) The miracles helped them have faith, but the adverse reaction of Pharaoh caused them to unduly lose faith. There is no contradiction.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 2 (Part Eight)

When Was Dan Named?
            Judges 18:29 (NWT) reads: “Furthermore, they named the city Dan after the name of their father, Dan, who was born to Israel. But Laish was the city’s former name.” This is well after the time of Abraham, so then how can we make sense of Moses’ statement that Abraham “mobilized his trained men, 318 servants born in his household, and went in pursuit up to Dan?” – Genesis 14:14 NWT
            It is entirely, possible (certain) that a later scribe changed it to help in understanding what city was meant. This is no problem. Neither does the fact that an uninspired scribe changed the text mean it is now untrustworthy; in fact modern translations that convert biblical units into Imperial or Metric units, while still preserving the correct value, are doing the same thing – to our benefit. The Samaritan Pentateuch did this to various cities whose former names had been overshadowed by the newer, more common names.b
How Many People Were Alive During Cain’s Banishment?
            The skeptic who read the Bible notes that Cain was the first child and that Abel was born after that. (Genesis 4:1) Then he notes that Cain kills Abel and is therefore banished (Genesis 4:14). To such a one it is odd that Cain and Jehovah say: “anyone who finds me will certainly kill me,” or: “anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times.” (Genesis 4:14,15 NWT) He says, “Aren’t there only three people alive on the earth, and only two that could kill him? The Bible doesn’t even know how many people are alive in its own myths!”
            However, had the skeptic been reading more carefully, or sensibly, he would have noted that a decent period of time had passed between the births of Cain and Abel to when Able was murdered. It is clear that in between that time Cain had a sister, or another female relative, who was born and was of an age that she could bear children, and that it is reasonable that there could be a decent group of people alive.

            Further, Cain knew that the amount of people would only grow and that, even if there were just three (four, counting his wife, which the skeptic ignores for some reason) there would be more, some of whom might want to kill him. Further, since he had killed his brother, perhaps he thought that his parents might try to kill him. These three suggestions go right past the skeptic, or rather the skeptic in his zeal to find fault in the Bible has revealed in himself a lack of objectivity. For any combination of the three Cain could have spoken! As it is, there is no contradiction.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 2 (Part Seven)

Were the Israelites Many or Few in Egypt?
            There is an interesting dichotomy between Israel being regarded as small, and yet ‘as numerous as the stars.’ However, it is only when both are taken literally that a contradiction arises. Take this example, which the skeptic urges upon us; He says that since Exodus 1:9 (NWT) says: “Look! The people of Israel are more numerous and mightier than we are,” there can be no way that Deuteronomy 7:7 (NWT), which says: “It was not because you were the most numerous of all the peoples that Jehovah showed affection for you and chose you, for you were the smallest of all the peoples,” can be true.
            If taken literally they could not both be true, for Exodus indicates that Israel continued to grow. However given the human proclivity to exaggerate these can be reconciled. Egypt’s fear of being overthrown by an internal threat when a foreign enemy came against them caused the ever-growing size of Israel to seem larger than [i.e., a potent threat to] Egypt. However, Israel, while likely not larger than many nations, still numbered about 3 million. It was in this state that they were called small. Moses wanted to instill humility in them and a trust in Jehovah rather in their own might. The word choice because understandable; Israel was large, but not that large, they were powerful, but not powerful enough to rely upon themselves, so there is no contradiction.

Did Jesus Drink Wine Again?
            This is a more obscure contradiction, one that takes carefully reading to even find, yet can be solved if we step back and look at things afresh. Jesus says at Luke 22:17,18 (NWT): “Take this and pass it from one to the other among yourselves, for I tell you, from now on, I will not drink again from the product of the vine [wine] until the Kingdom of God comes.” However he does drink wine, for John 19:30 says: “When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said: “it has been accomplished!”” Here he refers to Psalm 69:21.
            There are two possible solutions that we can discuss.  The first is this: Jesus meant that he would not drink wine until the Kingdom of God was sure to come, that is he was speaking figuratively. This accounts for why at first he was offered sour wine (vinegar) and refused – his suffering and testing was not yet complete – and yet when he was about to die he drank some to fulfill the psalm.
            However, I find this tentative at best and weaker to the solution thart the context shows. Jesus, when he gave his promise not to drink wine again, was instituting what is known as “the Lord’s Evening Meal.” Matthews’ account is slightly more exhaustive than Luke’s. See what Matthew 26:29 (NWT) says: “But I say to you: I will by no means drink again any of this product of the vine [wine] until that day I drink it new with you in the Kingdom of my Father.” Here it is not wine in general, but this wine, which is to say the wine of the Lord’s Evening Meal. He promises that he will drink it again in a figurative sense.
            This solution, being the best one there is and superior than the alleged contradiction, is backed up in a similar phrase, namely: “I have greatly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:16 NWT) It is obvious to Jesus that he would not be alive to see the next Passover, so why say ‘I’m not going to eat it again?’ other than to say that the next partaking of it will be figurative? So too the next drinking of the wine of the Lord’s Evening Meal (the wine that represented the “Blood of the Covenant”) will be drunk “a new.” This wine, not being “wine” in general, nor the Passover being just any meal (of bread, bitter greens, etc.) presents no contradiction to the recorded instances that Christ ate after his meal.

Who Let Pharaoh’s Heart Become Hardened?

            There is a maxim, “he who acts through another does the act himself,” which the skeptic has conveniently forgotten. Jehovah commissioned Moses as his spokesmen, and Aaron as Moses’ spokesmen. Is it then a surprise that whatever Aaron did because Moses told him was ascribed to God, whose power it was doing the work? There is no contradiction.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 2 (Part Six)

Did Abraham Leave For an Unknown Destination?
            Paul, when speaking of Abraham’s faith, says at Hebrews 11:8 (NWT): “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, although not knowing where he was going.” The skeptic, however, thinks that Abraham did know where he was going because it says at Genesis 12:5 (NWT): “Abraham took his wife Sarai and Lot the son of his brother and all the goods that they had accumulated and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and hey set for the land of Canaan.”
            I’ve heard this before: Canaan was unknown to Abraham and therefore qualified as an unknown land. However, I’d say that this is an unnecessary “solution” and am a bit doubtful of the interpretation behind it (as far as being sufficient by itself to explain the “contradiction”). The problem with the skeptics theory is not their interpretation of “not knowing” or “unknown,” but rather when Abraham “was called” and “obeyed.” It was not in Genesis 12:5 that Jehovah called Abraham, but it was “from the other side of the River.” – Joshua 24:3
            At the first time he called Abraham Jehovah didn’t specify that Abraham was going to Canaan.[1] The fact that Genesis 11:31 (NWT) states: “Terah then took Abrahm his son and Lot his grandson, the son of Haran, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, the wife of Abram his son, and they went with him out of Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan,” does not necessarily mean that they knew they were going there. For example, my mother could tell me and my brother to go to the store. My brother takes me to lunch first and then we wonder which store our mother wants us to go to, so we call her. Then we ask and find that is Costco. If she says, “Where did you stop on your way to Costco?” we do not assume that she thought we knew we were going there to begin with.
            What she did, and what I think Moses did was simply substitute the general description with a later established precise definition. In Abraham’s case the place where he was going to soon became apparent. (Genesis 12:7) Moses wanted to highlight that Terah’s leaving Ur with Abraham was part of God taking Abraham to Canaan, not just moving for no reason.
            I need not go on to defend this position, for it is clear that it is possible and I think likely. It is not improper, when writing after the event, to refer to things from your current perspective, even if it is a bit anachronistic, if it aids in better understanding of the account, or is due to one’s linguistic taste. There is no contradiction.

How Did Jacob Get the Birth Right?
            Jacob was not the literal firstborn son of Isaac, so he gained the rights of the firstborn somehow. The skeptic says that there are two accounts on how this happened, which, instead of complimenting each other, contradict each other. Genesis 25:31 (NWT) says: “Jacob said: “First sell me your right as firstborn!” And the following verses (32-34) show that this is what happened. Genesis 27:18-23 records, according to the skeptic, how Jacob got the birth right again – by deception.
            However, there are two things that the skeptic ignores, either of which would remove whatever “contradiction” there is. That is: The first instance shows how he bought something, and the second instance shows how he secured and received another thing. Let me add more detail; Jacob bought the birth right, which entailed a greater inheritance and also a blessing. Neither of which he got when he gave Edom soup. He had the right, due to his “being” the firstborn, but that didn’t mean Esau, who had despised the right, would honor it – the scriptures show he tried to get part of that inheritance. Even Isaac, it seemed loved Esau more than Jacob (for selfish reasons as per Genesis 25:27), so while the blessing of the firstborn was due him, he still had to secure it.
            Therefore, since the first account recorded how he got the firstborn’s right and the second recorded how he secured the blessing which was due him because of his “being” the firstborn, there is no contradiction. These accounts complement each other; you cannot have the second only, or you’d wonder why Jacob pretended to be Esau, and the first by itself, would not explain how Jacob actually got what was due him.

[1] So, if he knew he was going to Canaan when he was at Haran there is still no contradiction.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 2 (Part Five)

Did Sarah Have Faith?
            “By faith also Sarah received power to conceive offspring, even when she was past the age, since she considered Him faithful who made the promise,” says Hebrews 11:11 (NWT). However, the skeptic tauntingly says, “How may this be reconciled with the clear account of Sarah’s lack of faith?” He alludes to Genesis 18:12-15 (NWT), which says: “So Sarah began to laugh to herself, saying: “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I really have this pleasure?” Then Jehovah said to Abraham: “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Am I really going to give birth even though I am old?’ Is anything too extraordinary for Jehovah? I will return to you next year at this appointed time, and Sarah will have a son.” But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh!” for she was afraid. At this he said: “Yes! You did laugh.””
            Some suggest that Sarah was not laughing at the incongruous nature of the promise, but with joy. This, while I think is not that likely. However, it seems that Abraham did this kind of joyful laughing. (Genesis 17:17) And while proof for this position is said to be found at Genesis 21:6 (NWT) where Sarah says: “God has brought me laughter; everybody hearing of it will with me.” I think that the natural connection would be that she was laughing for a new reason than she did before. She remembered her initial (and short-lived) shock or disbelief and is playing off of it on account of her joyful laughter, a realization of the faith she possessed.
            Yes, I suggest that Sarah may have be amazed to think that such a thing was possible, but as Jehovah showed by his ability to read her heart and especially in reminding her of who he was, God Almighty, that nothing is “to extraordinary for Jehovah.” Then he again said, “I will return to you next year at this appointed time.”[1] Sarah did not engage Jehovah in conversation other to deny that she laughed in the first place.[2] Whether at that instant, or when she and Abraham tried to conceive, or sometime in between, she gained faith – I cannot say. However, it is clear that from the time Jehovah spoke to the time that Isaac was conceive and beyond, Sarah reflected on the incident and gained the faith that Paul praises her for. Therefore, there is no contradiction in not having faith in the promise at the time it is spoken, and building that faith so as to receive the benefits of it when the time came.

Was Ishmael a Child When He Left?
            Do skeptics assume that the Bible was written in English, or that the Hebrew words, which in actuality often only roughly correspond to English words, mean exactly the same thing as their English counterparts? They say that there is no way that Ishmael was a mere child or boy anymore when he left. The scriptures in question are: Genesis 21:14 – which calls him “the boy,” Genesis 17:24-26 – which shows that he was 13 when Abraham was 99,[3] making him 19 when he left (14 according to the skeptic, though the “contradiction” could be argued in either case, especially if he was 19).
            The thing to consider, that which skeptics have not, is that the Hebrew word “child” does not refer merely to an infant or pre-pubescent children, but can go as far as those who are youths or young men. For example, Joseph was called “child” when he was 17. (Genesis 42:22) This word, incidentally, is ye’ledh. There is no contradiction in saying that Ishmael was 19, or 14 and yet a “child.”

Was Jacob brought out of Egypt or Did he Die There?
            Jehovah promised Jacob: “I am the true God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I myself will also bring your back from there, and Joseph will lay his hand on your eyes [after you die].” (Genesis 46:3,4 NWT) So, the skeptic, despite the previously mentioned precedent that “one’s self” includes one’s descendants in a sense, assumes that Jacob had to be literally brought back to Canaan while alive.[4]
            That is why he says that Genesis 49:33 (NWT), which says: “Jacob finished giving these instructions to his sons. Then he drew his feet up onto the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people,”[5] contradicts Jehovah’s promise. Of course there is no contradiction since Jehovah meant no such thing, nor did Jacob think that he did.

Did Cain Struggle or Prosper After Being Banished?
            Cain was punished with banishment for killing his brother. Genesis 4:11,12 (NWT) records Jehovah’s words: “And now you are cursed in banishment from the ground that has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it will not give you back its produce. You will become a wanderer and a fugitive in the earth.” Therefore, the skeptic is confused when it says: “Cain went away from before Jehovah and took up residence in the land of Exile, to the east of Eden. Afterward Cain had sexual relations with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch [not the prophet]. Then he engaged in building a city and named the city after his son Enoch.” (Genesis 4:16,17 NWT) This hardly seems likes banishment, or that he was withering.
            The first thing is to note that Cain was not cursed with being a wanderer and fugitive, for he said to Jehovah: “The punishment for my error is too great to bear. Today you are driving me from your face; and I will become a wanderer and a fugitive on the earth, and anyone who finds me will certainly kill me.” Jehovah then said, “For that reason, anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times.” And “Jehovah set up a sign for Cain in order that no one finding him would strike him.” – Genesis 4:13-15
            Therefore, while Cain was exiled, he was not to be a fugitive, which would have been necessary if someone might try to kill him. But since this was no longer the case he could then afford to remain in one location. Anyone, who otherwise would want to kill him, would not, and his descendants would not be likely to do so – regardless of the mark – so he could build a city.
            However, this is not inconsistent with his still extant punishment (that the ground would withhold produce from him). This city, at first was not great – the text does not indicate that it ever became great. All it says is that he engaged in building a city after his being exiled, which does not mean that he was growing crops. He simply built a city, and had to find food other ways, scavenging, hunting or gleaning from where he could. His building a city is no indication that he prospered. Neither was punished by withering, only that he couldn’t grow crops and was banished from the land where he killed Abel.

[1] Perhaps it is just non-deliberate word choice, but I think it is of note that Jehovah now says, “this appointed time.” I am implying that Jehovah wished to make the wording of the promise reflect his statement that it was going to happen, for he was Jehovah, to instill faith in Sarah’s heart.

[2] Why would she do this if she was laughing with joy, and why did Jehovah address her laughing for joy, but not Abraham’s when he did the same thing?

[3] Thus making Isaac about 19 when he left. As for why the skeptic I am refuting from in this case said 14, I cannot say anything other than he read to hastily. He likely overlooked the phrase “Now the child [Isaac] grew and was weaned” – and assumed a young age of about six months to a year, but considering the chronology of the bible require that he be five, which is  no out of harmony with nursing practices, we must assume that he was five. (Genesis 21:8) For example in the book of Maccabees 7:27 a child was nursed for three years. Five years, while stretching it, as it were, was not impossible, therefore it is reasonable to give the Bible the benefit of any doubt that we might have. Isaac was five when Ishmael was expelled.

[4] He was brought back for burial.
[5] A poetic expression for dying.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 2 (Part Four)

Did Abraham Need Help to Conceive a Child?
            Genesis 21:2 (NWT) says: “Sarah became pregnant and then bore a son to Abraham in his old age at the appointed time God had promised him.” This is significant because neither of them could have a son on their own. When Jehovah restored their procreate powers Isaac was conceived. But that did not mean that Abraham was only given ability to beget Isaac and that after, also God didn’t then take away his ability to procreate. It is perfectly reasonable that God gave him back his procreative powers indefinitely. (Sarah on the other hand did not need other children, for Isaac was the promised son, the heir of the promise.)
The skeptic cites the other children Abraham had after Isaac as proof that Abraham never needed help to conceive Isaac to begin with. Does that mean that if I take medicine, which I bought from a store, and my headache goes away I can conclude that I didn’t need medicine, because after my taking it I am fine? So too, the children of Abraham after Isaac are not proof that he could reproduce without assistance, but further proof that God preformed a great miracle.

Was Joseph Bound in Prison or Not?
            Joseph after being sold into slavery by his brothers and falsely accused by the wife of his master found himself in prison. Genesis 39:20 (NWT) says: “So Joseph’s master took him and gave him over to the prison where the prisoners of the king were kept under arrest, and he remained there in the prison.” In the psalms it is said of him: “With fetters they bound his feet, His neck was put in irons.” (Psalm 105:18)
            The skeptic finds that description hard to reconcile with what Genesis 39:21,22 (NWT) says of his time in prison, namely: “But Jehovah continued with Joseph and kept showing loyal love to him and granting him favor in the eyes of the chief officer of the prison. So the chief officer of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners in the prison, and everything that they were doing there, he was the one having it done.”
            However the skeptic fails to consider that Joseph was afflicted at first, both as he went down to Egypt and later at the prison. In both cases, however, the conditions improved and Joseph found favor with those he was with. Since these two statements are not a total description of all that happened there is no contradiction.

Were Joseph’s Bothers Confronted at Home or in an Inn?
            Both verses cited below use a Hebrew word that amounts to “inn” or “lodging place.” There is no contradiction, but, the skeptic by (mis)using older translations produces contradictions that are nowhere contained in the actual text (home vs. inn) – a fact evidenced by newer versions. Despite there being no contradiction let me show you the scriptures involved, which are Genesis 42:27,29,35; 43:21.[1]

Did Worship of the Lord Began with Cain and Abel or Enosh?
            The Scriptures show that Cain and Abel were offering sacrifices to Jehovah, and that Jehovah approved of Abel’s sacrifice. The skeptic notes this, so when he comes to a latter verse of the same chapter of Genesis he is puzzled, for it says: “There was also born to Seth a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began calling on the name of Jehovah.” (Genesis 4:26 NWT) “There is no way that worship began at two times; if the first time, then the there is no need for a second,” says the skeptic.
            However he pays no heed to the traditional interpretation that this “calling upon the name of Jehovah” is improper worship, or blasphemy. The Targum says of those of that time: “That was the generation in whose days they began to err, and make themselves idols, and they surnamed their idols by the name of the Word of the Lord.” This “calling upon” Jehovah being blasphemous is not without scriptural support, for by the days of Enoch the prophet “the ungodly” were committing “ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way,” and spoke “shocking things . . . against him.” – Jude 15 NWT
            It must be said, however, that just because sinners multiplied in later times it doesn’t automatically mean that this “calling on the name of Jehovah” was evil at the start. John Gill in his exposition of the Bible, suggests primarily that this new worship was no longer just individualistic as Abel had done, but that “now the families of good men being larger, and more numerous, they joined together in social and public worship.” He also mentions that worship of Jehovah might have “been neglected and now was revived with more zeal and vigor.” Perhaps it was entirely abandoned.
            The latter solution is, I feel the best of the three suggested, though the first is equally good in many respects, having as it (the first suggestion) does both tradition and Enoch’s prophecy as evidence for its validity. That mankind had more or less abandoned the worship of Jehovah and began it also entirely possible. It is of course self-evident that if this worship was at first pure it degraded into various forms of blasphemy until the time of the flood.
            All that is required to resolve this “contradiction” is the fact that Genesis 4:26 indicates worship different from the worship given by Abel. It could be restarted, changed in form (public worship in a similar manner to synagogues or congregations) or changed in substance (to blasphemy). Or a combination of some of the three. Each have their merits, and each is more reasonable than the alleged contradiction; therefore, I say that there is no contradiction.

[1] Perhaps the skeptic means “home” as the land of Canaan rather than a physical structure. This would mean that he confuses the place where they told of what befell them to where what befell them happened. I would not be surprised.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 2 (Part Three)

Did Moses Fear Pharaoh?
            When we think about Moses we do not imagine anyone who could even be moved to fear. The Scriptures say of him at Hebrews 11:27 (NWT): “By faith he left Egypt, but not fearing the anger of the king, for he continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.” The skeptic, however, says, “Pray tell, why Moses fled fearfully from the king of Egypt?”
            He alludes to Exodus 2:14,15 (NWT) which says: “At this he said: “Who appointed you as a prince and a judge over us? Are you planning to kill me just as you killed the Egyptian?” Moses now was afraid and said: “Surely the matter has become known!” Then Pharaoh heard about it, and he attempted to kill Moses; but Moses ran away from Pharaoh and wen to dwell in the land of Midian.” Does this prove that there is a contradiction?
            No, for Paul seems to be alluding to Moses leaving Egypt with the sons of Israel. In those days he was not afraid of Pharaoh (on account of the appearance at the burning bush and the miracles he performed; see Exodus 10:28). Therefore it is perfectly possible that at first he was afraid, but then he was not. He was not even afraid when Pharaoh pursued them to the Red Sea. (Exodus 14:13,14) To this the skeptic might object, for Israel left Egypt after the Passover, and the observance “by faith” of the Passover by Moses, as mentioned in Hebrews, is found in verse 28. The point being that the time “he left Egypt, but no fearing the anger of the king” must be before the Passover since it was mentioned in verse 27.
            This argument is found wanting, for just because something is mentioned afterward does not mean that it occurred afterward. While Paul went chronologically as far as the faith people he used as examples, he didn’t list everything chronologically. For in mentioning Jacob worshipping Joseph he says that he “blessed the sons of Joseph and worshipped,” which to some might imply that he blessed Joseph’s sons first, or that he did both at the same time. (Hebrews 11:21 NWT) However such a conclusion would lean to heavily on the use of “and” and the unprovable assumption that the an event being mentioned first makes it first chronologically; keep in mind that this what Paul wrote is a summary.
            In conclusion, I can see no contradiction, neither now after I have examined it, nor before. What the skeptic saw, I cannot, so I must imagine it was due to a poor reading of the text.b

Does Paul Deny the Authenticity of the Psalms of the Sons of Korah?
            To the informed and malicious Paul’s words at Romans 8:37 (WEB): “No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us,” show that he regarded Psalm 44:22 as false scripture, and possibly felt that way toward all of the psalms of the sons of Korah. How? (I still haven’t figured that out.)
            It is necessary to examine what Paul says, namely: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written [at Psalm 44:22], “For You sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelming conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:35-39 NASB95
            Here we see that Paul proposes an idea – these things can separate us from God’s love. Then he cites a scripture that describes the situation they face, and whose own context might describe the helpless feeling his brothers have. Then he answers that, contrary to external appearances of being conquered, we are in fact conquerors whom can never be separated from God’s love.
            Why is it necessary to resolve this? How did the skeptic so mangle the meaning of the scripture? Even by narrowing the material quoted, the fool never explains the validity of his assertion, for it hardly would make sense for Paul to deny this scripture since the scripture truthfully describes the external circumstances (that he himself faced) which gave birth to the heart of the matter, the question that Paul was actually addressing. Yes if Paul denied the verse it would leave him with no reason to bring it up to begin with.

Who Destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah?
            In the Bible God claims credit for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Amos 4:11) So, the skeptic is confused, by the mention of two angels at Genesis 19:1. Did Jehovah destroy the city, or did they? The skeptic fails to note two things, namely, that the angels are there to get Lot, but never are said to be the ones destroying the city, and that even if they were the ones destroying it, they’d simply be agents of Jehovah, which would still afford Jehovah the credit for destroying the four cities (four is not a typo). (Deuteronomy 29:23) There is no contradiction.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 2 (Part Two)

Was Man Made in God’s Image or Did He Acquire it?
            The Skeptic points to Genesis 1:27 (NWT), which says: “And God went on to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him,” then he turns his attention to Genesis 3:22 (NWT), which says: “Jehovah God then said: “Here the man has become like one of us in knowing good and bad.” He proceeds to congratulate himself because of his cunning wisdom in showing that the Bible doesn’t even know how Man “got” God’s image. To the discerning eye, however, this is a non-issue, and why?
            Because an issue requires substance, but there is none here. The image of God that men have is not that they are like God in every respect, but that they are like God in some respects. For it is clear that we are not spirits, and that we are not infinite in being and mind as God is, yet we are still spoken of as being made in God’s image.
            Some suggest that “God’s image” refers to our being God’s representatives on the earth and having dominion over it. There is nothing inheritably wrong with this interpretation, nor is there anything contradictory about it with the scriptures.
            There is another solution, one that I prefer, which is that we are made in God’s image because we are intelligent and can love good and hate bad. There are some objections to this, however a rebuttal would be ill suited here; it will be provided as an endnote. What is necessary, though, is showing that the skeptic confuses what God’s image is and only by doing so can he produce a contradiction.a
Is God’s Image Male or Female?
            To the skeptic God is a male, though the scriptures show that spirits have no gender. It is true that God reveals himself primarily as a male, yet that does not preclude himself from describing himself as a mother, or his Son, Jesus as Wisdom, who speaks as a woman.
However, this is not the issue here (I thought I’d include a fun fact), but what is can be “found” in Genesis 2:7 (NWT), which says: “And Jehovah God went on to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living person.” (Which I presume is designed to show that God made man, a theme the skeptic “skillfully” develops, as I am sure you will see.)
            Genesis 9:6 (NWT), which says: “Anyone shedding man’s blood, by man will his own blood be shed, for in God’s image He made man,” produces a new assertion: God’s image is male, or so the Skeptic says. And what of women? Genesis 1:27 (NWT) says: “And God went on to create the man in his image, in God’s image he create him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 5:2 could be added, I suppose, but what the skeptic asserts could be produced from what I’ve quoted.
            And what is that exactly? That God’s image in male, or is it male and female? Neither. He has no gender, yet he shares aspects of both, just as they do with each other. Further, we know that God’s image does not mean gender, nor does it mean visible appearance or form. Further, we note that Genesis 5:2 (NWT) states: “Male and female he created them. On the day they were created, he blessed them and named them Man.” Here Man, is used as it is today, in the sense of mankind. He created both of them in his image, so, while his image is genderless, it dwells in intelligent gendered creatures.

Did Cain’s Descendants Survive?
            Scripturally the male descendants of Seth are the only ones who survived the deluge. Cain and his other brothers and their lines ceased before the waters dried up. So Judges 1:16 (NWT), which reads in part: “And the descendants of the Kenite, Moses’ father-in-law,” are taken as proof that Cain’s line did not perish.
            While no direct male line from Cain to the post-deluge world exist, it is entirely possible that some of Cain’s female descendants did marry into Seth’s line and that therefore the Kenites are in part descended from Cain. I say this, not to disprove the supposed contradiction, which itself is based on the dubious eytomology of Kenite from Cain. An eytomology I’ve not heard of, though I’ve heard some say that Kenite might be dereived from “nest,” which would fit the description of the Kennites by Balaam, “secure is your dwelling, and set on the crag is your abode.” (Numbers 24:21 NWT) No, I don’t say that at all, rather I just want to point an interesting fact out.

Did God Promise or Deny The Promised Land to Abraham?
            The Skeptic says that God either at first promised Abraham the land and then reneged, or the Bible is flawed. Genesis 17:8 (NWT) says: “And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land in which you lived as a foreigner.” However, they say that Abraham never got the land, and neither did “Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the very same promise.” – Hebrews 11:9 NWT
            They are not contented with us saying, “Israel got it.” For they insist that Jehovah said that not only would Israel get it, but that Israel along with Abraham would get the land as their own. However, given the fact that elsewhere God speaks of his bringing back Abraham’s descendants this hyper-literal reading is flawed. Further Abraham did get the promise through his descendants. Will this satisfy the skeptic? It ought to.
            For in the very same chapter Abraham is promised to “become nations [including Israel].” (Genesis 17:6 NWT) And God said: “I will make [Ishmael] become a great nation.” (Genesis 17:20 NWT) Is there a confusion as to who the person is? Is he also his descendants? Consider what Jacob said at Genesis 34:30, “I am few in number, and they will certainly gather together to attack me and I will get annihilated, I and my house.”

            Here the sense of person is tied up with their house. This is most evident in what Jacob said, for in once place he and his house are “one.” Therefore, it is not unreasonable to say that Abraham received the promise himself, though not literally. There is no contradiction.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 2 (Part One)


            This is designed to defend the Bible as a harmonious books. Many people write on this topic, so many are against the Bible, and some defend the Scriptures. I must echo a similar sentiment to what was spoken by Augustine, namely, that it is of great benefit that many books should be written on the same subject to defend the faith, differing in style, though not in faith or substance. In this regard, I am not publishing new thoughts in defending the Bible, nor am I going about in a new methodology. Rather, I point out what I feel is the best explanation for the scriptures. I, a Witness of Jehovah publish this, but even a Lutheran of the Missouri Synod would offer many of the same things I say. However, seeing as we differ in places as to doctrine, and such differences might creep into our defenses of the book regard as holy, I prefer my books to their books. But this fact bears repeating – The Bible is the word of Jehovah, as such it is harmonious.
Some might propose solutions that are not the most logical or the best, though their style of writing being flawed might account for such a mistaken impression, yet others can supply better solutions, or declare them in a better manner. Therefore if I, or they, are lacking, let the other make up for this, but if still there is doubt all I ask is that you are no hasty to conclude the Bible is not harmonious. There is a solution; many times, the great majority of times, the contradictions are completely nullified, yet other times they may appear to remain a viable option. However, seeing as the Bible is closer to the things described it ought to be given the benefit of the doubt; further showing that a contradiction does not have to exist is all that is needed to make it of no value. Of course, I feel that I rarely, if ever, “fallback” to such a defense, not because it is wrong, but I wish to avoid any notion that I am “copping out” in my defense of the Bible.
            Really I am not showing the Bible to be harmonious at all, but defending it against the onslaught of foolish words against it. If I were to go from scripture to scripture and proclaim Jesus as Christ, you’d be amazed and praise God. Because of the harmony of the many prophecies, which, while written or spoken by many over the centuries, are rightly called the Central Prophecy of the Bible. Rather, it is the attack of insolent men, whose form of knowledge is lacking, that I embark to discredit.
            This book, as is the case with the first and all the rest to follow, is prepared for both the skeptic and the believer. However, it is primarily for the believer, but I jab at my “opponent” whom I call “the skeptic,” whom ought not be confused with all skeptics. I do sarcastically wish to imply that they have no ability to read – what explain could explain their adding words, or taking words out or removing the text from its context? Ah, yes their callousness. Of them it is written, “There mouth is an open grave.” Well let me fill it with sand by revealing how intentionally deceptive the authors of these lists are.
            Yes, the original authors of the lists of Biblical self-contradictions are men who care nothing for the accuracy of the words they speak, but they write that others reproduce without verifying the information (which is sometimes so laughable that a two year old could see through it), in order shock those weak in faith and to awe them by their falsely called knowledge. I wish to provide this series, and this book, as an edifice to the weak, and a sword in their hand.
            I do not wish to quarrel with anyone bitterly, but I will reveal the deceptions of those arrayed again the Bible. They may feel justified, that their means are justified “since the Bible is wrong.” Regardless, the sword here is for defense (though I suppose one could take the harmony of this word as a proof for its inspiration), and I wish the skeptic well, so that he might grope and seek God, who is not far off. Oh that  men might search! – Acts 17:27

            I hope that you enjoy this work as much as I have enjoyed preparing it. I dedicate it to the God, whose word I truly praise, Jehovah. (Psalm 56:4) May he grant the ones reading this peace and that he may draw you near him; as for me the drawing near to God is good. – Psalm 73:28