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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.

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