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Biblical inerrancy


Harmonizing apparent
conflicts & errors in the Bible

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Harmonizing apparent biblical conflicts:

Skeptics often point to conflicts within the Bible as proof of biblical errancy.

bulletSome of these occur where two passages disagree in their description of the same event or belief. For example:
bulletThere are passages in the Bible that state that God punishes people for the sins of their parents, grand parents, etc. Yet there are others that state that people are punished only for their own sins.
bulletStories in various gospels about the trial(s) of Jesus and the identity of the women who visited his tomb appear to conflict with each other.
bulletOther conflicts are related to an apparent conflict between science and a biblical story:
bulletThe Bible implies in Genesis 9:13 that no rainbows appeared in the sky before the flood of Noah. Yet rainbows occur because of the refractive index of water -- a factor that has not changed over time.
bulletThe Bible states in Joshua 10:13 that the sun stood still in the sky during a battle. But for this to happen, the earth would have had to stop rotating. The deceleration forces would have torn the earth to pieces.
bulletThere are conflicts between parts of the Bible and modern-day secular and religious standards of morality:
bulletSections of the Mosaic law would seem to violate the will of God. Examples are genocide, the rape of female prisoners of war, executing non-virgin brides, torturing prisoners, etc.
bulletThe Bible justifies, condones and regulates human slavery.
bulletThe Bible includes instructions by God to commit genocide, actions by God to kill Jewish leaders who sought a more democratic society, etc.

If one starts with the foundational belief that the Bible is inerrant and that it is the will of God, with some creative ingenuity these conflicts can almost always be harmonized.

If you know of an irresolvable biblical conflict not covered here, please E-mail us. We enjoy challenges!

Topics covered in this section:

bulletResponses by conservative and liberal Christians to such conflicts
bulletHarmonizing internal conflicts in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament)
bulletHarmonizing internal conflicts in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament)
bulletDifferences between the Gospel of John and the synoptic gospels
bulletConflicts between science and religion
bulletConflicts about origins of species and the rest of the universe
bulletBible passages which appear immoral by today's secular & religious standards
bulletRemoving passages from holy books that promote hatred, violence, etc.

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Copyright © 2003 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update and review: 2009-APR-16
Author: B.A. Robinson

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