Friday, August 03, 2012

Kyle, atheism, and his five failed Bible contradictions

I attended Wednesday's Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day at the CFA closest to my place of employment and enjoyed a delicious #7 with a Dr Pepper.
As I was driving away from the (absolutely jam-packed), I caught sight of one lone protester standing in the sun with a sign complaining that discrimination is not an American moral value or something similar.
I immediately U-turned, parked, put on a hat, and engaged the young man in a cordial conversation that started with his sign and continued on into the foundation for moral values and epistemology, given atheism, which also included some elements of his questions about my own worldview.
A couple of brothers stopped by to listen a bit; one asked if the protester (Kyle) was familiar with the cross and, upon his assurance that yes, he knows what the cross is, shared a bit about the Laminin argument for God's existence. Yeesh.
But they were good guys and soon took their leave, allowing Kyle and me to continue. I eventually had to leave but we exchanged names so we could continue our conversation later.
The conversation continued thusly on Facebook:

Tell me again about the consistency of your book...

ME Two rules when discussing biblical "contradictions", the first of which is demanded by rules of proper thought and the second of which is personal, born of years of experience.
1) Since we're analysing the CONSISTENCY of MY worldview, we do it right. We presuppose ALL of the biblical worldview and then see whether it is indeed consistent. That means it is not OK to import principles from other worldviews, such as scientismistic naturalism, in our analysis.
2) Pick your 5 favorite and I will deal with them. If you can't make your 5 favorites stick, I have no reason to think you can make any others stick.

So, I have to assume your worldview is correct and consistent before you can defend it as being such? That seems like a stretch...

1) 299 - How many officers did Solomon have? 1 Kings 9:23; 2 Chronicles 8:10
2) 312 - Is the law of God perfect? Psalms 18:30; Hebrews 8:6-7

I'll start with these.

And here's one of my favorites not listed in that image.

When did God create Adam and Eve? Genesis 1:26-31; 2:1-7; 2:20-23

Speaking of Genesis, if the Tree of Knowledge was supposed to give humans the ability to know Good from Evil, how would Adam and Eve know not to eat from it?

ME ‎\\I have to assume your worldview is correct and consistent before you can defend it as being such? That seems like a stretch...\\

Just for the sake of argument. Just like I did with your worldview (which I presume is naturalistic, but please correct me if I'm wrong) yesterday in our conversation.

ME Are those really among your 5 best? I'll give you a mulligan on 1 and 2, b/c I warn you, #1 is merely a question of textual variants and #2 is a highly theological point, which is, I'm sorry, almost certainly going to go way over your head.

‎1) That's exactly my point. The text varies and is inconsistent with itself.
2) The point was to answer the challenge not say I wouldn't understand it.

ME ‎\\I have to assume your worldview is correct and consistent\\

Oh, sorry, missed something there.
No, I'm not asking you to assume it is CONSISTENT necessarily - that's what we're analysing. Just you have to assume all of my position as it defines itself. I'm hopeful I'm explaining it OK. Here's more on what I mean.

ME OK, fair enough. I'll answer when I get a chance and you can of course fill in your other two when you get a chance.

Perhaps you could tell me who Jesus' grandfather was? Heli or Jacob? Matthew 1:16; Luke 3:23

How did Judas die? Acts 1:15-18 Matthew 27:3-5

Should I keep going?

ME Keep going? Did you already forget rule #2? That's 5.

I'm just asking because I can keep this up.

ME Anyone can regurgitate crappy objections that have been refuted for decades. Quality is Job 1, my friend.

Please refute them with ease, then
20 hours ago · 2

ME ‎1) How many officers did Solomon have?
1 Kings 9:23 - These were the chief officers who were over Solomon’s work, five hundred and fifty, who ruled over the people doing the work.
2 Chronicles 8:10 - These were the chief officers of King Solomon, two hundred and fifty who ruled over the people.

I prefer not to reinvent the wheel in resolving these accusations; it's also advantageous to cite others to show that
a. the resolution has existed for some time, thus demonstrating that the critic (that would be you, Kyle) hasn't done his due diligence, and
b. it's more efficient.
Are there 550 officers, or 250, per 1 Kings 9:23? A reasonable solution that is suggested by the fact that the totals of men coincide at 3850 is that the 550 "elite" foremen in 1 Kings 9:23 include the 250 "elite" foremen of 2 Chr 8:10. This is essentially the thesis advanced by Keil and Delitzsch. I personally find it most reasonable as it is reasonable for parallel documents to reckon parallel events differently.

ME ‎2) Is the law of God perfect?
Psalms 18:30 - As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
Hebrews 8:6-7 - But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.

Yes, the law of God is perfect. The book of Hebrews is a discussion of how atonement can be made since the law is perfect and sinners are not perfect, but rather rebellious sinners.

Hebrews 7:11 is relevant here: Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron?

The thought continues in vv 18-19: 18For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness 19(for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

The thought finds its penultimate expression in 8: 1Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.

Galatians 3 is also relevant, by way of further explanation:
19Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. 21Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

The law is a perfect standard of what is right and good, a reflection of God's character. It is complicated, intricate, and high and lofty, and in some instances appears bizarre to the sinful human mind. Yet humans are not the judge; God is the judge and the lawgiver. We are to submit to what He has revealed, and the law is a huge part of that.

We can never attain perfection. Romans 3 says that we don't even pursue goodness. This is why we all need intervention from God. We need Him to forgive our sin.

You, Kyle, have sinned against God many times, very notably in your sinful unbelief in Him, but in other ways as well. I am also a terrible sinner, worse than you.

We both need to be rescued from our sin and rebellion against God. He will judge guilty those who have broken His law, and that's everyone.

There is one way of escape and forgiveness of sin and judgment - Jesus Christ. He came to Earth, lived a sinless life, and died on the cross because He loved people so much that He would sacrifice even for people who hate Him.
He offers forgiveness and eternal life to those who repent of their sin and trust in Him.

He invites you to repent of your sin and put your trust for forgiveness and eternal life fully in Him alone. I urge you to do that. He will save not only your soul but also your heart and your intellect. If you want evidence that your intellect is jacked up, think back to the inconsistent things you were telling me yesterday upon just some elementary questioning. No duties exist? Really? No objective morality? No duty to believe truth? That is what your worldview concludes in, but you don't really believe it. You can't live out your worldview consistently. You need Jesus.

ME ‎3) When did God create Adam and Eve?
Genesis 1:26 - 2:7; 2:20-23

He created Adam on the 6th day.
He created Eve, it would appear, also on the 6th day, as it says this in chapter 1:

27God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Then the account in vv 20-23 is a closer look at the activities surrounding how God ended up creating the woman.
He created Adam first, then put him in the garden, told him about the garden and tending the plants, etc, then started the process of "finding" him a helper. He formed some more animals and Adam named them but didn't like any of them for a helper, so that's when God created Eve. There are lots of hours in a day, you know.

ME ‎4) Speaking of Genesis, if the Tree of Knowledge was supposed to give humans the ability to know Good from Evil, how would Adam and Eve know not to eat from it?

I'll give this one to you for free, since it's so basic. I'd suggest you check over the texts in question before you throw them at an experienced Christian as a "contradiction".
Genesis 1: 15Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

ME ‎5) Perhaps you could tell me who Jesus' grandfather was? Heli or Jacob? Matthew 1:16; Luke 3:23

6) How did Judas die?
Acts 1:15-18
Matthew 27:3-5

He died by hanging. It's quite easy to imagine that he hung himself from a decently high tree branch over a rocky area. He died from hanging, then eventually the rope snapped and his body fell headlong, burst open, and spilled his guts on the ground.

ME OK, now that we've established that your ideas of biblical contradictions have a high probability of being totally groundless, I'd like to ask you a question:
You told me yesterday that you can be sure you exist. Let's say I grant that you can know that with certainty.

Please let me know one other thing you know with certainty. Once you've told me, please let me know how you know it, then let me know how you know that, then let me know how you know that, forward to 8 "how do you know that?"s.

‎1) I didn't see any other mention of specific numbers of men, workers, or officers in those chapters. Perhaps you could show where the number 3850 comes from? Even if the totals are the same, the inconsistent numbering of one group would necessitate the miscounting of another group. What group from Kings is missing 300 men to make up for the difference?

2) Psalms 18:30 says 'As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.' If God were perfect and his way were tried and true, why make another promise that had to be better than the first. Wouldn't that make the first one less than perfect? And even if it is because humans are flawed, wouldn't he know that and be able to make a covenant to compensate?

3) Genesis 1:27-31 God creates man on the sixth day and then rests to view his creation.

Genesis 2 - God rests on the seventh day. Then God creates man. Then God creates Eden. Then God creates Eve. Which order was all this done?

5) The link you provided did not answer the question, but just provided more scriptures. I am still confused about how two different genealogical accounts of Jesus' ancestry aren't contradictions.

6) And the coins of silver Judas received for betraying Jesus, what happened to those? Were they thrown in the temple as Judas went to hang himself/explode in a field or did he buy the field and then die?

As to your question, we are now talking about epistemology and the foundation of knowledge. We can continue the reductio infinitely and there are only a few things that I believe can be known with absolute certainty; 1) I exist. It would be a contraction to doubt the premise since I would have to exist in order to do the doubting. 2) The laws of mathematics and logic. 1+1=2, 1+0=0, and the Law of Non-Contradiction spring to mind. Deductive logic also falls into the absolute category. Beyond these, I am unaware of anything else that can be proven beyond any doubt.

ME ‎1) 3850 is thusly computed, I should think:

2 chr 2:2So Solomon assigned 70,000 men to carry loads and 80,000 men to quarry stone in the mountains and ****3,600 to supervise them****.

2 Chronicles 8:10 - These were the chief officers of King Solomon, ****two hundred and fifty who ruled over the people****.

1 Kings 5:13Now King Solomon levied forced laborers from all Israel; and the forced laborers numbered 30,000 men. 14He sent them to Lebanon, 10,000 a month in relays; they were in Lebanon a month and two months at home. And Adoniram was over the forced laborers. 15Now Solomon had 70,000 transporters, and 80,000 hewers of stone in the mountains, 16besides ****Solomon’s 3,300 chief deputies who were over the project and who ruled over the people who were doing the work****.

1 Kings 9:23 - These were the chief officers who were over Solomon’s work, ****five hundred and fifty, who ruled over the people doing the work****.

ME ‎2) The promise is better than the first because the 2nd one provides forgiveness and eternal life to sinners. The first one, the law, is perfect but excludes any human because no human can follow it.
The 2nd one is also perfect, the Gospel, but makes a way for many people to have eternal life.

\\Wouldn't that make the first one less than perfect?\\

No. Why? Don't make a category error. It's perfect in its aim and purpose, and the 2nd one is too.

\\And even if it is because humans are flawed, wouldn't he know that and be able to make a covenant to compensate?\\

He did - the Gospel.

ME ‎3) You forgot that the narrative resets in the middle of chapter 2 to start refocusing on the events of the 6th day. That's what you missed.

ME ‎5) You may have to read it with some attention. Nobody said that it's always easy to understand the resolutions, but that's one of the reasons why atheists are atheists - many don't want to think that hard.

ME ‎6) You should've asked that one instead of the one about Solomon's laborers.

ME Logical laws such as the law of non-contradiction are conceptual, are they not?

Matthew 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

Acts 1:18-19 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

I still remain confused about the silver...

It is conceptual in the sense that I cannot go and touch it.

ME I know you remain confused. I suggest you do some reading.

ME There are plenty of things you can't touch, like love, taste, and three.
But laws of LOGIC are laws of THOUGHT, right? And thus conceptual, right?

You can tell me to do more reading, but the passages are right here and describe two very different things that happened.

If you're attempting to begin a debate about foundationalism and the basis of knowledge, please just start it and quit beating around the bush.

ME You can propose an easily-resolved "contradiction" to me but I already answered 6 despite letting you know well in advance that I will answer 5. If your first 5 were blanks, what would make me think that there aren't resolutions for all the others you'll thoughtlessly throw at me to keep me busy?

Well... about foundationalism, not exactly, but I don't think that your position will allow you the necessary capital to answer the questions about how you know what you think you know. I want to show you that unless the God of the Bible exists, you can't know anything. If you want a headstart, check out

After an appeal to that website, we're done here.


Anonymous said...


You wouldn't remember me, but I remember your debate with David Withun several years ago. At the time I was sympathetic to Orthodoxy, but have since swung back into the Reformed orbit. I am now following some of your debates.


Rhology said...

I believe I do. Did you go by "Jacob Grail-Seeker"?

I have to say, if that was you, I figured you were a goner for Constantinople. I'm glad to see the Lord protected you from that deadly error.

Anonymous said...

Aye, that was I. I was coming at it from a number of angles. I got horribly burned in the Reformed academic community; elsewhere, I did study Eastern triadology and found it superior to Western models, though it, also, was not without problems.

I told the EO guys from the outset I would look into the issue, but I found problems and thus swung back to aReformed-ish model.

Rhology said...

Cool, welcome back. You should go, by the way, by Cyril Lukaris all the time. :-)

You know, about the triadology thing - I have become more and more convinced that any system that proposes that the substance of Christ is in any way present in the Eucharist is unavoidably monophysite. Would you agree with that?

Anonymous said...

I agree with that. Some Orthodox guys made the claim that acceptance of the Essence/energies distinction necessarily entails an Orthodox Eucharist, etc., I never saw the argument developed, though. And anyway, Michael Horton accepts the E/e distinction with a few qualifications

Rhology said...

Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

This explains why I was so interested in Orthodoxy (as opposed to Calvinism) and why I eventually did not go Orthodox.

Rhology said...


You said:
unless I am convinced by reason and plain scripture

I think you meant it the other way round...?
unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason

Anonymous said...

Right. I was typing too fast