18 Mar Does The Bible Contradict Itself?
A few years ago,
The two reports of the same incident seemed to Dr. Kantzer to be contradictory. He might simply have accepted that, and said the two are contradictory. Then he might have tried to decide, from the evidence which he had, which of the two accounts was true. He might then have concluded that one was true and the other was false. Or he might have decided that he could not find out which one was true, and therefore have said that perhaps both are false, or in any case he could not know. And so he might have concluded that he just could not trust these accounts.
However, Dr. Kantzer did not do that. He went to his cousin. He learned from his cousin the exact facts. He found out the full truth. And the amazing thing is, he found that both accounts were correct. What actually happened was that the lady did step down from the pavement to the street, she was struck by a passing car, and Was fatally injured. The driver of the car was so sorry for what had happened, that he picked up the lady and started to take her to the hospital. But on the way the car was involved in a head-on collision, and the lady was instantly killed.
And in any case, we can definitely say this, that no one knows enough to prove there is a contradiction
Let’s suppose for a minute that
As Dr. Kantzer kept thinking, he might have come up with this idea : “Suppose my aunt did actually step off the pavement into the street and was struck down by a car. Then suppose someone came along, it might have been another car, or it might even have been the same car that had struck her. And this car then started to take her to the hospital. Then suppose also that on the way to the hospital the car in which my aunt was riding was involved in a collision and my aunt was killed. That is a possible solution to the apparent contradiction. It may seem a little unusual, but it is reasonable.”
We know that some people immediately would say to Dr. Kantzer that he is simply trying to save the reliability of his sources. He doesn’t want to admit that his friend could be mistaken or that the newspaper could be wrong. So he imagines a very fanciful explanation of what is a contradiction This solution is really too far-fetched to believe.
But that solution was in fact true. And in that case the truth was discovered because he was able to learn all the facts.
The sceptics may accuse the Bible of having contradictions in it. And solutions that are proposed by evangelical Bible students may seem to them very fanciful or far-fetched. But we who believe the Bible, and have sufficient evidence that it is true, are quite reasonable in saying that until we have all the facts, no one can say that there is a proved contradiction in this Word of God, even though there are problems and apparent contradictions.
A Contradiction Examined
For example, in the life of
One of these concerns the actual numbers as found in the census. In 2 Sam 24:9 it is said that the number counted in Israel was 800 0 0 and in Judah 500,000 In 1 Chron. 21:5 the number for Israel was 1,100,000 and for Judah 470,000. This is a clear discrepancy in the numbers.
Again there seems to be a contradiction in the recorded prices that David paid for the place of sacrifice. In 2 Sam. 4:24 it is said that he paid 50 shekels of silver, while in 1 Chron. 21:25 the price is said to be 600 shekels of gold. Again, a clear discrepancy.
Now we might just dismiss the matter by saying that here is a contradiction and one of these accounts must be wrong. That is what some people have said. But it is more reasonable, and therefore more correct, to say that we do not know all the facts, and therefore we will not say this is a contradiction We will simply say that we do not know the explanation for it, but we trust that there is one, and if we had all the facts we would know what that explanation is. This an attitude of faith and confidence based on pure knowledge of the trustworthiness of the Word of God. It is faith, but not foolish faith. It is
As a matter of fact, we do not have to say that there are. no- possible solutions to the above apparent contradictions in 2 Sam 24 and 1. Chron. 21. Those who are interested in studying this may consult commentaries such as the New Bible Commentary. One possible explanation for the second one may be seen right in the text itself. A careful comparison of the language in 2 Sam. 24:24 and 1 Chron. 21: 25 will show that David probably paid 50 silver shekels for just the threshing floor and oxen, while he paid, (perhaps later) 600 shekels of gold for the whole area. Whether this is the actual explanation or not, it is a reasonable possibility. But whether we know the true explanation or not, we can rest assured that no one can prove this or the other difficulties to be contradictions because no one now knows all the facts.
In the history of Bible
Reprinted from The Evangelical Student July August 1970