Another Bible Contradiction

Reading Time: 4 minutes

2 Samuel 24:1 says that the anger of the Lord burned against Israel and it incited David to number the fighting men of Israel and Judah.

1 Chronicles 21:1 says that Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.

This has been pointed out by atheists or skeptics who believe it to be a Bible contradiction. Even Muslims point out these scriptures and say they are contradictions as you can see in this video clip.

Dekanozov, the Soviet Union Ambassador rose to his feet. He realized that the German Ambassador was declaring war on the Soviet Union. Oddly though, the German Ambassador never actually used the word ‘war’. “You’ll regret this insulting, provocative and thoroughly predatory attack on the Soviet Union. You’ll pay dearly for it!” Dekanozov had no idea how true his words would be. Ribbentrop, the German Ambassador, hurried after the quickly departing Soviet Ambassadors; when Ribbentrop reached them he whispered, “Tell them in Moscow, I was against this attack.” 1
It was Sunday morning, June 22nd, 1941. Eighteen months later, the German 6th Army was frozen from the bitter Russian winter, without supplies, and surrounded outside of Stalingrad. German General Paulus surrendered on January 31st, 1943.

Who was responsible for Germany attacking Russia early in WWII, when prior the two countries were actually allies? Hitler? His various generals? The millions of participating German soldiers? It certainly was not Stalin. He was terrified of provoking Hitler, and despite warnings of a German invasion, Stalin felt it was misinformation from Churchill, who was hoping the two countries would go to war. 2

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto planned and executed the attack on Pearl Harbor. He also was the commander in chief of the Japanese Navy during the battle of Midway. Is Yamamoto responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor? Or was it Emperor Hirohito? Or was it the commanders of the various air craft carriers? The pilots themselves?

In April of 1943, the U.S. Intelligence discovered the whereabouts and schedule of Admiral Yamamoto. President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with the Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, to take out Yamamoto. Knox in turn contacted Admiral Nimitz. Nimitz met with Admiral Halsey and they authorized a mission to do just that. 3

On April 18th, 1943, a flight of P-38’s intercepted and shot down the Japanese bombers carrying Admiral Yamamoto. Who was responsible for that? Roosevelt, Knox, Nimitz, Halsey? The P-38 pilots?

Keep in mind, the question is who is responsible for inciting David to count the fighting men of Israel? God or Satan?

Marcus Luttrell was a Navy Seal Sniper who served in Afghanistan. He was the only survivor of a mission to take out a notorious al Qaeda leader. Prior to the mission, Chief Healy would comb through the photographs looking for the best plan of action and deciding if the mission could be successful. Chief Healy also worked with the Operations Officer, Commander Pero, and Lieutenant Commander Eric Kristensen.

Finally Operation Redwing was a go and the team was dropped into the Afghan Mountains. Early on, they ran into some goat herders and had to decide if they were to kill them. Luttrell had the deciding vote and opted to let them go because of his fear of reprisals back home. He regrets his decision to this day. A short time later, Luttrell and his team were out numbered and in a running fire fight that took the lives of his 3 team mates. 4

A rescue was attempted in a MH-47 helicopter, but it was hit by an RPG and everyone was killed, including Eric Kristensen. Who was responsible for this failed mission? Former President Bush, who awarded Luttrell the Navy Cross for combat heroism in 2006? The base commanders? The seal team?

Is it a contradiction to state that Hitler was responsible for the annihilation of the 6th Army outside of Stalingrad and then to blame German General Paulus, who surrendered the 6th Army? Ultimately, it was Hitler’s decision, but it would not be a contradiction.

Is it a contradiction to state that Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto attacked Pearl Harbor, but also say it was Emperor Hirohito? Hirohito’s decision, but also Yamamoto.

Is it a contradiction to say President Franklin D. Roosevelt was responsible for the successful mission to kill Yamamoto, and then for someone to say Admiral Nimitz was also responsible?

Finally, is it a contradiction to blame President Bush and Marcus Luttrell for the failure of Operation Redwing?

God’s authority has no limits and it extends over Satan. He can and does use Satan to accomplish His final goals. 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1 are not contradictions. God wanted to teach David to not trust in the number of fighting men Israel and Judah had, but to trust in Him. To rely, depend, and look to his Lord for all things.

God used Satan to move David to count his fighting men. Both passages are true and do not contradict each other. The Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry puts it this way, “God can use Satan to accomplish His ultimate will by simply giving permission to Satan to do that which Satan already desires to do. We see this in the crucifixion of Christ where evil men brought Jesus to death. Yet, at the same time, it was the predetermined plan of God that this be done.” 5

Another account of God using Satan can be found in the book of Job and in the book of Exodus. You may recall how God hardened the heart of the Pharaoh. The Apologetic Press writes, “Pharaoh made up his own mind to resist God’s demands. God merely provided the occasion for Pharaoh to demonstrate his unyielding attitude. If God had not sent Moses, Pharaoh would not have been faced with the dilemma of whether to release the Israelites. So God was certainly the initiator of the circumstances that led to Pharaoh’s sin, but He was not the author (or direct cause) of Pharaoh’s defiance.” 6

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. – Simon Peter

Sources:
1. Beevor, Anthony. Stalingrad. New York: Penguin Books, 1998. Print.
2. Ibid.
3. Caidin, Martin. Fork-Tailed Devil. New York: Ballantine Books, 1971. Print.
4. Luttrell, Marcus. Lone Survivor. New York: Little Brown and Company, 2007. Print.
5. Slick, Matt “Who incited David to count the fighting men of Israel? God or Satan?” Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry. CARM, 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2014
6. Lyons, Eric. “Who Incited David to Number Israel?”Apologetic Press. Apologeticpress.org, 2003. Web. 23 Oct. 2014

 

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Another Bible Contradiction by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.dev.christianapologetics.blog.

Good News and the Martial Arts

Reading Time: 6 minutes

About two minutes in we were both hitting hard and having a blast. I had several pounds on him, and experience; Dwight was younger and probably faster. We had not been sparring, (practice fighting), very long when Dwight landed a beautiful spinning heel kick on my left temple. I was out before I hit the ground, and the first thing to hit the ground as I fell backwards was my head on a concrete pillar. The next thing I remember was some medical personal asking me what my name was, and if I remembered what happened. Someone said that I told the EMT my name was Larry. I was never very good at remembering names.

I ended up refusing service because I was young, dumb, and did not have any insurance. Hence the dumb comment, because I question the wisdom of anyone sparring, with moderate contact, in the martial arts without any insurance.

My Sifu, and good friend, Joel drove me to the small local medical clinic and they stitched up the gash in the back of my head. Aside from some headaches for a few weeks, (a mild concussion I would imagine), I recovered sufficiently enough to trick people into letting me teach their children in a classroom.

Kajukembo was the martial art I trained in for several years. It was founded in Hawaii right after World War II, and is composed of several other martial arts:
KA for Karate
JU for Judo and Jujitsu
KEN for Kenpo
BO for Chinese Boxing

Kajukembo has a lot of tools which include strikes, kicks, throws, joint locks and manipulation, with an emphasis on moving from one tool to another, seamlessly. Some say Kajukembo was the first American mixed martial art. I never became very proficient at any of the tools, or any kind of seamless movement, (just ask my instructors over the years), but it sure was fun trying to beat the crap out of other guys. Nevertheless, on rare occasions, I would come across someone over the age of 12 who sucked worse than I did. When that happened, all the sweat, pain, and intense workouts were worth it.

Anyone who has followed or been involved in the martial arts in the last 20 years, has seen what a boon mixed martial arts has been to the industry. Some of you may remember the early UFC, (Ultimate Fighting Championships), fights and how Royce Gracie, a Jujitsu expert, defeated men nearly twice his size. Royce Gracie won 3 of the first 4 Ultimate Fighting Championships, and this was before they had weight classes! Gracie weighted about 170 lbs., and beat men who were as much as 250 lbs. And these were not just men off the street, but trained fighters themselves.

Over time, as the stand-up fighters realized the importance of having some judo, jujitsu, or wrestling background, along with skills in strikes and kicks, no single discipline in the martial arts dominated tournaments in the world any more. What began as a test between disciplines, (Judo, Aikido, Krav Maga, Jujutsu, Taekwondo, Kung fu, and Karate for example), morphed into a discipline we now know as mixed martial arts.

I was thinking about apologetics, and the tools apologists use to make their case for Christianity. I began to look at apologetics as the mixed martial arts in the Gospel. I shared some tough questions with a friend a while back, that might cause even long time believers to stumble, unable to respond to the claims or assertions of a skeptic. As a church elder, a Bible school teacher, could you respond to any of these objections to Christianity? Even one?

Here is a short list to consider.
1. Miracles? Really? How come we have not seen even one documented healing of an amputee?
2. You don’t believe in Evolution because God does not need time? Then why did he take 6 days to create everything?
3. So how did Noah fit millions of species on the Ark?
4. How did the Koala bears and penguins make it to the Ark? How did they make it back?
5. If Christ is changing lives, how come Christians have nearly the same divorce rate as non-believers?
6. How do you know the Bible is true? And don’t say, “Because the Bible says so.” That is circular reasoning.
7. The Bible is full of errors. For example, John writes there were two angels, and Mark says there was only one.
8. Order of creation was sky, earth, light, water, plants, and then the sun? How can you have light and plants with out the sun?
9. If the universe has always existed how could God have created it? If he did create it 8000 years ago, how can we see the light of stars that are millions of years distant?
10. All religions are basically the same and point to a powerful creator, so Christianity can’t be the only true way.
11. If God is all loving, all powerful, and all knowing, how come there is pain and suffering? Surely a God like you describe could create a world without it.
12. Outside the Bible, there is not any evidence that Jesus was even a real historical figure.
13. How can you even trust the Bible? It was written hundreds, if not thousands of years after Christ.
14. Evolution has proved the Bible is false. There is no need for Jesus, God, or any of this religious nonsense.
15. Science, not the Bible, will show us how we came to be.
16. Ever since the church tortured Galileo for his believing the earth circled the sun, science has trumped the Bible.
17. Look at all the evil religion has done. The Crusades killed millions in the name of religion.

Dan Story wrote in his book The Christian Combat Manual, “Christian apologetics is sometimes referred to as pre-evangelism. This is a good description. The goal of apologetics is to identify and remove intellectual obstacles that prevent people from seriously considering the Gospel.” 1 For example, if a skeptic said, “since there is pain and suffering in the world, it proves an all knowing, all powerful, all loving God can’t exist; he would never allow it,” a trained apologist would be able to respond to this objection and give reasons why it is not a logical contradiction.

Another claim that atheists or skeptics make is that the body of Jesus was stolen and that He never actually rose from the dead. An apologist can pull from his tools, as a wrestler might use his skill to shoot and take down a kick boxer, dismantling this assertion.  If his body was stolen, it would have been stolen from the Romans, the Jews, or the disciples. Then look at each case case and reason how it would not make any sense.

A final example is the assertion that the Bible can’t be trusted, it was written hundreds, if not thousands, of years after the life of Christ. No one really knows what Jesus said, even if he did exist. Apologists know exactly how reliable the scripture is and why it can be trusted.  So often if someone starts defending their faith by referencing the Bible, the skeptic just tunes them out.

William Lane Craig gives three reasons apologetics should be a staple of every Christian diet.
1. Apologetics can help shape our culture. Belief in a sort of generic God is still the norm, but belief in Jesus Christ is not politically correct. It is a religion for old women and young children who go to Sunday school.
2. Apologetics can help you keep your faith. You can check the Pew research polls for yourself. Young Christians leave their faith in droves starting in high school and college. Our youth need to be trained for this culture war.
3. Apologetics can make you a deeper and more grounded person. I need all the grounding I can get. Craig puts it this way, “American culture is so appallingly superficial, fixated on celebrities, entertainment, sports, and self-indulgence…As you wrestle with these deep questions, you yourself will be changed.” 2

David Kinnaman has deeply researched the reasons young people leave their faith. He wrote, “…we have created a conveyor belt of development that industrializes the soul formation of young people – who eventually become adults with inch-deep, mile-wide, faith. The outcome is adult Christians who were not transformed by their faith as children, as teens, or as young adults. How can we expect more after they turn forty?” 3

Sources:

1. Story, Dan. The Christian Combat Manual. Chattanooga: AMG, 2007. Print.
2. Craig, William L. On Guard. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010. Print
3. Kinnaman, David. You Lost Me. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2011. Print

 

 

Creative Commons License
Good News and the Martial Arts by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.dev.christianapologetics.blog.

Diving for answers

Reading Time: 7 minutes

My wife and I took my daughter Beth sky diving for the first time. Beth had mentioned a desire to do this for a few years, and we decided that for her 17th birthday, (and right after we signed the million dollar life insurance policy), we would take her. It was a great experience, and she walked away with a desire to do it again, (Yes the insurance policy is still good), and hopefully next time she can take some friends who will join in the experience with her.

My wife Gloria, the smarter of the triangle, has no desire to jump. I myself jumped for the first time when I was 18 and still remember the experience. And today, I actually was able to ride along in the co-pilot seat and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the aviation experience, along with watching my daughter jump. For many of the old time pilots, the thought of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane makes no sense to them. Back in their day, pilots would only jump out of aircraft that were shot out of the sky by other aircraft or some other kind of anti-aircraft weapon.

I remember my first jump; there was one piece of information no one warned me about. It had to do with when the chute opened, I would experience some swinging, or pendulum motion. When my chute deployed, (deployed sounds more sophisticated than opened), I swung onto my back, startling me greatly, (which sounds better than other descriptions I can think of). The initial swinging motion gave me the sensation I was going to swing up, and all the way over, on top of my chute. Scared me more than being the only adult in a room full of 8th graders who expect you to teach them something.

I wonder if those who have experienced sky diving had been able to experience an initial fear without having jumped, would still decide to try it?

Having information prior to an experience is important to some people, but in other ways the lack of experience will allow you to try something you never did before. Imagine if our wives could have briefly experienced the pain of child birth, without actually being pregnant and in labor? Even if was only for 30 seconds, we would all be childless.

Or what if carpenters were able to experience the pain of smashing their finger with a hammer for 30 seconds, with out actually having done it. I wonder how many would stand up and say, “I have decided to become an accountant”, and walk out of the journeyman carpenter’s class.

I wonder how many would have opted out of Christianity had they known some things were not going to be easy?

Patheos.com is a web site, (mostly atheist), that also has links, blogs, and posts about atheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Mormonism, Islam, etc. On Patheos, Richard Hagenston wrote a piece titled, Eight things your pastor will never tell you about the Bible. I will have to ask my Pastor if any of these are true.

Hagenston is not the first to write about difficult subjects, and Patheos.com is not the first site to give a platform to others to share their doubts. Anyone who has been a Christian for any length of time will come across issues or teachings that are difficult and confusing, or even seem to conflict with common sense. As I have begun to explore the world of apologetics, more often than not, these difficulties are answered by others before me who have explored in depth these troublesome topics.

I wanted to take a look at Hagenston’s first claim.

1) The Apostles of Jesus Seem to Have Known Nothing about a Virgin Birth
The earliest mention of the birth of Jesus to be written is not the nativity stories in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, but verses in Paul’s letter to the Romans. He wrote it after having met with Peter and others who had known in person not only Jesus but also his mother and brothers. Despite learning from them everything they could tell him about Jesus, Paul shows no sign of having heard of a virgin birth. Instead, he wrote that Jesus “was descended from David according to the flesh” and was declared to be the Son of God not through any special birth that Paul mentions but by his resurrection (Romans 1:3-4).
The nativity stories in Matthew and Luke, suggesting that Jesus had a virgin birth in Bethlehem (the birthplace of David), were composed later and even his own apostles showed no indication of knowing anything about it.

The title itself claims the Apostles did not know about Jesus’ virgin birth, which is clearly false. Matthew was an Apostle, and he wrote about the virgin birth. For example, in Matthew 1:18, “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.” Here is an obvious example of an Apostle writing about the virgin birth.

The above statement by Hagenston must be implying that since the ‘other’ Gospel accounts did not mention the virgin birth, it must not be true. This is a fallacy known as an Argument from Silence. Simply put, Hagenston draws a conclusion that that the virgin birth is false, because the other Gospel writers were silent on the matter. But we all know, we can’t claim something is false just because someone did not say it was true.

It should be obvious, even if all the canonical gospels, (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), did mention the virgin birth, then Hagenston would ask why was the virgin birth not mentioned in the whole of the New Testament, from Acts to Revelation.

What someone mentions in a letter will depend on the purpose of their letter. What was the purpose of the Gospel writers? Was it to outline and detail the linage, birth, and childhood of Jesus? Hardly. Mark and John don’t even mention Jesus’ birth, because it was not their intent to describe that event.

So today, I went through my Bible, looking at the themes and purposes of each book in the New Testament. That is, the ones after the canonical gospels, (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Starting with Acts, I will list them below with a brief purpose.

Acts: To present a history and give a defense of Christianity.
Romans: To prepare for Paul’s coming to Rome and to present the basic system of salvation.
1 Corinthians: To instruct the church, correct the church, and restore the church in Corinth.
2 Corinthians: Express Paul’s joy at the church listening to his corrections, explain his troubles, why he changed his plans, and the sufferings and joys a Christian can expect.
Galatians: Paul establishes his apostolic authority and that people are justified by faith, not works.
Ephesians: To expand on God’s eternal purpose for the church.
Philippians: Paul wants to thank the Philippians for their gift, to update them on his own circumstances, and encourage them.
Colossians: Paul addresses the Colossian heresy by focusing on the image and character of God.
1 Thessalonians: Paul wants to encourage new believers in their trials.
2 Thessalonians: Again Paul wants to encourage believers, and correct a misunderstanding of the Lord’s return.
1 Timothy: To give Timothy more instruction concerning the church at Ephesus.
2 Timothy: Paul requested visitors while imprisoned in Rome under Nero and wanted Timothy to come see him. Also to encourage Timothy to  guard the gospel.
Titus: Paul wanted to give Titus personal authorization and guidance.
Philemon: Paul wrote to Philemon to defend Onesimus, a slave.
Hebrews: To highlight the absolute supremacy and sufficiency of Christ.
James: To instruct and encourage believers in the face of difficulties.
1 Peter: To teach about Christian life and duties.
2 Peter: To instruct what to do with false teachers and deal with persecution.
1 John: To expose false teachers, and give believers assurance of salvation.
2 John: Was written to use discernment when supporting traveling teachers.
3 John: Was written to commend Gaius for his support.
Jude: To warn about false teachers who taught that salvation was a license to sin.
Revelation: To encourage believers despite the increased persecution and that a final showdown is imminent. 1

So just because all the other books in the New Testament do not mention the virgin birth, (they had no reason to), does not falsify the virgin birth. For something to be true, it does not have to be mentioned in all four Gospels.

You might ask Richard Hagenston if the virgin birth was mentioned in all four Gospel accounts, if he would believe it. Of course he wouldn’t. You might ask Richard Hagenston if every-single-book in the New Testament mentioned the virgin birth, if he would believe it. Of course he wouldn’t.

People attack the Bible for having the same stories or accounts, because the authors obviously collaborated their story in an effort to increase their following and power. People attack the Bible for having different versions of the same story because the accounts were written hundreds of years later and must be false.

The Christian walk can be difficult at times. You will often encounter people who will ask questions, or make comments you have no answer for, but let me encourage you.  Thousands of others have been there and experienced the same doubts, concerns, and questions you have. Some of them did their homework and found answers. Others have walked away after some difficult, confusing, or fearful experiences.

Had my daughter walked away from the opportunity of skydiving at the first hint of fear, she would not have experienced something she thoroughly enjoyed and wants to do again.

It would be detrimental to someone’s character if they walked away from everything that was difficult or painful in life. When a layman like myself can spend some time and answer some of these troublesome questions or statements, I can’t help but think those who have walked away from Christianity do so for personal reasons. Not because Christianity lacks explanatory power, scientific evidence, or philosophical reasoning, but simply because they don’t want any restrictions placed on their behaviors and the choices they make about life.

There is a reason the ancient historical accounts of the life of Jesus of Nazareth do not start with the phrase, “Once upon a time…” – Greg Koukl

Sources:
1. New International Version Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002. Print.

 

 

Creative Commons License
Diving for answers by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.dev.christianapologetics.blog.

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