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Excerpts from The Perfect Mirror? The Question of Bible Perfection

by Darrel Henschell

This is a book written in response to the doctrine of biblical inerrancy which is still believed by approximately one third of American Christians. The book contains 130 contradictions and Bible problems in their full context placed side by side in a double-column format. The book is a useful and handy reference tool for those who may wish on occasion to take it upon themselves to challenge the claim of inerrancy put forward by biblical fundamentalists.

The Perfect Mirror? The Question of Bible Perfection can be purchased for $16, post paid, by contacting the author at: fayfreethinkers@yahoo.com

"We may admit a mirror to be a good one, although we observe some blemishes;
but we are entitled to point out its flaws when it is declared to be perfect."
--G. W. Foote


Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Chapter 1: Bursting Bubbles of Reality
Chapter 2: The Old Testament (52 examples of contradiction)
Chapter 3: The New Testament (36 examples of contradiction)
Chapter 4: Prophecy (20 examples of contradictory prophecy)
Chapter 5: Doctrine (27 examples of contradictory doctrine)

  • Human Sacrifice
  • Divorce
  • Trinity
  • Death
  • Hell
Chapter 6: Apologetics Department
  • Checking your brain at the door
  • The Burden of Proof
  • Apologetic Techniques:
    1. Contradictions? What Contradictions?
    2. Any Possible Loophole is a Good Loophole!
    3. The ALL or NONE Ruse
    4. Scripture Does Not Mean What it Says
    5. The Copyist Did It!
    6. Custom Translations for a Custom Doctrine
    7. Fundamentalist Mathematics
    8. Circular Reasoning 101
      1. Gleason Archer
      2. Norman Geisler
      3. Josh McDowell
    9. The Doctrine of Inerrancy
    10. Getting Into the Canon
    11. The Scriptural Claims of Inerrancy
Conclusion
Addendum:
  • The Shackles of Literalism
  • Let there be vegetarians
  • Planet Juggling
  • Snake Handlers
  • Miracles Whence Did They Come?; where did they go?
Bibliography
Verse Index
Subject and Name Index


Preface

It is strange, when mistakes are so common, to find everyone positive and dogmatic? And that the zeal often rises in proportion to the error? -- Spartian

As a young child one of my favorite television shows was Sesame Street. It was fairly new then, having been around only a year or two. Even though the show is now 25 years old I still enjoy watching parts of it with my son. Interesting, how Big Bird and the Cookie Monster haven't aged at all, while a whole generation of children watching them have. Some characters like Mr. Cooper the shopkeeper have left while new ones like Elmo (my son's favorite) have entered.

I am glad to see that a trait of one particular character has changed. Back in the early days of Sesame Street the large and very shy woolly mammoth character known as 'Snuffleupagus' was Big Bird's personal friend and, it seems, was only seen by him. A typical scene had Big Bird by himself, and the Snuffleupagus would magically appear in a puff of smoke. They would chat for a little while after which the camera would move to include only Big Bird, who was usually talking. Then some other character would enter the scene and ask Big Bird who he was talking to. Big Bird would do a double take and look frantically around but could never produce his friend 'Snuffy', with whom he had just been talking. He would then very carefully and honestly explain that just a moment ago his friend the Snuffleupagus was standing there and that "he must be around here somewhere" but...to no avail. At this point the other character would suggest that Big Bird was probably crazy, make a puzzled face and promptly leave. I remember this scene being played out again and again with many variations. That left just me and Big Bird knowing the truth about the Snuffleupagus.

This sequence would drive me crazy! How could they not see a woolly mammoth!? He was just there, and he was huge! Of course I knew Big Bird was right, there was a Snuffleupagus. He's not crazy! Oh, I thought, if I could only make them see. This powerful, dramatic irony of having all your friends at Sesame Street thinking, quite incorrectly, that you and your friend Big Bird were crazy, was, for a young child, almost too hard to bear.

Apparently in 1985, sixteen years after the first show, they finally corrected this by having an episode where they brought out Snuffy for everyone to see. Finally, the honesty of Big Bird had been exonerated! He (and the audience) had been right all along. Big Bird's acquittal came a little late for me. Having just graduated from high school, I managed to miss that one. Who knows how many people, who didn't watch the later episodes, are still at some unconscious level wondering about their sanity? What could be the benefit of this?

Maybe Sesame Street was doing me a favor. Perhaps this children's show was just doing it's job in preparing me for the irony of adult life, where something as unmistakable as a woolly mammoth on a street corner is not noticed by those who would rather not see it. Could it be that some people, who actually spend a great deal of time on these "street corners", who are in a position to be very aware of these "large hairy creatures", do not even believe they exist?! For a young adult it was a troubling thought.

What I'm alluding to is "Bible contradiction." For instance, try out the following quotations from some well-known professional Bible readers. Each one of these statements were made by groups, individuals or authors with followers numbering into the millions:

- Jerry Falwell -
The Bible is the inerrant...word of the living God. It is absolutely infallible, without error in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography, science, history, etc."
Finding Inner Peace and Strength, (pg. 26.)
- Billy Graham -
We should approach the Bible with the assurance that here we have God-breathed literature...
True Christianity finds all of its doctrines in the Bible; true Christianity does not deny any part of the Bible;...
The Bible is not only a book of graphic prose, inspirational poetry and dynamic preaching; it is the book of accurate, unerring prophecy. The Quotable Billy Graham, (pg.28, 156.)
- Rubel Shelly -
It gives believers considerable satisfaction to point out that not a single case of dispute over its credibility has ever been settled to the discredit of the Bible.
Historical inaccuracies, internal contradiction or factual error of any sort would leave us without confidence in the book and the system of thought and life it authors.
Prepare to Answer, (pg. 141)
- Hal Lindsey -
The prophetic Scriptures have been proven in history with a 100 percent accuracy record.
When God chose to reflect Himself to man, He didn't create an imperfect instrument to do so. The Bible is God's perfect mirror.
...Gods complete Revelation to man was inerrantly written.
The Terminal Generation, (pg.160, 109-110)
- Norman Geisler & Thomas Howe -
The Logical Conclusion: The Bible Cannot Err
Yes God has spoken, and He has not stuttered. The God of truth has given us the Word of Truth, and it does not contain any untruth in it. The Bible is the unerring Word of God.
Inspiration includes not only all that the Bible explicitly teaches, but also everything the Bible touches. This is true whether the Bible is touching upon history, science, or mathematics. Whatever the Bible declares, is true whether it is a major point or a minor point.
When Critics Ask, (p.12, 13.)
- Watchtower Bible and Tract Society -
(Jehovah's Witnesses)
The Bible's Perfection.
The Sacred Scriptures constitute a perfect message from God, refined, pure, and true...
Insight On The Scriptures, (Vol. II, pg. 603)

While some may claim the Bible contradicts itself, has anyone ever shown you an actual example? We have never seen one that could withstand scrutiny. True, there may appear to be discrepancies in certain Bible accounts. But the problem usually is lack of knowledge regarding details and circumstances of the times.
Tract, Why You Can Trust the Bible

Ah, such bold testimony! Inerrant, they say, absolutely infallible, without error in all matters, 100% accurate, perfect. How easily such praise tumbles from their lips! They credit the Bible with being unfailingly accurate in every detail of history it records, with perfect prophesy and with possessing the only consistent set of divine morals and doctrines handed down from the creator of the universe. They have left absolutely no doubt as to their position. The belief that the Bible is entirely without error could not be more unequivocal or plainly stated. These people clearly do not believe the Bible has a single, demonstrable contradiction.

These statements are from individuals and organizations that consider themselves as being very familiar with the Bible. Some of them have even produced their own translations of the Bible, obviously pouring over every word. The Watchtower Society alone has produced over ten thousand different books, tracts and magazines over the years, all described as Bible-based (printings of these now amounting to almost one billion copies per year).

It may feel very glorious and faithful to say or to hear that "the Bible is without error or contradiction" but is such a statement true?1 Upon what reasoning and evidence do these leaders base such bold assertions? There certainly shouldn't be any problem in doing a little research; if Bible contradictions do not exist, anyone checking for them is certain to come up empty handed. Surely this is not asking too much. Truth does not fear a question. In fact if such claims are true they only stand to gain credibility from such scrutiny. It is only if a statement is false that it needs protection from inspection. Genuine truth can withstand examination.

Joseph Wheless made this point beautifully in his book Is It God's Word?:

The Bible, as all must admit, is the only earthly source of human knowledge which we have, or possibly can have, of the great questions of miracle and of "revealed religion" which come to us through its pages. The authenticity and verity of its remarkable contents, as the asserted word and will of God, Yahveh, can only be tested and ascertained by itself; by the "internal evidence" of its own words and texts must its divine origin and inspired truth be vindicated, or its possible mere human origin and want of inspired truth be demonstrated. On a matter of such prima facie high importance to man and to the soul and its destiny, no candid and honest mind can offer reasonable objection to a candid and honest inquiry, made by a frank and faithful examination of its own words and texts." (pg. 22)

We will be embarking on a search for that "woolly mammoth," which some say does not exist. If a single one can be found, can the existence of internal Bible contradiction and error be emphatically denied? No. But if one...how about two?

There you are in the woods peering around a tree, the clear form of a woolly mammoth before you, so close you can smell him. At that point you may be curious to ask, is this the only one...or does he have family?


1. For politicians, such a statement given to the right crowd may also get some votes. For example, "The Bible is the authoritative Word of God and contains all truth." U.S. President Bill Clinton, at a prayer breakfast.

The Old Testament

Chapter Two

(excerpt)

4.
Two of each of the fowls were to be taken.
Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. Gen. 6:20

4.
Seven of each of the fowls were to be taken.
Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female. Gen. 7:3

9.
God was known to Abraham (Abram), Isaac, Jacob and many before them by the name YHWH.
And to Seth [Adam's son], to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD [YHWH]. Gen. 4:26.
And Abram said, LORD GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless... And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. And he said unto him [Abram], I am the LORD that bought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees... Gen. 15:2, 6-7
And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh [YHWH will provide]: as it is said to this day, "In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen." Gen. 22:14.
...and he [Isaac] said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land... And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there... Gen. 26:22, 25.
And Jacob went out from Beersheba... And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD GOD of Abraham thy father... And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and said, Surely the LORD is in this place and I knew it not. Gen. 28:10, 13, 16.
9.
Moses did not know that God's name was Yahweh. God was not known to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by the name "Yahweh" [YHWH].
And Moses said unto God, Behold when I come unto the children of Israel and shall say to them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, what is his name? What shall I say unto them? Exod 3:13-16.
And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty [El Shaddai], but by my name JEHOVAH [YHWH] was I not known to them. Exod. 6:2, 3.

The word "LORD" in the Hebrew testament is always a substitute for the consonants YHWH. Although the vowels and thus the correct pronunciation of the divine name remain unknown, the Hebrew pronunciation is thought to perhaps be Yahweh. This name appears 156 times in the book of Genesis. Some translations take the liberty of substituting the English word "Jehovah" for YHWH. The word "Jehovah" did not exist until the 16th century when it was artificially constructed. Steven Friesen, in The Oxford Companion To The Bible, states: "Renaissance Christian tradition erroneously combined the consonants of Yahweh and the vowels of adonay to produce "Jehovah,"..." (pg. 343)

16.
Satan provoked David to take the census. And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. 1 Chron. 21:1
16.
It was the LORD who moved David to take the census.
And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. 2 Sam 24:1
26.
Salah was the son of Arphaxad. And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah. And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years... Gen. 11:12, 13
26.
Sala was the son of Cainan.
Sala, which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad. Luke 3:35, 36.
30.
David always did what was right except for the matter concerning Uriah. David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. 1 Kings 15:5
30.
David also sinned in numbering Israel.
And David's heart smote him that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done. 2 Sam. 24:10 (This sin was so bad that God killed seventy thousand men as punishment. 2 Sam. 24:15)
31.
After leaving Kadesh they went to mount Hor. Following Aaron's death on mount Hor they continued on to Zalmonah and then Punon.
And they removed from Kadesh, and pitched in mount Hor, in the edge of the land of Edom. And Aaron the priest went up into mount Hor at the commandment of the LORD, and died there... And they departed from mount Hor, and pitched in Zalmonah. And they departed from Zalmonah, and pitched in Punon. Num. 33:37-42. See also Num. 20:27-28; Deut. 32:50
31.
After leaving Beeroth they went to Mosera. Following Aaron's death in Mosera they continued on to Gudgodah and then Jotbath.
And the children of Israel took their journey from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera: there Aaron died, and there he was buried, and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest's office in his stead. From thence they journeyed unto Gudgodah; and from Gudgodah to Jotbath... Deut. 10:6,7
42.
Jehu shot Ahaziah near Ibleam. Ahaziah then fled to Meggido and died there.
But when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden house. And Jehu followed after him, and said, Smite him also in the chariot. And they did so at the going up to Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo, and died there. 2 Kings 9:27
42.
Ahaziah was found hiding in Samaria, brought to Jehu, and put to death.
And it came to pass, that, when Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab, and found the princes of Judah, and the sons of the brethren of Ahaziah, that ministered to Ahaziah, he slew them. And he sought Ahaziah: and they caught him, (for he was hid in Samaria,) and brought him to Jehu: and when they had slain him, they buried him: 2 Chron. 22:9
45.
Shemaiah had six sons.
And the sons of Shechaniah; Shemaiah: and the sons of Shemaiah; Hattush, and Igeal, and Bariah, and Neariah, and Shaphat, six. 1 Chron. 3:22
45.
A self contradicting scripture. The sons of Shemaiah... five.
And the sons of Shechaniah; Shemaiah: and the sons of Shemaiah; [1]Hattush, and [2]Igeal, and [3]Bariah, and [4]Neariah, and [5]Shaphat, six. 1 Chron. 3:22

The New Testament

Chapter Three

(excerpt)

4.
No man has gone up to heaven unless he came down from heaven.
And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. John 3:13
Oxford Revised Standard Version
No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man. John 3:13
4.
Men have ascended up to heaven.
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. Gen. 5:24
By faith Enoch was translated that be should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him:... Heb. 11:5
...there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 2 Kings 2:11
16.
Jesus sent his disciples to retrieve two animals for the ride into Jerusalem.
And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem,... then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them, and straightway he well send them... And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. Matt 21:1-3, 5-7
16.
Jesus sent his disciples to retrieve one animal for the ride into Jerusalem.
And when they came nigh to Jerusalem,... he sendeth forth two of his disciples, And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered unto it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door... And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. Mark 11:1-4, 7. See also Luke 19:28-40.
19.
Jesus was crucified at the third hour.
And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. Mark. 15:25 [ORSV notation: Third hour, about 9:00 A.M.]
19.
At about the sixth hour Jesus was still before Pilate.
And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. John 19:14-16. [ORSV notation: Sixth hour, about noon.]
20.
Jesus' last words were...
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: said thus, he gave up the ghost. Luke 23:46
20.
According to "John," Jesus' last words were...
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. John 19:30
33.
Jesus showed his hands and feet to the apostle Thomas within a day of his rising. (The "Eleven" stated here must include Thomas. Twelve apostles minus one [Judas] equals eleven.)
Now on the first day of the week very early in the morning, they came... And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs [about 7 miles]... And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening... And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon... And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you,... And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. Luke 24:1, 13, 28-29, 33-34, 36, 38-40.
33.
Jesus did not show his hands and feet to the skeptical apostle Thomas until eight days after his rising.
The first day of the week cometh Mary... Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord... But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he [Thomas] said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger unto the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered... My Lord and my God. John 20:1, 19-20, 24-28.
36.
Saul's companions heard the voice but saw no one.
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?... And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus, And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. Acts 9:3, 4, 7-9
36.
Saul's companions saw the light but did not hear the voice.
And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?... And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. Acts 22:6-7, 9.

Prophecy

Chapter Four

(excerpt)

9.
Nebuchadrezzar was to capture Tyre, completely destroy it, and it was to be covered with water, never to be inhabited or rebuilt again and not even to be found again.
(3) Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee... (7) Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings,... (9) And he shall set engines of war against thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers... (10) he shall enter into thy gates, as men enter into a city wherein is made a breach. (11) With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets... and thy strong garrisons shall go down to the ground. (14) ...thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the LORD have spoken it,... (19) For thus saith the Lord God; When I shall make thee a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited; when I shall bring up the deep upon thee, and great waters shall cover thee; (20) ...that thou be not inhabited; (21) I will make thee a terror, and thou shalt be no more: though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, saith the Lord God. Ezek. 26:3, 7, 9-11, 14, 19-21
...thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt be any more. Ezek. 27:36
9.
Nebuchadnezzar not only failed to destroy Tyre but was not even able to capture it.

The New Encyclopedia Britannica says:
...and in 585-573 (B.C.) it successfully withstood a prolonged siege by the Babylonian King Nebuchadrezzar II (Micropedia, vol. 10, p.223)

The Encyclopedia Americana says:
The neo-Babylonian conqueror, Nebuchadnezzar II, subjected the island to a 13-year siege (585-572) without success (1984, Vol. 27, p. 331)

Ezekiel admits this in chapter 29:18,
Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it:

240 years later the city of Tyre was still very much in existence since in 332 B.C. it fell (as so many ancient cities did) to Alexander the Great. Following this it was rebuilt and did become a prominent port once again in the Mediterranean. Even Jesus is reported to have gone there:
Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. Matt. 15:21.

Tyre is currently populated by some 23,000 people.
10.
Nebuchadnezzar was to gain hold of the riches of Tyre.
For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings... And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise... Ezek. 26:7, 12
10.
Nebuchadnezzar did not get hold of the riches of Tyre.
Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it: Ezekiel 29:18
15.
Jesus opens his disciples minds to the prophecies written that predicted that Christ would die and rise on the third day.
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:... Luke 24:45-46
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:... 1 Cor. 15:3, 4.
15.
There is no prophecy written in the scriptures that says Jesus was to rise on the third day.
18.
The END was nigh.
Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. Matt. 16:28
But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God. Luke 9:27
See Acts 2:15-17 in which Peter invokes a prophecy by Joel to explain why a gathering of diverse peoples understood each other's language. This outpouring of God's Spirit was a sign that the end was near.
But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 1 Cor. 7:29
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Phil. 4:5
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven... Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds... 1 Thess. 4:15-16
God...Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son... Heb. 1:1-2
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Heb. 9:26
For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Heb. 10:37
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord... stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh...behold, the judge standeth before the door. James 5:7-9
But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 1 Peter 4:7 Christ...was manifest in these last times for you,... 1 Peter 1:19-20
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 1 John 2:18
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass;... Rev. 1:1
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. Rev. 1:3
Behold, I come quickly. Rev. 3:11
And he said unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand... He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Rev. 22:10, 20.
But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. Matt 10:23
18.
In reality of course, the END (and/or the return of Jesus) has not been forth coming. This partial list of scriptures are then consistent with all other prophecies which have falsely predicted a rapidly approaching end.

The Bible's test for true prophecy:
When a prophet speaketh... if the thing follow not, nor come to pass.... the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. Deut. 18:19
And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and is mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. Zech. 13:3

Doctrine

Chapter Five

(excerpt)


2.
God does not punish children for the sins of their fathers.
The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin. Deut. 24:16
Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. Ezek. 18:19, 20.
2.
God punishes children for the sins of their fathers.
... I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children... Exod. 20:5
Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. Exod. 34:7 also Num. 14:18, Deut. 5:9
Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. 2 Sam. 12:14
And the word of the LORD came to Elijah... Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house. 1 Kings 21:28, 29
Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers... Isaiah. 14:21
Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them... Jer. 32:18
3.
No man can see God and live. No man has seen God at any time. (backparts not included)
An the LORD said unto Moses... Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. Exod. 33:17, 20, 22-23
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the father, he hath declared him. John 1:18
Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. John 5:37
No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:12
...the King of kings, and Lord of lords... whom no man hath seen, nor can see... 1 Tim. 6:15-16
3.
Many have seen God, and lived.
Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept me... And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. Gen. 32:20, 30
Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. Exod. 24:9-11
And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. Exod. 33:11
Then Job answered the LORD, and said... I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Job 42:1, 5
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up... Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone... for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Isaiah 6:1, 5
8.
God forbids killing.
Thou shalt not kill. Exod. 20:13
And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death. Lev. 24:17
8.
It is all right to kill a human slave if it takes a day or two for that slave to die.
And if a man smite his servant,or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money. Exod. 21:20-21
12.
God does not, cannot, lie.
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Num 23:19
...and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; Titus 1:1-2
12.
God has lied.
And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet... Ezekiel 14:9
Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. 1 Kings 22:23 also 2 Chron. 18:22
...Ah, Lord God! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem... Jer. 4:10
O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived... Jer 20:7
...God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie... 2 Thess. 2:11
17.
God knows the hearts of all men.
...for he knoweth the secrets of the heart. Psalm 44:21
O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me... thou understand my thought afar off... and art acquainted with all my ways. Psalm 139:1-3
And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, Acts 1:24
17.
God does not know (without testing) the hearts of all.
...for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not witheld thy son, thine only son from me. Gen. 22:12
...the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart... Deut. 8:2

Apologetics Department

Chapter Six

(excerpt)

8.) Circular Reasoning 101, or... "Here We Go Loop De Loop."

This is it. This is the one. As a good friend from the South says when he is about to make an important point, "This... is where the bear did it in the buckwheat."

The fact is that the single most important and common apologetic device used in support of the inerrancy doctrine is based upon circular reasoning. It is incredible that this is so easily missed, and by so many people. It is actually the key to the whole thing. It is the main support beam. It is the main engine in the vehicle of biblical inerrancy.

There are different ways of looking at it, and we have already seen its main face in our discussions of the inadequacy of possible solutions, the any- loophole-will-do principle. How does that involve circular reasoning? There is only one logical reason for accepting any old loophole as an adequate defense of biblical error, and that is the assumption that the Bible is inerrant! (Loopholes can always be found in such arguments.) Thus, biblical inerrancy proves biblical inerrancy, which begs the question. It is a form of circular reasoning. But there is another way of looking at this master trick used by biblicists.

It never ceases to amaze me that the greatest and most used piece of evidence put forward in support of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is the simple assertion that the Bible claims to be inerrant. The following demonstrations of faulty logic represent the cornerstone upon which the defense of the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy is based.

Round & Round With:

a.) Gleason Archer

It seems that in almost every apologetics book that Bible inerrantists write, one will find in the introduction instructions guiding you in how to think. This is certainly true of Mr. Gleason Archer's Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. Under the appropriate heading "Recommended Procedures in Dealing With Bible Difficulties" he gives some familiar fundamentalist guidelines for the correct mindset with which to approach these alleged Bible contradictions.

He first introduces these guidelines by telling you in advance who will most easily have success in determining the solutions to these problems:

"In dealing with Bible problems of any kind, whether in factual or in doctrinal matters, it is well to follow appropriate guidelines in determining the solution. This is most easily done by those who have carefully and prayerfully studied the Bible over a number of years and have consistently and faithfully memorized Scriptures." (Gleason Archer)

Thus prepared, the reader's chances of success (and of following his guidelines) is much greater. You will see why when you read the first and most important guideline (of a total of eight). This is the most important one, because if you can obey it all the other instructions are academic.

"Be fully persuaded in your own mind that an adequate explanation exists, even though you have not yet found it. The aerodynamic engineer may not understand how a bumble bee can fly; yet he trusts that there must be an adequate explanation for its fine performance since, as a matter of fact, it does fly! Even so we may have complete confidence that the divine Author preserved the human author of each book of the Bible from error or mistake as he wrote down the original manuscript of the sacred text." [underline mine] (Archer, p. 15)

I usually suspect that someone is about to ask me to make a leap of faith when they start a sentence with "Be fully persuaded."

It is Archer's hope that if you are able to follow --by an act of faith-- the directions given in his first sentence, all Bible difficulties will melt before your eyes. If you can get into this frame of mind, being "fully persuaded that an adequate explanation exists," all difficulties necessarily transform themselves into non-difficulties as some vaporous, ethereal, yet somehow "adequate," explanation is presumed to "exist." Why? Because the bumblebee can fly?

There is a substantial problem in this insect analogy. It is by observation, not faith, that one believes that a bumblebee can fly. Thus, it is not the proper model for the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. Now, an ostrich or a penguin is a more apt model. They are birds, with wings, and are similar to the doctrine of inerrancy in that making them fly requires lots of faith. (A rope and hoist wouldn't hurt either.)

What Archer is attempting to do here is to sell us a miracle based on the assumption of Bible inerrancy. Thus, we are to "expect a miracle." The bumblebee can fly. We don't know how. It's a miracle! Similarly, the Bible was recorded inerrantly. We don't know how. It's a miracle! Is this evidence for Bible inerrancy?

No, it is not, and to be fair he is not suggesting here that it is evidence. That is to follow. Here he is just trying to show that miracles do happen, so that later when you are confronted with the miracle of Bible inerrancy you will be more likely to "be fully persuaded" and "have complete confidence" based in part upon your knowledge of the miracle of the flying bumblebee. The problem is that the two are simply not comparable. The fact that the bumblebee does fly is an established fact and requires no leap of faith20. (Real faith, however, is needed to believe that penguins and ostriches can fly!)

His actual evidence for Biblical inerrancy comes five pages later:

"...whatever Jesus Christ believed about the trustworthiness of Scripture must be accepted as true and binding on the conscience of every true believer. If Christ believed in the complete accuracy of the Hebrew Bible in all matters of scientific or historical fact, we must acknowledge His view in these matters to be correct and trustworthy in every respect. Moreover, in view of the impossibility of God's being guilty of error, we must recognize that even matters of history and science, though not per se theological, assume the importance of basic doctrine. Why is this so? Because Christ is God, and God cannot be mistaken." [underline mine] (Archer, p. 20)

He then goes on to show that Jesus mentioned Jonah and the fish, Noah and the flood, the Exodus, and Adam and Eve. This is his evidence for these miraculous stories. It is also his evidence for inerrancy.

It is important to remember that the only way we can know that Jesus accepted these miraculous legends is by reading from the same book that chronicles these miraculous legends. This line of reasoning simply says, "the Bible says Jesus believed the Bible, so you should too."

"whatever Jesus Christ believed about the trustworthiness of Scripture must be accepted as true..."

"we must acknowledge His view in these matters to be correct and trustworthy in every respect."

"Christ is God, and God cannot be mistaken." (Gleason Archer)

Of course the only book that is thought to record a single word uttered by Jesus (that fundamentalist Christians will accept) is the Bible. Barring any personal visions, Mr. Archer's knowledge of "whatever Jesus Christ believed," "His [Jesus'] view in these matters" and "Christ is God, and God cannot be mistaken" come exclusively from the Bible.

It is as simple as saying, "the Bible says believe the Bible." This is a case of circular reasoning. If he consistently followed this same line of faulty reasoning when examining the Koran, the Book of Mormon or many other religious works he would need to believe those books too. It is safe to say that he does not.