Inter-Textual Factual Contradictions
“There is only one good; knowledge,
and one evil; ignorance.”
Socrates 470B.C.?-399 B.C.?
This is probably the most important part of this site for fundamentalist Christians. Concepts can be endlessly debated. Scientific facts that contradict the Bible can be ignored or denied. Inerrantists can bury their heads in the sand and refuse to acknowledge as legitimate anything that contradicts the Bible, unless…..it is the Bible itself. There are several parallel books covering the history of Israel. The four gospels are parallel accounts of the life of Christ. There are many instances in which the Bible recounts scriptural events in books that are not parallels. These parallel accounts allow us to easily see errors in the Bible because they give us separate, but equally authoritative accounts to compare. Inerrantists can’t dismiss either account to resolve the problem because they believe both to be inspired.
The most common explanation for errors like these is to blame any discrepancy on copyist error. The Bible was hand copied for centuries and it is reasonable to assume that at some point errors could have been made. How widespread would copyist errors be? Consider this: If four copies were made from an original manuscript, five copies would exist. If each of those were copied four times, then twenty five copies would exist. As this continued, soon there would be many copies in circulation. If an error was made in one copy there would still be twenty four other branches of copies that did not contain that error. For an error to exist in all of the copies, or branches, it must have been made during the transmission from the original to a single copy from which all other copies were made. If there are multiple copyist errors, then they should only affect branches of copies produced after the error was introduced. So, if there are just five copyist errors in the Bible, they must have all been made in the same branch of copies, which must be the only surviving branch of copies. If they existed in five different books, then the men who assembled those books had to have selected all five books from erroneous branches. Obviously, for several copyist errors to exist in all of the surviving copies of the Bible, an incredible mount of coincidence had to have been involved. You would think that if the Biblical God was involved in the transmission of text and the assembly of the canon of scripture, that things would work the opposite way; only copies from an inerrant branch should have been selected.
The bottom line is this; the errors that are dismissed as copyist errors appear in all of the copies that are known to exist. If they were truly accumulated errors then some errors should appear in some copies and other errors should appear in other copies. But the fact that the same errors exist in all of the copies indicates that they are not errors that accumulated during transmission, but they are, in fact, errors in the original.
More important than the errors we see in the parallel accounts are the errors that we don’t see in the singular accounts in the Bible. Contradictions obviously exist in the parallel accounts. If copyist errors are so common in the parallel accounts, it is reasonable to assume that they are present in the singular accounts as well. We simply wouldn’t be able to identify them because there are no parallel accounts to compare them to. What that does is render all accounts without parallels untrustworthy. After all, there is no evidence that any greater care was taken with the singular account than was taken with the parallel accounts. To admit the existence of errors in the parallels is to admit the possibility of errors existing in the singular accounts. If errors are present and not identifiable, then all singular account must be viewed as possibly erroneous.
The following is not meant to be an exhaustive compilation of errors in the Bible. I intend only to show that solid examples of these types of errors do exist. Remember, it takes only one error to kill the doctrine of inerrancy.
THE IMPOSSIBLE FAMILY TREE
One of the prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the Messiah was that he would be a descendant of King David. The writers of the gospels of Matthew and Luke were aware of this. They knew that showing a direct lineage from David to Jesus would impress their Jewish readers. So they both endeavored to trace the family tree from Jesus to David in Luke chapter 3, and from David to Jesus in Matthew chapter 1.
The problem is simple, they don’t match. They’re not even close. Matthew’s lineage contains 27 names including David and Joseph, Jesus’ father. Luke’s lineage contains 42 names including Joseph and David. David and Joseph aside, only two names match in these lists. Even the names given for Joseph’s father are different. The difficulties presented with tracing a direct lineage through different ancestors are obvious. But, refusing to admit an obvious error, some inerrantists have proposed that they are both accurate.
The explanation, they say, is that the term “was the son of,” used in Luke, does not represent a father-son relationship. Rather, it represents just an ancestral relationship, maybe grandson or great grandson. Likewise, the term “begat,” used in Matthew, does not necessarily mean that they directly fathered the person named. So, they say, these genealogies must be overlapping, that is, Luke names people not mentioned in Matthew and Matthew names people not mentioned in Luke. If that were the case, two different genealogies could be correct.
Does that explanation hold water? No. What it does is demonstrate the great lengths that otherwise rational people will go to, to avoid admitting that errors exist in the Bible. David lived in the tenth century B.C. and Jesus was born around 4 B.C. So being generous, there were about one thousand years between David and Jesus. Matthew’s list contains 28 names from David to Jesus. Luke’s list contains 42 names for the same period.
Using the 28 names in Matthew’s list you can divide the number of years between them by the number of ancestors and arrive at an average elapsed time of 35 years per generation. Using 42 ancestors, the number listed in Luke, the average span of a generation drops to 23 years. When you combine the lists, there are at least 67 people in that lineage, not counting the matching names twice. The number may actually be higher. If both men only made partial lists, as this explanation claims, then both writers could have left out other names. Using the minimum number of 67 ancestors, we arrive at an average time span of 14 years or less per generation. Considering the fact that all 67 of these men were likely not firstborns, and this time span is an average, some of them would have had children by the ages of ten or eleven. It should be apparent how ridiculous this alleged explanation is.
Also Matthew 1:17 says “so all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. “Notice that the writer says that they are generations. Notice that he says that these are all the generations. There could only have been 28 generations listed in Luke in order to agree with that. There are 42 names in Luke and if you consolidate the two lists to rectify the differences, then there are 67. Inerrantists have said that the generations used in Matthew do not necessarily represent a single generation as we know them. But we can see that the writer counts Abraham to Isaac as one generation, and Jacob to Judah as one generation, and even Joseph to Jesus as one generation. These men all shared father-son relationships and were all counted by the author as one generation. It is obvious that the writer intended each generation as a father-son link.
The funny thing is that these lists are pointless anyway. If Jesus was born of Mary while she was still a virgin, then there was no blood passed from Joseph to Jesus, therefore no link from David to Jesus through Joseph. The Bible certainly makes it clear that the Messiah would have a direct physical link to David. II Samuel 7:12 says that God promised David “I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.” I don’t know how better to describe a direct physical link than “out of thy bowels.” Romans 1:3, says Jesus was “made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” God promised David that the Messiah would proceed out of his bowels, and Paul said that Jesus descended from David according to the flesh, neither of which could be substantiated by these lineages if Jesus was born of a virgin.
Some have proposed that one lineage traces the line through Joseph, which is pointless, and the other traces it through Mary, which would satisfy the Davidic Covenant. But the text says the lineage is through Joseph. Additionally, women were not considered important enough to record their lineage; they were always traced through the men. A man who only had daughters wasn’t even considered to have an heir until he had a son. Then there is the problem of the two names that do match. If these are the lineages of two separate people, they can’t converge at the matching ancestors and separate again as this impossible family tree would do.
CAN I GET A SOUND CHECK?
In Acts chapter 22, the writer is recording Paul’s account of his conversion on the road to Damascus. In verse 9 he says “And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake unto me.” It is clear here that the men with him did not hear the voice that spoke to Paul.
In Acts chapter 9, the writer is telling the same story, but this time he says “And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man” (verse 7). This time he says that the men with Paul did hear the voice. This is a contradiction of the clearest and simplest kind. Either they heard the voice or they did not. Both cannot be true.
WHO SAID THAT?
Matthew chapter 27 begins with Judas returning the money he was paid for betraying Jesus. The chief priests were not allowed to put the thirty pieces of silver in the treasury, so they bought a potters field to bury strangers in. Verses 9-10 say “then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.”
The problem is that the scripture Matthew is talking about did not come from Jeremiah the prophet, it comes from Zechariah 11:13. This is an example of the Bible being errant on the topic of the Bible itself.
HOW OLD IS THE KING?
In II Kings 24:8, the Bible says “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months…” II Chronicles 36:9 says “Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem.” The errors are obvious, his age is dramatically different and the length of his reign is different. Granted, three months and ten days could easily be rounded to three months, but as discussed earlier, to approximate a known number is less than truthful.
As for his age, this is commonly considered to be a copyist error. I had a Bible History professor who pointed out that God had preserved the truth in his word by recording Jehoiachin’s age twice. He said that obviously he was eighteen when he took the throne and the age eight is the copyist error. But II Kings, the book that he said contained the correct age, records Jehoash as being 7 when he took the throne (11:21) and Azariah as 16 (14:21) and Manasseh as 12 (21:1) and Josiah as 8 (22:1). It seems it is not so obvious which age is correct if either is at all.
NO MAN HATH SEEN GOD?
The gospel of John claims in chapter 1, verse 18, that “No man hath seen God at any time.” But Exodus 24:9-11 says “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.” That passage states twice and in no uncertain terms that 74 men saw God. It even offers a description of what they saw and notes that God did not harm them (It was believed that no man could look on God and live).
In Numbers 14:14, Moses is declaring the things that the Egyptians would hear of God and says “that thou Lord art among this people, that thou art seen face to face.” Moses was also recorded as having seen God’s hindermost parts as he passed the cleft in the rock where Moses stood. But God said his face “shall not be seen” (Exodus 33:21-23).
These accounts cannot be reconciled with the statement in John 1:18.
Acts 7:4 says “Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt in Charan:
And from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.” The “he” in this verse is identified in verse two as Abraham. “This land wherein ye now dwell” is referring to Canaan. It is the “land which I shall shew thee” of verse three. Verse four specifically and in no uncertain terms says that Abraham, the “he”, came to Canaan, this land wherin ye now dwell, when his father was dead.
Now we go all the way back to Genesis 11:26. “And Terah lived seventy years and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.” Abram was the character’s name until God changed it to Abraham. So Abraham was born when Terah was seventy years old. In verses four and five of chapter twelve it says “So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him: and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran: and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan: and into the land of Canaan they came.” It is clear from these two verses that Abram left Haran and went to Canaan when he was seventy five years old. That would have made his father, Terah, one hundred and forty five years old at the time of Abraham’s departure.
The problem is this: we know that Abraham, according to Acts 7:4, went to Canaan after his father died. We know that Abraham was seventy five when he left and that given Terah’s age of seventy when Abraham was born, he should have been one hundred and forty five when Abraham left. We know, since Acts tells us that Abraham left after his father’s death, that Terah could have lived no longer than one hundred and forty five years. But in Genesis 11:32 we are told that “the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.” The problem is very clear. If Abraham did not leave until his father’s death, as Acts claims, then either Abraham’s age at departure is wrong, which would create problems with other texts, or the age given for Terah’s death is wrong. If those two are assumed to be correct, then Acts is wrong in its assertion that Terah was dead when Abraham came to Canaan.
PACKING LIST PROBLEMS
In Matthew 10:9-10, Jesus is preparing the disciples to go out to the lost sheep of Israel and is giving instructions on what to take or not take. There are parallel accounts of this story in Mark and Luke.
In Matthew he is recorded as saying “Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workmen is worthy of his meat.” Clearly in this passage they are not to take these things, one of which is a stave, or staff.
In Luke 9:3, he says “Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.” Again, this passage states that these are things that they are not to take and the staff is included among them.
In Mark 6:8-9, we find the same command with one very obvious difference; “And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse; but to be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.” It is clear in this account that the staff is an exception to the list and that they are commanded to take a staff only.
Two accounts say that they are commanded not to take staffs and one account says that the opposite is true. Since we know that two opposite statements cannot both be true, there is an obvious error here. Charles Ryrie addressed this problem in his book, What You Should Know About Inerrancy.
“If one believes that every word of the text was inspired, then he
would surely notice that in Mark and Luke the verb is the same and
means that they should take the staffs they already possess. Matthew
uses a different verb, which means that the disciples were not to procure
staffs. Putting the accounts together, the Lord permitted them to take
along the staffs they already owned, but prohibited procuring new or
Notice that errancy feeds on itself. If all the words cannot be trusted,
Then one may tend not to do careful exegesis and therefore either
ignore or refuse to accept a perfectly proper grammatical explanation
like this one.”
WOW! That would be a perfectly proper grammatical explanation had he done a more careful exegesis himself. Either by design or an oversight in his careful exegesis, he cited the wrong book as agreeing with Luke. His study of the verbs used in these accounts actually confirms the error rather than dispels it.
In his explanation he says that Mark and Luke use the same verb and that it means that they should take the staffs they already possess. He points out that the verb in Matthew is different. He’s absolutely right in saying that the verbs used in Mark and Luke are the same. But he confused which two accounts agree and which one disagrees. It is Luke’s and Matthew’s accounts that say that they were not to take the staffs. Mark is the dissenter.
So with the fact pointed out that the verbs match, and the fact pointed out that the commands do not, it is easy to see that this is, in fact, an error. It seems that Mr. Ryrie did not do a careful enough exegesis and therefore either ignored or refused to accept a perfectly proper example of an error in the Bible.
In II Samuel 21:16-22, there is a record of the giant sons, born of a giant in Gath, who were killed by David’s servants. This record is paralleled in I Chronicles 20:4-8. Here is how the two lists compare:
II Samuel 21 I Chronicles 20
Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, killed No mention of this giant
Sibbechai, the Hushathite, killed Sibbechai, the Hushathite
killed Saph at Gob killed Sippai at Gezer
Elhanan, son of Jaareoregim, slew Elhanin, the son of Jair, slew
Goliath the Gittite Lahmi, the brother of
Goliath the Gittite
Jonathan, son of Shimeah, the Jonathan, son of Shimea, the
brother of David slew the giant brother of David slew the giant
with six fingers and toes with six fingers and toes
We see several differences in these accounts of who killed whom and where. Notice that the father named for Ehanan differs in these two accounts. The name of the giant slain by Elhanan is different. In the account of II Samuel 21:19, your Bible may read “slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite.” If it does, the words “the brother of” should be italicized. That is because those words do not appear in the Hebrew text. The translators tinkered with the text to remove the appearance of error here. If you don’t want to take my word for it and you don’t happen to have a copy of the Hebrew, try this; get an exhaustive concordance of the Bible and look up the word “brother.” You won’t find a listing for II Samuel 21:19 because the phrase “the brother of” is not present in this verse in the Hebrew. What the Bible says is that Elhanan slew Goliath the Gittite. The translators, knowing that it also says that David killed Goliath, thought it wise to make an insertion in the text to make it match the account in I Chronicles and to avoid it’s contradicting one of the most famous of Bible stories. I wonder where else they may have seen fit to make insertions.
THE DEVIL MADE HIM DO IT
II Samuel 24:1 says “And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, go, number Israel and Judah.” It is clear in this passage that the Lord moved David to go and number (take a census) Israel. But I Chronicles 21:1 says “And Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel.” Clearly, this passage claims that Satan is responsible for provoking David to number Israel. Both cannot be correct.
In the story that follows there are more errors. In II Samuel the census total given to David by Joab was eight hundred thousand in Israel and five hundred thousand in Judah (24:9). But in I Chronicles Joab says there were one million, one hundred thousand in Israel and four hundred and seventy thousand in Judah.
The third error in these census accounts occurs with regard to the punishment David could choose. II Samuel 24:13 says that one of his choices was seven years of famine. But I Chronicles 21:12 says the option was 3 years of famine. It is interesting to ponder the whole concept presented with God’s punishment of David and Israel in this situation. If God was angry with Israel, as II Samuel 24:1 says, why didn’t he just punish Israel for whatever sin was angering him? Why move David to commit some other sin and then punish them all for that?
The fourth error in these accounts occurs with regard to the price paid for the threshing floor that David bought to erect an altar to repent. II Samuel 24:24 says the price was fifty shekels of silver for the threshing floor and some oxen. But I Chronicles 21:25 says David paid six hundred shekels of gold for the place. For two chapters from the same allegedly inerrant book, they sure do contradict each other a lot.
NOT AS EASY AS 1-2-3
Jesus is recorded in Matthew 12:40 as saying “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whales belly; so shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” The dilemma is his assertion that he would be in the earth for three days and three nights. This is supposed to be a prophecy about his death, burial, and resurrection. But, according to the accounts in the gospels, he was not in the earth for three days and three nights. He was crucified on Friday, the day before the Sabbath (Mark 15:42) (Luke 23:54) (John 19:31). Mary went early in the morning on the first day of the week and found the body gone (Matthew 28:16) (Mark 16:2) (Luke 24:1) (John 20:1). So he was there, according to the gospels, Friday night, Saturday, Saturday night, and gone Sunday morning.
Now in Jewish reckoning, a day is an evening and a morning and any part of a day may be counted as one day. But here we have a specific statement of three days and three nights that simply cannot be reconciled with a Friday crucifixion and a Sunday resurrection. If we count Friday as one day, Saturday as one day, and Sunday as one day, we can get three days. But we can only count Friday night and Saturday night in the tomb and he was gone by Sunday morning. There were simply not three nights involved as Jesus had said.
Christians believe that Jesus was actually in Hell conquering death during that time. Maybe Hell is in a different time zone?
Ask the four gospels whether Jesus was crucified before or after the Passover and they will all chime in “after”………except John. The chronology for the crucifixion is different in John and the indications are not subtle. John 19:31 says “Therefore, because it was the preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.” No problem fixing John’s chronology there. He says that Jesus died on the Preparation Day, which is the day that the Passover feast is prepared. Earlier, in John 18:28, when Jesus was being tried, he says that “they led Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover.” Then John 19:14 says that Pilate delivered Jesus back to the Jews on the day of Preparation of the Passover. The last supper is mentioned in John, but not as a Passover meal. In fact, John 13:1 says “Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the father…..” That statement leads into the supper, then after supper when Jesus said to Judas “What you do, do quickly,” John says that some of the disciples thought that Jesus had sent him to buy the things that they would need for the feast. Obviously, if they had just eaten the Passover, he would not be sending someone to buy the things that they need to prepare for it.
What of the other gospels? How clear are their chronologies? Luke is probably the most obvious. In chapter 22 verse 7 begins the account with “Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed.” It goes on to relate the circumstances in which they found the room (9-12), prepared the Passover (13), and ate the Passover (14-20).
John says he was dead on the day of Preparation. Luke says he ate the Passover meal. Could he have eaten the Passover meal earlier than everyone else in anticipation of his death? No. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was held at a designated time each year for a reason, in the first month, from the fourteenth day to the twenty first day as commanded in Exodus chapter 12. To eat the Passover meal on a day other than the Passover would have broken God’s commandment given in Exodus and ruined the whole “lamb without blemish” mystique of the crucifixion.
MORE CHRONOLOGY CONFUSION
Like the preceding error, this one involves chronology and once again John stands alone among the gospel writers. John 2:13-16 tells of Jesus finding those who sold animals for sacrifice and money changers set up doing business in the temple. He became very angry and overturned their tables and drove them out. John places this event at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. But the other gospel writers all place this same event at the end of Jesus’ ministry, the week of his crucifixion (Matthew 21:12-13) (Mark 11:15-19) (Luke 19:45-48). The only attempt I have heard to explain this conflict in chronology is to declare that it must have happened twice, at the beginning and again, same event, same place, at the end of his ministry. If it did, in fact, happen twice, what are the chances that all four of the gospel writers would fail to record them as separate events? This was, after all, the only reported time that Jesus behaved violently, actually making a whip and driving people out, overturning furniture as he went. The idea that four separate writers would omit the fact that this outrageous event had occurred, not once, but twice is ludicrous.
EASTER ERROR HUNT
The accounts of the events of the resurrection morning contradict each other repeatedly. Matthew tells of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary going to see the sepulchre. Mark says the group was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome. Luke says it was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Joanna. John names only Mary Magdalene.
In John’s account, Mary did not see Jesus until after she went and told Peter and the other disciple. In Matthew and Mark, she saw Jesus before she told the disciples about the empty sepulchre. In Luke, he did not appear to Mary that morning, but first appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, who did not immediately recognize him.
In Matthew, a single angel, the angel of the Lord, appeared to Mary. Mark says it was simply a young man clothed in a long white garment. Luke says there were two angels in white, who appeared to Mary on her second visit to the sepulchre and after Peter and the other disciples, had left.
Matthew says that Jesus appeared to the two Marys on their way to tell the disciples and he says they held him by the feet and worshipped him. Mark mentions an appearance to Mary with no details. Luke mentions no appearance to Mary that morning. John says that Jesus appeared to Mary after she had told the disciples and was at the tomb for the second time. John also says that Jesus forbade Mary to touch him, in contradiction to Matthew’s account.
Matthew’s account begins in chapter 28, Marks begins in chapter 16, Luke’s is found in chapter 24 and John’s begins in chapter 20. Hunt these Easter errors for yourself. Hey, maybe they are all correct. Maybe he just resurrected four times.
The Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, is comprised of several different strands of writing by different authors. Although they have been mixed and blended, they are still easily identifiable at times by the distinctive language employed by their writers. One strand is called the Yawhist, for the writers’ use of the name “Yahweh,” translated “God.” Another is called the “Elohist” for his use of the name “Elohim,” translated “the Lord God.” Many of the conflicts in the Pentateuch are simply factual discrepancies among different strands.
In Genesis chapter 6, God (notice this is the Yawhist) commanded Noah to take two of every living creature into the ark (verses 19-20). But in chapter 7 the Lord (notice this is the Elohist) says to take seven of every clean animal and two of every unclean beast, and seven of all fowls of the air (verse 2). Then, verses 8-9 of chapter 7 (again the Yawhist) say that “Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of everything that creepeth upon the earth, there went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.” Verses 15 and 16 again reinforce the Yawhist’s claim of only two of all animals;” And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they went in, male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him.”
One version clearly says that two of each unclean animal, seven of each fowl and seven of each clean animal went into the ark. The other just as emphatically states that only two of each beast, clean and unclean, went into the ark.
IT DOESN’T ADD UP
Galatians 3:16-17 says “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.”
In short, the writer is saying that the law did not disannul the covenant that God had made with Abraham 430 years earlier. The law is a reference to the written law given to Moses after the exodus from Egypt. The problem is in the time frame that the writer of Galatians uses. He says there were 430 years between the covenant with Abraham and the giving of the law.
According to Genesis 12:1-4, Abraham was 75 years old when God made his covenant with him. Genesis 21:5 tells us he was 100 years old when Isaac was born. Genesis 25:26 says that Isaac was 60 years old when Jacob was born, and Genesis 47:8-9 tells us that Jacob was 130 years old when they entered Egypt. So adding the 25 years from the covenant to Isaac’s birth, and the 60 years to Jacob’s birth, and the 130 years of Jacob’s life before entering Egypt, we get 215 years from the time the covenant was given to the entering into Egypt. Add that to the 430 years spent in Egypt and you get 645 years.
The writer of Galatians says there were 430 years between the two, but the books of Genesis and Exodus make it clear that there were at least 645 years. It just doesn’t add up.
THE CROWING COCK
Matthew 26:34, 74-75 and Luke 22:34, 60-61, both say that Jesus told Peter that he would deny him 3 times before the cock crowed. But in Mark 14:30, Jesus told Peter he would deny him 3 times before the cock crowed twice. In Mark 14:71-72, Peter denied him the third time and it says the cock crowed a second time.
What is the big deal if it was one crowing or two? Well, for starters, the accounts don’t match, which is enough to constitute an error, even if it seems inconsequential. But consider this; if Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts both say he would deny him 3 times before the cock crowed, then all three denials had to have come before a single crowing or Jesus’ prediction would have been wrong. Mark 14:67-68 says he denied him once and the cock crew. Mark’s record that the cock crew after one denial blows the prediction as it is recorded in Matthew and Luke. Either Jesus was wrong or these inspired authors had it wrong.
JUDAS BETRAYS INERRANCY
The death of Judas is recorded differently in Acts and in Matthew. In Acts 1:18, Peter, addressing the disciples, recounted that Judas purchased a field with the money that he received for betraying Jesus, and “falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.” So Peter says in Acts that it was Judas who purchased the field, that he fell headlong, and that he died from injuries received in the fall.
Matthew tells a different story in chapter 27, verses 3-5. He says that Judas tried to return the money after repenting of his deed, and the priests refused to take it. (Any story about a religious leader refusing money ought to be considered erroneous) He threw all the money down in the temple (thirty pieces of silver) and “went out and hanged himself.” The priests then took the money, after Judas hanged himself, and they bought a field to bury strangers in (verses 6-7).
One account says Judas died from a headlong fall. The other says he hanged himself. Can these varying accounts be reconciled? You can bet some have tried. It has been proposed that Judas hanged himself, possibly something broke, and he fell “and burst asunder.” Let’s consider this theory. Acts says he died in the field he bought. Likely the only thing to hang from would have been a tree. Perhaps instead of standing on something to hang himself, he could have climbed a tree, tied the rope to a branch and to his neck and jumped. If he did, the sudden jolt at the end of the rope might have been sufficient to break the rope or the branch and send him falling to the ground. But consider this; if someone is hanging by the neck, what part of their body will hit the ground first if they fall? Can he fall headlong? Also, how high would he have had to hang to fall hard enough that he “burst asunder and his bowels gushed out”?
The funny thing is that even if you buy the explanation about the combined hanging/falling death, you could never reconcile the variant stories about how the land was purchased. If Judas returned all of the money as Matthew says, then he could not have purchased the field with it as Acts says. Conversely, if he purchased the field with it as Acts says, he could not have returned it all to the priests as Matthew says.
There are many errors of various types in the early chapters of Genesis. In this section we are focusing on the inter-textual errors, that is, Biblical self-contradiction. Doctrinal errors and errors in cosmology will be addressed later.
There are two distinct accounts of creation in the opening chapters of Genesis. The first extends from Genesis 1:1 to chapter 2, verse three. It is written by the Yawhist. Notice that in this account God is always referred to as Yahweh, translated “God.” The second account belongs to the Elohist. Notice the use in every instance of the name Elohim, translated “the Lord God.”
The order of creation is the first thing that strikes you when you compare the accounts. In the first account, it is easy to chart a chronology because the creative acts are divided into days and the days are labeled as the first, second, third, etc. It’s a no brainer. Because the second account is not divided this way, many inerrantists will claim that it is not at odds with the first account. It is simply a review, not necessarily chronological, of the first account, with added detail. But there are chronological markers in the text that can be used to establish the order of the acts of creation in this account.
The order of creation in the first account is as follows: 1. light 2. firmament 3. dry land, plants and trees 4. sun, moon and stars 5. aquatic life and fowl 6. land animals 7. man and woman.
Account two begins with “in the day that the Lord God made the earth and heavens.” Only one day is mentioned. Chapter 2, verse 5 says that seeds were in the ground, but the plants had not yet grown because there was no rain and no man to till the ground. That contradicts verse 12 of chapter 1 which says that the plants were created full grown and the seeds were in them. It’s very similar to the riddle of the chicken and the egg. Which came first, the plant or the seed? The Bible gives two different answers. Some have said that the term “plants of the field” refers to only domestic plants. Please note that the same terminology is used in chapter 2, verse 19 to describe the animals that Adam named. Does that mean he only named domestic animals? Verse 19 says he named “all living creatures” and verse twenty names cattle and beasts of the field separately. Obviously, “of the field” simply refers to those with a dry land environment.
Secondly, the Lord God forms man. We know the seeds preceded man because verse 5 said there was no man to till the ground. So the order so far is seeds, then man (The earth itself seems to be presupposed). Then the Garden of Eden was created and man was placed there. Verse 18 says “it is not good for man to be alone.” This is another chronological marker. If man and woman were created together, as in the first account, man could not have been alone (As any married man will attest to).
Animals were then created and brought before Adam to see what he would call them. But there was not found an help meet for him. If the woman had been created at the point when Adam named the animals, how could it have been said that an appropriate helper was not found? Verses 21 and 22 go on to describe the creation of woman. So the order is 1. seeds 2. man 3. the Garden of Eden 4. animals 5. woman.
It is easy to see the differences in the chronologies, and when you consider the chronological markers in the second account, it becomes evident that they are irreconcilable.
ZACHARIAS, SON OF WHOM?
In Matthew, chapter 23, Jesus is condemning the Scribes and Pharisees for their treatment of the prophets and says in verse 35 “That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.” The wording of this statement is important because it establishes the identity of Zacharias. Abel, as most will recall, was murdered by Cain in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. So when he says from the blood of righteous Abel he is saying from the first. The Old Testament also records the murder of a man named Zechariah. II Chronicles 24:20-22 records how he was killed at the temple. Guess where II Chronicles falls in the Hebrew canon of scripture? It’s last. So when the writer says unto the blood of Zacharias he is saying to the last. When he says from Abel to Zacharias he is summarizing the murderous treatment of the righteous throughout biblical history as it existed in those days. This wording identifies the Zechariah of II Chronicles as the person mentioned by Jesus in Matthew, plus the fact that, of all of the Zechariahs mentioned in the Bible, he is the only one who was slain at the temple. He is further linked to Abel in the text that says that as the voice of Abel’s blood cried out from the ground, so Zechariah cried out as he died, “the Lord look upon it, and require it.”
The problem here is that Jesus says in Matthew that Zacharias was the son of Barachias, while II Chronicles says Zechariah was the son of Jehoida the priest. Most commentators agree that they are the same man and that the reference in Matthew is an error. There is a parallel account in Luke 11:51 which gives the name Zacharias, but makes no mention of Barachias. There was a record in the writings of Josephus of a man named Zechariah son of Baruch, who was slain at the temple, but that occurred in 68 A.D., early enough for Matthew to record, but too late to be accurately credited to Jesus.
While most commentators write it off as a scribal error or confusion by Matthew with the prophet Zechariah (Zech.1:1), and some use terms like “marginal gloss” to avoid the word “error,” there are still those who would rather espouse ridiculous explanations than to concede error. Some have proposed that Zechariah’s father had two names. Some have said that there were three men named Zechariah who were all killed at the temple. Some have said that Jehoida was really Zechariah’s grandfather, despite the designations father and son used in II Chronicles.
The bottom line is this: when compared to the rest of the Bible, this passage in Matthew, quoting Jesus, is in error and the only way to make it go away is to embrace some farfetched postulations for which there is no Biblical support.
Inter-textual Doctrinal Contradictions
“I count religion but a childish toy, and hold
that there is no sin but ignorance.”
Christopher Marlowe 1564-1593
One of the major themes of the Bible is salvation by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ as atonement for sin. Because Adam sinned, sin was passed to all mankind making death unavoidable for everyone. Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Verses like these outline the major theme of the Bible that death is universal because sin is universal and the only way to have eternal life is through Jesus Christ. When was this plan established? Revelations 13:8 refers to Jesus as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Before anything was created, this plan was in place that Jesus would die a sacrificial death to provide the sole way for eternal life.
In Genesis chapter 3 God passes judgment on Adam’s sin which was eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. There was another tree of interest in the garden. Verse 22 says “And the Lord God said, behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden.” The Tree of Life is the point of interest here. It plainly says that God’s concern was that Adam would eat of this tree and live forever. The fact that the fruit from this tree could have given eternal life to a sinner makes its very existence at odds with the major themes of the Bible. If Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, then why would God have created an alternate means of eternal life? If the wages of sin is death, how could the fruit from this tree have given Adam eternal life, even after his sin?
There are those who will concede that there are scientific and historical errors in the Bible, but deny that any error extends to the doctrine of salvation. I believe that the mere existence of the Tree of Life as a means of eternal life undermines the fundamental basis for the doctrine of salvation. Because of the existence of the Tree of Life, Jesus could not have always been the only possible way to live forever.
In Matthew 5:22, Jesus is preaching and says “but whosoever shall say, thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Then while preaching on another occasion recorded in Matthew 23:17, Jesus addresses the scribes and Pharisees with “Ye fools and blind.” In fact he addressed people as fools on several occasions. In Luke 11:40 he says “Ye fools” and in Luke 24:25 he says “O fools.”
Was Jesus not subject to the same standard he set for other people? Did he place himself in danger of hell fire when he addressed people as fools? These examples of Jesus violating one of his own precepts constitute a doctrinal error in the Bible.
TURN MY CHEEK OR CUT HIS CHEEK?
In Matthew 5:38-39, Jesus is preaching and calling people to a higher standard than the legalism they had been observing. He reminds them of the Old Testament proverb, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. He then says “But I say unto you, that ye resist no evil: but whosoever shall smite the on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” That is a pretty simple, yet demanding, principle. When you are physically attacked, do not resist, but turn the other cheek.
In Matthew chapter 26, Jesus is betrayed and taken in the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter drew out his sword and cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest. Jesus is recorded in verse 52 as saying “put up thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish by the sword.” Again Jesus seems to be teaching his disciples not to resist those who would harm them.
Here is the problem. If Jesus wanted them to turn the other check, and not use their swords when they were in danger, why then would he command them to go buy swords?
In Luke 22:36, just before they go into the Garden of Gethsemane, he says “and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” It is contradictory for him to tell someone not to fight back, and then tell them to buy a weapon for defense, and then rebuke them when they use the weapon that he told them to buy and bring with them.
FAITH VS. WORKS
The major theme of the New Testament could be summed up by the statement -Salvation is a free gift of God to all those who accept, by faith, the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ as atonement for their sins. Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, went to great lengths to stress the point that salvation was by faith alone. Paul says in Romans 3:27-28 “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Paul goes on to say in chapter 4, verses 3-7 “For what saith the scriptures? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.”
It is clear that Paul is driving home the point that it is faith alone that brings righteousness and that works are not involved. How else could you interpret phrases like “a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” and “God imputeth righteousness without works?” Indeed, it would not have been possible for Jesus to tell the criminal on the cross next to him “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” if salvation did not come by faith alone.
But then we have the book of James. James comes along and asks the question “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?”(James 2:14). He goes on to answer his rhetorical question this way; “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (2:17), and “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead” (2:20). He even uses the same example that Paul would later use to argue the opposite position. “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”
I don’t see how these two writers could have made the differences in their doctrines any clearer. Paul says that men are justified by faith without works, and James says that faith without works is dead! This contradiction is one reason there are so many denominations under the broad umbrella of the term Christianity. Some espouse Paul’s view that faith alone can save a soul and that those who rely on works as well as faith cannot be saved because they aren’t trusting solely in God’s grace. Others believe as James, that a faith without works is no faith at all, therefore no works – no salvation. What is amazing is that neither side is willing to acknowledge that this doctrinal contradiction exists between two books allegedly inspired by the same God.
EACH AFTER HIS OWN KIND
Early in Genesis, before the flood narrative, there is a curious passage regarding the Sons of God. Genesis 6:4 says “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men. And they bare children unto them; the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” There are several clues in this verse as to the identity of these sons of God. They were not mortal men. If they were, there would have been no need for the distinction, sons of God / daughters of men. Also, their offspring were not normal men, but giants, mighty men, men of renown. The term “sons of God” is used primarily in the Old Testament to mean angels. Job 1:6 says “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” Obviously men don’t stroll into heaven and present themselves to God, and Satan was himself a fallen angel.
There are serious problems with the statement that these sons of God, these angels, conceived children with the daughters of men. The first is that angels are ill equipped for reproduction. They were all created, none were born. There is not even a mention in the Bible of a female angel. Angels do not marry as evidenced by Matthew 22:30; “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” The second problem is that conception between angels and humans, if possible, would violate the principle set forth in the first chapter of Genesis that all species would reproduce after their own kind.
EXTRA-TEXTUAL FACTUAL CONTRADICTIONS
“I don’t believe in God because I don’t
believe in Mother Goose.”
Clarence Darrow 1857-1938
This section deals with sources outside of the Biblical text which contradict the Bible. I do not intend to be exhaustive here, for that would require volumes. I am also very aware that this type of argument will carry the least weight with a hardcore inerrantist. It is too easy for them to make a blanket statement that anything that contradicts the Bible is wrong. So I will limit these to a discussion of cosmology (man’s view of the cosmos) and a few scientific facts that can be easily confirmed at your local library.
Today we take for granted some ideas that were unthinkable just a few hundred years ago. We have sent men to the moon, sent probes to other planets and photographed other galaxies millions of light years away. But it wasn’t until the 1600’s that Galileo looked through a telescope and saw, to his amazement, that the moon had a terrain that included mountains and valleys and craters. He discovered that Jupiter had moons orbiting around it. He saw “handles” on Saturn, the familiar rings which allow any first grader to identify that planet today. He discovered that our own galaxy, the Milky Way, was actually made up of billions of stars too dim to be seen with the naked eye. Galileo was able to confirm what Copernicus had argued decades earlier, that the earth was not the motionless center of the universe that it was once thought to be.
Although Galileo was right, he was forced in this old age to recant his claims about the motions of the earth, sun and planets. Why? Because the church was in power and was very afraid of Galileo’s findings. They believed that they contradicted the Bible, so they threatened him with torture if he did not recant.
Today, the church is still very afraid of the discoveries being made by scientists. Just look at how they lobby Congress in this country to ban important research like stem cell research and cloning and bioengineering research. They have had to make concessions when science has offered irrefutable proof that they are wrong. But after being proven wrong in so many cases, there are still those who would say that if science contradicts the Bible, science must be wrong.
So let’s look at how the Bible describes our cosmos and compare it to what we know to be true today. Ancient men believed that our world had three parts, arranged like floors in a building. There was the earth, which was widely accepted as flat and thought to have edges or borders. There was the sky, or firmament, which was solid like glass and held water above it. The Gods were thought to reside above the waters of this firmament in heaven. Then there was the underworld, Hades or Hell, which was inhabited by the evil and the dead. That is where terms like “up in heaven” and “down in Hell” originated; odd terms for people who live on a spherical world. The Bible was written with just this kind of primitive cosmology in mind.
In Genesis 1:6-8 God said “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament heaven.” Here the Bible clearly says that there was water beneath and above the firmament. You say so what? You’ve read that a thousand times?
Let’s get a better understanding of what the firmament is. It’s not a word with a place in most people’s vocabulary today. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible shows the Hebrew word for firmament is “raqiya,” which means “an expanse, i.e. the firmament or (apparently) the visible arch of the sky.” Genesis 1:20 says “fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.” From the meaning of the original Hebrew word “visible arch of the sky” and the context in which it describes a place where birds fly, we can safely say that the firmament is the sky, or atmosphere of earth. Notice that the writer specified the “open” firmament of heaven. There was, in this ancient cosmology, what could be described as the closed firmament of heaven, that is, it was solid. There was an open space above the earth and a solid dome that was the sky.
This is not a view that is peculiar to the creation accounts in Genesis, but it is reflected in other parts of the Bible as well. Job 37:18 says “Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?” And Genesis 7:11, in the flood narrative, says “The windows of heaven were opened.” The writers obviously believed that the sky was solid or they would not have described it as strong, as a molten looking glass, or as having windows.
It was believed that there was water, as described in the creation account, above this solid dome sky, which fell through the windows of heaven as rain. Job further asserts in chapter 38 that there are treasuries where snow and hail are kept in heaven (verse 22), and that rain water is kept in bottles in heaven (verse 37).
In their book, The Genesis Flood, Whitcomb and Morris attempt to explain this water above the firmament:
“On the second day of creation, the waters covering the earths
surface were divided into two great reservoirs – one below the
firmament and one above, the firmament being the “expanse” above
the earth now corresponding to the troposphere.
What they are saying is that the water did exist in our upper atmosphere! They go on to explain:
As we have seen, these waters apparently existed in the form of
a great vapor canopy around the earth, of unknown but possibly
very great extent. As vapor, it was quite invisible, but, nevertheless,
would have had a profound effect on terrestrial climate and
meteorological process……Although we can as yet point to no
definite scientific verification of this pristine vapor protective envelope
around the earth, neither does there appear to be any inherent
physical difficulty in the hypothesis of its existence, and it does
suffice to explain a broad spectrum of phenomena both geological
Their explanation is that the water above the firmament was in the form of an invisible vapor canopy in the upper atmosphere. Does this explanation fit the description in the Bible? No, the Bible says it was water, not vapor, above the firmament. There were certainly other Hebrew words that could have been used to convey the idea of a vapor. Job says that life is as a “vapour” that appears for a short time and vanishes. Genesis says that a “mist” went up from the ground to water the earth. But the word used here is water because both the water above and below the firmament were divided from the same body of water and that is the idea intended by the writer and the cosmology it represents.
For support I will point to Job 38:25-26 which says “who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lighting or thunder; to cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness wherin there is no man.” A “watercourse” is a channel or aqueduct that was used in ancient times to direct the flow of water into cities and homes. This verse demonstrates a belief in the existence of watercourses that directed the flow of the waters above the firmament to rain on different parts of the earth. If the waters above the firmament were vapors, they could not flow in channels as does water in its liquid form.
Another problem with this cosmology is the statement that the sun, moon and stars were set within this firmament. If these waters were a canopy within our troposphere, as Whitcomb and Morris claim, then they are placing the sun, moon and stars inside our atmosphere! Genesis clearly says that the waters were above the firmament, but it says that the sun and moon were “set in the firmament of the heaven” (Genesis 1:17).
Obviously, our sky is not solid; there is no water above it, no treasuries of snow or hail, no windows to open and no watercourses to direct the rains. The stars are not “set” and the sun and moon are not within our atmosphere.
In Genesis 1:14 the stars are called “lights in the firmament of heaven.” Then in verse 16 it says he made “two great lights” referring to the sun and moon. We now know that the sun is not a greater light than the stars, it is simply a closer light, and the moon is not a light at all, but simply a body that reflects the sun’s light.
Another interesting point about the creation account, it goes through a cycle of three mornings and three evenings before listing the sun as being created on the fourth day. What constitutes a morning and evening if there is no sunrise or sunset?
The creation account says that God created the stars to be for signs and for seasons and for days and for years and to give light upon the earth. So the stars, we are told, were made for the benefit of man, apparently before we invented the atomic clock to keep time and the light bulb to give us light. If that were true, would it be necessary to make stars so distant that we could not see them?
Another problem arises when we consider the stars. We know that light travels at a speed of 186,000 miles per second. While that is a mind-boggling speed, it still takes light more than four years to cover the mind-boggling distance from the closest star to earth. Using that measurement, the distance light travels in a year; we can say that the nearest star is four light years away. That means that the light we observe today left its star over four years ago. There are stars, galaxies full of stars, which are millions of light years away from earth. That means that the light we see from those stars today, left those stars millions of years ago.
The problem is that according to the Biblical chronology, the earth is only a few thousand years old. The accepted range in theological circles is six to ten thousand years old. A man named James Usher stated in the mid 1600’s that the world was created “upon the entrance of the night preceding the twenty third day of October in the year of the Julian calendar 710” (4004 B.C.). It’s not possible to be quite that precise from the Biblical record, but given the genealogies going back to Adam and the ages given for each person, a range can be established and it can be safely said that the Bible allows an age of the world of not much more than 6,000 years.
If that were the case, then we could not yet see any star farther than 6,000 light years from earth, and yet we see stars millions of light years away. Some would say that God created those distant stars with light trails already in place to earth. This is part of the “appearance of age” theory that is employed whenever evidence points to an earth older than the Bible allows. But there is a problem when it comes to stars.
All of the stars we see are not the same age. In fact, the Hubble Space Telescope has captured some amazing photographs of stars in the early stages of formation from gas clouds. We can also observe the nebulae left behind by supernovas, exploding stars at the end of their lives. But the most powerful argument is that we are seeing and recording the explosions of stars. SN1987A is what we call the exploding star detected on Feb 23, 1987. It occurred in the Large Cloud of Magellan at a distance of 150,000 light years from earth. At its peak brightness it could be seen with the naked eye. Now if we observed that star exploding in 1987, then at a distance of 150,000 light years, the event actually took place 150,000 years ago. Either the star is older than 150,000 years, which you would have to concede blows the Biblical timetable, or you must concede that God created a record, in light, of an event that did not actually occur. We’re not talking about creating an object that looks older than it is. We’re talking about creating the illusion that something happened which did not happen. What we’re talking about is that when the Bible says that God created the stars, at least in some cases, it means that he created the illusion of stars. If you accept that notion, then you cannot rely on any other part of creation to be any more than an illusion. Freaky, huh? If you concede that God left a record, in light, of an event that never occurred (a supernova), how can you argue that God would not leave a record, in print, of events that never occurred (the Bible)? It’s much saner to admit that the Biblical timetable is wrong and that the cosmos is indeed very old.