Atheist objection: contradiction in the bible

Hi.
I just wanted to be able to understand why atheist do not believe in God, and most of their argument are they don’t believe the word of God to be true. I came across some of the bible contradictions and I’m left to wonder why are there so many contradictions in the bible? I still believe in God but I’m sitting here feeling very confused kindly help me understand so I can also be able to explain to others. Here are some of the examples I came across.

GE 4:16 Cain went away (or out) from the presence of the Lord.
JE 23:23-24 A man cannot hide from God. God fills heaven and earth.
GE 6:3 The Lord said, “My spirit will not be in man forever, for he is only flesh; so the days of his life will be a hundred and twenty years.”
GE 9:29 Noah lived nine hnndred and fifty years.
GE 6:4 There were Nephilim (giants) before the Flood.
GE 7:2
NU 13:33 There were Nephilim after the Flood.
GE 6:6. EX 32:14, NU 14:20, 1SA 15:35, 2SA 24:16 God does change his mind.
NU 23:19-20, 1SA 15:29, JA 1:17 God does not change his mind.
GE 6:19-22, 7:8-9, 7:14-16 Two of each kind are to be taken, and are taken, aboard Noah’s Ark.
GE 7:2-5 Seven pairs of some kinds are to be taken, and are taken, aboard the Ark.

2 Likes

Hello Joyce, Your question caught my attention and wanted to respond in a way that would bring clarity to the confusion going on within you. I first thank you for sharing and pray that others will give insight as well.
Each of us have to choose as the bible says in the book of Joshua whom shall we serve? Joshua says as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.
All of us have a moral compass of some nature, even an atheist who chooses not to believe in the God of the bible. Those reasons are many and varied based on each individuals reasoning.

I do not believe there are any true atheists (anti-god) there are many gods in this world that i served before meeting the one true God and His son Jesus Christ, and to be honest those gods still try to entice me back all the time.

Wouldn’t they try to do that if they wanted you to follow their agenda and not His?

In regards to your contradictions could you clarify just Genesis 4:16 to begin with to help me understand where you are coming from? Look forward to further discussion and others input.

Prayerfully
Mike

3 Likes

Hi Mike. Thanks for getting back to me. And your willingness to shed some light on this matter. Atheist will do anything possible to try and disapprove God and this lets me just look into their questions and try to see where they are coming from. For example Genesis 4:16 says that Cain went away from God’s presence, but God is everywhere, he sees everything and we can never do anything without him knowing. So this contradict the fact that God is everywhere. Thank you again for willingness to help me understand.
Joyve

1 Like

Thanks Joyce, I agree with you on any attempt to dismiss God.

Cain did physically leave the presence of God and journey to the land of Nod east of Eden. As we know God is a Spirit and His presence is of a non physical spiritual nature. So it is true God is every were by His Spirit. Verses 1-16 is a literal conversation, between God and Cain.
For example Luke 3 during the baptism of Jesus all three were present but one couldn’t be seen only heard.
Hope this helps.

Mike

2 Likes

You’re not alone, @njomikami! About atheists, or about apparent contradictions in the Bible.

Recently someone said to me “I don’t believe in god.” (When you speak there is no capital G!) In the Bible it says “The fool says in his heart, there is no god.” When you think about it, this is absolutely right.

“God” is not a name. It is a title, a position. God is anything that dictates your values, that motivates what you think is the most important thing in life, that underlies the choices you make and what you seek in life. It could be fame, money or wealth, pleasure (of whatever kind), power or control, position, security, other people’s love and attention, accomplishment. It could be a “cause,” a principle, an ideology. There can also be a multitude of gods for a person - there may be someone, who at least for a time is our “idol” - someone for whom we would do “anything.” We thereby make them our god. Ultimately, all these things (including the last on the list) are about putting ourselves first. Which means of course, we seek to make ourselves “god.” People who despise themselves, usually do so relative to someone else - whom they consider better, more beautiful, more powerful, more charismatic, more musical, more, more more. This attitude only exposes what it is that they desire, what they value, what they wish they could have … another kind of god.

So those who claim there is no god, delude themselves. Unfortunately.

When it comes to “contradictions” in the Bible, there are many people who can answer better than I can. But what I have found is that often what seem to be contradictions might be in fact:

  • matters of perspective. Two examples: a) stand on a very very long railway line and look at the farthest point you can see. The two rails look like they converge, when you know they don’t. b) Look at a house from the front and you’ll see one thing; go to the side or the back, and you’ll see another - you might even find a garden shed that you couldn’t see at all from the front. So your point of view, or your point of reference may have a very large effect on what you see. Often there is a lot more to something than you see at first glance.

  • matters of translation and/or interpretation. Most of us cannot read the original languages of the Bible. We rely on translations. There is virtually no single word, in all its contextual meanings, that can be translated to one word in another language having all the same meanings. A friend of mine who works with Bible translation wrote recently about a word that was proving difficult to translate - because it was translated differently in all 80 different places in the Bible! I’m pretty sure that in such cases where there is doubt in the minds or the translator(s) they choose the word that fits what they believe to be right, what they believe fits with other scriptures or with their own (collective) theological beliefs.

  • Not only so, all living languages change with time. And some words change a LOT! In the 1600s “awful” meant “full of awe” sort of “full of wonder.” Today it means something horrible. The old “awful” is today’s “awesome” - but what a difference in the very content of the word! This is verbal inflation - “full of awe” has come to be “some awe.” In the 1600s “let” meant to hinder, to stop someone; today it means to allow someone - the opposite. The same word can mean different things to different people or in different contexts. (A funny example: In America you drive on the parkway and park on the driveway!) So, it’s a good idea to read the same passages that you think are contradictory in several different languages. This sometimes helps. But not always.

All the best with your reading and digging. Don’t start by focusing on looking for “contradictions” or things you think can’t be right. Seek to look for what God is trying to say to you, today.

I recommend concentrating first of the life of Jesus Christ, and especially focusing on how his death on Calvary’s cross shows us the true character of God. Then use this image of God to interpret other scriptures. In Hebrew chapter 1 it says that Jesus is the exact representation of God. Jesus told his disciples that all the scriptures point to Him, they all have their fulfilment in Him. In Revelation He is called “the true and faithful witness” - of what? of God. So He is the clue to understanding the true meaning of the Bible. If there seem to be inconsistencies, ask yourself “what else can be going on here, that I don’t see on the surface?”

3 Likes

Hi @njomikami,

Thank you for your question, I think you’re talking about a very important issue. But before I answer, please let me say one thing. Unbelieving is not always it is a matter of facts, because there you have some doctor who smokes! They know that produces cancer but they do that anyway. So, in that sense, many don’t believe in Christianity in spite of the proofs. It is also true that out there are many who have sincere doubts and that’s why we need to be ready to answer them with the truth.

So, let’s go for those Bible “contradictions”. I put those quotation marks, not because I want to be unrespectful to your question, but because whenever we find something that appears to be a contradiction, there is for sure a reasonable explanation. Why is that? Because the Bible is the Word of God and, as Jesus said, He is the Truth, there is no contradiction in Him.

About Genesis 4:16 and Jeremiah 23:23-24, what we find in the Bible is that God is everywhere because of His greatness, but there are few times when He decides to show Him to us in a special way. And you can see that in many parts of the Old Testament (with Cain, with Moses in Exodus 40:34-35, with Solomon in 1Kings 8:10, etc.). And also you see that in the New Testament when the Holy Spirit came to dwell in us. He is everywhere, but dwelling in us means we have an especial relationship with Him, a communion.

About Genesis 6:3 and Genesis 9:29, the right interpretation seems to be that God was not talking about the age of every single human being, but He was talking about that specific generation. He will be patient for 120 years since that declaration. You can see some relation between Genesis 5:32 and Genesis 7:6. So we can say that God decided to erase humanity because of their evilness but Noah found grace (Genesis 6:8).

About Genesis 6:4 and Numbers 13:33. In Genesis, we see a mention of “the Nephilim” and it seems to be a reference to giant men rather than a race. But whatever is the case, the reference in Numbers 13:33 came from the fearful spies so it is an exaggeration of what they really saw, because from there on all the reference to those people is “sons of Anak” (Numbers 13:28, Deuteronomy 1:28, Deuteronomy 9:2, Joshua 11:21). The name “Anak” appears in some ancient Egyptian texts referring to a Palestinian governor and probably the people who live there at that time could be his offspring, but for sure they were very tall.

About Genesis 6:6 and on, and Numbers 23:19-20 and on. What we see in the second group of verses is an eternal truth: there is no variation in God, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And what we have in the first group of verses is what is called “anthropomorphism”, which means that God receives a human characteristic to help us understand what is happening. For example, when we read in Psalms 119:73 “Your hands” we don’t have to spect that God actually has hands, we know He is spirit, and therefore He has not a human body. As well as that last example, the first group of verses expresses something really complex as the intersection between our prayers and the perfect and eternal will of God but in a human level of interaction.

And about Genesis 6:19-22 and Genesis 7:2-5. What we have there is the same case in Genesis 1 and 2. In both chapters we see God creating humans, but we see different narratives, and that’s why because we are not reading a newspaper of our times, we are reading ancient documents. In our century we are used to reading about someone’s declaration in a newspaper a word by word text, but in ancient documents what we have to spect is not a word by word documentation but a summary of the most important (but of course faithful to what was actually said). So in Genesis 1 and 2, we don’t have contradictions but complementation, as same as Genesis 6:19-22 and Genesis 7:2-5.

I hope my answers help you in some way!

Sincerely,
Renzo.

3 Likes

I meant different translations. I don’t know a lot of different languages myself. :wink:
Sorry about that.

2 Likes

I love this explanation. Thank you so much

Hi again Joyce, so glad you moved this here for further input and insight, hope you are enjoying the interaction. There are many great answers and great caring people to engage with. Thank you for sharing hope you are well.

Mike

1 Like

I’m regretting why I did not know about this group of people sooner. I feel like I’m in a free theology school. GOD IS GOOD

1 Like