• Andrew4Handel
    1.2k
    I was brought up to believe that the Bible was infallible and True. Then as a young adult I discovered a website concerning numerous contradictions in the bible.

    Can something that contains contradictions be true and if so what does that mean?

    If you have two statements that contradict each other how can you know which is true.

    I feel that strong contradictions completely undermine the bible and that it is hard to rescue truth from it because of this dilemma.

    A weak contradiction like "John is a peaceful man but occasionally loses his temper is probably possible." Where two claims are not complete incompatible.

    Exposing contradictions seems a tool for exploration and truth in philosophy.
  • tim wood
    2.8k
    I feel that strong contradictions completely undermine the bible and that it is hard to rescue truth from it because of this dilemma.Andrew4Handel
    Before you dismiss the bible, you (seem like a person who) should trouble to come to a clear understanding of what the bible is. That requires at two things, almost certainly more, but these two at least: that you read it, and that you know how to read it. Consider a church with a good sized congregation - a thousand communicants. How many have read the bible? Not read from the bible or read some of or part of the bible, or listened to homilies in church, which is merely the practice of adopting excerpts for agendas that not biblical and that are with respect to the bible, outrageous. How many? I doubt five. Of the five, or if you like, fifty, how may have understood it as a whole? Not this book or that section or that story. How many? In my opinion you'd have to scour a dozen churches to find that individual, and he might not be the minister of any of them!

    Have you read it and can you state you understand it? (And to be sure, understanding it requires knowing how to understand it.) And in addition, you have to sort out your own feelings on the matter. You "feel that "strong contradictions completely undermine the bible." You are absolutely entitled to your feelings. But they are irrelevant to the problem of understanding such a difficult book.

    Indeed, most of the folks who claim to understand it - and usually who try to make money from that self-proclaimed understanding - have merely capitulated on understanding and simply claim that they understand it. Some of these folks, like con-men in any field, can be difficult to deal with.

    If you think the bible is worth it, then do your due diligence. Or if you feel it's not a project you need to or want to worry about in this life, that's perfectly all right too. But your approach at the moment resembles ignorance: why settle for that?
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    I was brought up to believe that the Bible was infallible and True. Then as a young adult I discovered a website concerning numerous contradictions in the bible.Andrew4Handel

    Just an FYI, the Catholic teaching is that the Bible is inherent in its purpose which is the salvation of souls. It is not a history or scientific text. It does not need to be literally true, to be true to its purpose.

    From pope Paul vi encyclical. Dei Verbum

    Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings (5) for the sake of salvation. Therefore "all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind"
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.2k


    I spent my whole childhood having the bible read to me everyday for 17 years.

    I am here referring to explicit contradictions in the bible of which there are many well documented.

    Some contradictions are ethical contradictions such as It says people should not be punished for the sins of their fathers and then it contradicts that. Other contradictions simply disagree on a sequence of events, who was involved and how old they were.

    I am discussing claims of truth here and infallibility. So for example this link highlights all the contradictory versus on whether or not God can be seen.

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/seen.html

    "No man hath seen God at any time". John 1:18, 1 John 4:12

    The Lord talked with you [the people of Israel] face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire. Deuteronomy" 5:4

    I don't see how you can derive any notion of truth from the degree of contradictions seen in the bible. However I would agree that people can live lives with contradiction and based on fantasy if you want to defend an allegorical version of religion. But a bomb disposal expert and such like could not afford to be given such contradictory instructions.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.2k
    If someone wants to refute the claim that the bible contradicts itself then they can prove that by refuting a given example of a contradiction.

    But what concerns me here is when you do have a contradiction how you maintain or discover the truth. In science I think they can test a hypothesis by empirical means. So evidence will prove or disprove a claim.

    Logical analysis can show that two statements are incompatible but not necessarily which is true. but not all contradictory claims can be resolved by empirical evidence.

    Personally I feel happy to reject something once I find a logical inconsistency or contradiction inhering and would need a lot of persuasion to think otherwise. I would not take a Pascal type of wager on something which was illogical. that is to say I would not take a risk on or put faith in an incoherence.

    (On another note can a computation contain a contradiction?)
  • Bitter Crank
    8k
    "No man hath seen God at any time". John 1:18, 1 John 4:12

    The Lord talked with you [the people of Israel] face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire. Deuteronomy" 5:4
    Andrew4Handel

    Yes, literally contradictory. Oh dear, God screwed up. Woe is you!

    Look, if you don't want to believe that the Bible is the word of God, that's fine by me. But if you want to build a case against the Bible (for whatever reason) you should come up with something more substantial and compelling than a few contradictions.

    Personally, I don't believe the Bible is the word of god. The Bible is the word of serious people who believed in god, and were invested in the whole holiness project. For that matter, I don't believe all that much in god, either. I have nothing against people who take the Bible seriously and believe in god. Many hands were involved in writing the Bible -- both OT and NT, so we should not be at all surprised that there are contradictions. Maybe even factual errors! We weren't there; most of the Biblical writers weren't there either. They were, in most cases, writing about times gone by before they were born.
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    A book in totality may be inconsistent but there may be true claims in it.

    I mean the Bible has many elements - historical claims, moral claims, scientific claims, etc.

    Isn't it sensible to evaluate each category separately rather than condemn the entire book because of a falsehood in one of them.

    Also, as @Bitter Crank said the Bible is the work of many authors. Some could've made mistakes but that doesn't mean everything in it is a lie.

    "One rotten apple spoils the whole bunch'' is a very dangerous logical fallacy called hasty generalization.

    But I understand your concern because some claim the Bible is infallible and the literal truth transmitted from God. If that's what you disagree with then you're right it can't be, as some would like, ''infallible''.
  • BrianW
    799
    Perhaps start with basic queries like,

    why should the bible be infallible?
    is human understanding absolute? If not, how can anyone judge anything to be infallible?
    does the bible need to be infallible to offer appreciable teachings?
    what are you seeking in the bible?
    how/what/who determines truth for you?


    Now, Kalamas, don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’
    When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness’ — then you should enter & remain in them.
    (From Kalama Sutta)

    - In the above quote, the Buddha is talking to some people who live near his home country. These people, the Kalamas, are confused by the multiplicity of teachings that they hear. Many teachers arrive, who extoll their own teachings and disparage the teachings of others. And the Kalamas want to know, “Which of these venerable brahmans and contemplatives are speaking the truth, and which ones are lying?”


    I think the key teaching is when the Buddha says, "when you know for yourselves... ". In other words, you need to determine right and wrong, logical and illogical, fallible and infallible, etc, all on your own so as to determine which path is best for you to walk.
  • Jake
    1.4k
    It does not need to be literally true, to be true to its purpose.Rank Amateur

    Like art. Typically entirely fictional, but often shining a useful light on truths about the human condition.

    And the truth may be that we don't really want the truth, but rather a story which fits comfortably within our flavor of mind. So for example, if a person is mechanically minded by nature they are likely to reach for a story which paints all of reality as being mechanical in nature too, because then that person feels at home.
  • unenlightened
    3.7k
    I was brought up to believe that the Bible was infallible and True.Andrew4Handel

    strong contradictions completely undermine the bibleAndrew4Handel

    It seems right to say that they completely undermine infallibility. Rather as a proof of contradiction undermines the truth of (at least one of) the premises from which it proceeds. But we already know that Jesus spoke in parables, and that parables are not intended to be taken as literally true, but more as thought experiments.

    I used to command my two year-old daughter not to cross the road without holding my hand, but I was surprised and somewhat dismayed to meet the local doctor's daughter aged 14, still following the same commandment from her father. (This is both literally true, and a parable, and might illustrate that an apparent contradiction may be simply the result of having to speak to all people of all ages at the same time.)

    But we know, of our own age, that even the holiest and most inspired of men are fallible, so why should we believe, like two-year-olds of their father, that our forebears were? And why should we accept or reject the whole on the basis of the least imperfection? Morality and spirituality are not logic and mathematics.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.2k
    But if you want to build a case against the Bible (for whatever reason) you should come up with something more substantial and compelling than a few contradictions.Bitter Crank

    It is not a few contradictions it is numerous contradictions on key doctrines which make it totally incoherent.

    Should people be punished for the sins of their fathers? The Bible gives conflicting answers definitely Yes and definitely No.

    Should people be killed definitely yes and definitely no.

    Is salvation permanent? Both yes and No.

    Is marriage a good thing ? Yes or No

    Is God the author of confusion? Definitely yes and definitely no.

    How many examples do you want? On top of the "contradictions" criticism there is the cruelty and genocide criticism and much more.

    But I do not think it is possible to claim you understand the bible when faced with stark contradictions if you claim this I think it is simply a personal fantasy equivalent to someone saying how they understand that a triangle can be a circle.

    I am not criticizing the bible per se but asking how you can derive truths from contradiction and asking why you shouldn't reject something highly contradictory.

    I think you can select single inspirational verses from the bible but then these in context will be contradicted elsewhere. As someone who grew up in a hell and damnation religious environment I am not happy to face years of threat and intimidation based on a highly suspect definitely incoherent and contradictory text.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.2k
    Like art. Typically entirely fictional, but often shining a useful light on truths about the human condition.Jake

    The problem is religion has been the source of atrocities as well as more positive things. If something is wrong and inspires cruelty then I think the problems need highlighting.

    What I would be attacking hear is biblical literalism. But even if one is not a biblical literalist there are still problematic verses in the bible.
  • DingoJones
    839


    I think you have it right, the bible contradicts itself many times and you are correct to be skeptical. It isnt really the best book or among the best books in any of the topics it covers. It get science, history, morality and wisdom wrong more often than not and there are much better books covering those areas.
    Just becuase the bible is a bunch of primitive nonsense doesnt mean you have to abandon belief in god, but its a pretty good reason to be very skeptical of religions. Without that early childhood brain washing you grew up with, nobody with any kind of mental faculty would take that book seriously. (Except as a historical footnote maybe)
  • Jake
    1.4k
    The problem is religion has been the source of atrocities as well as more positive things. If something is wrong and inspires cruelty then I think the problems need highlighting.Andrew4Handel

    I agree, but...

    I first have to ask you if we are going also going to be highlighting the mass slaughter of millions by explicitly atheist regimes in the 20th century. If yes, then I would accept your proposal as being a function of reason. If not, then I would define it as mere ideology.

    Next, let's keep in mind that religion is the largest cultural event in human history, and thus contains within itself both the best and worst of what humanity is. So a formula such as religion=atrocities would be essentially meaningless, just as a formula like human=atrocities contributes little to a useful conversation.
  • tim wood
    2.8k
    I spent my whole childhood having the bible read to me everyday for 17 years.Andrew4Handel
    So, you haven't read it? And I am pretty sure you do not understand it - as a whole book. Disagree? One or two simple sentences is all it takes to limn the overall theme of the bible, and if you've got it, you've got it!

    I'm with , above. You're the master of your own regard for the book and its contents. But at the moment your regard for that book is alike to the engineers's that aver that bumblebees cannot fly! If it helps, think of the bible as you might the love of your life: perfect in your eyes (i.e., with respect to the purposes of its authors) while at the same time admittedly flawed to the eye of a neutral observer.

    But you're also concerned with the overall logic of the thing.
    Can something that contains contradictions be true and if so what does that mean?
    If you have two statements that contradict each other how can you know which is true.
    Exposing contradictions seems a tool for exploration and truth in philosophy.
    Andrew4Handel
    And within here is a central insight, although many are old before they get it, and some never do. Logic is a tool. Logic is a tool, and that's all it is. And you will gain more of a feel for the significance of this if you also apply another tool to your three sentences: definition. Not definition as found in the dictionary or a textbook; those are usually good but not to the point I'm making. But rather you thinking through your own thinking so that you know as exactly as possible what it is you are exactly thinking about! What in your sentences and the thinking they represent does "true" and "truth" mean? What do they have to do with "contradiction"? What is the relation (in your thinking) between these and "truth in philosophy"? Untie these - or somehow cut them - and a lot of other knots will fall away loosed. Fail to do so and your words - this is harsh but true - will never be more than rant.
  • BrianW
    799
    It is not a few contradictions it is numerous contradictions on key doctrines which make it totally incoherent.Andrew4Handel

    I think people have an inclination towards laziness. They want those leaders to do everything for them. But as king Solomon says in proverbs, "a person gains wisdom for themselves" (paraphrasing). This means everybody has to develop the capacity to understand life in themselves.

    Should people be punished for the sins of their fathers? The Bible gives conflicting answers definitely Yes and definitely No.Andrew4Handel

    Yes, some people will suffer the consequences of those they're associated with. Those who can avoid it, should and often do. It's all a part of being in situations and relations.

    Should people be killed definitely yes and definitely no.Andrew4Handel

    Some endeavours e.g. political, could not avoid conflict/violence. Some e.g. religious, could avoid conflict/violence (maybe not always but the propagators often attempted the path of least conflict/violence as best as they could).

    Is salvation permanent? Both yes and No.Andrew4Handel

    Those who maintain discipline retain their merits. Those who do not, lose theirs. It also applies to fitness and exercise.

    Is marriage a good thing ? Yes or NoAndrew4Handel

    Marriage is for those who understand companionship. Those who fill their relationships with negatives (fears, lust, greed, egotism, unhealthy dependence, etc) should not be married. People come together to help each other become better by overcoming personal limitations with the help of the companion, not to drag each other into personal muck.


    Neither God nor the bible's teachings stop humans from being and doing what they choose to. The prophets and leaders of the bible were more intelligent than the average of the masses who received those teachings. They seemed to understand the implications of their endeavours (psychologically, socially, politically, etc). For example, when God told Moses that He would send him on the mission, Moses had the presence of mind to question God on his own weakness (stammering) and the strength of the idea (since even the egyptians could perform magic and were stronger politically than the israelites).

    Later on, Jesus simplifies the ten commandments into two edicts (something which the religious leaders of the time considered to be heresy of the highest order):
      [1.] love God whole-heartedly
      [2.] love others as own self

    Jesus also taught that the laws were made for man not vice-versa. Unfortunately, this is something we're yet to learn. We're not slaves to our laws (or doctrines), instead, the laws are our servants. They do our bidding. Laws have no power over human will because it's human will which upholds the laws. The ideal is that we should keep transforming laws in such ways that uphold human unity, harmony and freedom. Unfortunately, we are not ideal humans and it takes a while for ideal teachings to attain their respective applications in human activities.

    None of the prophets considered their predecessors teachings to be absolute. Instead, they diligently interpreted them with respect to their own circumstances instead of using them as a rigid and unyielding codex. I believe we should learn to do the same. For example, in the mosaic era, God teaches the israelites which animals to eat and which not to. Later on, with Simon Peter, God teaches that everything is suitable as long as God has determined it. Basically, it teaches the need for dealing with situations on a case by case basis according to the merits of the individual aspects instead of a blanket assumption.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.2k
    Yes, some people will suffer the consequences of those they're associated with. Those who can avoid it, should and often do. It's all a part of being in situations and relations.BrianW

    This what the bible actually says in Exodus 20:5

    " I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me."

    These people are being deliberately punished not suffering by association to someone else's bad deeds.

    But then in Ezekiel 18;20 it claims:

    "The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. "

    There are many more passages in the Bible on the same topic with contradictory claims. So it is the same contradictory claims repeated several times leaving no way to chose which doctrine is true and no real ambiguity but just direct contradictions. An action can not be justified by citing one scripture without being undermined by another scripture.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.2k


    The contradictions in the bible are real contradictions that cannot be resolved.

    Your idea that you understand the bible more than X is simply a delusion in my opinion. I think it is impossible to understand something that does not make sense.

    It is a common (psychologically manipulative) tactic to claim that people who have a differing opinion on the bible than you have not read it in the right way. If I had read Harry Potter everyday for 17 years every day it is certain that I would know a lot about the book. Contradictions are an important source of biblical critique and questioning the meaning of the bible. Ignoring contradictions is gross ignorance or denial in my opinion.

    You don't have to be an atheist or ruthless logician to see glaring problems and I have highlighted the the main problem of completely incompatible and contradictory claims and I am only criticizing biblical literalism and truth claims here not alternative analysis of biblical meaning.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.2k
    I first have to ask you if we are going also going to be highlighting the mass slaughter of millions by explicitly atheist regimes in the 20th century. If yes, then I would accept your proposal as being a function of reason. If not, then I would define it as mere ideology.Jake

    This thread is explicitly about contradictions and truth. If you want to highlight contradictory beliefs and untruths in atheist, secular and communist regimes you are free to do so.
    I mentioned atrocities as being a strong incentive to critically assess religion but that can apply to any belief.

    You cannot successfully defend religious atrocities by pointing out other atrocities. Two wrongs don't make a right.

    However I have personal experience here that is relevant. I was preached to about hell every week in church in Gospel meetings. I also went to church up to 5 times a week and I was told homosexuality was evil and I am also gay.
    So after having been forced to sit through so much religion being made to live in fear of hell and damnation and being made to feel awful and paranoid about my sexuality and now having faced life long problems it is very valid and important to me to ascertain the truth of religious claims that are threatening and condemning me.

    On the other hand if another doctrine like science does not claim to be infallible it can not be charged with a making such claims. Science can make false claims and damaging claims but it won't or can't defend them on the grounds of infallibility and it can discard such claims (eventually). So I have focused on religions because they are the main source of infallibility claims and make some of the biggest most life altering claims.
  • Bitter Crank
    8k
    This what the bible actually says in Exodus 20:5

    " I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me."
    Andrew4Handel
    But then in Ezekiel 18;20 it claims:

    "The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. "
    Andrew4Handel

    Yes, there is no squaring this circle. The two verses are contradictory. But you know the Bible is a collection of texts from different authors and editors, and composed at different times and places. One could observe that the Ezekiel text displays a more generous system of judgement than the Exodus verse. One of the flaws of fundamentalist literalism is that it assigns a single voice (god) to the entire text. That assumption sets up the reader for trouble when he compares texts. There is no contradiction if the text was composed by various people over time. If God dictated the story, then there are big problems. People have to decide for themselves what it was.

    What I would be attacking hear is biblical literalism.Andrew4Handel

    By all means, attack Biblical literalism which, you know, is the fault of the reader, not the text.

    Reading the Bible cover to cover 10 times might be worthwhile, but it will not, in itself, instruct one in hermeneutics, the branch of knowledge that deals with interpretation, especially of the Bible or literary texts.

    I think I've mentioned once or twice, here and there, that I don't believe the Bible is the Word of God. I understand it to be a sacred narrative, composed over time under varying circumstances. It was not composed over an expanse of time from Adam to Revelations. The book of Exodus wasn't composed during the exodus period. Exodus is a story - a narrative. So is Matthew. The people who composed, edited, and recorded the narratives were always dealing with current conditions, current issues, current thinking.
  • Hanover
    4.7k
    No man hath seen God at any time". John 1:18, 1 John 4:12

    The Lord talked with you [the people of Israel] face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire. Deuteronomy" 5:4
    Andrew4Handel

    That's not a contradiction. Just because God was all up in someone's face doesn't mean they saw him.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.2k


    You must be aware that some Christians believe in the Hell Doctrine?

    What I am concerned with is how someone trying to be a Christian could know that they were doing the right thing to avoid hell and similar dilemmas.

    I am aware of the wide variety of approaches to the bible. Obviously the biggest concern is minimizing harm from fundamentalists in all walks of life.

    The wider issue though is what the role of contradiction is in truth seeking.
  • Hanover
    4.7k
    Who holds Ezekiel to be the inerrant word of God, though? That claim is usually limited to the 5 books of Moses, and even then, few sects even allow for that.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.2k


    It is true that someone may not have seen God but they may have spoken to him however there are many verses where people actual saw God and didn't just speak to him.

    I think the problem of interpretation does not have a solution though. It does say in the bible that "God is not the author of confusion" if people do not find the bible makes sense or can have multiple meanings or interpretations then that is a confusion.

    I am happy to reject the bible as an authority because of these issues. But I am also happy to reject any claims on this grounds.
  • Bitter Crank
    8k
    As someone who grew up in a hell and damnation religious environment I am not happy to face years of threat and intimidation based on a highly suspect definitely incoherent and contradictory text.Andrew4Handel

    As well you should not! I grew up in a mainline Protestant (Methodist) home, where the Bible was taken seriously. I went to Sunday school, church, believed, etc. I was homosexual and this caused no end of internal conflict for a long time. I was stuck between God saying homosexuality is an abomination and being myself that abomination. There are three solutions; I used all three. The first is to just ignore the Bible and the church. Cruise the parks, go home with gay guys from the bar, all that, and ignore the religious message I was raised with. The second approach is hermeneutics: Ancient semitic cultures did not have a concept of "sexual orientation". People were supposed to marry the opposite sex, period. (I won't review the whole hermeneutics thing.) That helped; it enabled me to be active in religious groups where gays were accepted. Back in the 1970s that was in gay religious organizations. The third approach is rejection: I am gay and good, the Bible is wrong, so be it. If that's how the churches are thinking, then to hell with it. This approach works too. It can be difficult for dyed in the wool Christians to reject their religious system, but it can be done.

    My siblings (all older than me, I'm 72, the oldest one still living is 80) are pretty much against gay people being accepted. They are mostly pretty conservative Republicans, to boot. They accept me, but that doesn't generalize to homosexuals in general, and how much they accept me is open to question.

    Now I look at Christendom and the Bible from the outside in, much more than the inside out, and that's much better.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.2k

    Claims of inerrancy are made in different ways by different people so you can treat each one based on its own claims. But I did not intend to examine every claim of contradiction in the bible here discuss how you can find the truth amidst contradictory claims.

    As a child and teenage Christian I always gave the most positive and generous interpretation of the Bible and focused on verses like "Judge not lest ye be judged" and "turn the other cheek". I never understood why certain people gravitated towards the most extreme or harmful claims in the bible over the many options for a gentler approach.

    But usually the reason giving for focus on the damnation type bits is based on the claim of innerrancy.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    Not exactly sure what the objective of your position is.

    is it:

    My reading of the bible contains contradictions I can not reconcile and as such, i can not accept if is the inspired word of a perfect God -

    or

    When I read the bile I see contradictions, I also believe it is the inspired word of God, can you all help me to reconcile the contradictions ?

    or

    none of the above
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.2k
    It can be difficult for dyed in the wool Christians to reject their religious system, but it can be done.Bitter Crank

    It seems to be literalism that makes people reject Christianity/Judaism/Islam etc.

    I was taught Literalism and that is probably led me to reject the whole thing.

    But Literalists actually have said either you believe it all or you reject it all. I was put in the position either to accept or reject it all.

    It does seem that a lot of people want certainty including in science , academics and politics et al or they speak in certainties.

    I am an agnostic about everything happy to be proved wrong. But can you really function with this level of skepticism? Where are the other agnostics and true skeptics that don't succumb to some kind of fundamentalism or dogma or certainty?
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.2k
    none of the aboveRank Amateur

    My objective is how to find truth in the midst of conflicting or contradictory claims.

    I think we all face the dilemma of finding truth when there are so many claims on the table that are not all compatible.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    Than I think the verse to start with is John 18:38
  • BrianW
    799
    This what the bible actually says in Exodus 20:5

    " I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me."
    Andrew4Handel


    It's not about a literal translation. Coz then God would be no better than a human when He succumbs to jealousy. The whole statement from which that part is captioned is about God being distinguished from all others. I have read translations which say that the word 'jealous' isn't exactly right since the true meaning should imply that God sets Himself apart from others (in terms of being unlimited).
    The part about generations refers to cultural heritage and how it is passed down from parent to progeny. Otherwise, why would God assume that the third and fourth generation would hate him. Or why won't God punish the fifth and sixth generations? It just refers to how negativity are passed down to the succeeding generations who end up suffering because of the mistakes or lack of due diligence of their predecessors in making things right. It also goes on to say that God would show love to a thousand generations of those who love him. I think that's pretty clearly symbolic language. It just means that for those who live right the world is your oyster. The word 'thousand' just implies an unspecific and long amount of time kinda like how we now use 'gazillion'.

    The difference between Moses and Ezekiel (and other prophets and leaders in the Bible) is the means they had to achieve their goals which also reflected greatly in the directives they gave to the masses. Moses was trying to instill the 'fear' of the Lord or Law in them (because they were developing their own nation or government) and that was the language he used to express how important obedience was. At the time of Ezekiel, there was a lot of misunderstandings concerning the Mosaic law and there was also influence from the babylonians which means there was outside influence questioning the logic of the israelites culture and religions. So, there was a need to show the israelites what God's justice looked like on a personal basis instead of the outrageous (in the sense that it was meant to coerce through force of emotion instead of understanding) interpretation they had derived from the mosaic laws. And this is something that was often repeated by other prophets including Jesus.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment