Friday, April 25, 2014

Demolishing Contradictions

Answers in Genesis has provided a host of helpful resources for our family's education and spiritual growth. Their unapologetic stance on a literal, 6 day creation, careful attention to quality, and dedication to producing articles on movies, scientific discoveries, and cultural events have really helped us grow in apologetics over the years.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of reading one of their publications, Demolishing Contradictions. It was a huge encouragement and affirmation of my understanding of the Bible, and today I would like to share it with all of you. :)

The Book
Looking for Bible contradictions can be the non-Christian's biggest form of attack, and the Christian's most frightening 'what if' in daily devotions. After all, the apostle Paul said: "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins." (1 Corinthians 15:17) Both Christians and non-Christians realize that our Bible needs to be true at every point for God's standards to hold true.

What if the Bible isn't trustworthy? Then our faith is futile, and we are still in our sins. And one of the biggest ways critics try to persuade believers that our faith is futile is by searching for contradictions in the Book we base our faith on.

Answers in Genesis called together their team of scholars to discuss some of the most common Bible contradictions in this book, Demolishing Contradictions. They divide the alleged contradictions into five sections ranging from Genesis to the Kings era, the Prophets, the Gospels, and the Letters, and explain confusions that many people have. Issues include why a loving God would order the complete slaughter of Jericho, the differences in the Luke and Matthew chronologies, whether or not Abel ate meat, how God can say he doesn't change his mind when Moses persuaded him not to kill the Israelites; and how God could say all our sins are forgiven, and then state that there is an unforgivable sin. (This last one took me years to understand correctly.)

These contradictions and many more, along with their answers, are put together in a powerful resource that grants clarity, helps Christians understand that the Bible is infallible, and equips creationists to answer critics when the authority of the Word of God is under attack.
 
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
~1 Corinthians 15:19-22 [emphasis mine]

My Thoughts
The book is worth it simply for Jason Lisle's introduction. I'm glad to have it just for those few pages. Contradictions, Lisle says, are 'a serious allegation against the Christian worldview, and we must be prepared to defend the Bible against such claims.' Before the authors start going through specific contradictions, Lisle explains several logical fallacies that many critics use to create false contradictions, and how to tell the difference between a logical question, and an illogical claim. Going through issues such as proper context, creating false dilemmas, sweeping generalizations, and several other problems, Lisle explains the tactics that some critics use to attack the Christian worldview, and how we can recognize and refute them.

Only after that foundation is laid do the authors proceed to answer specific contradictions.

I've read several different resources that attempt to explain 'alleged' Bible contradictions, and the fault with many of them is that they are simply too long and detailed. When an explanation leaves you more confused than ever, it only serves to reinforce your doubt, and answers on Bible contradictions need to be simple and extra-clear. Fortunately, Answers in Genesis avoided the pitfall of confusion; their answers are short, to the point, and easy to grasp. There were a couple of answers that I still did not understand completely, but interestingly enough, they both had the same author involved, so it could have been more due to the author's way of wording things than the answer itself.

The contradictions they chose to include in this book were relevant, and the answers were honest. If it might be a scribe's error, they said so. If they didn't know for sure, they said that also--but every question had at least a plausible answer or two that would take the contradiction away.

This book answered many of my questions, and I hope to read the second volume soon to answer even more.

My brother and I took many of the principles we learned from AiG's ministry and applied them to other areas of interest we had. I use a lot of apologetics principles in writing articles for this blog, and again and again I find myself referring back to things I learned from their books and dvds. My brother developed and taught his own extensive apologetics series called 3:15 Defenders, based in part off of books purchased at the Creation Museum, though most of it was his own work. We've been greatly blessed by AiG resources, and if you've never checked them out, you can find a host of articles, videos, and books at www.answersingenesis.org

Thanks be to God, His Word has stood the test of time, archaeological discoveries, debate, and countless attacks, just as infallible and relevant today as it was when the canon of Scripture was first put together.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. ~Matthew 24:35
 
If you have ever come across something in Scripture that seems to be contradictory, there are answers. AiG has Demolishing Contradictions 1 and 2, which I highly recommend, though I've only read the first volume. Even if you already know the answers, the books will give you concise and short answers to pass on to others.
 
And if these books don't cover everything you're wondering about, God is still able to provide the answers to your questions. He delights to uphold His Word to those who seek after Him. His promises are sure, His Word is infallible, and it shall stand after all its critics bow the knee to Jesus Christ. We can trust it, and trust the One who gave it to us.
 
It's a precious thing to be able to have one book we can rely on completely.
 
Blessings,
Lady Bibliophile


4 comments:

  1. I really want to read this book soon! It's on my list... It sounds like such a beneficial read.
    Of course, there will always be "contradictions" that we probably will never know the answers to here on earth. I think that's part of "walking by faith, not by sight." But it's nice to have a book like this where a lot of them are taken care of. :) I appreciate ministries like Answers in Genesis who want to help believers stand firm in their faith and who have answers to equip them. Great review! :D
    Love,
    Sister

    P.S. And someday I'd like to ride the ziplines at the Creation Museum. XD

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    1. I was going to suggest this one to you...or maybe I already have. :) I like your point about walking by faith; after all, God and His thoughts and ways can never be fully grasped by fallible humans. But he has been kind to reveal as much to us as He has. :)

      Aw, maybe someday we can! I think that would be a fun experience, to try the ziplines. :D

      Love,
      Sister

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  2. This sounds very good.
    I appreciate Answers in Genesis for their contributions to the world of Christian apologetics, but even more for their humble carefulness to keep first things first. The Gospel is always more important than winning arguments. That's why I love their ministry.
    Thanks for the great review!

    ~The Philologist

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    1. One of my favorite things about Ken Ham's debate with Bill Nye was that he stuck to the Gospel from beginning to end. Bill kept trying to derail him from using the Bible, and switch to using human science, but Ken Ham wouldn't relinquish the most important tool in his arsenal--the Sword of the Word. Some people criticized him for that, but I think that was the best plan--honor God, and let Him use the words to touch the hearts of those He chooses. :)

      ~Schuyler

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