Point: Sometimes what is found in the skeptics’ list of Bible contradictions are not contradictions but are what appears to be contradictions because the skeptic hasn’t account for the Bible’s use of figure of speech. Of course to bring this point up the skeptics might respond by saying this is a cop-out. But are there are figures of speech we use that appear to be contradictory on the surface level but really they are not?
Picture: Here are two claims:
- For Harry it’s always love at first sight.
- Harry’s pick for relationships are terrible and he doesn’t notice the flaws since Harry’s love is blind.
Are these two sentences contradictory? I would say they are not. Superficially they might look like contradictions if one doesn’t realize that both sentences have figure of speech. Both employ idioms related to sight (or the lack of sight). Someone who does not realize that “love at first sight” and “love is blind” are idioms will say there is a contradictions: For how can someone’s love involve sight and not involve sight at the same time in the same sense?
But that would be silly. When one unpack what those idioms mean we see there’s not a contradiction because they have different sense that’s involved. For instance the idiom “love at first sight” means “an immediate, strong attraction for someone you just met.” “Love is blind” on the other hand means “If you love someone, you cannot see any faults in that person.” The first concerns how one’s interests in someone begins while the second is concerned with when one is in love.
POSSIBLE SCENARIO FOR EMPLOYING THIS ILLUSTRATION DURING APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM
NON-CHRISTIAN: I don’t believe in the Bible because there are Bible contradictions!
CHRISTIAN: Some of those contradictions you are showing me are not contradictions. They are figure of speech that one go deeper to what those figure of speech is saying, they are saying things with different sense and hence are not mutually exclusive and contradictory.
NON-CHRISTIAN: I smell a cop-out. We must look at what it says literally.
CHRISTIAN: I don’t think so. I think we employ the same method in other areas that’s not controversial. Here let me give you an example
CHRISTIAN: Now let me ask you: Is it possible that Harry often falls in love at first sight while often being blinded in his love of his girlfriend’s faults?
CHRISTIAN: Why is it not contradictory? Can you explain?
NON-CHRISTIAN: Well they have different meanings concerning “seeing” and not “seeing.”
CHRISTIAN: Exactly! But what if someone now tells you your examination and analysis of the figure of speech is just a cop-out? How would you feel and respond?
NON-CHRISTIAN: I think they are the ones who are not being analytical and giving the easy cop-out answer.
CHRISTIAN: And that’s the same perspective I have concerning the manner of some of your accusation of Bible contradictions…
(Note: Lord willing this week we will have an example of one such alleged Bible contradiction given by the skeptics that’s resolvable if one understands figure of speech).