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Archive for September 29th, 2020

 

I was asked by a reader to share my thoughts on an article titled “Does Scripture Contain Contradictions?” in which the author suggests the way to deal with the charge that the Bible contain contradictions is to say “the biblical authors were not constrained by the contemporary issue of contradiction” and he developed this in a way that I don’t think is helpful.

Ironically he cites two Bible contradictions to prove his point.  These I will deal with later as part of my ongoing series responding to alleged Bible contradictions.  But for now I want to examine analytically the reasoning of his own view.

His statement is as follows:

Aristotle offered the clearest formulation of what has come to be known as the Law of Noncontradiction: “The most certain of all basic principles is that contradictory propositions are not true simultaneously” (Metaphysics 4.6.1011b 13-14). In other words, Aristotle asserted that opposite statements cannot both be correct at the same time. This Greek philosophical idea remains foundational to modern Western thought, but the ancient writers of Israel’s Scriptures were not beholden to the Law of Noncontradiction. When today’s readers identify what they deem to be contradictions in the Bible, such instances can either trouble the believer or galvanize the critic. However, to apply the notion of “contradiction” to the biblical text constitutes a basic misunderstanding of an ancient Jewish worldview in which opposite assertions could coexist. Although it is difficult for modern minds to conceive of such a worldview, the biblical authors were not constrained by the contemporary issue of contradiction.

After the writer defined the law of non-contradiction as “opposite statements cannot both be correct at the same time” he said “the ancient writers of Israel’s Scriptures were not beholden to the Law of Noncontradiction.” Later in the end of the paragraph he also said “the biblical authors were not constrained by the contemporary issue of contradiction.”  In both quotes it is interesting the guy wrote the quote in bold.

Here’s my response:

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