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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Did God make some mistakes?

From the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978):

1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God's witness to Himself.

2. Holy Scripture, being God's own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God's instruction, in all that it affirms: obeyed, as God's command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God's pledge, in all that it promises.

3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture's divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.

4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God's acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God's saving grace in individual lives.

5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible's own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.

Does that make God responsible for the mistakes, errors and contradictions listed below?

1. Did David take 700 or 7,000 horseman from King Hadadezer of Zobah? Compare II Samuel 8:4 with I Chronicles 18:4
2. Did King Solomon have 40,000 or 4,000 stalls of horses? Compare I Kings 4:26 with II Chronicles 9:25
3. Did Solomon have 3,300 or 3,600 chief officers over his temple labor force? Compare I Kings 5:16 with II Chronicles 2:2
4. Were there 2,812 or 2,818 people among the children of Pahathmoab, Jeshua and Joab? Compare Ezra 2:6 with Nehemiah 7:11
5. Were there 200 or 245 male and female singers among the exiles who returned from Babylon? Compare Ezra 2:65 with Nehemiah 7:67
6. Did God understand that night and day are the consequence of the earth rotating on its axis as it orbits the sun? Compare Genesis 1:3-5 with Genesis 1:16-19
7. Were Adam and Eve created at the same time or was Eve created later? Compare Genesis 1:26-28 with Genesis 2:21-23
8. Was King Ahaziah buried by his own men in Jerusalem or did Jehu's men bury him after he was executed? Compare II Kings 9:28 with II Chronicles 22:9
9. Did Jeremiah prophesy that God would inspire Cyrus to allow the exiles to return to the Promised Land and rebuild the temple or was it Isaiah? Compare II Chronicles 36:22 and Ezra 1:1 with Isaiah 44:28
10. Was the thirty pieces of silver prophecy delivered by Jeremiah or Zechariah? Compare Matthew 27:9-10 with Zechariah 11:12-13
11. Was Christ's robe scarlet or purple? Compare Matthew 27:28 with John 19:2
12. Did the men who were accompanying Saul/Paul on his way to Damascus hear something or see something? Compare Acts 9:7 with Acts 22:9

As regular readers of this blog will already know, I believe that the writing of Scripture was a joint project between human and Divine. While the Divine part of that equation is perfect, the human part is not. Hence, I believe the answer to my original question is "NO, God is not responsible for these mistakes, errors and contradictions." The men who wrote, copied and preserved them are responsible for them!

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