conflicts & errors in the Bible
Harmonizing apparent biblical conflicts:
Skeptics often point to conflicts within the Bible as proof of biblical errancy.
|Some of these occur
where two passages disagree in their description of the same event or belief.
There are passages in the Bible that state that God punishes
people for the sins of their parents, grand parents, etc. Yet there
are others that state that people are punished only for their own sins.
||Stories in various gospels about the trial(s) of Jesus and the
identity of the women who visited his tomb appear to conflict with
|Other conflicts are related to an apparent conflict between science
and a biblical story:
||The Bible implies in Genesis 9:13 that no rainbows appeared in
the sky before the flood of Noah. Yet rainbows occur because of the
refractive index of water -- a factor that has not changed over
||The Bible states in Joshua 10:13 that the sun stood still in the
sky during a battle. But for this to happen, the earth would have
had to stop rotating. The deceleration forces would have torn the
earth to pieces.
|There are conflicts between parts of the Bible and modern-day
secular and religious standards of morality:
Sections of the Mosaic law would seem to violate the will of
God. Examples are genocide, the rape of female prisoners of war, executing
non-virgin brides, torturing prisoners, etc.
The Bible justifies, condones and regulates human slavery.
The Bible includes instructions by God to commit genocide,
actions by God to kill Jewish leaders who sought a more democratic
If one starts with the foundational belief that the Bible is inerrant and that it is the will of God, with some
creative ingenuity these conflicts can almost always be harmonized.
If you know of an irresolvable
biblical conflict not covered here, please E-mail us. We
Topics covered in this section:
Copyright © 2003 to 2014 by
Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update and review: 2014-NOV-12
Author: B.A. Robinson