Ask a Christian Part 1: Biblical Contradiction, Sinful Judgement, and Religious Fish Magnets

FAQ – Friends Ask Questions

I was thinking of what the topic of my next post should be when I had an idea. Why not make an offer, on my personal Facebook page, for anyone who knows me to ask any question they would like regarding Christianity or God? If you know me personally, or have read my post you know I am not a biblical scholar of any kind; however, I do have a passion for deepening my relationship with God through better understanding of my Christian trust. I figured worst case scenario I would have to do a tremendous amount of research to answer something deeply complex… which is a good thing really! Well, one of my high school buddies obliged. I have posted each of his questions below, in his words, along with my response. So begins “Ask a Christian Part 1”:

“OK, why does the bible contradict itself?”

James Warner Wallace (a cold-case homicide detective, former atheist, and current Christian Apologist) has a great article about perceived biblical contradictions on his site pleaseconvinceme.com. While I have provided the link to the article in this post I will summarize here as well. Wallace offers 10 principles that are helpful in understanding that perceived contradictions are not actual contradictions:

  1. Approach the scripture with a fair (i.e. open) attitude. While we (believers and non believers alike) are all biased in one form or another we should read the Bible with as much objectivity as possible.
  2. Find out what the original said. Wallace explains that while we obviously do not have the original manuscripts, we have very accurate translations. We should check out the various translations to get a full understanding of the intent of a passage.
  3. Find out what a particular verse or piece of scripture means by understanding the context, and additional biblical references. We get a lot of twisted scripture (scripture taken out of context, and its meaning altered) by folks unwilling to go the extra mile on this.
  4. Imprecise does not equal wrong. Yes, the Bible rounds some numbers… just like nobody actually waited in line at Wal-Mart for like a million years!
  5. Quotes are not meant to be verbatim. Oftentimes the author is just indicating that someone referenced a specific part of the Old Testament.
  6. Multiple perspectives do not equal contradiction. The various books of the bible were written by a variety of individuals respectively. Perspectives may vary slightly, but the facts remain the same.
  7. Though divinely inspired, the Bible was written by earthly people, so common language is used.
  8. Just because the Bible describes something, it doesn’t meant that God approves it. the Bible is actually quite clear about the types of human behavior God commands.
  9. Don’t sweat the copyist errors. Wallace explains his point by explaining 2 Samuel 8:3-4 states David took 700 horsemen, while 1 Chronicles 18:3-4 states David took 7,000 horsemen. Really though, how important is this piece?
  10. God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and perfectly good. Only He is in a position to make decisions such as those described in the Old Testament.

I would be happy to address any specific perceived contradictions to the best of my ability, but I thought J. Wallace’s (thank you to J. Warner Wallace for doing all of the heavy lifting on this one) article gave a nice summary of why the Bible is non-contradictory.

“Why are the people who live by the bible the ones quickest to judge. Isn’t that a sin?”

OK, we have a two part-er here. I am going to start with the second part first.

2 Timothy 4:1-2 states:

1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

As Christians we are called to judge… especially fellow Christians! However, we are also warned not to criticize the sins of others when we are committing the very same sins, or worse! This is why Jesus said:

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:5 ESV)

With that said, I would assume my friend is referring to those who are calling themselves “Christians”, but not actually living the life of a Christian. Thus, we have one of the top “reasons” (i.e. excuses) why people do not go to church. The truth of the matter is we are all imperfect sinners. Regardless of your worldview you will be able to find folks who fail to see the proverbial log in their own eye. You will see this in a far lesser degree from true Christians.

“What’s with the fish? What is that a symbol for?”

Elesha Coffman wrote a decent article on this topic at christianitytoday.com. Coffman explains the fish symbol has theological overtones, such as when Jesus fed the 5,000 with 2 fish and five loaves of bread. Coffman goes on to further explain the following (which I believe is the reason the fish symbol took off like it did):

Greeks, Romans, and many other pagans used the fish symbol before Christians. Hence the fish, unlike, say, the cross, attracted little suspicion, making it a perfect secret symbol for persecuted believers. When threatened by Romans in the first centuries after Christ, Christians used the fish mark meeting places and tombs, or to distinguish friends from foes. According to one ancient story, when a Christian met a stranger in the road, the Christian sometimes drew one arc of the simple fish outline in the dirt. If the stranger drew the other arc, both believers knew they were in good company. Current bumper-sticker and business-card uses of the fish hearken back to this practice.

Pretty interesting really.

In Closing

That is all of the questions my buddy had for me. Hopefully this shed some light on the questions he posed. As always, I am up for further discussion on any of the above topics. I hope that others will follow suit, and post some additional questions for me. If so, I look forward to writing Ask a Christian Part 2! Until then I remain…

believinforareason

44 thoughts on “Ask a Christian Part 1: Biblical Contradiction, Sinful Judgement, and Religious Fish Magnets

  1. Both gospels, Matthew and Luke contain genealogies which are both Joseph’s and the ONLY intent was to show that he was a flesh and blood descendant of king David. The reason for this was to convince that Jesus was qualified to be the Messiah — being a biological son of Joseph. Then immediately after it states that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born. This is an ACTUAL CONTRADICTION and nothing at all perceived.

    Like

    • Great comment Doug. Promise I will not leave you hanging long. I will post my response tomorrow when I have some time to sit down, and explain this apparent contradiction. Thanks for taking the time to read my post, and leave a comment.

      Like

    • My comment was about biblical contradictions as this was part of the topic of this post. This is a contradiction pure and simple — no way to explain it away. It is NOT an “apparent” contradiction, it’s an actual contradiction. Either one or the other is false, or they are both false. But they can not both be true. This is the most grave contradiction in the bible, and most Christians have never seen it.

      Like

      • Doug,

        I can see that you are passionate about this point. Furthermore, I can understand why you see this as an actual contradiction as opposed to a perceived contradiction. However, I must disagree with your contention, and I present the following logic for doing so.

        To recap your contention, you have pointed out that Matthew 1:1-17 offers a genealogy for Jesus, while Luke 3:23-38 also contains a genealogy for Jesus, yet varies from that which is found in Matthew. Additionally, you have stated that the only intention of the respective genealogies “was to show that he [Jesus] was a flesh and blood descendant of king David”. I would like to point out that you have made a specific assumption in your contention that the intent of both genealogies was to establish the physical bloodlines of Jesus. I could say your opinion shows bias, but in truth every opinion must show bias lest it not be an opinion. As you mentioned, some folks (regardless of worldview) may not be familiar with the two genealogies, or folks may be aware, but have not taken the time to truly read through either of them. As such, I have included a graphic showing the two genealogies with the commonalities (pre-king David) in the grouping on top, and with the differences split out.

        Genealogies of Jesus

        I am not a well studied historian of the Bible (something I plan on remedying over time), but I have found some information that differs from your contention. I offer the following excerpt from the HCSB Apologetics Study Bible:

        3:23-38 Luke and Matthew differed considerably in their recording of Jesus’ genealogy. Some have suggested that Luke gave Jesus’ descent through Mary, but this solution has not been accepted by the majority of scholars. Perhaps Matthew gave the legal line of descent, while Luke gave teh physical line of descent (i.e., of Joseph, but not literally of Jesus – see note on vv. 23-24), both with allowances for adoptions, levirate marriages, or transference of inheritance rights from one parallel line to another in the absence of children. Though all harmonizing solutions are conjectural, they demonstrate that the two genealogies are not inherently incompatible.

        3:23-24 Though Jesus was not the physical descendant of Joseph, He was the legal heir through adoption. Luke lists Heli as the father of Joseph, but Mt 1:16 lists Jacob. Jacob and Heli may have been near relatives, with Heli’s son Joseph becoming Jacob’s heir when the latter died childless. Or, if Heli was the father of Mary and if she was his sole heir, then Joseph, his son-in-law, could have been considered his heir.

        As you can see the validity of calling the two genealogies an actual contradiction versus an apparent contradiction is really based on how you approach the scripture. If approached with a mind set on proving the Bible incorrect then certainly one can construe contradictions abound; however, if approached with a mind set open to learning, understanding, and research one is more apt to gain a clearer understanding of scripture.

        While I mentioned earlier in my response that every opinion is inherently biased I would suggest that greater clarity of understanding can be achieved when one does not automatically disregard possible conclusions. If one assumes an particular thing can only be correct or incorrect than that individual has omitted a critical possibility that the thing in question could be something in between correct or incorrect. For example, if a ball was in a room a question could be posed to determine if the ball were green, or blue, but could the ball not be aqua? Or emerald? I contend it is a matter of how open the observer is to potentialities. Until a thing is proved definitively additional possibilities always exist.

        In this case I find insufficient evidence to indicate the two genealogies are contradictory, as the actual intent of each is not established. As such, I hold that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. And because of that I will continue to be

        believinforareason.

        Thanks Doug

        Like

      • Believin,
        I think you have misunderstood my position, so I’ll try and be clear. Matthew’s genealogy shows Joseph’s physical bloodline. The genealogy in Luke is also Joseph’s, however I am NOT stating that the two are contradictory. According to historical record (and I can supply you with the reference) “Heli died childless”, Jacob, Joseph’s father married Heli’s widow resulting in the birth of Joseph. Therefore though both genealogies are Joseph’s, they ARE actually two different genealogies. NO CONTRADICTION here.

        The contradiction lies in the fact that Joseph being the flesh and blood descendant of king David had to be the biological father of Jesus for him to qualify as the Messiah, and immediately after this declaration, Mary is said to be a virgin. If Mary was a virgin then Jesus wasn’t the Messiah, if Joseph was Jesus’ biological father he wasn’t God. Either one or the other, but NOT BOTH. This is the great contradiction.

        Like

      • Doug,

        You are correct. I did misunderstand your position, so my apologies for that, and thank you for the clarification. Consider for a moment the different possibilities of the two genealogies of Jesus. If the theory that Luke represents Mary’s genealogy then Jesus would have been descended from king David through Mary thereby fulfilling the bloodline requirement. Considering Joseph was Jesus’ adoptive father, this would fill the legal requirement for transferring rights through family. From that perspective Jesus can be both God, and born of a virgin.

        This line of reasoning makes good sense to me, as I would think it unlikely that the authors would overlook such an important piece of information.

        I have to also say thank you for your respectful discussion. Not everyone has the character to engage in candid, respectful conversation when a differing of opinion on a topic such of religion exists.

        Thanks Doug

        Like

    • deyessorc says:

      Doug,
      I believe you are mistaken. You say that, “contradiction lies in the fact that Joseph being the flesh and blood descendant of king David had to be the biological father of Jesus for him to qualify as the Messiah”.

      Are you certain this is a necessary condition? The word “seed” meant anyone in the line or heir in a family bloodline. Read this well written piece

      http://ecclesia.org/truth/geneology.html
      You can read the entire thing or scroll down to point 3 under the objections.

      I agree with the author above – if you have a worldview that does not believe the bible to be infallible, then you may tend to find wrong in a passage, i.e. take something as contradictory, case closed, no explanations, period. I have offered an explanation very easily to this point, but I am guessing you will still find this as a “case closed” situation.

      If it is true, or even a possibility that seed means including an adoptive member of a family within a line (ancient times in this case), then your point is wrong.

      Like

      • Yes I am certain.

        2Sa 7:12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.

        This could ONLY mean a flesh and blood descendant.

        Even if seed included an adoptive member, the lineage had to be through Solomon’s side not Nathan’s. (ICh 28:4-8)

        Like

  2. Matt says:

    I had the same conversation recently over the “fish” symbol and its representation of Christianity. We also discussed the cross and someone asked why the first century Jews didn’t use this as a symbol. We surmise that it would have been equal, in our day, to someone wearing an electric chair around their necks. Jesus wasn’t the only one killed on that cross…thousands and thousands were before and after Him. I will leave the cross possibly becoming a present day graven image to another day!

    Like

  3. deyessorc says:

    Doug, you make the assumption that in order to be the messiah, he MUST be the biological line of David? Does this necessarily follow or is it possible that this can be true without biological bloodline?

    Like

    • Exactly. According to messianic prophecy he had to be a flesh and blood descendant of king David AND Solomon to qualify as the Messiah. (I can supply you with the references if you like)

      The genealogy in Luke, though it be of Joseph (historically speaking), it does not have Solomon in the lineage. So whether it is Joseph’s or Mary’s lineage is actually a moot point in relation to Jesus. However, It could only be Joseph’s lineage (as it even states in the bible), since Heli “died childless”. All the Jews believed that Joseph was Jesus’ biological father. It was the Greeks that changed this in the gospels. Even Paul knew nothing of the virgin birth.

      Since Joseph was the biological father of Jesus, and it states immediately afterwards in Matthew that Mary was a virgin, there is a literal contradiction here — not apparent.

      Like

      • Matt says:

        As to your comment about Paul not knowing of the virgin birth, I think that Gal 4:4 with reference back to Gen 3:15 shows he was not in the dark concerning this matter. It is a bold step to proclaim that Paul knew nothing of this “must” for Messiah. Paul, being a Pharisee of Pharisees, would have had a great knowledge of the scripture. This knowledge, coupled with the Ruach giving him understanding, would certainly not be devoid of the virgin birth.

        Like

  4. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law. (Gal 4:4)

    …concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh [or, another translation] who was descended from David according to the flesh… (Rom 1:3)

    Like

    • Even Paul believed Jesus to be a flesh and blood descendant of David born of a woman (not a virgin). If Jesus didn’t have a father, he wouldn’t be “born under law”

      Everyone in Jesus’ day believed Joseph to be physical descendant of David, even Paul. The gospels were written by Greeks after Paul had written his epistles. The story of the virgin birth is a later development, not believed by the early followers of Jesus and his relatives.

      Like

      • Doug, the fact that “everyone in Jesus’ day believed Joseph to be physical descendant of David” shows Joseph’s character. Scripture tells us that when Joseph thought that Mary had been unfaithful he was not going to make a public issue of it. As such, Jesus being born of a virgin was not common knowledge.

        Regarding the question of genealogy, and Old Testament scripture you have referenced, I have decided to do some further research to ensure that I have a complete understanding. It is precisely this type of conversation that is needed to build trust in Christianity as opposed to blind faith. Thank you for keeping me honest.

        Like

      • Joseph’s character has nothing to do with it. If Jesus were not descended from the seed of David’s body, he didn’t qualify to be the Messiah. Even Paul knew this.

        Like

      • Matt says:

        Great discussions here…I am appreciative. Back to Paul’s supposed unbelief in the Virgin Birth. Since Joseph was a descendent of Jeconiah, by God’s own Word, no one from this line would sit on the throne of David or rule over Juda. As such, we should find openness in Paul’s mentioning Mary’s singular fleshly relationship to Jesus as should Joseph have physical input into the consummation, then Jesus could not be Messiah.

        Like

      • It’s already been established that Paul did not believe in the virgin birth. Furthermore, the curse of Jeconiah was rescinded (I can supply you with all the references).

        The genealogy in Luke was not of Mary since Heli “died childless”. All the evidence points to Mary as a Levite in the bible and none at all of Judah (as is supposed). Jesus WAS a biological son of Joseph as proven by the verses above. Therefore the virgin birth is a forgery and this creates a literal contradiction — NOT apparent.

        Like

      • Doug,

        I do not agree with you regarding your contention about Paul not believing in the virgin birth. The following is an excerpt taken from James Warner Wallace at the PleaseConvinceMe.com site:
        The “Virgin Conception” Is Not Referenced by Paul
        Many critics have argued that Paul was either completely silent about the “virgin conception” or spoke directly against such a concept in his writings. In either case, these critics argue that Paul’s silence or apparently contradictory statements certainly cast doubt on the truth of the “virgin conception”, given that many of Paul’s letters precede the earliest Gospel.

        Silence is Not Enough
        But we need to be very careful about drawing conclusions from silence. Paul may not have mentioned the “virgin conception” simply because it was widely understood or assumed. Paul may also have been silent because it was not the focus or purpose of his letters (which are often devoted to issues related to the Church). Remember that Paul was a contemporary of Luke (who was one of the two authors who wrote extensively about the conception of Jesus). Paul appears to be very familiar with Luke’s’ gospel (he quotes Luke in 1 Timothy 5:17-18 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). If Paul disagreed with Luke’s account of the conception, we would expect to hear Paul say something about it in his letters. Paul never refuted or openly questioned the claims of Luke regarding the “virgin conception”.

        Paul’s Writing May Reflect His Knowledge
        Critics also cite two verses in Paul’s letter as specific proof that Paul was not aware of Jesus’ “virgin conception”. The first is found in Paul’s letter to the Galatians:

        Galatians 4:4-5
        But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

        Paul says that Jesus was “born of a woman” and not “born of a virgin”. Critics have argued that this is proof that Paul was unaware of the “virgin conception”. But this is not necessarily the case. Many scholars have observed that the expression, “born of a woman, born under the Law” implies that Jesus had no earthly father because Paul curiously chose to omit any mention of Joseph in this passage. It was part of the Hebrew culture and tradition to cite the father alone when describing any genealogy, yet Paul ignored Joseph and cited Mary alone, as if to indicate that Joseph was not Jesus’ father. In addition to this passage in the letter to the Galatians, critics also cite the openly lines of Paul’s letter to the Romans to make a case against Paul’s knowledge of the “virgin conception”:

        Romans 1:1-4
        Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord

        Critics claim that Paul’s statement that Jesus was a “descendant of David according to the flesh” reveals the fact that Paul believed Joseph, a descendant of David, was the physical father of Jesus. But careful examination of this letter leaves open the possibility that Paul may simply have been referring to the fact that Mary was herself was also a descendant of David. Mary’s relationship to David was important, because Joseph was a descendant of Jeconiah, the King of Judah described in 2 Kings 24:8. Jeconiah was cursed by God:

        Jeremiah 22:30
        “Thus says the LORD, ‘Write this man down childless, A man who will not prosper in his days ; For no man of his descendants will prosper Sitting on the throne of David Or ruling again in Judah.’ ”

        According to this passage, no descendant of Jeconiah would ever sit on the throne of David. If Jesus was a direct descendant of Joseph, he would be excluded according to this curse, as Joseph was in the line of Jeconiah. But Paul consistently omits Joseph when describing the genealogy of Jesus. In addition, Paul later refers to Jesus as the “son of God” in the same passage from the letter to the Romans. Paul often used this expression to describe Jesus, and Paul was consistent and clear about Jesus’ divinity throughout his letters. If Paul believed that Jesus was born of a human mother and father, we would expect Paul to describe how a normal man, born of human parents, could be God Himself. Paul never does that, and this is consistent with the fact that Paul was aware of the “virgin conception”.

        As you can see J. Warner offers very clear evidence that Paul was both aware, and not in disagreement with the fact that Jesus was born of a virgin. Furthermore, Paul had a track record for only specifically bringing up what the majority of us would consider major events when such recounts furthered specific point. For example, Paul was actually raptured, and returned to earth, yet he waits 14 years to speak about it for the first time as far as we know (2 Corinthians 12:1-5).

        Regarding Heli dying “childless”, as well as several other open points please see the following excerpt taken from AnsweringIslam.org:

        4. There is such a view. Like the third proposed solution, this
        fourth view understands the genealogy in Luke really to be Mary’s,
        but for different reasons. Here Heli is understood to be the
        progenitor of Mary, not of Joseph. Joseph is not properly part
        of the genealogy, and is mentioned only parenthetically,
        Luke 3:23 should then read “Jesus … was the son (so it was
        thought, of Joseph) of Heli.” The support for this view is
        impressive.

        a. Placing the phrase “so it was thought, of Joseph” in
        parentheses, and thus in effect removing it from the
        genealogy, is grammatically justified. In the Greek text
        Joseph’s name occurs with the Greek definite article
        prefixed; every other name in the series has the article.
        By this device Joseph’s name is shown to be not properly
        a part of the genealogy. Jesus was only thought to be his
        son. This would make Jesus the son (that is, grandson or
        descendant) of Heli, Mary’s progenitor, and is consistent
        with Luke’s account of Jesus’ conception, which makes clear
        that Joseph was not his physical father (Luke 1:26-39).

        b. This view allows the most natural meaning of begat to stand.
        In other words, begat refers to actual physical descent
        rather than to jumps to collateral lines.

        c. Matthew’s interest in Jesus’ relation to the Old Testament and
        the Messianic kingdom makes it appropriate that he give Joseph’s
        really descent from David through Solomon – a descent that is
        also Jesus’ legal descent – and thus gives him legal claim to
        the Davidic throne.

        d. Because Luke emphasizes the humanity of Jesus, his solidarity
        with the human race, and the universality of salvation, it is
        fitting that Luke show his humanity by recording his human
        descent through his human parent, Mary. His pedigree is then
        traced back to Adam.

        e. The objection that Mary’s name is not in Luke’s version needs
        only the reply that women were rarely included in Jewish
        genealogies; though giving her descent, Luke conforms to
        custom by not mentioning her by name. The objection that Jews
        never gave the genealogy of women is met by the answer that
        this is a unique case; Luke is talking about a virgin birth.
        How else could the physical descent of one who had no human
        father be traced? Furthermore, Luke has already shown a
        creative departure from customary genealogical lists by
        starting with Jesus and ascending up the list of ancestors
        rather than starting at some point in the past and descending
        to Jesus.

        f. This view allows easy resolution of the difficulties surrounding
        Jeconiah (Matt. 1:11), Joseph’s ancestor and David’s descendant
        through Solomon. In 2 Sam. 7:12-17 the perpetuity of the
        Davidic Kingdom though Solomon (vv. 12-13) is unconditionally
        promised. Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) later was the royal
        representative of that line of descent for which eternal
        perpetuity had been promised. Yet for his gross sin (2 Chron.
        24:8-9), Jeconiah was to be recorded as if childless, and
        no descendant of his would prosper on the Davidic throne
        (Jer. 22:30). This poses a dilemma. It is Jeconiah through
        whom the Solomonic descent and legal right to the throne
        properly should be traced. Solomon’s throne had already
        been unconditionally promised eternal perpetuity. Yet Jeconiah
        will have no physical descendants who will prosper on that
        throne. How may both the divine promise and the curse be
        fulfilled?

        First, notice that Jeremiah’s account neither indicates
        Jeconiah would have no seed, nor does is say Jeconiah’s line
        has had its legal claim to the throne removed by his sin. The
        legal claim to the throne remains with Jeconiah’s line, and
        Matthew records that descent down to Joseph. In 1:16, Matthew
        preserves the virgin birth of Jesus and at the same time makes
        clear that Jesus does not come under the curse upon Jeconiah.
        He breaks the pattern and carefully avoids saying that Joseph
        (a descendant of Jeconiah) begat Instead he refers to “Joseph,
        the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus.” In the
        English translation the antecedent of “whom” is ambiguous.
        But in the Greek text, “whom” is feminine singular in form
        and can refer only to Mary who was not a descendant of
        Jeconiah. As to human parentage, Jesus was born of Mary alone,
        through Joseph his legal father. As Jesus’ legal father,
        Joseph’s legal claim passed to Jesus. But because Jesus was
        not actually Jeconiah’s seed, although of actual Davidic
        descent through Mary, descendant of Nathan, Jesus escaped
        the curse on Jeconiah’s seed pronounced in Jeremiah (22:30.
        Thus the problem is resolved.

        What we have then are two different genealogies of two people.
        Probably even the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel of Matthew and Luke are
        different persons. This view does not depend on conjecture, rests
        with evidence within the texts themselves, fits the purposes of the
        evangelists, and easily resolves the problem surrounding Jeconiah.
        Of this view L.M. Sweet appropriately wrote, “Its simplicity and
        felicitous adjustment to the whole complex situation is precisely
        its recommendation.”

        Ultimately, I have yet to find any arguments that effectively or sufficiently present evidence showing Jesus was not born of a virgin.

        I do, however, admit that this conversation has pressed me to dig deeper than any previous conversation to bolster my understanding of the topic. So far this has been a challenging conversation. I really think more Christians should put themselves in a position in which they are forced to defend their faith. Only in this was can Christians truly move from believing that God exists to believing in God – from blind faith, to founded trust.

        Like

      • You say, “Paul did not mention the virgin conception”. But he DID say Jesus was a flesh descendant of David. Therefore, he was the biological son of Joseph. So tell me, how then is Mary a virgin?

        Born of a woman under the law; of the seed of David according to the flesh. You can’t get clearer than that.

        All the theories, interpretations and guess work can not make the truth go away — the virgin birth is a forgery.

        Like

      • Doug, Mary was also a flesh descendant of David, which means Jesus was “of the seed of David according to the flesh”. No human male required to conceive Jesus. I agree, you can’t get any clearer than that.

        Like

      • Mary was NOT a flesh descendant of David — she was a Levite. Her cousin was a Levite and her cousin’s husband, being a priest, also was a Levite. This means either Mary’s mother or father was a Levite. Mary was raised in the temple — priests’ children were raised in the temple.

        Priests were Levites. Mary’s son James was a priest and so was Jesus. Priests come from the tribe of Levi. John the baptist was a priest. Matthew tells us that Joaquim was a priest, Mary’s relatives were all Levites. There is no evidence at all in the bible that she was of the house of Judah.

        The genealogy in Luke was not Mary’s since (as I said before) “Heli died childless”. This is historical fact (Eusebius of Caesarea, Historia Ecclesiae, 1:7:11, 1:7:13-14). According to Matthew, her father’s name was Joaquim. It was not Heli.

        Therefore, Jesus could have only got his flesh and blood inheritance of king David through his father Joseph. Therefore Mary could not have been a virgin. The story of the virgin birth is a forgery. Period.

        Like

      • Doug,

        You have taken a great deal of liberty in labeling your assumptions as facts. The work you cited as your basis for contending Heli died childless was written a couple hundred years after the eyewitness accounts found in the bible, so which account would logically be mire accurate? Ample evidence has been provided to refute you claims, yet we seem to be circling at this point. As such, while I appreciate the conversation, I am moving on to other topics. My intention for this site was not to dedicate it to a discussion on genealogy.

        Thanks again for the conversation Doug.

        Like

    • deyessorc says:

      You haven’t shown that seed HAS to be biological in this case. Given the background data and the multiple accounts, it suggests the contrary in fact. Hence, at most…most this is an apparent contradiction.

      Like

      • “Seed of David according to the flesh” (Rom 1:3) and “I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels” (2Sa 7:12) — makes it REAL clear. The seed IS biological according to the bible — “bowels” is very physical, this refers to the testicles, obviously. Therefore this is a literal contradiction.

        Like

      • “According to the flesh” couldn’t be more biological. Even Paul believed that the Messiah would be a flesh and blood descendant of David. Virgin birth story is a forgery of a later date.

        Like

  5. However, if you say that the genealogies do not make Jesus a physical heir of David, then he couldn’t qualify as the Messiah. The genealogy in Luke is NOT of Mary since “Heli died childless”. Mary was a Levite, believe it or not — there is plenty of evidence for this in the bible, but no evidence whatsoever she was a Judahite.

    So either Jesus was the Messiah and the virgin birth story is a forgery or Jesus doesn’t qualify to be the Messiah. The greatest contradiction — literally. It could be either one or the other, but NOT both.

    Like

  6. Then again… it could be neither one or the other. As in Jesus was neither the Messiah nor God. But that gets onto another subject.

    But in the least we have a serious contradiction here — literal NOT apparent.

    Like

    • deyessorc says:

      In addition to my other comment, I think it has been shown Doug, regarding your original comment of, “This is a contradiction pure and simple — no way to explain it away” is not true given the links the author and myself have provided. There are actually several good ways to explain it as you can see.

      Like

      • Dear deyessorc and believinforareason,

        Yes. They did try, but unsuccessfully. You see, there is a huge difference between fact and theory. The links you provided contain much guess work and theory in an attempt to support beliefs they already hold. I was a Christian for over 60 years and had to throw all my pre-conceived ideas away to find truth based on fact and evidence only without conjecture.

        After facts proved that the Earth was round, there were still men trying to prove it was flat and even persecuted those who stated it was round. Beliefs don’t change facts and evidence no matter how hard one tries to explain differently. Changing one’s mindset is a very painful undertaking — I ought to know. But I opened my eyes and wanted to know the truth in spite of the pain that seeing the real Truth caused me.

        Thank you for the respectful debate. I enjoyed it very much. I could continue this debate for a long time, but I think this is a good stopping place.

        Sincerely Doug

        PS: I’m not an Atheist.

        Like

      • deyessorc says:

        Fair enough. Those links certainly were no more guess work than the reasons you provided, Doug! I fail to see how yours is “fact” (when at best this is an interpretation issue) and all other viewpoints are “wrong”. It has been shown, for example that Mary was not a Levite, yet you insist she was.

        I would note that Chrisianity is based on good reason. Beliefs must be founded on good reason rather than blind faith. I don’t know where the flat earth analogy comes in but this has nothing to do with the truth or non truth of a thing (in this case the validity of Christianity).

        I encourage you to continue to look at the person of Jesus of Nazareth with an open mind. It means everything.

        Like

      • We could go back and forth and get nowhere with this. I could do that but I’m not. I’ll even let you have the last say. But let me say this:

        The gospels are estimated to have been written between 50 to 90 AD, but we have not one of the originals. The oldest manuscripts that we have are copies of copies of copies… made between 100 to 150 years after the originals were written. The worst forgeries and corruptions were made during the first and second centuries by self-confessed deceivers (I have quotes from the very things some of them wrote).

        We disagree about things that no one really knows if they are true or not. The bible is so unclear, inconsistent, and even contradictory that it is nearly impossible to know the real meaning of many things without interpretation, the which there are millions. For this very reason there are thousands of different religions.

        If the bible were actually God’s word, then why didn’t he make it clear enough for everyone to understand? And why is it that salvation is contingent on believing the “right” way, if it is nearly impossible to know the right way? And why didn’t God see fit to preserve his original words (if the bible actually is), instead of letting many devious men corrupt it?

        The very nature of belief is that if you believe a lie you are deceived. It is impossible to know exactly what the real truth is. If you say otherwise, you are not being honest with yourself. If salvation is contingent on belief, the only those who are lucky enough to have believed the correct way will go to heaven and the rest who didn’t get it right (for a lack being able to know the right way) are bound for an eternity in Hell. I can no longer believe in a God like that.

        Doug

        Like

      • deyessorc says:

        Valid points and I appreciate your honesty.

        Though there are issues that many have with the bible with it being “unclear”, but if the sufficiency of it revolving around our reconciliation through Christ is clear, then that is a very simple saving truth and I think it is.

        One final thought. Belief isn’t what saves you and I, for a truth is true not beause what one believes about it, though the two may match up obviously.

        I feel the pain you seemed to reflect in your final paragraph. As I said, very valid and fair points that I have grappled with and still do. Human nature and all that. I think there are good answers to them and I think the Christian worldview best explains the world that I see, but that is another discussion.

        Thanks for the discussion, perhaps I’ll see you in other posts.

        Like

      • The worst part that is unclear is that of the story of the virgin birth. There is no way at all of proving if it is actually true since we have no original documents. If it was a forgery, Jesus wasn’t God. Like I say, believing something doesn’t make it true.

        Like

      • deyessorc says:

        If the virgin birth isn’t true, this would not invalidate anything given if the events of the death and resurrection occurred. The virgin birth not at all necessary to prove Jesus’ divinity given the other facts (Jesus death, burial, empty tomb, sudden change in eye witnesses). These facts that even secular scholars give validity to are much more important. You can contend or struggle with the virgin birth as much as you want but this does not do anything to the other.

        Like

      • All is really conjecture and it is impossible to actually “prove” anything given the fact that so much pertinent evidence has been destroyed or lost or covered up. So either way, what it comes down to is actually a matter of who or what you choose to believe, NOT what you know to be a fact.

        There are no original gospels, only copies of copies of copies… which were, in fact, modified from the originals — 100 to 150 years removed from the actual happenings. Much was invented by the Greeks and Romans (to the enormous objection of the Jews) and had no basis in fact. There is much evidence of this. The truth is that we have little to no idea of just how much or what was made up or original and which was which since all the original evidence was destroyed and covered up. This is historic FACT.

        Like

      • It is in my nature to desire to seek and know. I always prefer to have the ability to base all of my belief on irrefutable facts; however, I understand that some of my belief will have to be based on circumstantial evidence. I will say again, as I mentioned in a previous comment, I am not a subject matter expert in the lineage of Jesus. Certainly this conversation has spurred me to conduct further research, and to have further conversations with those more knowledgeable than I. For that I am thankful. I believe that the majority of Christians I have met to not have nearly a thorough enough understanding of why they believe what they believe, which makes for a shaky faith. I have made a decision not to allow my faith to be shaky. I much prefer a solid trust. Thanks again for your challenges Doug. I have a great deal of respect for your passion, and the way in which you conduct yourself in conversation.

        Daniel Hussey @ believinforareason

        Like

      • deyessorc says:

        I would be curious to think what you would trust in history then! The gospels and independent sources attest to the historical person of Jesus. If you choose to pick apart and be distrustful in the face of scholars (who don’t even have a stake in Christianity, have at it. I’m comfortable in taking the evidence where it leads.

        When you say, “much was invented by the Greeks and Romans, etc” there is nothing that will get through your skeptical mind. Being skeptical for the sake of skepticism becomes detrimental. There is no additions that affect the facts (historical) that mentioned that is given credibility. It is surprising, because as shown earlier you were calling things ” guess work” yet you curiously don’t apply this to the fringe ideas that there were additions to the gospels that alerted the core message.

        Have a great day. I would encourage you to seek these things with an open mind and balance out the more fringe theories with credible scholarship. Please tell me you don’t put credence in the likes of zeitgeist (sp?) Movie.

        Like

      • I do believe that the person “Yeshua ben Yosef” did in fact exist. It’s many of the facts about the man that have been written of him that I do not believe in. Rest assured that I have researched these things diligently for hours with much fervent prayer. I do believe in God and I do believe that Yeshua was a great philosopher and righteous man that did in fact live at some time, probably in the early first century. It’s just that the evidence that I have seen adds up to something much different than that which I was taught and brought up to believe. For decades, like many Christians, I took everything that I heard from the preachers and teachers and learned men — for the truth. But then I started wanting to confirm these things for myself instead of putting all my confidence in these men, I asked God to show me for myself. I am of the belief that, like the bible says, if we ask him for bread he will not give us a stone. I put my faith in promises of God’s word and in my fervent prayers to God. I believe that God has opened my eyes and let me see the real truth. I wanted the REAL Truth no matter what the cost, no matter how much it hurt.

        Sincerely, Doug

        Like

      • Matt says:

        Doug,

        A great philosopher he was not, nor righteous either if you do not believe He is Messiah. You have now taken middle ground where there is none. Either He was Messiah as claimed or He was the greatest of hypocrites and guilty of the greatest blasphemy. Let there be no other way to view Him. He is or is not…

        With this I push back from the table and keep my pearls in hand.

        Like

      • You may keep your pearls in your hand if you wish, but if he was not of the flesh and blood lineage of David through Solomon, he couldn’t possibly qualify as the Messiah. It’s as simple as that, messianic prophecy is abundantly clear on this point. The very bible you hold in your hand every Sunday itself is enough to prove this fact (I can provide the references). By the way, inferring that I am a swine is below the belt. I was a Christian for over 60 years and a missionary for nearly 20. You have no idea…

        Like

  7. Matt,
    I’m not saying here that he is not Messiah, but for him to qualify as such Joseph has to be his biological father. This is amply clear. What I am saying though is that since the writer inserted the story of the virgin birth, this creates a literal contradiction — not an apparent contradiction. Now, most to Christian religions the virgin birth makes Jesus a god-man. If this story is a forgery, then Jesus wasn’t God. It could only be one or the other or neither, but not both.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s