Are There Mistakes?
I have suggested many times that there are mistakes in the Bible and the accusation comes back very quickly: Show me one. Well there are hundreds. If you want to be specific I can mention few. You have for example at 2nd Samuel 10:18 a description of a war fought by David saying that he killed 7000 men and that he also killed 40000 men on horsebacks. In 1st Chronicles 19 it mentions the same episode saying that he killed 70000 men and the 40000 men were not on horsebacks, they were on foot. The point be what is the difference between the pedestrian and not is very fundamental.
How Did Judas Die?
Matthew 27:5 says that Judas Iscariot when he died he hung himself. Acts 1 says that, no he jumped off a cliff head first. If you study Logic very soon you will come in your course to what they call an “undecidable propositions” or “meaningless sentences” or statements that cannot be decided because there is no contextual false. One of the classic examples sited is something called the Effeminites paradox. This man was Cretan and he said “Cretans always lie”, now was that statement true or false? If he was a Cretan and he says that they always lie is he lying? If he is not lying then he is telling the truth then the Cretans don’t always lie! You see it cannot be true and it cannot be false, the statement turns back on itself. It is like saying “What I am telling you right now is a lie” would you believe that or not? You see the statement has no true content. It cannot be true and it cannot be false. If it is true it is always false. If it is false it is also true.
Well in the Bible at Titus 1:12 the writer is Paul and he is talking about the Cretans. He says that one of their own men – a prophet – said “Cretans always lie” and he says that what this man says is true. It is a small mistake, but the point is that it is a human mistake, you don’t find that if you carefully examine the true content of that statement. It cannot be a true statement.
Who is the Author?
Now I come back to the Qur’an, and as I mentioned the speaker in the Qur’an is – in the first person – is God. The book claims throughout that it is the word of God. It names itself 70 times as the Qur’an. It talks about its own contents. It has self-reference. The Qur’an states in the first Sura after Fatiha that “This is the book, there is no doubt in it, it is a guidance for those who are conscious of God” and so on and so on… It begins that way and continues that way stressing that. And there is one very amazing statement in the Qur’an when you come to the fourth Sura 82nd Ayah which says to those who say Qur’an is something else than the word of God. It challenges them saying: “Have they not considered the Qur’an, if it came from someone other than God they will find in it many mistakes”. Some of you are students, would you dare to hand in a paper after you completed a research work or something at the bottom you put down there “You will not find mistakes in this”. Would you dare to challenge your professor that way? Well the Qur’an does that. It is telling: If you really think you know where this came from then starts looking for mistakes because you will not find any. Another interesting thing the Qur’an does is that it quotes all its critics. There has never – in hundreds of years – ever been some suggestion as to where that book came from but that the Qur’an does not already mention that objection and reply to it. Many times you will find the Ayah saying something like: Do they say such and such and so, say to them such and such and so. In every case there is a reply. More than that the Qur’an claims that the evidence of its origin is in itself, and that if you look at this book you will be convinced.
Qur’an Invites – Not Demands
So that the Qur’an does not demand belief – the Qur’an invites belief, and here is the fundamental difference. It is not simply delivered as: Here is what you are to believe, but throughout the Quran the statements are always: Have you O man thought of such and such, have you considered so and so. It is always an invitation for you to look at the evidence; now what do you believe?
Bible Does Not Claim Jesus Claimed to Be Son of God
It is a fact that the words “son of God” are not found on the lips of Jesus anywhere in the first three Gospel accounts, he was always calling himself the Son of Man. And it is a curious form of reasoning that I have seen so often that it is established from Bible that he claimed to be God because – look how the Jews reacted. They will say for example he said such and such and the Jews said he is blaspheming, he claimed to be God and they tried to stone him. So they argue that he must have been claiming to be God because look! – the Jews tried to kill him. They said that’s what he was claiming. But the interesting thing is that all the evidence is then built on the fact that a person is saying: I believed that Jesus was the son of God because the Jews who killed him said that’s what he used to say! His enemies used to say that, so he must have said it, this is what it amounts to. In other hand, we have the words of Jesus saying he would keep the law, the law of Moses and we have the statement in the Bible, why did the Jews kill him? Because he broke the law of Moses. Obviously, the Jews misunderstood him, if he promised he would keep the law, but they killed him because he broke the law, they must have misunderstood him, or lied about him.
Writers of Bible – Out of Context
When I talk about the Bible and quote various verses here and there I am often accused of putting things out of context, to say you have lifted something out of what it was talking about and given it a meaning. I donot want to respond to the accusation as such, but it doesn’t seem to occur to many people that perhaps those who wrote portions of the Bible in the first place were guilty of the same thing. Maybe they – some of those writers – believed a certain thing and in order to prove it quoted from their scriptures – the Old Testament, the Hebrew writings – quoted out of context to prove their point. There are examples of that kind of thing. In Matthew 2 it said that a king wanted to kill the young child Jesus so he with his family went to Egypt, and they stayed there until that king died, and then they came back.
When the writer of Matthew, whoever he was, because the name Matthew will not be found in the book of Matthew; when he described this event saying that he came back out of Egypt, he said: “ This was to fulfil a prophecy which is written” and then he quotes Hosea Chapter 11 “Out of Egypt I called my Son”. So he said because Jesus went to Egypt and then came back out of Egypt and we have this passage in the Hebrew scriptures “out of Egypt I called my son” Jesus must have been the son of God. If you look and see what he was quoting, Hosea 11:1 he quotes the second half of a complete sentence, the complete sentence reads: “When Israel was young I loved him and out of Egypt I called my son”. Israel the nation was considered as the son of God. Moses was told to go to Pharaoh and say to him: If you touch that nation of people, you touch my son; warning him, warning Pharaoh: don’t touch that nation, calling the nation “the son of God”. So that this is the only thing talked about in Hosea 11:1. “Out of Egypt I called my son” can only refer to the nation of Israel.
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