The Irrational Atheist Claim that “The Bible Contradicts Itself!”

foolScriptural Contradictions?

The claim is frequently made that the Bible contains contradictions. Atheists making this claim, however, are seemingly unable to follow the implications of their claim. For the moment, let us leave aside the question of how the atheist knows that the laws of logic are universal and unchanging; let us focus on the nature of contradictions. A contradiction, simply stated, occurs when two statements, claiming the negation of one another, are both held as true. For example, if Smith says “I am mortal and non-mortal at the same time and in the same sense,” he is contradicting himself. What is central to understanding this is the fact that the contradiction only holds if the propositions mean what they mean. In other words, contradiction cannot occur without the law of identity being first presupposed. Thus, the proposition “I am mortal” presupposes that mortality is a fixed concept that will not change from the moment of its initial utterance to the conclusion of one’s argument. In order for Smith to assert that the negation of P (his mortality proposition) is also true, then he must assume that mortality is not subject to change.

This is problematic for the atheist, for the ontological reality of mortality can only be known via divine revelation. Smith can, by induction, fallaciously infer that all men are mortal. However, as Smith cannot perform a complete induction of the biochemical constitution of man, as well as of the environments in which man dwells and by which he is affected, Smith cannot say that mortality is a definitive characteristic of all humans/man. The initial proposition (“I am mortal”), therefore, cannot be contradicted, for it has no contrary. This may seem like a moot point, but it is central to understanding how contradiction works. If one is not making an absolute statement such as “I am mortal,” then one cannot be contradicted.

Consequently, when the atheist claims that the Bible contradicts itself, he is admitting that he knows certain propositions to be certain, fixed, absolute. Yet if no propositions can be known as certain, fixed, absolute apart from divine revelation, then the atheist is also admitting that what he does know has been revealed to him by another who knows all things – namely, the Triune God of Scripture. If the atheist is truly not resting upon divinely revealed propositions concerning the nature of reality, however, then how does he claim to know that the propositions in the Scripture retain their meaning from one moment to the next? If he responds by saying that he does not know if they retain their meaning from one moment to the next, then he cannot claim that the propositions of Scripture contradict one another. If he appeals to some standard fallaciously inferred from his experiences, then he is appealing to a heuristic proposition that may or may not be an objective correlate of what actually is the case.

The claim, therefore, that the Bible contradicts itself can only be made if the atheist assumes that the propositions of the Bible retain their meaning from one moment to the next. But the atheist can only say that the propositions of the bible retain their meaning from one moment to the next by assuming that these propositions are fixed, certain, absolute. And he can only assume such by denying his atheistic position.

Soli. Deo. Gloria.

-h.

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