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ARCHER’S ERRORS AND LIES ABOUT HIS NON-CONTRADICTORY BIBLE

Gleason W Archer published an important work of apologetics for Bible Christianity in 1916. It is the Encyclopaedia of Bible Difficulties.

The introduction shows that one cannot seriously believe in Jesus if one denies that some of the stories of the Old Testament are history like Adam and Eve and so forth. If the Bible errs then it cannot be trusted in religious matters - the things of supreme importance. You do not drink a bottle of poison because the label says it will do you no harm and you see erroneous statements on the label. The book seeks to prove that Moses wrote the Pentateuch and that there are not errors or contradictions in the Bible – every traditional opinion of the Bible in short.

The book says that the Bible states that Moses wrote the entire five books of the Law, or the Torah (page 45). But in fact that it merely attributes certain parts of it to Moses and does not say who wrote the rest. The real reason for this strange idea is because Archer thinks that Jesus himself thought that Moses wrote the Law. The source of a doctrine is as important as the content so if Jesus was wrong about the source the doctrine had no foundation or a weaker one. The authority of the five books would be stronger if Moses actually wrote them for he was a major prophet. So if Jesus were a prophet he would have known by the light of God that Moses wrote the law from which Jesus took doctrines. So Archer is determined then to bend the evidence to fit what he reckons Jesus says. His book says that certain features show that the author is more familiar with Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula than Palestine so Moses was the author. But these do not prove that Moses was the author for they only show that whoever the author was he either did his homework or he was there. Many Israelites came from Egypt with Moses and would have had records and any of them could have been responsible for the Torah. The Law could still have been forged using ancient writings centuries after Israel settled itself in Palestine. It is dishonest to argue that the author knew little about Palestine for the books were concerned with the wandering in the desert and had no need to mention Palestine.

Appalling evidences for Mosiac authorship are proposed which argue from the fact that some material in it can be traced back to a time like that of Moses that Moses must have been the author. This is garbage. We cannot expect much better of an Encyclopaedia that says that since Abel sacrificed a lamb to God that he knew of the salvation offered by Christ and was the first saved person to die (page 76). The book insists that Numbers 12:3 which calls Moses the humblest of men, was written by God through Moses so Moses was not bragging about himself (page 136). It cites the authority of Haley, author of the notorious, Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, himself for this. But this rests on the unfounded assumption that Moses wrote Numbers. Christians invent miracles to cover up the errors of Jesus and that is not on for they would not tolerate Mormons saying that God forced Joseph Smith to copy the Bible to make the Book of Mormon.

The Epistle to the Hebrews insists that Melchizidek had no parents but was a divine being for he had no beginning or end. Archer disputes this and says that it only means that no parents were mentioned in the Old Testament. But the words would have been taken literally if it had been Christ not Melchizidek.

In the Book of Exodus we read that Moses did miracles in Egypt during competition with the Egyptian magicians and priests who were able to replicate many of these miracles. It is asserted on page 113 that Pharaoh's magicians performed their miracles by trickery. But would the Egyptians have been impressed by them if they had? There is always something in such trickery to give one away. For example, when a conjurer does a trick you know it is a trick though you cannot explain how it’s done when you see him doing and saying unnecessary things. A real magician would not find a chosen card after taking the pack from you but would magic it out of the pack without taking it.

Page 123 seeks to justify the divine toleration of polygamy in the Old Testament. It says that a man taking a second wife would not be adultery. But that is saying that it is a valid marriage. But how can it be a real marriage when marriage involves the complete giving of self to another and you cannot give yourself completely to one woman and then another? Archer said that rulers needed to practice polygamy when it was the sole way to sire children for without them the greater evil of strife and civil war could result. The Bible never says that. It never says why polygamy is allowed which gives the impression that it was only allowed because it was thought to be right. To allow polygamy for that reason would be like saying you may murder a man because he is a potential killer! You may not for he might never do it. And would divorce not be better if the first wife proved barren? It would be more honest anyway. At least monogamy would be preserved.

The error in Leviticus that declares that rabbits chew their cud is casually brushed off (126). The explanation is that it is handy to say they do to forbid eating them just because it looks like they do it. But you can magic away any mistake that way. Would Archer agree with a person who says he saw Mary at the scene of a murder when he only saw a person who resembled Mary? The likes of Archer will have to say that any rabbit that went into the Holy Land in those days was miraculously enabled to chew the cud until the Law had passed. Such a credulous explanation would make it possible to reconcile any contradiction at all. Incredibly, it is claimed by some extremists that the word for cud can mean berry or grain too so they solve the problem by saying not that the rabbit chews the cud but that the rabbit chews the berry (See Web, Rabbits do not chew their cud, Alleged Bible Contradictions). This ignores the context which considers animals that do dirty things to be unclean and chewing the cud is eating dung and is dirty and the rabbit is being accused of chewing the cud. If you can’t eat animals that eat the berries then you can eat nothing. The fact that Christians are able to come up with ten explanations for every Bible contradiction shows that something is wrong for only one of them, naturally the simplest one, or none of them can be acceptable. They are only making the Bible seem useless and unclear with their efforts to delude their sheep. It would have to be very vague to be able to legitimately take their rationalizations.

Archer says that Israel did not see God on Sinai though Exodus 24 says they did. He says they only saw a representation of his beauty and glory for anybody who sees God will be struck dead (Exodus 33:20) and they lived to tell the tale. It says that they saw God not an image. Fundies won’t admit a contradiction when they see it. It is a wonder they don’t say God made an exception for the Israelites and let them see God. God told Moses that he could not let him see him for that would kill him (Exodus 33:20). That implies that death follows seeing God as surely as night follows day for even God can’t stop the sight of him from killing and has no power to preserve the life. That was the reason why God had to hide his face.

Archer refuses to perceive the absurdity in this. If God cannot prevent the sight of him from killing you then God is not all-powerful. You could see God with your mind and still have your body – only you would be able to do his will for you cannot resist perfect goodness which is God.

First Samuel 17 says that David killed Goliath but Second Samuel 21 says it was Elhanan. Archer says that the original in Second Samuel has been altered by errors and that it should say that Elhanan killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath. Archer says that the copyist put two words in the wrong place and misread the word brother thus corrupting the text forever. But this cannot be proved and is only speculation. Archer admits as much when he says that the “corrupted” passage makes sense and when he says it has two or three mistakes so he is not sure how many or if any. It is just an attempt to deny a contradiction where one exists. He says that 1 Chronicles 20:5 gives the true reading saying Elhanan slew Goliath’s brother but that does not prove that there were textual errors in Second Samuel. Also, he claims that the present text of the latter says that Elhanan was called the son of the forests of weavers which he says is a ridiculous name showing that copyists have made transcription errors. The name is not ridiculous – it could be poetic. A man could be called forests of weavers just like the meaning of Jesus is really Yahweh our Salvation. In Defence of the Faith says the same thing as Archer and applauds some translators for changing the text to make it say that Lahmi was the brother of Goliath because Goliath made no sense (page 138). When the translators had to change the text it shows there is no proof that the original said brother of. Evangelicals alter the Bible and then tell us so confidently that the Bible cannot err!

Archer’s claim that the original has been ruined contradicts his Jesus who said that not a dot could pass away from the Bible and Archer’s claim that the Jews would not have canonised books which contained errors (275). The earliest scholars did not agree with his theory when they did not feel like amending the text. Their word comes first for they were closer to the originals. They believed the original was wrong and not corrupted.

If the Bible God let the numbers be lost from the originals then maybe that happened with the accounts of the feeding of the five thousand and the number of apostles who seen the resurrection as well making them exaggerations.

We read that God was got David to sinfully count his people (2 Samuel 24:1) but in a parallel account we are told that Satan did that (1 Chronicles 21:1,2). The wording in the two is identical except where Satan is substituted for God in the latter. Archer says that they can be reconciled. God permitted Satan to trick David so it can be said that God did it and Satan did it. But God did it indirectly and Satan directly. But when the passages are nearly the same the words must have been the same meaning. When one says, “God did it”, and the other says, “Satan did it”, they must mean did it in the same sense. They are most likely to. So, the first is saying that God did it directly and this shocked the person who used the book to make Chronicles and he changed God to Satan. There had to have been a reason for the change. Also, you never just say a person did something unless you mean directly. The context of the verses do not hint that we should take the indirect meaning. Archer’s reconciliation is implausible.

Archer argues that when Jesus said that the mustard seed was the smallest of all (Matthew 13) he meant that it was the smallest seed in Palestine and not the smallest in the world (329). This may be the black mustard seed but orchid seed is even smaller. Archer holds that it is unlikely that Jesus meant that mustard seed was the smallest in the world when he could have meant the smallest seed in the country he lived in. But all means literally all in the world when the context does not narrow it down. If Jesus meant only the seeds of Palestine he would have said so and anyway the orchid grows in Palestine.

All attempts to prove that the Bible is the word of God fail because the Bible contradicts itself and attempts to hide this are stupid, irresponsible and are fabricated.
 
FURTHER READING
 
A Summary of Christian Doctrine, Louis Berkhof, The Banner of Truth Trust, London, 1971
A Test of Time, David Rohl, Century, London, 1995
Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, John W Haley, Whitaker House, Pennsylvania, Undated
An Act of God, Graham Philips, Sidgwick and Jackson, London, 1998
Answers to Tough Questions, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Scripture Press Bucks, 1988
Attack on the Bible, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1965
Belief and Make-Believe, GA Wells, Open Court, La Salle, Illinois, 1991
Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1985
But the Bible Does Not Say So, Rev Roberto Nisbet, Church Book Room Press, London, 1966
Catholicism and Christianity, Cecil John Cadoux, George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1928
Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Karl Keating, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1988
Creation and Evolution, Dr Alan Hayward, Triangle, London, 1994
Does the Bible Contradict Itself? Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1986
Encyclopaedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason W Archer, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982
Essentials, David L Edwards and John Stott, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1990
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
Free Inquiry, Fall 1998, Vol 18, No 4, Council for Secular Humanism, Amherst, New York
God and the Human Condition, F J Sheed, Sheed & Ward, London, 1967
God Cannot Lie, David Alsobrook, Diasozo Trust, Kent, 1989
God, Science and Evolution, Prof E H Andrews, Evangelical Press, Herts, 1985
God’s Word, Final Infallible and Forever, Floyd C McElveen, Gospel Truth Ministries, Grand Rapids, 1985
Hard Sayings, Derek Kidner, InterVarsity Press, London, 1972
How and Why Catholic and Protestant Bibles Differ, Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ and Donald Senior, CP, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1983
How to Interpret the Bible, Fergus Cleary SJ, Ligouri Publications, Missouri, 1981
In Defence of the Faith, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene Oregon, 1996
Inspiration in the Bible, Fr Karl Rahner, Herder and Herder, New York, 1966
It Ain’t Necessarily So, Investigating the Truth of the Biblical Past, Matthew Sturgis, Headline Books, London, 2001
Jehovah of the Watch-tower, Walter Martin and Norman Klann, Bethany House Publishers, Minnesota, 1974
Let’s Weigh the Evidence, Which Bible is the Real Word of God? Barry Burton, Chick Publications, Chino, California, 1983
Know What You Believe, Paul E Little, Scripture Union, London, 1973
Know Why You Believe, Paul E Little, Scripture Union, London, 1971
New Age Bible Versions, GA Riplinger, Bible & Literature Foundation, Tennessee, 1993
New Evangelicalism An Enemy of Fundamentalism, Curtis Hutson, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1984
None of These Diseases, SI McMillen MD, Lakeland, London 1966
Our Perfect Book the Bible, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1958
Proof the Bible is True, Rev JMA Willans BD, Dip.Theol. Vermont Press, Larne, 1982
Radio Replies Vol 3, Radio Replies Press, Minnesota, 1942
Reason and Belief, Bland Blanschard, London, George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1974
Remarks on the New King James Version and Revised Authorised Version, DK Madden, 35 Regent Street, Sandy Bay, Tasmania, 7005, 1991
Return to Sodom and Gomorrah, Charles Pellegrino, The Softback Preview, New York, 1995
Science and the Bible, Henry Morris, Moody Press, Bucks, 1988
Science Held Hostage What’s Wrong With Creation Science and Evolutionism, Howard J Van Till/Davis A.Young/Clarence Menninga, IVP, Downer’s Grove, Illinois, 1988
Science Speaks, Peter W Stoner and Robert C Newman, Moody Press, Chicago, 1976
Set My Exiles Free, John Power, Logos Books, MH Gill & Son Ltd, Dublin, 1967
Testament, The Bible and History, John Romer, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1988
The Authority of the Bible, Ambassador College, Pasadena, California, 1980
The Bible Fact or Fantasy, John Drane, Lion, Oxford, 1989
The Bible is the Word of God, Jimmy Thomas, Guardian of Truth, Kentucky
The Bible or Evolution? William Jennings Bryan, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The Bible, The Biography, Karen Armstrong, Atlantic Books, London, 2007
The Bible, Questions People Ask, A Redemptorist Pastoral Publication, Liguori Publications, Missouri, 1980
The Bible Unearthed, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, Touchstone Books, New York, 2002
The Canon of Scripture, FF Bruce, Chapter House, Glasgow, 1988
The Church of Rome and the Word of God, Rev Eric C Last, Protestant Truth Society, London, Undated
The Early Church, Henry Chadwick, Pelican, Middlesex, 1987
The Enigma of Evil, John Wenham, Eagle, Guilford, Surrey, 1994
The History of Christianity, Lion, Herts, 1982
The King James Version Defended, Edward F Hills, The Christian Research Press, Iowa, 1973
The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Edited by Raymond E Brown, Joseph A Fitzmyer, Roland E Murphy, Geoffrey Chapman, New York 1990
The Theology of Inspiration, John Scullion SJ, Mercier, Cork, 1970
The Unauthorised Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
Verbal Inspiration of the Bible, John R Rice Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1943
What is the Bible? Henri Daniel-Rops, Angelus Books, Guild Press, New York, 1958
When Critics Ask, Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe, Victor Books, Illinois ,1992
Which Version Now? Bob Sheehan, Carey Publications, 5 Fairford Close, Haywards Heath, Sussex RH16 3EF
Who is a Fundamentalist? Dr Curtis Hutson, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1982
Why Does God..? Domenico Grasso SJ, St Pauls , Bucks, 1970
Why People Believe Weird Things, Michael Shermer, Freeman, New York, 1997
 
BIBLE QUOTATIONS FROM:
The Amplified Bible

WEB

Final Response by Steven Carr to Dr Wilkinson
www.bowness.demon.co.uk/wilkin6.htm

Science in the Bible? Dr M Magee
www.askwhy.co.uk/truth/440BibleScience.html

Why It’s a Load of Old Cobblers, Adrian Barnett
www.abarnett.demon.co.uk/atheism/noahs_ark.html
Exposes the utter absurdity of the Noah’s Ark story in the Bible

Steven Carr, Critique of Josh McDowells Non_Messianic Prophecies This Site cannot be overly recommended. It is superb.
www.infidels.org/library/modern/steven_carr/non-messianic.html

New Testament Contradictions, Paul Carlson
www.infidels.org/library/modern/paul_carlson/nt_contradictions.html

Rabbits do not chew their cud, Alleged Bible Contradictions
http://unhindered.com/apolo/contradictions/index.html

The Bible as History Flunks New Archaeological Tests
www.10.nytimes.com/library/arts/072900david-bible.html


Biblical Errancy by Dennis McKinsey
http://members.aol.com/ckbloomfld/bepart31.html
This is one of McKinsey’s online magazines. The magazine is excellent for it gives the fundies the chance to respond and carefully exposes their twisted reasoning.

This particular issue says that Herod was not a king though the New Testament says he was for the Roman tetrarchs were the rulers. It says Matthew’s story that Herod massacred the boys of Bethlehem to get rid of the baby Jesus is false for Josephus liked to bring up the terrible things that Herod did and never mentioned this one. It also says that the story of Jesus being nailed between two thieves is fiction because theft was not a capital crime. It argues that when Luke said about Augustus decreeing that the whole world must engage in a census it was a lie for Augustus never had the results which he would have done. Genesis 11:26 says that when Teran was 70 he sired Abram and Nahor and Haran. The trouble is it says Abram was 75 when his father died and yet his father died at 205. The Christians argue that Genesis 11:26 does not say Abram’s dad was 70 when he was born though the passage cannot mean anything else. They fudge the problem by saying that just because Abram was mentioned first that does not mean he was born first. It does in the way the verse is written for why say Terah became a father at 70 and list the sons if you don’t mean one of them was born that year and it would naturally have to be the first one mentioned Abram. Pity he didn’t point out that when the fundies cannot agree among themselves how to reconcile Bible contradictions that it shows that their solutions are just contrived and fraudulent.