Category Archives: Old vs New Testament

#6. Does man return to the dust upon his death OR is he resurrected? (Gen 3:19; Eccl 3:20; Job 14:10, 12, etc. vs Dan 12:2; 1 Thess 4:15-17; 1 Cor 15:22, 15:51-52; Acts 24:15; Mk 9:1; Jn 5:28-29, 6:40; Rev 2:7)

The axiom of Genesis 3:19, “for dust you are and to dust you shall return,” and similar statements in the Hebrew Bible

a human is in no way better off than an animal. Everything goes to the same place: everything comes from the dust, and everything returns to the dust (Eccl 3:20)

a human being, he dies and dead he remains (Job 14:10)

a human being, once laid to rest will never rise again (Job 14:12)

is predicated on the ontological and empirical evidence that all men die, that Death, if we wish to personify it, comes to all, and that there is no returning from the grave, or Sheol as it is commonly referred to in the Bible. Nothing in the Hebrew Bible, in other words, prepares us for the New Testament’s declarations that, according to Paul, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross has defeated Death itself, that Death no … Read more

Posted in Daniel, Ecclesiastes, Genesis, Job, Old vs New Testament | Tagged , , , | 46 Comments

#13. Does Yahweh regret and change his mind OR does he not? (Gen 6:6-7; Ex 32:13-14; 1 Sam 2:30-31, 15:35; Amos 7:3; Jon 3:10 vs Num 23:19; 1 Sam 15:29; Mal 3:6)

“And Yahweh regretted that he had made mankind on the earth and he was grieved to his heart” (Gen 6:6).

We have already discussed the Yahwist’s anthropomorphic portrait of Yahweh [or if you've missed it see: Conflicting portraits of Israel's deity], so there is nothing surprising in this characterization of the deity in this verse. The Hebrew word, nehem, in this passage describes a change of heart or mind, and is typical of J’s anthropomorphic conception of the deity. In the Yahwist text, Yahweh often repents, regrets, grieves, even deceives, and is moved by fierce bouts of anger. In other words, J’s very “human” presentation of Yahweh is not to be assimilated to later theological programs that assert omniscience and omnipotence to the deity. Nowhere in J are these later theological ideas even hinted at.

In Genesis 6:6-7, the Yahwist depicts Yahweh grieving and regretting that he had … Read more

Posted in Amos, Exodus, Genesis, Malachi, Numbers, Old vs New Testament, Samuel | Tagged | 5 Comments

#31. Is the covenant of circumcision an eternal covenant OR not? (Gen 17:1-14 vs Gal 3-4; Rom 4:9-12)

At heart, this contradiction is between a text written by an elitist Aaronid priestly guild writing from their exilic condition in Babylon at the end of the 6th century BC, and which was a specific response to their historical crisis and to its historical audience AND a text written by fervent Jew “in Christ” writing in the 1st century AD to a Hellenistic audience on the fringes of the Roman empire. It too was shaped by its historical circumstances and sought to address the needs and concerns of its audience, as well as promulgate the beliefs of its author.

The former text was written to reaffirm and safeguard ethnic identity and Yahweh’s “eternal” covenant to a Jewish people currently sitting in exile in Babylon wondering if their god would keep his covenantal promise to return them to their land (see #28-30). The latter was written to deconstruct ethnic … Read more

Posted in Genesis, Old vs New Testament | Tagged , | 21 Comments

#63. Can a mortal see God face-to-face and live OR not? (Gen 16:13, 32:30; Ex 24:9-11, 33:11; Num 14:14; Deut 5:21, 34:10 vs Ex 33:20; John 1:18, 5:37; 1 Tim 6:16)

This is an oldie but a goodie as they say, and can be found on numerous other sites and throughout the literature. I will keep to my procedure of stressing that such contradictions are the result of an editorial process that brought together different textual traditions written over a period of 1,000 years, each expressing divergent and contradictory beliefs, worldviews, and theologies.

In fact, contradictory traditions now preserved side-by-side in the Bible yield divergent responses to this question. In the Yahwist narratives of Genesis, Abraham, Sarah, and Jacob see Yahweh face-to-face, and Abraham even prepares a meal for Yahweh and two angelic guests, and eats with them (Gen 18:1 ff.).

In an Elohist text, Jacob encounters the god of Penuel, from whom he wrestles a blessing (#62): “And Jacob called the place’s name Penuel ‘because I’ve seen God face-to-face, and my life has been delivered’” (Gen 32:30). Tradition … Read more

Posted in Deuteronomy, Exodus, Genesis, Numbers, Old vs New Testament | Tagged , | 1 Comment

#76. Was it 66 OR 70 OR 75 males from Jacob’s loins who came to Egypt? (Gen 46:26 vs Gen 46:27, Ex 1:5, Deut 10:22 vs Acts 7:14)

The passage in question is Genesis 46:8-27 which breaks from the narrative to offer yet another genealogy: “And these are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt…”

We have seen elsewhere that such interest in genealogies, dates, and ages were evidence of the Priestly writer’s hand. Yet this passage also evidences editorial reworking, possibly even done by a scribal hand during the recopying of the manuscript. In other words, within this single source there is a discrepancy pertaining to the number of male descendants from Jacob’s loins that went down to Egypt.

Verse 26 states that there were 66, while verse 27 states 70. One of these is an editorial correction most likely inserted during textual transmission. That seems to be the best hypothesis that fits the textual data.

If one counts up all the male descendants of Jacob listed in the passage, one arrives at … Read more

Posted in Deuteronomy, Exodus, Genesis, Old vs New Testament | Tagged , | 12 Comments

#94. Does Yahweh make a person blind, deaf, or dumb OR does Beelzebub (Ex 4:11 vs Mk 1:34, 3:22, 5:9-13; Matt 9:33, 12:22, etc.)

“Who makes a person dumb or deaf, gives sight or makes blind? Is it not I, Yahweh!”

Exodus 4:11, like other Old Testament passages, expresses a theological tenet shared by many of the authors of the Hebrew Bible—namely that Yahweh is sovereign. Other examples of this theological perspective can be found elsewhere. Here are just a couple examples:

“Should evil befall a city and Yahweh has not done it?” (Amos 3:6)

“I am Yahweh and there is none other; I fashion light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil. I am Yahweh who does all these things!” (Isaiah 45:6-7)

What these proclamations express is that Yahweh is sovereign over all things, personal and national. This entails that Yahweh is in control of everything: life, death, fertility, from making a person blind or ill, to destroying whole peoples and their lands, to being the god of both creation and … Read more

Posted in Exodus, Old vs New Testament | Tagged , | 3 Comments

#118. Must one be circumcised to celebrate and eat the Passover OR not? (Ex 12:43-49 vs Deut 16:1-8; Gal 3-4)

Continuing with our discussion of the differences between the Priestly writer’s Passover account in Exodus 12 and that of Deuteronomy 16 (#117), we note that while nothing is said in Deuteronomy about circumcision, in the Priestly literature it is forbidden for an uncircumcised male to eat and partake of the Passover.

And Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron: “This is the law of the Passover:

  • Any foreigner shall not eat it.
  • Every slave purchased with money, you shall circumcise him; then he shall eat it.
  • A visitor and an employee shall not eat it.
  • It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the meat outside.
  • You shall not break a bone from it.
  • All the congregation of Israel shall do the Passover.
  • If an alien resides among you and you will make a Passover to Yahweh, every male must be circumcised; then he

Read more

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#136. Are the sins of the parents reckoned on their children to the third and fourth generation OR are sins reckoned to each offender only? (Ex 20:5, 34:7; Deut 5:9 vs Deut 24:16; Jr 31:29-30; Ez 18:2-4)

The notion of hereditary guilt runs throughout the Bible and was a common characteristic of most ancient societies.

Exodus 20:5, for example, claims from the mouth of Yahweh himself that he is a jealous god, “reckoning fathers’ sins upon sons, on the third and on the fourth generation.”

This theology of inherited sin is duplicated in the Deuteronomic version of the Ten Commandments (Deut 5:9), and is prominent throughout the Deuteronomic History. It was also cited to provide the theological response as to why Jerusalem fell (Lam 5:7), and it permeates the book of Daniel, with its repetitive refrain, “the sins of our fathers.”

Yet other textual sources negate this theology of inherited sin, or at any rate draw it into question, such as we find in Jeremiah 31:29-30 and Ezekiel 18:2-4.

After explaining theologically the fall of Jerusalem on account of the sins of the fathers, Jer 31:29-30 imagines … Read more

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#143. If someone strikes you do you seek retribution per the law OR offer the other cheek as well? (Ex 21:12-24 vs Matt 5:39)

One who strikes a man and he dies, he shall be put to death! (Ex 21:12)

And if there be any injury, then you shall give a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot, a burn for a burn, a wound for a wound, a hurt for a hurt! (Ex 21:24)

The lex talionis—the law of equal retaliation—was a common principle or policy of retribution shared by many cultures in antiquity. The Israelites were no exception to this and biblical scribes placed this “philosophy of justice” on the lips of Yahweh, as in the above example. Laws of equal retribution were used to curb escalating violence. It is a public decree that any villian will receive his just deserts: a life for a life, eye for an eye, etc.

It would be … Read more

Posted in Exodus, Old vs New Testament | 1 Comment

#146. Does Yahweh vindicate the guilty OR not? (Rom 3-4; Gal 3-5 vs Ex 23:7)

“For I shall not vindicate a guilty one!” (Ex 23:7)

One of the many gaping theological contradictions between the Old and the New Testaments—between a culture and worldview which existed in the 1st half of the 1st millennium BC and one which existed in the 1st century AD—has to do with who Yahweh vindicates or accords righteousness to.

As posted in an earlier entry (#6), Old Testament theology was constructed on the empirical. If an individual or a nation was suffering distress or illness then obviously that individual or nation has transgressed Yahweh’s words and are enduring the appropriate punishment. Conversely, if one follows Yahweh’s commandments and laws then that individual or nation will reap its just rewards, living on the land (see #29). In other words, Yahweh vindicates those who do the works of the law and punishes those who do not.

There … Read more

Posted in Exodus, Old vs New Testament | 3 Comments

#151. Does Yahweh dwell among the people, in the Temple OR not? (Ex 25:8, 29:45 vs Deut 12:11, 12:21; Acts 7:48)

“And they shall make me a holy place and I shall dwell among them.” (Ex 25:8; cf. Ex 29:45)

One or the central and most important theological tenets of the Priestly theocracy was that Yahweh dwelt among the people, tented in the Tabernacle which was at the center of their camp.

This theological conviction alone necessitated a strict ethical and ritual code that quickly expunged and expiated any impurities that came into the camp—thus the Priestly legislation’s strict adherence to purity and cleanliness, both ethically and ritually.

“You will be holy, for I, Yahweh your god, am holy!” (Lev 19.2)

At the center of this “holy” encampment was the Tabernacle where Yahweh dwelt. Only the Aaronid priests were allowed entrance into it. Next, were the anointed Aaronids themselves, and after them were the Levites who ministered to the Aaronid priesthood (Num 4). Extending further from the center were the people, … Read more

Posted in Deuteronomy, Exodus, Old vs New Testament | 11 Comments

#174. Sin can only be atoned through sacrifice OR not? (Lev 4-5; Num 15 vs Deut 4, 17, 23-24, 28; Gal 2-4; Rom 4-7)

There are significant differences, indeed contradictions, between the views and precepts of the Aaronid-led priestly guild who wrote the book of Leviticus and the Levite-led scribes who wrote the book of Deuteronomy. These are large sweeping theological differences that existed between ancient Israel’s rival priestly schools (see also #30, #151, #152, #153-154).

The Priestly literature is centered around its most important cultic and theological institution: the Tabernacle. The sacrificial cult was the center of priestly ideology and the Aaronid priests functioned as sole mediators, via the sacrificial cult, between the people and Yahweh. Accordingly, any transgression, the inadvertent contact with the impure/unclean, had to be atoned/expiated via sacrifice—as outlined in Leviticus 4-5. That is to say, sacrifice was the only means to atone for sin. There was no room for contrition or forgiveness in the priestly theology. This is not only contradicted by Deuteronomy, but the … Read more

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#183. Are certain foods impure/unclean and forbidden to eat OR not? (Lev 11; Deut 14 vs Mk 7:18-19; Rom 14:14; Acts 10:10-15)

I apologize for my rather long absence. It’s been a difficult time. But let us see if we can get back on track and finish up with the contradictions in Leviticus, and move into Numbers and Deuteronomy.

In earlier posts, I discussed the sacrificial cult of the Aaronid priesthood as detailed throughout the book of Leviticus (#137-138, #148-149, #151, #152, #155, #174, #175, #178). In sum, sacrifices were necessitated (divinely decreed in this corpus of literature) to restore purity and holiness to (potentially) impure persons, communities, and even the land. Since according to the theological tenets of the Aaronid priestly guild Yahweh dwelt among the people (#151#164-165), strict measures had to be enforced to safeguard the holiness and purity of not only Yahweh’s sacred space, his Tabernacle, but of the whole congregation as well. “You shall be … Read more

Posted in Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Old vs New Testament | 9 Comments

#184. Who can declare an individual “pure/clean”: the Aaronid priest OR Jesus? (Lev 12-15, 18-20 vs Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37; Mark 1:40-45; Matthew 8:1-4; Luke 5:12-16, etc.)

“And the priest shall identify him/her as pure.”

As previously noted (#183), the whole belief system, social organization, and worldview created by the Aaronid priests who wrote the scrolls that eventually became the book of Leviticus were intricately constructed upon categories of pure and impure, and these categories were woven into, according to this priestly guild and its god, the very fabric of the cosmos itself, of its metaphysics, at its creation (see #1).

The texts of Leviticus are in fact instructions (torahs) presented as from Yahweh to the Aaronid priesthood which exclusively assign the Aaronid priesthood with the function of: 1) identifying individuals, individual actions, foods, clothing, houses, etc. as either pure or impure, 2) prescribing the necessary procedures to regain one’s state of purity, and 3) performing sacrifices at Yahweh’s altar which atone such individuals of their sin/impurity.

This whole priestly and sacred view of … Read more

Posted in Leviticus, Old vs New Testament | 8 Comments

#186. Is Yom Kipper (the Day of Atonement/Purification) an eternal law OR not? (Lev 16, 23:26-32 vs Deut 16:16; Rom 3; Gal 3; Heb 5-9)

The Priestly literature is the only corpus of texts in the Bible that prescribes as an eternal law, directly from Yahweh’s mouth, the festival of Yom Kipper—but see Ezekiel too, a text not incoincidentally also written by an Aaronid priest in exile. In fact, the priestly literature is the only corpus of texts in the Bible that commands certain sacrifices (#155), festivals (#109-110, #118), holy days (#171), covenants (#31), and other cultic practices associated with the Aaronid priestly guild as “eternal laws.”

Thus, for example, the priestly writer places these as eternal laws on the lips of his god, Yahweh: Passover (Ex 12:14, 17), the observance of Unleavened Bread, Booths, and the Day of Atonement (Lev 23:14, 41; 16:29, 31); the Aaronid priesthood itself (Ex 29:9; 40:15; Lev 6:15); the daily lamp that must be kept lit by the Aaronid priests Read more

Posted in Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Old vs New Testament | Tagged | 4 Comments

#192. A wife who is guilty of aldutery must be put to death OR suffer the curse of bareness? (Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22; Gal 5:19-21; Rev 21:8 vs Num 5:11-31)

One of the Ten Commandments, preserved both in Exodus 20:14 (E) and Deuteronomy 5:17, is the prohibition against adultery: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

But we actually have to wait until later textual traditions clarify what the punishment of this crime is. Here is what Deuteronomy and Leviticus have to say about the matter.

If a man be found lying with a woman who is a husband’s wife, then the two of them shall die: the man who lay with the woman, and the woman. (Deut 22:22)

A man who will commit adultery with a man’s wife, who will commit adultery with his neighbor’s wife, shall be put to death: the adulterer and the adulteress. (Lev 20:10)

Although these texts present the man as the initiator in the act, it nevertheless clearly stipulates that both the man (adulterer) and the woman, the wife of another (adulteress), are to be put … Read more

Posted in Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Numbers, Old vs New Testament | 10 Comments

#222. Must one be pure for Passover OR not? (Num 9:9-11 vs Deut 16:1-8)
#223. Is the observance of Passover an eternal law OR not? (Ex 12:14-17; Lev 23:4-5 vs Gal 3-4)

As we have repeatedly seen already (#175, #178, #183, #184, #185, etc.) that concern for ritual and ethical purity was top priority for the Aaronid priesthood that penned the book of Leviticus and 75% of what is now the book of Numbers.

Throughout Leviticus, and especially in those chapters devoted to its laws and commandments (Lev 11-22), the role of the Aaronid priests is repeatedly defined through the phrase “to distinguish between the holy and the profane, between the pure and the impure.”In fact, this priestly law code is presented as the very instruction (torah) for doing this. Its torahs are: “to distinguish between the holy and the profane, the pure and the impure” in matters of: diet (Lev 11); women, i.e., menstruation and childbirth (Lev 12); skin diseases and afflictions (Lev 13-14); bodily emissions (Lev 15); sex and nudity (Lev 18, … Read more

Posted in Deuteronomy, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Old vs New Testament | Tagged | 1 Comment

#244. Can any and all sins be atoned/expiated OR only those sins which were committed inadvertently? (Matt 6:14; Jn 3:16, 5:24; Acts 10:43; Rom 3:22, 4:25; Gal 3:13, etc. vs Deut 21:1-9, Lev 4-5; Num 15:30-31; cf. 1 Cor 5; Matt 6:15, 12:31, 18:35, etc.)

This entry expands upon an earlier entry, contradiction #174: Can sin only be atoned through sacrifice or not?—a post that needs much amending itself.

Here I will try to limit my remarks [Interjection: I failed at this task, my apologies. The post goes on and on and on. Hopefully there's a little something for everyone here.] to, first, the different stance taken between unintentional and intentional sins as viewed by the Priestly writer—that is, the difference between inadvertently committing a sin and conversely willfully and intentionally committing a sin—and second how this dichotomy was discarded, forgotten, or willfully neglected by later biblical communities, worldviews, and/or beliefs…. or was it?

Indeed, the dichotomy itself is at core unique to the beliefs and worldview of the priests who wrote these texts—beliefs, views, and morals which, as we have seen throughout this survey of the literature, were sanctified and legitimated by placing … Read more

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#245. Is the Sabbath an eternal covenant decreed by Yahweh that must be kept under penalty of death OR not? (Ex 31:12-17, 35:2; Num 15:32-36; Matt 5:18-20 vs Acts 15:29; Rom 14:5-6; Gal 3:23-25, 4:9-10; Col 2:16)

All of the Torah’s Sabbath laws, including the account of its consecration as a holy day by God himself at creation (Gen 2:3), were penned by the same author or priestly guild!—what scholars have come to label as the Priestly source. Indeed the Sabbath itself has a much earlier origin than the writings of this 6th century BCE elite priestly guild. Thus the Sabbath is found in the earlier Yahwist and Elohist traditions and even listed as a central part of the Ten Commandments (see also #134):

Remember the Sabbath day: to make it holy! Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the 7th day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your god. You shall not do any work! (Ex 20:8-10)

But it was the Aaronid priests themselves who converted this 7th-day observance into an “eternal covenant” punishable by death! The … Read more

Posted in Exodus, Numbers, Old vs New Testament | Tagged | 3 Comments

Genesis 1:9-10 — God Creates Dry Land not the Planet Earth!

When we read Genesis 1:1, “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” we picture the origin of the atmosphere, space, solar systems, and galaxies. We think of the creation of the planet in our solar system named “Earth,” whose shape is an oblate spheroid or a rotationally symmetric ellipsoid. This mental picture is natural, because the English term “Earth” is the name of the planet in this solar system on which humans reside. But in Genesis 1 “earth” does not mean the planet Earth. Genesis reports the origin of the “heavens and earth” as such terms meant in the author’s time and within his worldview, which did not include a twenty-first century acquaintance with astronomy. What does “earth” mean in Genesis 1? The answer is provided in the text itself.                                                                                                            — Dr. Karen Winslow

It is rare to find such an accurately and succinctly put introduction to … Read more

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Genesis 1:14-19 — Creation and Yahweh’s Festivals

And God said: “Let there be lights in the vault of the skies to divide between the day and the night and let them be for signs and for fixed times and for days and for years.”

The domed vault or raqî‘a that was made in verses 6-8 to separate and hold back the waters above is now populated with the luminaries: sun, moon, and the stars. Unlike modern man, ancient man constructed their calendars and measured the progression of time according to the celestial luminaries: predominantly the sun and the moon. The author of Genesis’ first creation account depicts this idea by having the creator deity specify that these luminaries were created for this specific purpose.

The most fascinating, and certainly the most revealing, element here in verse 14 is the claim that these luminaries function, in part, as celestial markers for mankind to identify specific “fixed times.” The … Read more

Posted in Genesis, Genesis' Two Creation Accounts, Old vs New Testament | Tagged | 2 Comments

#1a. Does God create the heavens and the earth, then plants, then animals, and then both male and female in his image OR does Yahweh form man from the ground first, then plants, then animals, and then woman last from man’s rib? (Gen 1:1-2:3 [P] vs Gen 2:4b-23 [J])
#1b. Does God create the earth and the heavens on the same day OR not? (Gen 2:4b [J] vs Gen 1:6-9 [P])
#1c. Is both man and women created in the image of God OR is man formed from the ground and is a “living being” like other animals, and women formed from man? (Gen 1:27 [P] vs Gen 2:7, 2:21-23 [J]; 1 Cor 11:9; 1 Tim 2:13)
#1d. When is all the vegetation created: after the animals, man, and woman are created OR before the animals and woman are created? (Gen 1:29 [P] vs Gen 2:9 [J])
#1e. Does God declare all the vegetation and trees as food for the primordial pair OR does Yahweh command that one of the trees not be eaten from? (Gen 1:29 [P] vs Gen 2:17 [J])

For a detailed and hopefully definitive textual analysis demonstrating these contradictions and the fact that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2-3 were penned by different authors, see my newly added series of posts under the category Genesis’ 2 Creation Accounts.

Ancient and modern readers alike have long recognized the stark differences between the seven-day creation account of Genesis 1:1-2:3 and the latter garden of Eden account of Genesis 2:4b-3:24. Even on stylistic grounds noticeable in an English translation, the first creation account, penned by the Priestly writer,  is lofty, formulaic, structured, heaven-centered, and awe-inspiring with its image of an utterly transcendent and impersonal creator deity who brings creation and order into existence by the mere force of his word. The second creation account, from the pen of the Yahwist, on the other hand, is informal and fable-like in its presentation, is earth-centered, is presented as a narrative dialogue, … Read more

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