Posts Tagged ‘Apologetics’

How Many Stalls? Answering An Alleged Allegation

October 29, 2007

Recently on a message board that I frequent a list of supposed biblical contradictions was posted.  One of these was a difference between 1 Kings 4:26 and 2 Chronicles 9:25.  Some when answering this charge of contradiction some have been quick to make use of the “copyist error” defense.  I believe there are better explanations for the differences in these two passages than this. 

1 Kings 4:26

2 Chronicles 9:25 

And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen. And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.

At first glance it would appear that the passages are in contradiction with one telling us that Solomon had forty thousand stalls and one telling us that he had four thousand.  However, there are a couple of possible explanations for this difference.  The passage in 1 Kings speaks of forty thousand stalls for the horses that pulled the chariots whereas 2 Chronicles mentions four thousand stalls that held both horses and chariots.  So it is possible that there were thirty-six thousand stalls that held horses only and four thousand containing both horses and chariots.  Another possible explanation could be that Hebrew word “urvah” which is translated as stalls is being used in a different sense in each passage.  This word simply means a place where animals are kept.  So a building containing multiple pens would be called an “urvah” and each individual pen could also be called an “urvah”.  Thus it could be the writer of 1 Chronicles was using the word “urvah” to refer to four thousand buildings, each with ten horse stalls, there would have been forty-thousand individual stalls and it is these forty thousand individual stalls that the writer of 1 Kings was referring to.  

This once again illustrates the importance of not presuming the Bible guilty until proved innocent.  When we give the Bible the benefit of the doubt and look for a possible reasonable explanation it is usually not long before we find that the passages are not so difficult to reconcile as they first appear or as those who seek only to discredit the Bible believe they are.


Who Created God?

October 16, 2007

I recently watched the Nightline Face Off debate between the members of the Rational Response Squad, atheists Brian Sapient and Kelly, and Christian evangelists Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort.  I was quite disappointed in the debate as neither side did a particularly good job of presenting their arguments.  Christians watching the debate most likely walked away Christians and atheists most likely walked away atheists as neither side was particularly persuasive.

The purpose of the debate was to scientifically prove the existence of God without referring to faith or the Bible.  Unfortunately only one of two of Ray’s arguments attempted to do that, the rest relied upon the ten commandments, definitely in the Bible, and personal experiences, an argument from emotion.  The two best arguments that Ray brought up were that the universe requires a designer and that the existence of objective moral law requires the existence of a law giver. 

It is interesting to note that Kelly admitted that in order for society to function there must be objective moral law.  As I have previously written on the necessity of the existence of God for morality to exist here I will deal with the atheists objections to Ray’s other argument regarding the designer of the universe.

Ray began by pointing out that when one looks at the building the event was taking place in that due to the characteristics of the building we can infer an intelligent builder.  The existence of the building requires a cause, it didn’t just happen. The atheists made two objections to this argument. The primary objection was that if the universe requires a cause or a creator then what caused or created God.  They claimed that the universe is eternal.  Neither Ray nor Kirk even attempted to address this argument.  The other objection raised by the atheists is that one can find the builder of the building, look up the permits for the building in the city records, etc…

In regards to the first objection and what caused or created God.  As Ray and Kirk pointed out God is eternal and thus does not require a cause or creator.  The question is can the same claim be made of the universe?  Is the universe eternal as these two atheists claim?  Fortunately there is a large body of scientific evidence regarding this subject.

Consider the following excerpt from an article in Scientific American, a respected peer reviewed scientific journal:

The universe began from a state of infinite density. . . . Space and time were created in that event and so was all the matter in the universe. It is not meaningful to ask what happened before the Big Bang; it is like asking what is north of the North Pole. Similarly, it is not sensible to ask where the Big Bang took place. The point-universe was not an object isolated in space; it was the entire universe, and so the answer can only be that the Big Bang happened everywhere.

Then there is this quote by Professor Stephen Hawking, himself an ardent atheist:

The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago.

Robert Jastrow, an evolutionary astronomer writes:

Now both theory and observation pointed to an expanding Universe and a beginning in time…. About thirty years ago science solved the mystery of the birth and death of stars, and acquired new evidence that the Universe had a beginning.

Louis J. Cavelli, Ph.D., Professor of Physics for the University of Alabama said:

A large body of astrophysical observations now clearly points to a beginning for our universe about 15 billion years ago in a cataclysmic outpouring of elementary particles. There is, in fact, no evidence that any of the particles of matter with which we are now familiar existed before this great event.

The fact is the expansion of the universe, cosmic microwave background radiation, and a host of other observed phenomena all point to a universe that is not eternal but had a beginning at some point in the past. Thus the question of what caused the universe is a valid one and not so easily dismissed as the Reasonable Response Squad would have you to believe and a question to which they have no answer.  The Christian faith provides that answer, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.