False Teachings and Contradictions in the Bible?
by Rich Deem
Atheists claim that the Bible teaches many false things about the nature of our world – things that have been disproved by science. Others claim that the Bible contradicts itself. This page is a somewhat random collection of such allegations and their rebuttals. Most of the “false teachings” are based upon selected translations of the Bible (atheists love to use the KJV, since the archaic language had different meanings in the past) that are often taken out of context.
The Earth is flat
Many atheists claim that the Bible says that the earth is flat. Specific examples are seldom given – for good reason – they don’t exist. The word “flat” occurs only a few times in the Bible,1none of which is associated with the Earth. Synonyms, such as level,2plain,3 plane, even, or horizontal are never used in reference to the entire Earth, but only to specific geographic areas. In addition, the Bible indicates in several places that the earth is a sphere suspended in space, with day and night existing simultaneously (see Science and the Bible: Does the Bible Contradict Scientific Principles?). If a flat earth were a doctrine of the Bible, it would have to rank as one of the most obscure.
The Earth is covered by a dome
Atheists claim that the firmament (KJV) or expanse (NASB, NIV) was a solid dome in which the stars and sun were placed. However, the Hebrew word, raqia,4translated “firmament” is definitely not a solid structure, as indicated in Genesis 1:20,5 since birds cannot fly through solid material. The only verse in which the word “dome” is used is an obscure verse from the book of Amos, only in the NASB translation.6The Hebrew word in question is aguddah, meaning a band:- band(1), bands(1), bunch(1).7 The other translations use the word “foundation” (NIV) and troop” (KJV). A Hebrew colleague indicated that the word refers to human beings (His gathering).
- he who builds his lofty palace in the heavens and sets its foundation [aguddah] on the earth, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land– the LORD is his name. (Amos 9:6, NIV)
- It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop [aguddah] in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name. (Amos 9:6, KJV)
- He builds His chambers (layers) in the heavens and established His beings (gathering) [aguddah] on earth. (Amos 9:68)
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Here are the other three verses in which the word aguddah appears:
- “And you shall take a bunch [aguddah] of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.” (Exodus 12:22)
- And the sons of Benjamin gathered together behind Abner and became one band [aguddah], and they stood on the top of a certain hill. (2 Samuel 2:25)
- “Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands [aguddah] of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free, And break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6)
It is obvious that the NASB translation of Amos 9:6 is off base. This example is typical of the kind of objections raised by atheists. Their MO is to find an unusual translation (usually found in only one translation) and use this as “proof” that the Bible is inaccurate.
Another example given for the claim that the Bible teaches there is a dome that holds the stars comes from the book of Job:
“Can you, with Him, spread out the skies, Strong as a molten mirror?” (Job 37:18)
Out of context, it seems like an open and shut case that the Bible teaches that the skies are solid. What the atheists don’t want to tell you is who was talking (Elihu, one of Job’s “friends”) and what was God’s response to these teachings. In fact, in the next chapter, God answers Job’s “friends” teachings…
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