Is the Bible the word of God? Part 2

I’ve been doing some reading about the Luke 3:23-38, Matthew 1:2-16 contradiction, which I described in my previous post. From what I understand Christians interpret this by saying that Luke’s list belongs to Mary, and Matthew’s List belongs to Joseph.

They argue that there exists a lot of circumstantial evidence from the Bible itself:

  • Luke’s birth narrative is through the eyes of Mary, while Matthew’s is through the eyes of Joseph. Thus, Luke could have received his material through Mary (or someone close), thus it is quite possible that he received her genealogy.
  • Luke 3:23 reads, “Jesus…being supposedly the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, etc.” Luke certainly draws attention to the fact that Jesus was not truly Joseph’s son, so why would he then go to all the trouble in listing Joseph’s genealogy?
  • After considering the Greek of Luke 3:23, Robert Gromacki believes it should be translated as follows:

    “being the son (as was supposed of Joseph) of Heli, of Matthat, etc.”

    Gromaki states: “Since women did not appear in direct genealogical listings, Joseph stood in Mary’s place, but Luke was careful to note that there was no physical connection between Joseph and either Jesus or Heli.”

  • Luke’s genealogy also lists Adam as “the son of God.” This would indicate that one would have no grounds for insisting that the term “son” meant only the direct, biological offspring. Thus, one could think of Jesus as the “son of Heli.”
  • Whatever one makes of such reasoning, it is certainly possible that the above mentioned explanations might be true, thus a contradiction has not been proved. Hence we must believe in it.

My counter arguments:

  • [Update: This argument is wrong. See comments.] Luke’s list has 43 generations from David to Joseph (or Mary, as Christians claim), but Matthew’s list has only 28 generations from David to Joseph. That would mean that if Luke’s list is indeed Mary’s genealogy, then Mary would be 15 generations younger than Joseph. 15 generations is a lot of time even if the average age at which all of Mary’s ancestors gave birth to the next generation was just 10 years, in which case Mary would be 150 years younger than Joseph! That is clearly not the case.

    Let us assume that Matthew’s list got shorter because of loss in translation, and other errors. If that is true, let not the evangelists admit that Bible is not true (i.e. inerrant) in the literal sense. Hence it has to interpreted, in which case, they should not hold it as evidence against scientific evidence.

    The most holy book, has 15 errors in such a short passage. Many of those errors could be claimed to be because of human intervention. Then what does that say about the amount of strain we should have when living exactly by its preaching?

    Does it make sense that The Holy Word of God given by God so that ordinary men may live by its above-human-logic morality, is infused with silly logical errors so that we may be confused by it? This is not strictly a valid argument in Christianity because God the Potter can choose to make the pot anyway he wishes.

  • There is no explicit mention that the genealogy is Mary’s. The counter argument to this, a s cited in this site:

    The genealogy would lose all appeal if it was explicitly cited as Mary’s. However, it does seem to be implied. Thus, one could discern this truth after they had converted and studied the text. This would account for the early church’s belief about Mary’s Davidic descent.

    My argument against that is: What matters most? Is it truth or “appeal”? Are some words in the Bible written just for the appeal of it? Although it does seem to be implied, the fact remains: there is no explicit mention that the genealogy is Mary’s.

  • The last argument(see the previous list) in support of Mary’s genealogy in Luke mentions that there is good probability that all other arguments for the case could be true and hence the Matthew, Luke contradiction cannot be proved yet, hence Jesus must be believed to be the son of David who fulfilled the Isaiah prophecy. It is like saying that men definitely did not go to the moon because there is a chance that the counter arguments against it are true.

2 thoughts on “Is the Bible the word of God? Part 2

  1. Although I agree with you in general, I’d like to point out that your calculations concerning the difference in the number of generations is faulty. If line A has 43 generations and line B has 28, and the average reproduction age of line A is 10 years, then it is sufficient for line B to have a average reproduction age of about 15.4 years for both to meet at the same point: 43*10 = 430, 28*15.4=431.2. So, one of your arguments seems to be wrong.

  2. Thanks for pointing it out. That means I am wrong.

    So as long as the ratio of 43/28 is kept between the average ages of the ancestors of both lines, Joseph & Mary could be born at reasonably at the same times.

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