"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Answering Scriptural “Contradictions”

A skeptic and Bible expert I discovered online asserted that Jesus contradicted himself by claiming that He judges all things ( John 5:22 ; John 5:26-27 ; John 9:39; 2 Corinthians 5:10 ; Revelation 19:11 ), and that He judges no one (John 8:15; John 12:47). So, which is it?

      John 5:22 and 5:26-27 are but three verses excerpted from a passage comprising twenty-five verses. God's inerant Word is so only in its totality, not in a sampling of passages that seem to prove or disprove any particular point. And even then, to be received as His eternal Word it must be read according to His Spirit, by faith. Therein lies the issue with theological debates, which by definition focus on "proof passages" rather than God's whole, indivisible Word.
      As for the current issue, John 5:22 reflects Jesus' teaching from John 5:19-47

John 5:19 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
      As the Father's instrument of action, if the Father does nothing, neither does the Son, but if the Father judges His creation, the Son executes His judgment.
John 5:26-27
(26) For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.
(27) And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
     This simply reflects the theme begun in John 5:19; Jesus doesn't judge of Himself, but only as the Father directs. As God and Man, Jesus' relationship with the Father is two-fold: Jesus the Son of Man works under His Father's authority, by the Holy Spirit's power, subject to Him in all things even as we are. Jesus the Son of God is, if identity could be separated and quantified, the trinity's second divine Being, the creative, eternal Word of God, fully identified, integrated, and united with the Father. If that leaves any ambiguity concerning the Word's unity with the Father, consider that, as God, they share the exact same divine essence, indistinguishable, indivisible.
John 9:39
(39) Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind."
     If the skeptic had taken the time to consider the context of Jesus' statements in this passage he might have noticed that Jesus had just given sight to a man born blind. So when Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind," He wasn't referring to judging sin and righteousness, but one of the consequences of sin, spiritual blindness.
2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Revelation 19:11
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.
      Nothing in these verses negates the above, Scriptural analyses; God the Father judged His creation through the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. Their judgments are one-and-the-same, just as the Father and the Word are.

      Now to the "contradictory" passages:
John 8:15-16
(15) You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.
(16) Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.
        The skeptic listed vs. 15, but neglected to include vs. 16, which gives context to the previous verse, demonstrating that it contradicts nothing. The same is true of his last "contradictory" verse as follows.
John 12:47
(47) If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
      Once again, an isolated Bible verse can say pretty much anything the skeptic—or the believer—wishes to prove. But put it in even its immediate context and its truth becomes clear:
John 12:44-50
(44) And Jesus cried out and said, "Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me.
(45) And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.
(46) I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
(47) If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
(48) The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.
(49) For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.
(50) And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me."

      If we let God's Word speak for itself it never contradicts itself, for that would be God contradicting Himself, which is the one thing the almighty, all-knowing, self-existing, eternal God of the universe cannot do.


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