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Author Topic:   Is there a contradiction between Deuteronomy and Jonah?
PaulK
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Posts: 14959
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 1 of 65 (105986)
05-06-2004 3:55 PM


This post is intended to answer Almeyda's claim that there are no contradictions in the Bible by demonstrating a significant disagreement between Deuteronomy on one hand and the Books of Jonah and Jeremiah on the other. A disagreement that is not only clear enough to constitute a contradiction, but is significant enough that it cannot be written off as a trivial scribal error.

Deuteronomy:

Deuteronomy 18:20-22 states that if a prophecy fails to come true - if the predicted event fails to come to pass - then the prophet did not speak for God and should be executed.


20 But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.'
21 "You may say in your heart, 'How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?'
22 "When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously...

(All quotes from NASB)

Jonah:

According to the book of Jonah, Jonah prophesised that Nineveh would be overthrown within 40 days.

Jonah 3:4


...he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."

That event did not occur. According to the standard put forward in Deuteronomy 18:22 "that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously".

But the Book of Jonah disagrees - it states that God did send the message, but changed His mind:

Jonah 3:10


...God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

This establishes a contradiction.

According to Deuteronomy 18:22 a failed prediction is proof that the prophecy did not come from God, and verse 18:20 demands the execution of the prophet.

According to the Book of Jonah a prediction that genuinely comes from God may fail, if God changes His mind.

Jeremiah:

The book of Jeremiah also speaks to this matter, taking the same view as the author of Jonah. And this portion of Jeremiah is presented as a prophecy.

Jeremiah 18:5-10


5 Then the word of the LORD came to me saying,
6 "Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.
7 "At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it;
8 if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it.
9 "Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it;
10 if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it.

This is a serious issue since if the Book of Jonah and Jeremiah are correct, then Deuteronomy not only requires wrongly rejecting the prophecy - God's word - it also requires the execution of an innocent man. And not just any man, but a genuine prophet of the Lord. For the Law to contain such a severe injustice would be a serious blow to any claim of moral authority made for the Bible.

On the other hand if Deuteronomy is correct both Jonah - as presented in the story - and Jeremiah are false prophets. Jonah for the failed prophecy against Nineveh and Jeremiah for delivering a false prophecy which contradicts Deuteronomy.

[Note: This message has been edited by AdminSylas]


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AdminSylas
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 65 (106540)
05-08-2004 5:24 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 14959
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 9 of 65 (106815)
05-09-2004 4:06 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by PaulK
05-06-2004 3:55 PM


BUMP!
Are there no inerrantists willing to try to explain this contradiction ?
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riVeRraT
Member (Idle past 60 days)
Posts: 5746
From: NY USA
Joined: 05-09-2004


Message 10 of 65 (106825)
05-09-2004 6:09 PM


This is what happens when you take things out of context.
Please read the full chapter for an explanation.
There was no contradiction at all. God is allowed to change his mind, just like we do. After all we were created in his image, so you should understand that.
I see no contradiction whatsoever. I also find it funny how you answerd your own question within the scripture you posted.
Nineveh took the warning seriously and did the right thing, so they were spared. Had they not, then the prophecy would have came true. no doubt.

Jonah 3
7 Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh:

"By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish."

10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.

Jeremiah 18
7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.

This message has been edited by riVeRraT, 05-09-2004 05:14 PM


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Percy
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Posts: 18430
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 11 of 65 (106829)
05-09-2004 6:28 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by riVeRraT
05-09-2004 6:09 PM


riVeRraT writes:

I also find it funny how you answerd your own question within the scripture you posted.

That was sort of my reaction: "What contradiction?"

--Percy


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jt
Member (Idle past 3737 days)
Posts: 239
From: Upper Portion, Left Coast, United States
Joined: 04-26-2004


Message 12 of 65 (106830)
05-09-2004 6:31 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by PaulK
05-09-2004 4:06 PM


{edited in}Note: this might be redundant, I posted it then saw there was already a response.{/edited in}

According to the book of Jonah, Jonah prophesised that Nineveh would be overthrown within 40 days.

This was not a prohesy, this was a threat. The NIV translation of Jonah 4:6 says:

...and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened (emphasis mine)

The reason God sent Jonah to Ninevah was to tell them they were sinning, and that if they didn't repent they'd be in trouble.

Jonah 4:11 says:

...Ninevah has more than 120,000 people who cannot tell their right hand from there left...

Jonah was sent to Ninevah to tell them what was right and wrong. The citizens of Ninevah were in such moral confusion they did not know "their right hand from their left."

Jeremiah 18: 5-10 is also talking about a threat, not a prophesy. The purpose of a threat would be to let people know the severity of their sin and its consequences.

This message has been edited by JT, 05-09-2004 05:33 PM


Benoit Mandelbrot is not a type of wine.
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Brian
Member (Idle past 3100 days)
Posts: 4659
From: Scotland
Joined: 10-22-2002


Message 13 of 65 (106833)
05-09-2004 6:43 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by jt
05-09-2004 6:31 PM


Jonah was sent to Ninevah to tell them what was right and wrong. The citizens of Ninevah were in such moral confusion they did not know "their right hand from their left."

This is incorrect. (IMO)

The meaning of not knowing their right hand from their left is a reference to children. Nineveh had 120 000 children, which was untrue of course, it was never inhabited by so many people.

Brian

Edited to add (IMO)

This message has been edited by Brian, 05-09-2004 06:05 PM


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PaulK
Member
Posts: 14959
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 14 of 65 (106838)
05-09-2004 6:58 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by riVeRraT
05-09-2004 6:09 PM


No, I didn't take anything out of context. Please do not make such charges unless you can back them up. It is neither honest nor conducive to discussion.

I never said that God was not allowed to change his mind.
But Deuteronomy 8:22 says that God does NOT change his mind when it comes to prophecies.

"if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken"

If it doesn't happen it is not a genuine prophecy. That is what Deuteronomy 18:22 says. So you are arguing that Deuteronomy 18:22 is wrong - which supports the existence of a contradiction.

Just in case you still do not understand here it is as a logical argument

Premise 1: God sends a prophecy
Premise 2: God changes his mind and the prophecy does not come to pass
Premise 3: Deuteronomy 18:22 : If the prophecy does not come to pass then God did not sent it
Conclusion God did not send the prophecy.

This contradicts the initial premise - a logical impossibility.

Therefore either:
Premise 1 is false - God did not send the prophecy
Premise 2 is false - God did not change his mind and the prophecy did come to pass
Premise 3 is false - and Deuteronomy 18:22 is false.

There is no other alternative.


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PaulK
Member
Posts: 14959
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 15 of 65 (106841)
05-09-2004 7:10 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by jt
05-09-2004 6:31 PM


I suggest that you read the Book of Jonah. I have provided the relevant quote from Jonah 3:4 and 3:10. Both of these contradict your argument that God's message of destruction was in any way conditional.

Jeremiah 18:5-10 also clearly indicate that God may change his mind about prophecies which offered unconditional messages. If conditions were included in the prophecies there would be no point in Jeremiah 18:5-10 at all ! It would be obvious from the prophecy itself that the prediction was conditional.

So, in both cases you are going against the Bible.


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jt
Member (Idle past 3737 days)
Posts: 239
From: Upper Portion, Left Coast, United States
Joined: 04-26-2004


Message 16 of 65 (106872)
05-09-2004 8:18 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Brian
05-09-2004 6:43 PM


Brian said:

This is incorrect. (IMO)

I checked some commentaries, and they agree with you that the reference is to children. I stand corrected.

Nineveh had 120 000 children, which was untrue of course, it was never inhabited by so many people.

Sounds interesting, can you back this up?

PaulK says:

Both of these contradict your argument that God's message of destruction was in any way conditional.

The NIV translation of Jonah 4:10 says:

...and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened (emphasis mine)

To threaten is defined by m-w online as "to announce as intended or possible ."

When workers threaten a strike (the dictionary's example), is that a promise that they are going to strike? No, it is threat used to get the attention of management, and if the mannagement responds, the workers have no reason to strike. This is clearly conditional.

Premise 1: God sends a prophecy
Premise 2: God changes his mind and the prophecy does not come to pass
Premise 3: Deuteronomy 18:22 : If the prophecy does not come to pass then God did not sent it
Conclusion God did not send the prophecy.

I disagree with premise 1 in this case. God said if you don't start behaving, I'm going to punish you. This is a conditional prophecy, or a threat. If x happens, so will y. If x doesn't happen, neither will y.


Benoit Mandelbrot is not a type of wine.
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riVeRraT
Member (Idle past 60 days)
Posts: 5746
From: NY USA
Joined: 05-09-2004


Message 17 of 65 (106952)
05-10-2004 12:40 AM


quote:
No, I didn't take anything out of context. Please do not make such charges unless you can back them up. It is neither honest nor conducive to discussion.

IMO you took things out of context, and I am entitiled to my opinion. After all you had yours. It is completely honest of me to state such.

I also backed it up, and therefor it was conducive to the discussion. I am sorry if you cannot see the reasoning, and think that I am, in some way attacking you, thats not how it was meant.

You must study more than one translation of the Bible. The NIV one is probably the best. The enemy lives in those bad translations. The Devil also Loves Church, he is there every Sunday. Did you pray to God to explain it to you?, that would have been your best bet instead of asking us mere men.

Peaople for 2000 years have been trying to prove the Bible wrong, and haven't suceeded. So don't feel to bad. I Love how if one statement in the Bible proves to be controversial it means that God doesn't exist.
Too bad people don't feel the same way about science, other wise no-one would believe in it.


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almeyda
Inactive Member


Message 18 of 65 (106992)
05-10-2004 1:58 AM


...
I seriously do not see a contradiction. Its a strange thing about God being perfect, but he does make decisions. The Old Testament was written over a 1000yr span..Deuteronomy & Jonah are very far apart in the Bible. Completely different times and situations. I will not accept such a blurred out of context contradiction that you claim.. Besides so many of you believe the book is filled with contradictions.. Isnt there a clearer without a doubt contradiction that you can share?.
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PaulK
Member
Posts: 14959
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 19 of 65 (107015)
05-10-2004 3:36 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by jt
05-09-2004 8:18 PM


You are relying on an interpetation of Jonah "4:10" - however you mean 3:10 which I have already quoted. So you are also relying on a strained interpretation of the NIV which contradicts the NASB, which does not use the word threaten - instead it uses the word "declare". But even the NIV does not state that the prophecy was conditional (which is why you do not quote Jonah 3:3). Morever the dictionary does not state that a "threat" must be conditional. Therefore your claim that the prophecy contained a condition is not supported by the Book of Jonah. Thus you reject what the Book of Jonah actually states.

I will point out that you also reject Jeremiah 18:5-10 since it is not limited to conditional prophecies, and as I pointed out earlier it would be completely redundant to if it only applied prophecies that were already conditional.

So again the contradiction is affirmed.


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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 20 of 65 (107018)
05-10-2004 3:52 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by riVeRraT
05-10-2004 12:40 AM


Peaople for 2000 years have been trying to prove the Bible wrong, and haven't suceeded.

They've succeeded with me and a whole lot of others here, and arguably, they've succeeded with everybody who doesn't have the faith-based blinders on.


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PaulK
Member
Posts: 14959
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 21 of 65 (107019)
05-10-2004 4:04 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by riVeRraT
05-10-2004 12:40 AM


No you did not back up your claim that I took anything out of context. TO do that you would have to produce the relevant context and show what I had left out ad that it materially affected the interpretation of the quotes I used. This you did not do, and the reason you did not do it is because it is not true.

The NASB is NOT known as a "bad translation" - in fact it has a better reputation than the NIV.

But since you still put such stock in the NIV this is from Deuteronomy 18:22 in the NIV translation:


"If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken."

There is no room there for God to change his mind after the propecy has been delivered. And I suspect that that is why you are ignoring Deuteronomy 18 - because your argument relies on denying what it says.

You can say that the Bible has never been proven wrong. But your reasction on being presented with such proof shows what really underlies such claim. Firstly you ignore what Deteronomy says entirely - which guarantees that you will not see the contradiction since it is Deuteronomy 18:20-22 that contradicts Jonah and Jeremiah. Then you falsely accuse me of quoting "out of context". When those tactics fail you still refuse to even look at the contradiction and start telling me that you don't have an answer and that I should pray!.

I should also point out to you that I don't claim that contradictions in the Bible prove that God does not exist - it is the inerrantists who claim that. I explicitly stated at the start in post 1 that my purpose was to answer a claim that the Bible had no contradictions. And your final sentence which comes close to insinuating hypocrisy is a significant representation of the situation. I am suggestign rejecting the claim that the BIble contains no contradictions after demonstrating a contradicition - you are comparing all that to throwing out science if any scientific error is discovered. But science doesn't claim to be infallible - there is no equivalent claim to reject! There is literally no comparison.


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