Gleason W Archer published an important work of apologetics for Bible Christianity in 1916. It is the Encyclopaedia of Bible Difficulties.

The introduction shows that one cannot seriously believe in Jesus if one denies that some of the stories of the Old Testament are history like Adam and Eve and so forth. If the Bible errs then it cannot be trusted in religious matters - the things of supreme importance. You do not drink a bottle of poison because the label says it will do you no harm and you see erroneous statements on the label. The book seeks to prove that Moses wrote the Pentateuch and that there are not errors or contradictions in the Bible – every traditional opinion of the Bible in short.

The book says that the Bible states that Moses wrote the entire five books of the Law, or the Torah (page 45). But in fact that it merely attributes certain parts of it to Moses and does not say who wrote the rest. The real reason for this strange idea is because Archer thinks that Jesus himself thought that Moses wrote the Law. The source of a doctrine is as important as the content so if Jesus was wrong about the source the doctrine had no foundation or a weaker one. The authority of the five books would be stronger if Moses actually wrote them for he was a major prophet. So if Jesus were a prophet he would have known by the light of God that Moses wrote the law from which Jesus took doctrines. So Archer is determined then to bend the evidence to fit what he reckons Jesus says. His book says that certain features show that the author is more familiar with Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula than Palestine so Moses was the author. But these do not prove that Moses was the author for they only show that whoever the author was he either did his homework or he was there. Many Israelites came from Egypt with Moses and would have had records and any of them could have been responsible for the Torah. The Law could still have been forged using ancient writings centuries after Israel settled itself in Palestine. It is dishonest to argue that the author knew little about Palestine for the books were concerned with the wandering in the desert and had no need to mention Palestine.

Appalling evidences for Mosiac authorship are proposed which argue from the fact that some material in it can be traced back to a time like that of Moses that Moses must have been the author. This is garbage. We cannot expect much better of an Encyclopaedia that says that since Abel sacrificed a lamb to God that he knew of the salvation offered by Christ and was the first saved person to die (page 76). The book insists that Numbers 12:3 which calls Moses the humblest of men, was written by God through Moses so Moses was not bragging about himself (page 136). It cites the authority of Haley, author of the notorious, Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, himself for this. But this rests on the unfounded assumption that Moses wrote Numbers. Christians invent miracles to cover up the errors of Jesus and that is not on for they would not tolerate Mormons saying that God forced Joseph Smith to copy the Bible to make the Book of Mormon.

The Epistle to the Hebrews insists that Melchizidek had no parents but was a divine being for he had no beginning or end. Archer disputes this and says that it only means that no parents were mentioned in the Old Testament. But the words would have been taken literally if it had been Christ not Melchizidek.

In the Book of Exodus we read that Moses did miracles in Egypt during competition with the Egyptian magicians and priests who were able to replicate many of these miracles. It is asserted on page 113 that Pharaoh's magicians performed their miracles by trickery. But would the Egyptians have been impressed by them if they had? There is always something in such trickery to give one away. For example, when a conjurer does a trick you know it is a trick though you cannot explain how it’s done when you see him doing and saying unnecessary things. A real magician would not find a chosen card after taking the pack from you but would magic it out of the pack without taking it.

Page 123 seeks to justify the divine toleration of polygamy in the Old Testament. It says that a man taking a second wife would not be adultery. But that is saying that it is a valid marriage. But how can it be a real marriage when marriage involves the complete giving of self to another and you cannot give yourself completely to one woman and then another? Archer said that rulers needed to practice polygamy when it was the sole way to sire children for without them the greater evil of strife and civil war could result. The Bible never says that. It never says why polygamy is allowed which gives the impression that it was only allowed because it was thought to be right. To allow polygamy for that reason would be like saying you may murder a man because he is a potential killer! You may not for he might never do it. And would divorce not be better if the first wife proved barren? It would be more honest anyway. At least monogamy would be preserved.

The error in Leviticus that declares that rabbits chew their cud is casually brushed off (126). The explanation is that it is handy to say they do to forbid eating them just because it looks like they do it. But you can magic away any mistake that way. Would Archer agree with a person who says he saw Mary at the scene of a murder when he only saw a person who resembled Mary? The likes of Archer will have to say that any rabbit that went into the Holy Land in those days was miraculously enabled to chew the cud until the Law had passed. Such a credulous explanation would make it possible to reconcile any contradiction at all. Incredibly, it is claimed by some extremists that the word for cud can mean berry or grain too so they solve the problem by saying not that the rabbit chews the cud but that the rabbit chews the berry (See Web, Rabbits do not chew their cud, Alleged Bible Contradictions). This ignores the context which considers animals that do dirty things to be unclean and chewing the cud is eating dung and is dirty and the rabbit is being accused of chewing the cud. If you can’t eat animals that eat the berries then you can eat nothing. The fact that Christians are able to come up with ten explanations for every Bible contradiction shows that something is wrong for only one of them, naturally the simplest one, or none of them can be acceptable. They are only making the Bible seem useless and unclear with their efforts to delude their sheep. It would have to be very vague to be able to legitimately take their rationalizations.

Archer says that Israel did not see God on Sinai though Exodus 24 says they did. He says they only saw a representation of his beauty and glory for anybody who sees God will be struck dead (Exodus 33:20) and they lived to tell the tale. It says that they saw God not an image. Fundies won’t admit a contradiction when they see it. It is a wonder they don’t say God made an exception for the Israelites and let them see God. God told Moses that he could not let him see him for that would kill him (Exodus 33:20). That implies that death follows seeing God as surely as night follows day for even God can’t stop the sight of him from killing and has no power to preserve the life. That was the reason why God had to hide his face.

Archer refuses to perceive the absurdity in this. If God cannot prevent the sight of him from killing you then God is not all-powerful. You could see God with your mind and still have your body – only you would be able to do his will for you cannot resist perfect goodness which is God.

We read that God was got David to sinfully count his people (2 Samuel 24:1) but in a parallel account we are told that Satan did that (1 Chronicles 21:1,2). The wording in the two is identical except where Satan is substituted for God in the latter. Archer says that they can be reconciled. God permitted Satan to trick David so it can be said that God did it and Satan did it. But God did it indirectly and Satan directly. But when the passages are nearly the same the words must have been the same meaning. When one says, “God did it”, and the other says, “Satan did it”, they must mean did it in the same sense. They are most likely to. So, the first is saying that God did it directly and this shocked the person who used the book to make Chronicles and he changed God to Satan. There had to have been a reason for the change. Also, you never just say a person did something unless you mean directly. The context of the verses do not hint that we should take the indirect meaning. Archer’s reconciliation is implausible.

Archer argues that when Jesus said that the mustard seed was the smallest of all (Matthew 13) he meant that it was the smallest seed in Palestine and not the smallest in the world (329). This may be the black mustard seed but orchid seed is even smaller. Archer holds that it is unlikely that Jesus meant that mustard seed was the smallest in the world when he could have meant the smallest seed in the country he lived in. But all means literally all in the world when the context does not narrow it down. If Jesus meant only the seeds of Palestine he would have said so and anyway the orchid grows in Palestine.

All attempts to prove that the Bible is the word of God fail because the Bible contradicts itself and attempts to hide this are stupid, irresponsible and are fabricated.

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