Is the Bible Self Contradictory: Refuting Ahmed Deedat – Chapter 5

 Ahmed Deedat was a Muslim "Scholar". In his booklet entitled: "Is the Bible God's Word?" Deedat catalogues certain allegations upon the Bible, most of which in fact being hurled at it since several centuries passed, were satisfactorily answered by several apologists of old. But Deedat shows his poor scholarship throughout the booklet, resorting to those archaic and slanderous arguments, to substantiate his position against the Bible. G Bibu, a lawyer, looks at the charges made by Deedat and refutes them convincingly. Chapter 5.

"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).

In his chapter entitled "The acid test", Deedat directs us to yet another line of thought which can help to both reinforce the absolute authenticity of the Holy Bible, and with the same standards prove the lack of credibility in the Qur'an.

 

Observe what he says:

 

"How do we know that a book claimed to be from God is really the Book of God? One of the tests, out of many such tests, is — that a Message emanating from an Omniscient Being MUST be consistent with itself. It ought to be free from all discrepancies and contradictions. This is exactly what the LAST TESTAMENT, the Book of God says. If God Almighty wants us to verify the authenticity of His Book (The Holy Qur'an) with this acid test, why should we not apply the very same test to any other Book claiming to be from Him? We do not want to bamboozle anybody with words as the Christians have been doing. It would be readily agreed from the references, I have given from Christian scholars, that they have been proving to us that the Bible is NOT the Word of God, yet making us believe that they have actually convinced us to the contrary" (IBGW-P.34).

 

We agree, that a book claiming to be from God must be free from all discrepancies. While the absence of contradictions in a book cannot of itself substantiate its claim to be from God, the presence of a single discrepancy must suffice to prove the opposite. Therefore, it will now be our task to prove, that the instances cited by Deedat from the Bible are not contradictory, and his remarks upon each instance is designed to bamboozle the unlearned with misguiding interpretations! We will simultaneously cite instances from the Qur'an where ever it fits, to show how actual contradictions and discrepancies look like, and thereby apply the acid test to its contents, to disprove its Divine Origin.

 

Moving on to specifics now:

 

1)       While 2 Samuel 24:1 states, "The anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah",

 

1 Chronicles 21:1 reads, "And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel".

 

Ahmed Deedat makes the following comments about the above Biblical verses: "You will observe that the authors of the books of "Chronicles" and of "Samuel" are telling us the same story about David taking a census of the Jews. Where did David get his "inspiration" to do this novel deed? The author of 2 Samuel 24:1 says that it was the "LORD" God who MOVED David, but the author of 1 Chronicles 21:1 says that it was "SATAN" who PROVOKED David … How could the Almighty God have been the source of these contradictory "INSPIRATIONS?" Is it God or is it Satan? (IBGW P. 35).

 

Response:

 

To reply in the words of Arthur W. Pink: "Those two statements are not, as some have foolishly supposed, contradictory, but are complementary. Though God is not the Author of sin, and can never be charged with evil, yet as the Governor of the universe He is the Controller and Director of it, so that when it serves His righteous purpose even Satan and his hosts are requisitioned by Him: 1 Kings 22:20-22; Ezekiel 14:9, etc. In this instance it is clear at least that God permitted Satan to tempt David, and David being left to himself yielded to the temptation and sinned".

 

To this we add John Gilchrist's observation: "Anyone who has a reasonable knowledge of both the Bible and the Qur'an will immediately perceive that Deedat is exposing nothing but his hopelessly inadequate understanding of a distinctive feature of the theology of both books. In the Qur'an itself we find a similar passage which sheds much light on this subject: "Seest thou not that we have set the devils on the disbelievers to confound them with confusion"? (Surah 19:83). Here we read that Allah sets devils on u

nbelievers. Therefore, whereas it is God who moves them to confusion, he uses the devils to provoke them towards it. In precisely the same way it was God who moved against David and used Satan to provoke him to number Israel. Likewise in the Book of Job in the Bible we read that Satan was given power over Job (Ayub in the Qur'an) to afflict him (Job 1:12) but that God later spoke as if it was he who was moved against him (Job 2.3). Whenever Satan provokes men the action can also indirectly be described as the movement of God for without his permission Satan could achieve nothing. This quote from Zamakshari's commentary on Surah 2.7 (Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts) should suffice as the final word on this matter: It is now in reality Satan or the unbeliever who has sealed the heart. However, since it is God who has granted to him the ability and possibility to do it, the sealing is ascribed to him in the same sense as an act which he has caused. (Gatje, The Qur'an and its Exegesis, p. 223). It appears that novices like Deedat should take a lesson in Qur'anic theology from renowned scholars like Zamakshari before exposing themselves to ridicule through unwarranted attacks on the Bible" (John Gilchrist, The Textual History Of The Qur’an And The Bible).

 

Samuel Green also, in his "Another Choice", makes the following contribution in resolving this problem:

 

"In his desire to discredit the Bible, Ahmed Deedat has in fact denied his own religion. For the Qur'an, like the Bible, also teaches that the devils are used by God:

 

Seest thou not that We have set the devils on the disbelievers to confound them with confusion? (Surah 19:83 Trans: Pickthall).

 

In the above Qur'anic verse it is God who confounds and confuses the unbelievers by sending the devils, but it is also the devils who confound and confuse as they do God's will. So it is both God and the devils who confound and confuse. If the Bible is contradictory then the Qur'an is contradictory! Ahmed Deedat has denied the fact that God is the ultimate ruler over all creation. God is the Sovereign Lord over all his creation – including Satan. Even though Satan's desires are hostile to God he can still only do what God permits him to do. There is no one above God; God is the Sovereign Lord. The above two Bible verses do not contradict each other because they reveal that the inciting of Satan was the method God used to bring his judgment" (Samuel Green, Another Choice).

 

We see then, that these verses which are alleged to contradict each other, if interpreted aright, have a great aspect of theology for their lesson, in which we learn God's sovereign control over all His creatures including the devil, and that they are all instruments in His hands accomplishing His purposes. Thus they are not contradictory, but complementary! Our readers may however be interested to know how contradictory accounts look like. Well you won't find them in the Book of God. You must look for them in mythical works like the Qur'an. For instance, Surah 4:78 states:

 

"Wherever you are, death will overtake you, though you are in lofty towers, and if a benefit comes to them, they say: This is from Allah; and if a misfortune befalls them, they say: This is from you. Say: All is from Allah, but what is the matter with these people that they do not make approach to understanding what is told (them)?”

 

Here we read that the misfortunes that befall you are not from yourself, for all things proceed from God. So far so good. But the very next verse spoils it all. Surah 4:79 says:

 

"Whatever benefit comes to you (O man!), it is from Allah, and whatever misfortune befalls you, it is from yourself, and We have sent you (O Prophet!), to mankind as an apostle; and Allah is sufficient as a witness".

 

This leaves Deedat with a difficulty to ascertain, whether the calamities that are certain to befall him, will be from God or from himself.

 

2)  2 Samuel 24:13 says:

 

"So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land?"

 

However, in (1 Chronicles 21:12), only "three years" are mentioned, upon which Deedat comments: "If God is the Author of every single word, comma and full-stop in the Bible, as the Christians claim, then is He the Author of the above arithmetical discrepancy as well? THREE OR SEVEN?” (IBGW P.37).

 

Response:

 

To this we reply, that it was three years of famine which the Lord proposed as found in 1 Chronicles 21:12. The "Seven years" in 2 Samuel 24:13 must be understood in the context of the chapters which immediately precede. It is obvious from 2 Samuel 21:1 that there had been three years of famine already on account of the sin of Saul, and

the three years now proposed add up to the foregone three years of famine, to make it six years of famine. This apart, there was to be in Israel, a sabbatical year in which there should be no ploughing, sowing, nor reaping, and since such a sabbatical year would fall once every seven years, it would certainly prefix, suffix, or interpose between any of these six years and thus making it seven years of famine at a stretch. Therefore the sense is, shall there be a continuance of seven years of famine, that is, three more added to what had been"? Thus if understood in the context, we find that there is no discrepancy in the above verses. But Deedat does not want any such context, which may discomfit his scheme of bamboozling the gullible with his half-truths.

 

3)  2 Kings 24:8 states:

         

"Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months",

 

while 2 Chronicles 36:9 records:

 

"Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem".

 

Upon these verses Deedat remarks: "The "unknown" author of KINGS must have reasoned that what possible "evil" could a child of eight do to deserve his abdication, so he generously added ten years to make JEHOIACHIN mature enough to become liable to God's wrath. However, he had to balance his tampering, so he cut short his reign by 10 days! Add TEN years to age and deduct TEN days from rule? Could God Almighty say two widely differing things on the same subject? HOW OLD WAS JEHOIACHIN? 8 OR 18?" (IBGW P. 37).

 

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