A Philosophical and Scriptural Response to the Ten Most Challenging Bible Passages
*This is not a project to prove the nature and existence of God prior to addressing His word. I do believe that those are the rational steps from the ground up, but this will launch off the starting point of the existence of the Christian God, and the reasonable conclusion/ assumption that God inspired the original writings of what is now the Bible.
These are some of the issues that come from atheists, skeptics, doubting Christians, and curious Christians. I am confident that we can ask such hard questions because God is smart and is not offended by questions that are asked in an attitude of sincere seeking. That’s not to say that He will always reveal the full answer; sometimes depth of answers are peeled back like an onion over time (persistence and experience are great teachers). I am confident that Bible issues will basically be solved by the Bible itself. That seems to be the case over and over.
When tackling the challenging verses of the Bible, we must remember some things about the nature of the mind of God. God is pure rationality, if not super-rationality. I do not accept that, since God is beyond our ability to rationalize, that He is therefore irrational. The structure of the minutest details of our physical universe is partial proof of the precise and structured thinking of God. His thinking will always reside beyond us. Yet he condescends to share with us thoughts from His mind in ways that we can at least partially comprehend. And a tiny comprehension of God can be enough to blow our minds and change us forever.
Sometimes, though, we don’t get it. Things twist us around when they appear contradictory, controversial, or unpleasant. These are the parts of Scripture that skeptics learn to bring up in a desire to make the Bible look foolish. What is our response? Does something as dynamic as the Bible need to be “defended”? Well, in a way, yes. We can do nothing to change the nature of the Bible; it is settled as to its nature. In that sense, our defense of it does nothing to add or take away from what it is. On the other hand, our defense of it can influence the perspective of another person on the Bible. As a parable, if a person doesn’t think the Grand Canyon is much to look at, we may fairly assume that the person has not honestly looked at it. If we take the person to the Grand Canyon, the canyon doesn’t change. We allow the canyon to be the influence that it is by taking a person as close to it as they can get for the most honest look possible.
Paradoxes are beautiful; they demand a larger truth which explains both sides. Paradoxes do not need to be looked at as “one or the other” or a contradiction. Opponents will often categorize these challenges as contradictions. Paradoxes are an undeniable reality. Is man made to work or play? We should do both within a healthy balance. Does your mind contain will or emotions? It contains both in a complementary balance. Is the universe made up of big things or small things? (Reference to size is subjective) Both. How can the universe be both time and space? Because they are complimentary but entirely distinct features that are necessary to human existence. Is man good or bad? Both—we do bad in spite of our value. Both are at work to give a complete picture. Focus on both sides of a question and see that truth is not always one dimensional—that’s why we have two eyes for depth perception.