One counter-argument to the doctrine of the Bible's divine inspiration is to point out the many logical inconsistencies within the text. Examining contradictions is also a useful tool to argue against Biblical literalism and the belief that every word of the Bible is equally true. When the Bible can be shown to be in contradiction with itself, it casts doubt upon the idea that it is entirely true.
According to 2 Chronicles, King Manasseh ruled for 55 years over Jerusalem. Both 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles agree that Manasseh was an evil king who did wrong in the sight of God. However, the contradiction in his story lies in the fact in 2 Kings, Judah is destroyed because of Manasseh's sins which God did not pardon, while in 2 Chronicles, Manasseh asks the Lord for forgiveness and the Lord does grant him pardon.
"Surely at the commandment of the Lord this came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all he had done, and also because of the innocent blood that he had shed...which the Lord would not pardon." (2 Kings 24: 3-4 NIV)
In this quote we see that Judah is being attacked because of Manasseh's sins, and it is clear that the Lord did not pardon these sins. However, Chronicles tells a different story.
"Now when he [Manasseh] was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and he received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God." (2 Chronicles 33:12-13 NIV)
Clearly there is a contradiction here. Either Manasseh asked for forgiveness and God granted it to him, or Manasseh was not pardoned for his sins. See God's Word in Human Words, p. 104, by Kenton Sparks for more information on this contradiction.
- A List of Biblical Contradictions, by Jim Merritt. Library, Infidels.org
- Biblical Contradictions, American Atheists website.
- Bible Inconsistencies: Bible Contradictions?, by Donald Morgan. Library, Infidels.org
- Contradictions in the Bible, Skeptic's Annotated Bible website.
- Internal consistency of the Bible, Wikipedia
- Biblical Contradictions, Evil Bible