The folks over at Evil Bible.com have cobbled together a long list of “supposed” contradictions that have been discovered in the Bible. In this post (and future posts) we will refute their claims. Up first is their assertion that the opening chapters of Genesis contain a contradiction.
Their claim of contradiction is stated as (in Evil Bible’s words):
Gen 1:31 – God is satisfied with his works
Gen 6:6 – God is dissatisfied with his works.
The implication seems to be that the Bible is contradictory because God cannot both be satisfied and dissatisfied with his works at the same time.
When considering these verses, two questions naturally come to mind which will help us test this claim:
- Are these verses even talking about the same “works”?
- Do these verses take place at the same time?
In order for a contradiction to occur, the answer to both of these questions would have to be “Yes”. If we are talking about two entirely separate events then God can feel any way he wants about those events without a problem. If we are talking about the same event, it’s possible to have a feeling towards that event at one time and have an entirely different feeling some time later. We wouldn’t call this a contradiction; we would call it a “change of heart”.
Let’s take a look at the text and see what we find. Genesis 1 is an overview of 6 out of the 7 days of creation. It covers the creation of everything, culminating with the creation of man on day 6. The story ends with Genesis 1:31 which reads:
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. (NIV)
Genesis 6 is an entirely different story. It is concerned with the level of wickedness God saw after humans had spread in number. We are told in the very first verse of Genesis 6 that the story to follow takes place well after creation:
1When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, (NIV)
By the time we get to verse 6, God is troubled and we read:
6 The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”(NIV)
Genesis 6:1 makes it emphatically clear that Genesis 1:31 and Genesis 6:6 are separated by a significant span of time. This is enough to debunk the claims of a contradiction since it fails our second test, but it’s possible to go even further. Evil Bible has attempted to confuse the issue by making it appear that the “works” involved are the same works. This also is not the case since Genesis 1 is focused on all of creation (the universe, stars, Earth, plants, animals, fish, man, etc…) while God is focused mankind in Genesis 6. Is it not perfectly logical to be happy with the whole of something while being unhappy with a part? For example, a coach of a football team could be happy with the performance of his team while, at the same time, be unhappy with the performance of an individual player. In the same way, God is allowed to be unhappy with mankind and happy with other aspects of creation. The works in Genesis 6:6 are a subset of those in Genesis 1.
These two verses are not focused on exactly the same event, nor do they occur at the same time. How can there be any valid claim to contradicition?