There are many great contradictions in the Bible. The one that stands out to me as the greatest pits Paul versus Jesus and Peter. The Father of the Church versus the claims of the man who claimed to be God versus the man whom may have written 13 books of the Bible as the foundation of Christianity. What could be better?
We have all heard the phrase, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6. Additionally John 3:16 locks it in, "...whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." These two passages seem to make it pretty clear that you simply have to believe in Jesus. How many of us have been sold Christianity on this premise in debates? But we know that's not nearly the whole story. If you read further you'll find that you are judged on your works alone (Revelations 20:13, Romans 2:13), and your faith alone (Luke 5:20, Acts 16:31), or your acts and your faith (James 2:14, James 2:20, Titus 1:16). So it isn't clear. Can I just believe? No. Can I just be good? No. Does it take both? I still say no. But what does that leave?
In Paul's letter to the Galatians, we are left with another option. It's radical in Christian Circles. But it's from Paul whom "met" Jesus and Peter, and James. Two of those meetings are inarguable. Since he is the most prolific writer in the Bible and is cannonized even when the works may not be his, we have to accept his claims, no? So Paul says this that differs from tradition, Galatians 5:3 "Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law." Wait... if it don't please Jesus, I have the option of getting into Heaven by fulfilling the whole Mosaic Law? Of course I'm still out, but come again? There seems to be a fourth option here. I don't need works. I don't need faith. Certainly it isn't both, it's just meeting all 613 Mosaic Laws.
Peter doesn't seem to agree. "...let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole . . . NOR IS THERE SALVATION IN ANY OTHER, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." He's telling the Jews that only through Jesus will they be saved. The challenge theologically I would throw out to the father of the church is, if we face judgment and it's only through faith that our names are written in the book, what is the point of judgment? What is with the judgment using the Book of Life where according to Revelations 20:12 we are judged by our works? Seems that faith is secondary.
So where are you on this topic? Where did you or would you land on the the topic of the greatest contradiction in the Bible? Clearly no contradiction can be larger for the purpose of Christianity is to reach a good afterlife. Yet, obviously we don't know how to do it even with this book in front of us. Frankly speaking, if these founding members can't agree about how to reach heaven, how am I supposed to know what to do? As a circumcised man (Galatiaons 5:2) it would be critical, if I hadn't violated the Mosaic Law... so many times, and so intentionally. For me, this really illustrates how absurd the Bible is. Peter, James, Jesus, and Paul don't even agree. In the same vein as an uncle of mine's statement when the JW's showed up at the door, "If the Pope can't get in, what chance do I have?" I feel the same. The original Pope doesn't know, so how would I?
Actually, my favorite is the "Letter to Dr. Laura." http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/drlaura.asp
Dr. Laura needs to understand that her nude photos and divorce are unforgivable. The breaking of any of the commandments is punishable. This is punctuated by Moses not being allowed to enter into the promised land for a moments hesitation in a lack of faith that striking a stone with his staff would result in water for 40,000 people. I'm afraid Laura's nude photos and divorce will lead her to Hell.
The letter is great in its pointing out the double standard she holds. .
The Genealogies of Christ in Matthew & Luke mostly contradict each other. Jesus seems have been born from the lineage of two different sons of David. In the genealogy given in Matthew, the lineage follows from David to Solomon, while in Luke, the lineage follows from David to Nathan. Nathan and Solomon are both sons of David and both cannot be part of Jesus' paternal lineage.
Lets imagine a hypothetical scenario where a theist tries to argue against the argument that Bible says that you can be saved by your deeds alone.
The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.
Theist: "Yes ofcourse, each one will be judged according to their deeds which include having done what is right in the eyes of the Lord and following his commandments. Jesus said that 'No one comes to the Father except through me.' and James added to it in 2:14 that faith alone will not save you, you will have to do good deeds. We specifically have the teachings of the disciples to help us clarify further what Jesus really meant."
For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.
"What is meant here is obeying the laws of the Lord our saviour, Jesus Christ. "
My most perplexing part is that Adam & Eve were the only ones God created. They had 2 sons Cain & Abel. So Cain kills Abel and is sent away. He goes to the land of nod and finds a wife. Were did she come from? Then her forms his own country, were did they come from? Latter on Moses is told to destroy Cains country and kill everyone but the virgins. If God didn't like Cains land or country why did he wait so long to get rid of it. He could have used his Wrath of power at any stage. Doesn't say if Cain was still around when Moses showed up but that would be a bit of a stretch. Plus it does not explain how they survived the flood nor how the Egyptians that held the Jews as slaves survived.