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How many sons did Abraham have? 01

The god of contradictions 003


In our list “999 Bible contradictions…and counting” we enumerated fifteen contradictions in answer to this question. The first of them is featured as number 13 in said list.

The context in which this contradiction is found is as always Genesis 1: 1 to Revelation 22: 21. Genesis chapter 16 tells us how Abraham fathered his son Ishmael at the age of 86. Genesis 17 tells us how Abraham was ordered by god to circumcise himself and every male of his household, including his then thirteen year old son Ishmael. Both chapters clearly establish that Ishmael was Abraham’s firstborn son.


The narrative of Abraham’s bloodline picks up again in Genesis 21. Verses 1 to 6 of that chapter give us the account of Isaac’s birth, when Abraham was one hundred years old and Sarah ninety. We don’t have to wait long before the god of the bible forgets his own word. Verse 2 of Genesis 22 is where we find god himself contradicting his own word per Genesis 16 and 17. Thus, we distil the following contradiction from the 4 named chapters in answer to the question how many sons old Abe had:


Only one: “Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” (Genesis 22: 2) Two: Ishmael and Isaac. (Genesis 16, 17: Genesis 21, 22)

Is it a contradiction? Yes, clearly. Abraham has either one son, or he has two sons. God’s statement in Genesis 22: 2 cannot be seen as “complementary” information as some would argue. That would create yet a third son and self-contradict verse 2. As we shall soon see in our next post, the plot will still thicken.



Darryl P. Arnaiz, 25 August 2023




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