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How many sons did Abraham have? 03

The god of contradictions 005

In our list “999 Bible contradictions…and counting” we enumerated fifteen contradictions in answer to this question. In this post, we skip to contradiction number 22 of the reference list. Note that the numbering of this post in the category “the god of contradictions” therefore does not follow the reference list numbering.

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. Hence, thus far in the story, we have 2 sons of Abraham roaming the fantasy world of the bible. Genesis 25 verse 1 names six more sons of Abraham. All in all, god mentions eight sons of Abraham by name:

Ishmael, Isaac, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. But now that we ask god once again how many sons Abraham had, he gives us yet two different answers:

Two: “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the freewoman.” (Galatians 4: 22) Only one: “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, …” (Hebrews 11: 17)

Evidently by the time of writing his letters, the self-appointed prophet Paul would have been able to consult the entire Pentateuch to find out how many sons Abraham had in all. But for some reason, the fake god of the book inspired this confused little boot to contradict himself in his own letters and contradict this god’s previous words. True, it is written that Abraham had two sons. But it is also written that he only had one son after god wrote that Abraham had two sons. It is also written that Abraham had six more sons. That’s a total of eight. It is also written in Hebrews 11: 17 that he had one and only son.

In all, I have listed 15 contradictions on the number of sons Abraham ended up having. All 15 can be explained away, as is always done, by changing / correcting god’s word to defend god’s perfectly worded word. Some of those explanations go well beyond the borders of sanity, In one of the attempted refutations, it was argued that a son of a father is no longer a son when he is not physically present at the residence of the father [I leave it up to you, reader, to what degree you take that argument seriously] but all are disobeying god’s word to not add or subtract from god’s word in Deuteronomy 4.

If we would grant that the bible is indeed the word of a “god”, then why does it need to be added to by humans? It looks like the word of this god is as pliable as there are human interpretations of it. I did not choose the first two contradictions of the list arbitrarily, for each and every time it comes down to the same question: who decides what words are god’s words and who decides what those words are supposed to mean?

In his own letter to the Galatians, Paul says that we should not take Ishmael, Isaac, Sarah and Hagar literally. Was that Paul speaking, or – it being considered part of god’s word –god himself telling us not to take his word literally? If both Sarah and Hagar are mere metaphorical characters, then how can they produce physical sons? Can Abraham produce offspring with metaphorical characters? Or is Abraham a metaphor too? And if the demi-god Jesus is a descendant of a metaphorical woman… is he mere metaphor as well? What about Paul/god’s instruction to not take the fore mentioned literally? Was that a literal instruction, or mere metaphor? Since it all seems to be up for grabs anyway, I’ll conclude these first few contradiction examples by postulating that indeed, the ‘god’ mentioned as the fourth word of the entire bible is itself a metaphor. At least that would explain why it never got around to smoothing over his many contradictions.

Darryl P. Arnaiz, 05 June, 2024

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