ABC:Genesis 11

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Verse 5[edit]

The EvilBible claims a contradiction exists here, and makes the following comments (italicized).[1]

God is everywhere present, sees and knows all things

Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

Psalms 139:7-10 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

Job 34:21-22 For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings. There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.

God is not everywhere present, neither sees nor knows all things

Genesis 11:5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

Genesis 18:20-21 And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

Genesis 3:8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

None of the second set of verses contradicts the first group. Genesis 11:5, 18:20-21, and 3:8 all fail to prove the premise that God does not see everything which is occurring. Some of the passages may refer to Christophanies where Jesus, the Son of God the Father, took on physical form or appearance on Earth. If so, it would have been Jesus going down in person to look more closely at the actions of mankind, while God the Father could see what was happening without having to do so.

But regardless, all of the passages show that God found out what was going on, and had the ability to do so, nowhere contradicting the other passages which say God looks at all the actions of mankind. Indeed, commonsense dictates that "looking" requires a conscious choice and action, if God chose to accomplish that by, at times, descending for a more 'up close and personal' type of scrutiny, that is by no means a contradiction.

Verse 12[edit]

RationalWiki lists the following as a Bible contradiction with the headline " Cainan, Son of Arphaxad."[2] Comments by the critic are italicized.

Cainan, Son of Arphaxad

There is an inconsistency between Luke's genealogy and the Genesis account three generations below Noah. The Genesis account has it (ABC:Genesis 11:12) that Noah's grandson, Arphaxad, had a son named Shelah. However, Luke's genealogy (ABC:Luke 3:35) has it that Shelah is the grandson of Arphaxad and the son of Cainan.

There is a very simple explanation for this, viz., that Luke derived his genealogy from the Septuagint, the contemporary Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. The Septuagint also contains the name of Cainan in Genesis 11, which is believed to have been slipped into the text to try and make the Deluge seem to have occurred earlier than it did.

However, this also poses a problem for Biblical literalists. If the Septuagint was dodgy, that was no problem, since it was not an original manuscript. But since the Gospel of Luke contains the Septuagint's error in its original manuscript, it cannot be hand-waved away.

Answers in Genesis is rather desperate about it, apparently, as they searched all the way back to 1809 to find a source that tries to pin the inconsistency on an unlikely "copyist error" that was later concealed by historical revisionism on the Septuagint, thus absolving the original manuscript from error. However, the Old Catholic Encyclopedia, written a century later, maintains that the error was in the Septuagint in Luke's time.

Interestingly, rather than proving the Bible is not inspired, this proves the books of Jubilees and 1 Enoch ARE inspired (and both are unusually well-preserved among the Dead Sea Scrolls when it comes to manuscript count). As pointed out by Stephen Pigeon and Cepher Publishing, Jubilees 8:1-5 records the existence of this second Cainan as being the son of Arphaxad and father of Shelah.[3] Jubilees is an ancient book, like 1 Enoch (which is quoted in the book of Jude and referenced in Jubilees), dating before the time of Christ; and both should be considered scriptural. Jubilees preserves the evidence of Cainan as Arphaxad's son, showing that no contradiction exists.

Verse 26[edit]

The ReasonProject lists the following as a Bible contradiction with the headline "How old was Abram when Ishmael was born?"[4]

Genesis 16:16 And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.

Acts 7:2 And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,
3 And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.
4 Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.

Genesis 11:26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

Genesis 11:32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.

This allegation has been made for centuries, as has the answer.[5] Genesis 11:26 just shows the oldest son was born when Terah was 70 years old, not necessarily Abraham. Abraham is just mentioned first in the passage due to his importance to the Jewish people, not because he was born first. The evidence indicates Terah was likely born first, followed by Nahor. The three were not triplets.

"Actually, the Bible never says Abram was born was Terah was 70 years old. It says that Terah was 70 before having sons. Abram is listed first among Terah’s sons, but this is because of his importance, not the fact that he was born first. For instance, Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, are never listed together in the order that they were born. 1 Abram was born when Terah was 130, not 70."[6]

Abraham left Canaan at age 75 after his father died (Genesis 12:4) and Terah died at age 205, so Abraham was born when Terah was roughly 130 years old. Haran was the firstborn when Terah was 70 years old, so Haran would have been 135 years old by the time Terah died, had he lived that long. Haran actually died before their father Terah did, and before Abraham and Terah even left Ur. (Genesis 11:28) Haran's son Lot appears to have been around Abraham's age, possibly even several decades older, and they traveled to the Promised Land together. (Genesis 12:4-5)

Nahor was likely between Terah's age of 135 and Abraham's age of 75 when Terah died. He ended up marrying his brother Haran's daughter, Milcah (Genesis 11:29), and may have been age 90-100 when Abraham left (which in those days was roughly middle-aged - Genesis 11:19-23). This is supported by the fact that Nahor began having children before Abraham did, 12 male children and possibly an equal amount of female children, probably 20-30 children in all. (Genesis 22:20-24)

At any rate, there is no contradiction, just a misreading of Genesis 11:26 by the critic. The evidence strongly supports Abraham having been born the youngest of his three brothers.


  1. Thiefe, Chris. Biblical Contradictions.
  2. RationalWiki Editors (2019). "Biblical Contradictions." RationalWiki.
  3. Pigeon, S. (2019, July 12). "The Book of Jubilees and Luke 3 – Yovheliym is an Inspired Book!" Cepher Publishing Group.
  4. Marlow, Andy (2009). Contradictions in the Bible. Project Reason.
  5. Hewlett, John (1811). The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testament, and Apocrypha, Volume III. Chronological Index, 1996. Longman, Hurst, Reese, Orme, & Co.
    Bellamy, John (1818). The Holy Bible: Newly Translated from the Original Hebrew: with Notes Critical and Explanatory, Volumes 1-3. pg. 59. Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown.
    Eyre, George E., & Spottiswoode, William (1882). Aids to the Student of the Holy Bible: The Handy Book for Bible Readers. pg. 125. The Religious Trace Society.
  6. 'How old was Abram when Ishmael was born?'