ABC:Genesis 30

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Verse 39

Infidels.org's Meritt claims a contradiction exists here, calling this "odd genetics."[1]

Genesis 30:39 And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.

First of all, I am unaware of any experiment disproving the situation at hand where cattle were shown such rods to influence offspring appearance, and without an experiment definitively proving it impossible one cannot fully discount the possibility that Jacob's case could be reproduced.

Secondly, even if such an experiment were to be performed, it would not necessarily indicate a Biblical contradiction. As pointed out by Bob Jones, Genesis 31:10-13 shows Jacob's actions were inspired by a dream from God, with God saying He would perform the result.[2] As such, there is no need to think what is related in chapters 30-31 is a purely naturalistic event, separate from God's intervention. Observe 31:9 in particular, where Jacob attributes the result to God's doing, not his own wisdom or trickery; thus implying a supernatural rather than natural event.

Genesis 31:9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.
10 And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled.
11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.
12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.
13 I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.

It seems somewhat ironic that skeptics like Jim Meritt say God could supernaturally provide the dream to Jacob showing him what to do, but that the event itself must necessarily exclude God's supernatural intervention and be purely naturalistic. Why accept God's working of a miracle in telling Jacob what to do, but deny that the event performed did not include God's miraculous intervention? The Bible never says such an event was the result of genetics as opposed to a miracle by God, indeed many of the details clearly appear to show this was a special, miraculous act by God rather than an everyday naturalistic phenomenon. If the Bible presented it as naturalistic rather than miraculous, we would expect to see later individuals reproducing Jacob's God-inspired event, but this is never mentioned.

Sources

  1. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html.
  2. Jones, Bob. Answers to Your Questions: What did Jacob use to spot the cows he took from his father-in-law? Food For Hungry Christians. Retrieved from http://www.biblefood.com/jacobq.html.