ABC:Psalms 139

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Verses 2-3

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

God knows the hearts of men

Acts 1:24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,

Psalms 139:2-3 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

God tries men to find out what is in their heart (sic)

Deuteronomy 13:3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Deuteronomy 8:2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.

Genesis 22:12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

Why the critic thinks there is a contradiction here I'm not sure. Yes, God knows the hearts of men, but this is because God tests them to find out what's in their hearts. They are compatible, not contradictory concepts. In fact, the quoted Psalms 139:2-3 even specifically indicates this by explaining that God knows our thoughts because He examines our paths while acquainting Himself with our ways.

Verses 7-10

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.

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 Thiefe, Chris. Biblical Contradictions. EvilBible.com.