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The Bible vs. The Quran
Islam ^ | 08-30-02 | Abdullah Al Araby

Posted on 08/31/2002 5:30:20 AM PDT by vance

The Bible vs. The Quran

By Abdullah Al Araby

The Quran is the Muslims' Holy Book, the same as is the Bible to Christians, Muslims regard the Quran as the infallible utterance of the Almighty. The word "Quran" means recitation. The name was applied by Mohammed to each individual portion of the Book, but was later used for the whole Book.

Mohammed proclaimed the Quran as the miracle that proved his prophethood. There has been, however, much debate among intellectual Muslims on the issue of the miracle of the Quran. Some Arabic scholars like az-Zamakhshari noted more than one hundred grammatical errors in the Quran.

The Quran is written in Arabic poetic prose. It is divided into 114 Surahs or chapters, and contains the religious, social, civil, commercial, military, and legal code of Islam. It also contains stories which occur in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures and Apocrypha.

The Quran, however, contradicts the Bible in many of the details of these stories, including some of the names of the people involved. When faced by these contradictions, Muslims justify them by claiming that the Bible must have been altered. Yet in no place in the Quran do we find the Omniscient (knowing everything) Allah pointing out these altered passages of the Bible, or revealing the correct ones. Such a claim can also be disputed by historical evidence, as well as by the Quran itself, which approved of the Bible, and said so repeatedly:

There is enough evidence to support the claim that the Quran may have been tampered with. Nobody knows where the original Quran is. The Quran that we have in our hands now is called the Uthman's Quran, which was collected long after Mohammed's death. Parts of the original Quran must have been lost, after many of the reciters of the Quran died or were killed in battle. Uthman, the third Caliph (successor of Mohammed) gathered what was left of the Quran, arranged it by length of Surahs rather than chronologically, then burned all other existing copies.

The Bible, on the other hand, has stood the test of time. To suggest that the Bible has been altered is against both reason and historic findings.

Neither Christians nor Jews can reasonably be accused of altering their Scriptures. One reason is that they didn't have anything to gain from doing so, and if they did, they wouldn't willingly spill their blood defending it. In the book of Revelation God puts a severe punishment on those who add to or take away, any part of God's Word. (See Revelation 22:18 & 19)

The Jews were also commanded not to commit such a terrible act. (See Deuteronomy 4:2)

Furthermore, Christians and Jews did not alter their Scriptures based on historic evidence. Many manuscripts of early copies of the Bible were discovered through the years, and were found to match the text we have now. Here are some of these famous manuscript:

The Sinaitic - It was written in the middle of the fourth century, about 270 years before Islam. It contains the whole of the New Testament and a large part of the Old Testament. It is now kept in the British Museum

The Alexandrian - It was written in the early fifth century, more than 200 years before Islam. It contains the whole Bible, except a few pages that have been lost. It is also kept in the British Museum.

The Vatican - It was written in the early fourth century, about 300 years before Islam. It contains the whole Bible. It is now kept in the Vatican Library at Rome.

These and other manuscripts such as Codex Ephraemi and the Dead Sea Scrolls and the thousands of other copies or part of copies of the early Bibles prove beyond doubt that the Bible could not possibly be altered or corrupted.


Many stories of the Bible that have been recorded in the Quran were misquoted and are contradictory to the Bible. Here are a few: examples:

The story of Cain and Abel

After Cain killed his brother Abel, The Quran says that "Allah sent a raven who scratched the ground to show him how to hide the shame of his brother." Surah 5:31. This is not mentioned in the Bible.

The story of Noah and the flood

The Quran in Surah 11:42 & 43 says that one of the sons of Noah refused to go into the Ark and was drowned in the flood, while the Bible says that all three sons of Noah went into the Ark with him and were saved from the flood (Genesis 7:7).

In Surah 11:44 the Quran says that the Ark came to rest on top of mount Judi, While the Bible says that it was Mount Ararat (Genesis 8:4).

The Story of Abraham

Abraham's father, according to the Quran, is Azar (Surah 6:74), while the Bible says that his name was Terah (Genesis 11:26).

The Quran says Abraham had two sons, the Bible says they were eight.

The Quran says some of Abraham's descendants lived in the valley of Mecca (Surah 14:37),while the Bible says they lived in Hebron (Genesis 13:18).

The Quran says that Abraham had two wives, in the Bible he had three.

The Quran says that he built the Kaaba (Surah 2:125-127). The Bible has no record of that.

The story of Moses

The Quran states that the one who adopted Moses was Pharaoh's wife (Surah 28:9), While the Bible says it was Pharaoh's daughter (Exodus 2:5)

The Quran states that Haman lived in Egypt during Moses' time (Surah 28:6), while the Bible says that Haman lived in Persia during King Ahasuerus time (Esther 3:1).

The story of Mary (the mother of Jesus)

The Quran states that her brother was Aaron (Surah 19:28), while the Bible says that Aaron lived 1300 years before Mary (Numbers 26:59).

That she gave birth to Jesus under a palm tree (Surah 19:23),while the Bible says it was in a stable (Luke 2:7).

That Jesus spoke and made miracles at the time he was a baby (Surah 19:24-26). The Bible has no record of that. That Zacharias could not speak for three nights (Surah 19:10), while the Bible says he could not speak until the child was born (or for about 9 months) Luke 1:20.


Muslims believe that the Quran is a direct utterance of Allah (God). Because God is infallible, one would expect the Quran to be infallible also. However, by examining the Quran, we are faced by many statements that go against the undisputed facts of science. It would be unacceptable if such errors were attributed to a learned human being, worse yet to attribute them to the Omniscient God. The list of the errors in the Quran is very long, and are discussed in full detail in other books. Here, we have a limited space to list only a few samples. Our goal is to question whether God can make such errors, whether God was in fact the author of the Quran.

Geographical Errors

The Earth is stationary

"He created the heavens without any pillars that ye can see; He set on the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with you; and He scattered through it beasts of all kinds. We send down rain from the sky, and produce on the earth every kind of noble creature, in pairs." Surah 31:10

The Sun sets in a spring

"Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it he found a People: We said: "O Zul-qarnain! (thou hast authority,) either to punish them, or to treat them with kindness." Surah 18:86

Historical Errors

Pharaoh built the tower of Babel in Egypt

"Pharaoh said: "O Chiefs! no god do I know for you but myself: therefore, O Haman! light me a (kiln to bake bricks) out of clay, and build me a lofty palace, that I may mount up to the god of Moses: but as far as I am concerned, I think (Moses) is a liar!" Surah 28:38

Alexander the Great was a prophet

"They ask thee concerning Zul-qarnain (Alexander the Great) Say, "I will rehearse to you something of his story." Verily We established his power on earth, and We gave him the ways and the means to all ends. One (such) way he followed, Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it he found a People: We said: "O Zul-qarnain! (thou hast authority,) either to punish them, or to treat them with kindness." Surah 18:83-88

Ethical Errors

Legalizing perjury

"God will not call you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts; and He is Oft-forgiving, Most Forbearing." Surah 2:225

Legalizing murder

"O Apostle! rouse the Believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the Unbelievers: for these are a people without understanding." Surah 8:65

Legalizing deceit

"God will not call you to account for what is futile in your oaths, but He will call you to account for your deliberate oaths: for expiation, feed ten indigent persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families; or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom. If that is beyond your means, fast for three days. That is the expiation for the oaths ye have sworn. But keep to your oaths. Thus doth God make clear to you His signs, that ye may be grateful." Surah 5:89

Scientific Errors

A corps leaning on a staff for a year

"Then, when We decreed (Solomon's) death, nothing showed them his death except a little worm of the earth, which kept (slowly) gnawing away at his staff: so when he fell down, the Jinns saw plainly that if they had known the unseen, they would not have tarried in the humiliating Penalty (of their Task)." Surah 34:14

A nap lasting three hundred and nine years

"So they stayed in their Cave three hundred years, and (some) add nine (more)" Surah 18:9-26

Legal Errors

Scourging the witness

"And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their allegations),- flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors;-" Surah 24:4

God ordains taking spoils

"And know that out of all the booty that ye may acquire (in war), a fifth share is assigned to God,- and to the Apostle, and to near relatives, orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer,- if ye do believe in God and in the revelation We sent down to Our servant on the Day of Testing,- the Day of the meeting of the two forces. For God hath power over all things." Surah 8:41

Since the Bible came first, and since there is every reason to believe that the Bible was kept uncorrupted, Muslim theologians have lots of explaining to do with regard to such contradictions and errors in their Book.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: islam; mohammed
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To: Destro
"How un-Christian of you. That was not my complete sentence." My full sentence is First of all I have no respect for those that have faith and because they have faith refuse to read or hear about things that challange that faith.

Don't play the injured party. The above is a dangling conjuctive sentence. The first part of it... "I have no respect for those that have faith" ... stands up nicely all by itself.

The second part... "and because they have faith refuse to read or hear about things that challenge them..." is meaningless.

A better way of saying what I think you meant to say would be: I have no respect for those that have faith and refuse to read or hear about things tha challenge that faith.

The free creative writing lesson I just gave you I would think displays my bonafides as a Christian. Your welcome. LOL.

101 posted on 08/31/2002 8:39:49 PM PDT by semaj
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To: muir_redwoods
"the detailed rules and practices laid down in Leviticus are just strange"

Leviticus is primarily a system of priestly rules and regulations given to adherents of the law of Moses. (Except chapter 10 which details God's displeasure with men who presume to alter God's pattern of worship.)

With the coming of the law of Christ, the law of Moses was abolished.

Heb 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Leviticus, as with the rest of the Old Law, has been done away. Its value is now historical.

That's how we "rightly divide the word." (II Tim. 2:15)

102 posted on 08/31/2002 8:47:08 PM PDT by hoosierskypilot
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To: skull stomper
Sorry I didn't cite my sources; I didn't realize I was in a doctoral exam. The source was which I got off of Google. Who are they?

" is a growing collection of over 41,000 adherent statistics and religious geography citations -- references to published membership/adherent statistics and congregation statistics for over 4,200 religions, churches, denominations, religious bodies, faith groups, tribes, cultures, movements, ultimate concerns, etc."

You really shouldn't try to be clever, you know. It just doesn't work.

103 posted on 08/31/2002 8:50:06 PM PDT by Seti 1
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To: tutstar
Most of the records concerning Moses were ordered destroyed by Pharoh, however some mention is found in various writings about the exodus

More silliness. Why do you write such nonsense?

104 posted on 08/31/2002 8:54:00 PM PDT by Seti 1
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To: hoosierskypilot
With the coming of the law of Christ, the law of Moses was abolished.

That will certainly surprise the 13,000,000 (more or less) Jews in the world. I expect they'll shut down Israel when they hear.

105 posted on 08/31/2002 8:59:03 PM PDT by Seti 1
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To: Seti 1
I do not want to offend the Jews or anyone else. I have a great respect for them as God's chosen people and support Israel 100%.

I only want to get to the truth here. I DO CARE. Shouldn't everyone? I mean, if Jesus is who He claimed to be, isn't that important?

I am well aware of the stories of Gilgamesh. The Sumerians called Noah Zuisudra, the Babylonians Utnaphishtim. These accounts show signs of elaborations indicating a corruption of the original account.

They have the rain lasting only seven days, and subsiding in one. Both of these are grossly inadequte to do the job the texts claim they did. Also, the pagan accounts end up with the hero being granted immortality. The bible moves on to speak of Noah getting drunk and cursing his grandson. Which one is embellished and which one tells the truth warts and all? I think Genesis is the obvious choice.

As far as the part about going beyond 800 BC you find Yaweh in consort with Astheroth, I think you are not going back far enough. Abraham, the first Jew, was about 10 centuries before that. What you refer to is a LATER CORRUPTION of the true faith Abraham passed down to his posterity. The Bible even records that the people tried to mix Yaweh worship with the worship of other gods, so your point is actually a confirmation of the historical accuracy of the bibical account. The way you put it implied Yaweh started as head of a pantheon and slowley became the sole deity. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Hammaraubi claimed credit himself fo rhis code. THre may be a picture of him going up the mountain on the steele, but in the writing of the steele itself he takes credit. Very different from the Torah, where Moses is quoting God.

106 posted on 08/31/2002 9:00:32 PM PDT by Ahban
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To: muir_redwoods
Regarding the Bible:

The only versions most of us can read are translations of translations of translations.

Hmm. I hear this every once in a while. Either you've heard this from somebody else or you haven't looked into the issue yourself. Nothing wrong with that as we're all in different places in life. In fact I probably held the position you state above at one point in time. The translations we have today are the result of a single translation - the original language into English. Different parts of the Bible were written in three different languages, each one translated into English in one step:

Hope that helps.
107 posted on 08/31/2002 9:06:05 PM PDT by scripter
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To: Seti 1
You are just joking about the holocaust denying, right?

Time will tell which chronology is correct, but if one fits the bible and the other does not, I've got to think they got the dates wrong on their first whack at it.

I meant that the cities were refounded on another SITE, like we did here in America with cities from the old country.

I don't find it a bit strange that God's word is tested. It says within the Bible that every word would be. If he came to us all in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night we would have no choice but to acknowledge Him. That is not what He wants. He wants us to want Him. He wants the evidence to be like it is, on a razors edge until faith opens our eyes. He wants us to choose Him because we want Him, not because He comes on like a two ton garlic truck.

108 posted on 08/31/2002 9:10:23 PM PDT by Ahban
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To: tutstar
Secular, certainly. Nonreligious depends on your definition of religion. Agnostic, probably. Atheist, no, but again depends on the concept of God.

Einstein is often pointed to as a brilliant scientist who believed in God and certainly he talked about God a lot. If you read his thoughts on the subject it is apparent that for him God was an abstract first principle or the first cause from which all other causes and effects emanated. That's a physicist's God--a far cry from an old man on a throne a la Zeus.

109 posted on 08/31/2002 9:14:38 PM PDT by Seti 1
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To: vance

I've been trying to say this since 9-11. I guess I will be labeled as a bigoted American. By: An American Airlines Pilot - Captain ???? ?????????

September 11 Grievances

"You worry me. I wish you didn't. I wish when I walked down the streets of this country that I love, that your color and culture still blended with the beautiful human landscape we enjoy in this country. But you don't blend in anymore. I notice you, and it worries me. I notice you because I can't help it anymore. People from your homelands, professing to be Muslims, have been attacking and killing my fellow citizens and our friends for more than 20 years now. I don't fully understand their grievances and hate but I know that nothing can justify the inhumanity of their attacks.

On September 11, nineteen ARAB-MUSLIMS hijacked four jetliners in my country. They cut the throats of women in front of children and brutally stabbed to death others. They took control of those planes and crashed them into buildings killing thousands of proud fathers, loving sons, wise grandparents, elegant daughters, best friends, favorite coaches, fearless public servants, and children's mothers. So I notice you now. I don't want to be worried. I don't want to be consumed by the same rage and hate and prejudice that has destroyed the soul of these terrorists. But I need your help. As a rational American, trying to protect my country and family in an irrational and unsafe world, I must know how to tell the difference between you, and the Arab/Muslim terrorist. How do I differentiate between the true Arab-Muslim-Americans and the Arab-Muslims in our communities who are attending our schools, enjoying our parks, and living in OUR communities under the protection of OUR constitution, while they plot the next attack that will slaughter those very same good neighbors and children? The events of September 11th changed the answer. It is not my responsibility to determine which of you embraces our great country, with ALL of it's religions, with ALL of it's different citizens, with all of it's faults. It is time for every Arab-Muslim in this country to determine it for me. I want to know, I demand to know, and I have a right to know whether or not you love America. Do you pledge allegiance to it's flag? Do you proudly display in front of your house, or on your car? Do you pray in your many daily prayers that Allah will bless this nation, that He will protect and prosper it?

Or do you pray that Allah with destroy it in one of your "Jihads"? Are you thankful for the freedom that only this nation affords? A freedom that was paid for by the blood of hundreds of thousands of patriots who gave their lives for this country? Are you willing to preserve this freedom by paying the ultimate sacrifice? Do you love America? If this is your commitment, then I need YOU to start letting ME know about it. Your Muslim leaders in this nation should be flooding the media at this time with hard facts on your faith, and what hard actions you are taking as a community and as a religion to protect the United States of America.

Please, no more benign overtures of regret for the death of the innocent because I worry about who you regard as innocent. And no more benign overtures of condemnation for the unprovoked attacks because I worry about what is unprovoked to you. I am not interested in any more sympathy ...I am only interested in action. What will you do for America-our great country-at this time of crisis, at this time of war? I want to see Arab-Muslims waving the AMERICAN flag in the streets. I want to hear you chanting "Allah Bless America". I want to see young Arab-Muslim men enlisting in the military. I want to see a commitment of money, time, and emotion to the victims of this butchering and to this nation as a whole.

The FBI has a list of over 400 people they want to talk to regarding the WTC attack. Many of these people live and socialize in Muslim communities. You know them. You know where they are. Hand them over to us, now! But I have seen little even approaching this sort of action. Instead I have seen an already closed and secretive community close even tighter. You have disappeared from the streets. You have posted armed security guards at your facilities. You have threatened lawsuits. You have screamed for protection from reprisals. The very few Arab-Muslim representatives that HAVE appeared in the media were defensive and equivocating. They seemed more concerned with making sure that the United States prove who was responsible before taking action. They seemed more concerned with protecting their fellow Muslims from violence directed towards them in the United States and abroad than they did with supporting our country and denouncing "leaders" like Khadafi, Hussein, Farrakhan, and Arafat. If the true teachings of Islam proclaim tolerance and peace and love for all people then I want chapter and verse from the Koran and statements from popular Muslim leaders to back it up. What good is it if the teachings in the Koran are good and pure and true when your "leaders" are teaching fanatical interpretations, terrorism, and intolerance. It matters little how good Islam SHOULD BE if large numbers of the world's Muslims interpret the teachings of Mohammed incorrectly and adhere to a degenerative form of the religion. A form that has been demonstrated to us over and over again. A form whose structure is built upon a foundation of violence, death, and suicide. A form whose members are recruited from the prisons around the world. A form whose members defended Johnny Cochran and O. J. Simpson after the latter butchered his wife and murdered an innocent friend. A form whose members (some as young a five years old) are seen day after day, week in and week out, year after year, marching in the streets around the world, burning effigies of our presidents, burning the American flag, shooting weapons into the air. A form whose members convert from a peaceful religion, only to take up arms against the great United States of America, the country of their birth. A form whose rules are so twisted, that their traveling members refuse to show their faces at airport security checkpoints, in the name of Islam.

Do you and your fellow Muslims hate us because our women proudly show their faces in public rather than cover up like a shameful whore? Do you and your fellow Muslims hate us because we drink wine with dinner, or celebrate Christmas? Do you and you fellow Muslims hate us because we have befriended Israel, the ONLY civilized democratic nation in the entire middle-east? And if you and your fellow Muslims hate us, then why in the world are you even here? Are you here to take our money? Are you here to undermine our peace and stability? Are you here to destroy us? If so, I want you to leave. I want you to go back to your desert sandpit where women are treated like rats and dogs. I want you to take your religion, your friends, and your family back to your Islamic extremists, and STAY THERE! We will NEVER give in to your influence, your retarded mentality, your twisted, violent, intolerant religion. We will NEVER allow the attacks of September 11, or any others for that matter, to take away that which is so precious to us: Our rights under the greatest constitution in the world. I want to know where every Arab-Muslim in this country stands and I think it is my right and the right of every true citizen of this country to demand it. A right paid for by the blood of thousands of my brothers and sisters who died protecting the very constitution that is protecting you and your family. I am pleading with you to let me know. I want you here as my brother, my neighbor, my friend, as a fellow American. But there can be no gray areas or ambivalence regarding your allegiance and it is up to YOU, to show ME, where YOU stand." "Until then ... you worry me." ""

110 posted on 08/31/2002 9:16:43 PM PDT by B-Cause
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To: Seti 1
Regarding your #105, you do know that they do not keep the laws of Moses even now, right? The tabernacle is gone, the ark of the covenant is gone (???), the temple is destroyed with not one stone standing on top of another as Jesus said would happen (the wailing wall was not a part of the temple that stayed up, but rather was built from temple stones that were torn down). The sacrificial system set up by Moses is not taking place. If that meant the end of Isreal then it would already be ended.
111 posted on 08/31/2002 9:18:53 PM PDT by Ahban
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To: be131
But of course there are manifold inconsistencies within the Bible (and probably the Quran as well). For example, compare the genalogies of Jesus given in Matthew and Luke. They don't even agree on the name of Joseph's father.

You might find this interesting. I have a true HTML version of it somewhere... just can't find it.

                The Genealogies in Matthew and Luke
                    Matt. 1:1-17; Luke 3:23b-38

Both Matthew and Luke give a genealogical list for the descent of
Jesus. When these are compared, differences and difficulties appear
immediately. The most obvious difference is that Matthew's list
begins with Abraham and descends to Jesus, whereas Luke's list
begins with Jesus and ascends to Adam, the son of God. This in
itself presents no difficulty; but when comparing, it is quite
another matter. Of course only Luke gives the generations from
Adam to Abraham, and the lists of progenitors between Abraham
and David as given by Matthew and Luke are nearly identical. No
problem comes until we compare the two versions of the succession
from David to Jesus:

      Matthew's list        Luke's list (in inverse order)
         David                           David
         Solomon                         Nathan
         Rehoboam                        Mattatha
         Abijah                          Menna
         Asa                             Melea
         Jehoshaphat                     Eliakim
         Jehoram                         Jonam
         Uzziah                          Joseph
         Jotham                          Judah
         Ahaz                            Simeon
         Hezekiah                        Levi
         Manasseh                        Matthat
         Amon                            Jorim
         Josiah                          Eliezer
         Jeconiah                        Joshua
         Shealtiel............           Er
         Zerubbabel........  .           Elmadam
         Abiud            .  .           Cosam
         Eliakim          .  .           Addi
         Azor             ?  ?           Melki
         Zakok            .  .           Neri
         Akim             .  ............Shealtiel
         Eliud            ...............Zerubbabel
         Eleazar                         Rhesa
         Matthan                         Joanan
         Jacob                           Joda
         Joseph (husband of Mary)        Josech
                           Jesus         Semein
                                         Jesus ("the son, so it was
                                               thought, of Joseph")

For students of a harmony of the gospels the above comparison
presents two problems; the difference in the number of generations
and the dissimilarity of names. How can the two genealogies be
harmonized without sacrificing the historical integrity of either?

Recent critical studies have generally regarded past attempts at
harmonization as just so much frustrated effort. Both H.C. Waetjen
and M.D. Johnson summarily dismiss past efforts to preserve full
historical authenticity as unconvincing, strained, and beside the
point. In any event, it is said, historicity will not effect
significantly the reader's existential response or understanding
of New Testament theology. Instead, each genealogy must be understood
individually and theologically in relation to the gospel in which
it appears and the thought of the evangelist that is intended to
express. The content and structure of each supposedly is arbitrary
to suit the evangelist's purpose. What those specific purposes were
need not occupy our attention here, for the analyses of scholars
such as Waetjen and Johnson follow the assumptions and methodology
of much recent New Testament critical scholarship. Their analyses
will be no better than their assumptions and methodology. And the
fundamental question of the historical reliability of the genealogies
cannot be bypassed in so a cavalier a fashion. Consequently we turn
our attention to the problems of harmonizing the two lists of Jesus'
ancestral descent.

The first problem, the difference in the number of generations, is
the easier to resolve. Although it is true that Matthew lists
twenty-six progenitors between David and Jesus, compared with Luke's
forty, two factors must be kept in mind. First, it is not uncommon
for the generations in one line of descent to increase more rapidly
than in another. Second, and more important, in Jewish thinking son
might mean "grandson," or, even more generally, "descendant" (as
"Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham," Matt. 1:1).
Similarly, begat (rendered by the patter "'X' [was] the father of
'Y'" in the New International Version, Matt. 1:2-16) does not
necessarily mean "was the actual (that is, immediate) father of"
but instead may simply indicate real descent. Just the fact that
Matthew casts his list in the form of three groups of fourteen
generations suggests this was a convenient though arbitrary
arrangement from which some generations may have been omitted. In
fact, it can be shown that Matthew's list has omissions (cf. 2
Kings 8:24; 1 Chron. 3:11; 2 Chron. 22:1,11; 24:27; 2 Kings 23:34;
24:6). Omission of generations in biblical genealogies is not
unique to this case, and Jews are known to have done it freely.
The purpose of a genealogy was not to account for every generation,
but to establish the fact of an undoubted succession, including
especially the more prominent ancestors.

The second problem is more difficult to resolve. In the two lists
of succession, between David and Joseph all the names are different
except Shealtiel and Zerabbabel (connected in the list by dotted
lines). How is this to be accounted for? Some exegetes unnecessarily
despair of finding an adequate solution or even suggest the lists
are in error. Others see them as redactional devices by which the
writers sought to fulfill their theological purposes in writing.
But among the attempts to harmonize the genealogies with each other,
four proposals deserve consideration.

1. Julius Africanus (d. A.D. 240) suggested that Matthew gives the
    genealogy of Joseph through his actual father, Jacob, but Luke
    gives Joseph's genealogy through his legal father, Heli. In this
    view, Heli died childless. His half-brother, Jacob, who had the same
    mother but a different father, married Heli's widow and by her had
    Joseph. Known as levirate marriage, this action meant that physically
    Joseph was the son of Jacob and legally the son of Heli. Jacob was
    the descendant of David through David's son Solomon, and Heli was
    the descendant of David through David's son Nathan. Thus, by both
    legal and physical lineage Joseph had a rightful claim to the
    Davidic throne and so would his legal (but not physical) son Jesus.
    Matthew gives Joseph's physical lineage, Luke his legal lineage.

2. In his classic work, The Virgin Birth of Christ, J. Gresham Machen
    argued for the view that Matthew gives the legal descent of Joseph
    whereas for the most part (he does allow for levirate marriage or
    transfer of lineage to a collateral line in Joseph's physical line),
    Luke gives the physical descent. Although the physical and legal
    lines are reversed, the purpose is still to establish Joseph's
    rightful claim to the Davidic throne. This view holds that
    Solomon's line failed in Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) (Jer. 22:30). But
    when the kingly line through Solomon became extinct, the living
    member of the collateral line of Nathan (Shealtiel, Matt. 1:23,
    cf. Luke 3:27) inherited the title to the throne. Thus, Maechen
    asserts, Matthew is tracing the legal heirship to the throne from
    David, through Solomon, through Jeconiah, with transfer to a
    collateral line at the point. Luke traces the physical descent
    (with a possibility of jumps to a collateral line or levirate
    marriages) to David through Nathan. Matthew starts with the
    question, Who is the heir to David's throne? Luke starts with
    the question, Who is Joseph's father?

    A large number of scholars have preferred some form of this
    view, including A. Hervey, Theodor Zahn, Vincent Taylor, and
    Brooke F. Westcott.

3. A third view suggests that the apparent conflict between the
    two genealogies of Joseph results from mistakenly assuming
    Luke is intending to give Joseph's genealogy. Instead it should
    be understood as Mary's genealogy. Joseph's name stands in for
    Mary's by virtue of the fact that he had become son or heir of
    Heli (Mary's father) by his marriage to her. This view holds
    that Heli died with no sons, and that Mary became his heiress
    (Num. 27:1-11; 36:1-12). The first of these passages seems to
    provide for the preservation of the name of the man who dies
    with daughters but no sons. In the case of Heli and his daughter,
    Mary, this could have been accomplished  by Joseph's becoming
    identified with Mary's family. Joseph would be included in
    the family genealogy, although the genealogy is really Mary's.
    Thus the genealogies of Matthew and Luke diverge from David
    on because Matthew traces the Davidic descent of Joseph, and
    Luke the Davidic descent of Mary (with Joseph's name standing in).

Each of the three proposals discussed thus far would resolve the
apparent conflict between the genealogies in Matthew and Luke. Each
also appears to be within the realm of reasonable possibility. It must
be pointed out that all three, however, rely upon conjecture that is
possible but far from certain. In the first two views one must appeal
to levirate marriages or collateral lines to resolve difficulties. The
third view rests on the conjecture that Joseph takes Mary's place in
the genealogy. In addition, the first must explain why Luke rather
than Matthew is interested in the legal lineage of Joseph. Both the
first and second views must explain why Luke, in light of his apparent
interest in and close association with Mary, would be concerned with
Joseph's genealogy at all. Interested as he was in Jesus's humanity,
birth, and childhood, why would Luke give the genealogy of the man who
was Jesus' legal but not physical father? These questions are not
unanswerable, but they do leave the field open for a view less
dependent on conjecture, one that does not raise these questions.

4. There is such a view. Like the third proposed solution, this
    fourth view understands the genealogy in Luke really to be Mary's,
    but for different reasons. Here Heli is understood to be the
    progenitor of Mary, not of Joseph. Joseph is not properly part
    of the genealogy, and is mentioned only parenthetically,
    Luke 3:23 should then read "Jesus ... was the son (so it was
    thought, of Joseph) of Heli." The support for this view is

    a. Placing the phrase "so it was thought, of Joseph" in
       parentheses, and thus in effect removing it from the
       genealogy, is grammatically justified. In the Greek text
       Joseph's name occurs with the Greek definite article
       prefixed; every other name in the series has the article.
       By this device Joseph's name is shown to be not properly
       a part of the genealogy. Jesus was only thought to be his
       son. This would make Jesus the son (that is, grandson or
       descendant) of Heli, Mary's progenitor, and is consistent
       with Luke's account of Jesus' conception, which makes clear
       that Joseph was not his physical father (Luke 1:26-39).

    b. This view allows the most natural meaning of begat to stand.
       In other words, begat refers to actual physical descent
       rather than to jumps to collateral lines.

    c. Matthew's interest in Jesus' relation to the Old Testament and
       the Messianic kingdom makes it appropriate that he give Joseph's
       really descent from David through Solomon - a descent that is
       also Jesus' legal descent - and thus gives him legal claim to
       the Davidic throne.

    d. Because Luke emphasizes the humanity of Jesus, his solidarity
       with the human race, and the universality of salvation, it is
       fitting that Luke show his humanity by recording his human
       descent through his human parent, Mary. His pedigree is then
       traced back to Adam.

    e. The objection that Mary's name is not in Luke's version needs
       only the reply that women were rarely included in Jewish
       genealogies; though giving her descent, Luke conforms to
       custom by not mentioning her by name. The objection that Jews
       never gave the genealogy of women is met by the answer that
       this is a unique case; Luke is talking about a virgin birth.
       How else could the physical descent of one who had no human
       father be traced? Furthermore, Luke has already shown a
       creative departure from customary genealogical lists by
       starting with Jesus and ascending up the list of ancestors
       rather than starting at some point in the past and descending
       to Jesus.

    f. This view allows easy resolution of the difficulties surrounding
       Jeconiah (Matt. 1:11), Joseph's ancestor and David's descendant
       through Solomon. In 2 Sam. 7:12-17 the perpetuity of the
       Davidic Kingdom though Solomon (vv. 12-13) is unconditionally
       promised. Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) later was the royal
       representative of that line of descent for which eternal
       perpetuity had been promised. Yet for his gross sin (2 Chron.
       24:8-9), Jeconiah was to be recorded as if childless, and
       no descendant of his would prosper on the Davidic throne
       (Jer. 22:30). This poses a dilemma. It is Jeconiah through
       whom the Solomonic descent and legal right to the throne
       properly should be traced. Solomon's throne had already
       been unconditionally promised eternal perpetuity. Yet Jeconiah
       will have no physical descendants who will prosper on that
       throne. How may both the divine promise and the curse be

       First, notice that Jeremiah's account neither indicates
       Jeconiah would have no seed, nor does is say Jeconiah's line
       has had its legal claim to the throne removed by his sin. The
       legal claim to the throne remains with Jeconiah's line, and
       Matthew records that descent down to Joseph. In 1:16, Matthew
       preserves the virgin birth of Jesus and at the same time makes
       clear that Jesus does not come under the curse upon Jeconiah.
       He breaks the pattern and carefully avoids saying that Joseph
       (a descendant of Jeconiah) begat Instead he refers to "Joseph,
       the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus." In the
       English translation the antecedent of "whom" is ambiguous.
       But in the Greek text, "whom" is feminine singular in form
       and can refer only to Mary who was not a descendant of
       Jeconiah. As to human parentage, Jesus was born of Mary alone,
       through Joseph his legal father. As Jesus' legal father,
       Joseph's legal claim passed to Jesus. But because Jesus was
       not actually Jeconiah's seed, although of actual Davidic
       descent through Mary, descendant of Nathan, Jesus escaped
       the curse on Jeconiah's seed pronounced in Jeremiah (22:30.
       Thus the problem is resolved.

What we have then are two different genealogies of two people.
Probably even the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel of Matthew and Luke are
different persons. This view does not depend on conjecture, rests
with evidence within the texts themselves, fits the purposes of the
evangelists, and easily resolves the problem surrounding Jeconiah.
Of this view L.M. Sweet appropriately wrote, "Its simplicity and
felicitous adjustment to the whole complex situation is precisely
its recommendation."

Although it is not, strictly speaking, a harmonistic problem, one
other difficulty of lesser significance found in Matthew's record
of Josephs's genealogy needs discussion here. In 1:17, Matthew
divides the generations from Abraham to Christ into three groups of
fourteen generations; from Abraham to David, from David to the
deportation of Babylon, and from the deportation to Christ. In part,
this was likely a device used by Matthew to aid memory; it does not
imply that he mentioned every progenitor. At least five names are
omitted: Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, Jehoiakim, and Eliakim. As
previously stated, this procedure was not unusual and presents no
real problem.

With three groups of fourteen generations, however, one does expect
to find forty two different names. But there are only forty-one.
Although one set has only thirteen different names, the problem is
only apparent. Matthew does not speak of forty-two different names
but of three groups of fourteen generations, which he divides for
himself. David's name concludes the first set and stands first in
the second set (cf. 1:17). In other words, David is counted twice
and is thus given special prominence in the genealogy that shows
Jesus' Davidic throne rights through his legal father, Joseph.
Another means used for increasing the focus on David is the title
assigned to him in Matthew 1:6. He is called King David, and is
the only person in the genealogy to whom a title is given. Possibly
the Davidic emphasis is even further enhanced by the number 14.
The sum of the numerical value of the Hebrew letters in the name
David is 14. To the modern reader this might seem overly subtle,
but it was not necessarily so in ancient Semitic thought. The
numerical value of David's name, however, is not necessary to the
resolution of this problem. Again, alleged discrepancies between
and in the genealogical lists of Matthew and Luke are shown to be
more apparent than real. Reasonable solutions to the problems exist
and even throw further light on the text.

Johnson, Marshall D. The Purpose of the Biblical Genealogies: With
Special Reference to the Setting of the Genealogies of Jesus, 1969
pp. 139-256.

Machen, J. Gresham. The Virgin Birth of Christ, 1930.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, "The Genealogy
of Jesus Christ," L. M. Sweet.

Waetjen, Herman C. "The Genealogy as the Key to the Gospel according
to Matthew," Journal of Biblical Literature 95 (1976): 205-230.

112 posted on 08/31/2002 9:22:06 PM PDT by scripter
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Comment #113 Removed by Moderator

To: Ahban
I'm sure glad we have you to tell us what God wants and doesn't want. Why is it that all evangelicals think they are licensed to preach (or so it seems)?
114 posted on 09/01/2002 4:45:04 AM PDT by Seti 1
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To: Seti 1
because it says in Collossians "You are ambassadors for Christ".

But really, I don't claim to be speaking for God in that way. God spoke for Himself and the people He spoke to were inspired to record it. It is not secret knowledge, it is right there for anyone who cares enough to pursue it.

Some common tests used to determine if the person behind the book was really inspired by God are 1) Ability to do miracles authenticates their message 2) They give prophecy that is later fulfilled or 3) Prophecy by someone who met #2 was givne and they fufilled it.

Take care.

115 posted on 09/01/2002 5:13:04 AM PDT by Ahban
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To: GiovannaNicoletta
Look up the term "self reference"

"The book says the book is true" doesn't hold up logically. But, to each his own. Peace

116 posted on 09/01/2002 7:37:21 AM PDT by muir_redwoods
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To: Ahban
Good point. I was just about to post the same thought, but most likely not as eloquently.

We bash Christians for believing in something that we have documented history on, but search the heavens for ET based upon probability...

amazing... of course the side-track he started has nothing to do with the thread topic. He has a point in saying that the article is clearly one-sided, not that this is bad. I just think the poster should have made editorial mention up front.
117 posted on 09/01/2002 7:49:58 AM PDT by sayfer bullets
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To: Tennessee_Bob
That's false--We know the architect and we even have diagrams and practice pyramids to study.
118 posted on 09/01/2002 8:07:52 AM PDT by Destro
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To: Seti 1
Sort of like Joseph Smith.

Do you know as much about Mormonism as you profess to know about everything else?

119 posted on 09/01/2002 8:09:47 AM PDT by EverOnward
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To: Destro
That's false--We know the architect and we even have diagrams and practice pyramids to study

The question is false? What's the recorded Egyptian explanation on how the pyramids were built?

120 posted on 09/01/2002 8:11:00 AM PDT by Tennessee_Bob
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