Genesis 22:2—How could Isaac be Abraham’s “only son” when he already had Ishmael?

Problem: Abraham was told here, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac.” However, Abraham had Ishmael many years before (Gen. 16) and he also had other “sons” (Gen. 25:6).

Solution: The other sons of Genesis 25 were probably born later, being mentioned three chapters after Isaac is called his “only son.” Furthermore, they were sons by “the concubines which Abraham had” (Gen. 25:6) and were not counted as heirs of God’s promise. Likewise, Ishmael was conceived in unbelief by a concubine and not counted as heir to the promised inheritance. In addition, the phrase “only son” may be equivalent to “beloved son” (cf. John 1:18; 3:16), that is, a special son. God said clearly to Abraham, “in Isaac your seed shall be called” (Gen. 21:12).

The Mormon Deception

By Michael Houke

The Church of Latter Day Saints was formed by Joseph Smith in 1820. While searching for God Joseph Smith practiced occultism (he was heavily involved in the occult) and one night “an angel of light” came to him. He claimed this angel was named Moroni. And Moroni revealed to him the truth about Christianity. While alive, Joseph Smith made about 65-70 prophecies which only about 5 or 6 has come to pass, making him a false prophet. This is why the LDS Church will not make them known to the public.

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Seventh-day Adventist Church – A Profile

By Timothy Oliver

Organization Structure: Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Organized as representative democracy. Lower echelons elect representatives to higher units; determination and administration of policy, enforcement of doctrinal orthodoxy, imposed from top down. President, and Executive Committee of General Conference are standing chief administrative offices. Lower administrative units are the General Conference, Divisions (over continents), Union Conferences, local Conferences, and congregations. Several small Universities and Colleges and numerous well respected hospitals are maintained worldwide.

Unique Terms: “Investigative Judgement,” “Spirit of Prophecy,” “Coming into the Truth” (believing and living the full SDA message and lifestyle), “Remnant Church.”

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Genesis 22:2—Why did God tell Abraham to sacrifice his son when God condemned human sacrifice in Leviticus 18 and 20?

Problem: In both Leviticus 18:21 and 20:2, God specifically denounced human sacrifice when He commanded Israel, “Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech” (Lev. 18:21, niv), and “Any Israelite or any alien living in Israel, who gives any of his children to Molech, must be put to death; the people of the community are to stone him” (Lev. 20:2, niv). Yet, in Genesis 22:2, God commanded Abraham to “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” This appears to contradict His command not to offer human sacrifices.

Solution: First, God was not interested, nor did He plan, that Abraham should actually kill his son. The fact that the angel of the Lord prevented Abraham from killing Isaac (22:12) demonstrates this. God’s purpose was to test Abraham’s faith by asking him to completely surrender his only son to God. The angel of the Lord declared that it was Abraham’s willingness to surrender his son, not the actual killing of him, that satisfied God’s expectations for Abraham. God said explicitly, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad … for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Gen. 22:12, nasb).

Second, the prohibitions in both Leviticus 18:21 and 20:2 were specifically against the offering of one’s offspring to the pagan god Molech. So it is not strictly a contradiction for God to prohibit offering one’s offspring to Molech and yet asking Abraham to offer Isaac to Him, the only true God. After all, offering Isaac to the Lord is not offering one’s offspring to Molech, since the Lord is not Molech. God alone is sovereign over life (Deut. 32:39; Job 1:21), and therefore He alone has the right to demand when it should be taken. Indeed, He has appointed the day of everyone’s death (Ps. 90:10; Heb. 9:27).

Third, Abraham so trusted in God’s love and power that he willingly obeyed because he believed God would raise Isaac from the dead (Heb. 11:17–19). This is implied in the fact that, though Abraham intended to kill Isaac, he told his servants, “I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship and we will return to you” (Gen. 22:5, nasb).

Finally, it is not morally wrong for God to order the sacrifice of our sons. He offered His own Son on Calvary (John 3:16). Indeed, even our governments sometimes call upon us to sacrifice our sons for our country. Certainly God has an even greater right to do so.

Genesis 21:32, 34—Did the Bible mistakenly place the Philistines in Palestine at the time of Abraham?

Problem: The earliest allusion to Philistines by Palestinian or Egyptian sources is the twelfth century b.c., yet these verses place them in the area some 800 years earlier.

Solution: This is not the first time critics have come to false conclusions based on the general lack of historical knowledge concerning this period. Sodom and Gomorrah are examples of cities the Bible mentioned that were supposedly not historical. When the Ebla tablets were discovered, the charge of myth was refuted. These tablets contained references to both cities. It may just be a matter of time before similar evidence turns up to confirm the biblical testimony here regarding the Philistines. Until then, we can rest assured that the biblical record is accurate in this case, having confidence in the Scriptures based on its past record of trustworthiness. Furthermore, the critics’ argument is the traditional fallacious argument from ignorance. Simply because we lack evidence from extrabiblical sources of the earlier date for the Philistines does not mean they didn’t exist then. It simply means we lack the information.

GENESIS 20:12—If incest is condemned, why did Abraham marry his sister?

Problem: Abraham admitted here that Sarah his wife was really his “sister” (cf. Gen. 17:15–16). Yet incest is denounced in no uncertain terms in many passages (cf. Lev. 18:6; 20:17). Indeed, the Lord declared, “Cursed is the one who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother” (Deut. 27:22).

Solution: Abraham was not beyond sin, as his lie about Sarah to king Abimelech reveals (Gen. 20:4–5). And Abraham did admit that Sarah was “the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife” (Gen. 20:12). However, even granting this, there is no real proof Abraham violated any law for two reasons. First, the incest laws were not given by Moses until some 500 years after Abraham. So he surely could not be held responsible for laws that had not yet been promulgated. Second, the terms “sister” and “brother” are used with great latitude in the Bible, just as the terms “father” and “son.” Jesus, for example, was the “son” (i.e., descendant) of David (Matt. 21:15). “Sister” means a near relative, but it does not as such indicate the degree of nearness we understand by the word “sister.” Lot, Abraham’s nephew, is called a “brother” (Gen. 14:12, 16). Likewise, “daughter” can mean granddaughter or great granddaughter.

Considering the age to which Abraham lived (175, Gen. 25:7), it is possible that he married only a granddaughter on his father’s side, or even a niece or grand niece. In any event, there is no proof that Abraham’s marriage to Sarah violated any existing incest law. But if it did, the Bible simply gives us a true record of Abraham’s error. When God called Sarah Abraham’s “wife” (Gen. 17:15), He was not legitimizing any alleged incest, but merely stating a fact.

Genesis 19:30–38—Does the Bible condone incest?

Problem: Incest is denounced in emphatic terms in many biblical passages (cf. Lev. 18:6; 20:17). In fact, the Lord declared, “Cursed is the one who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother” (Deut. 27:22). Yet Lot committed incest with his two daughters here, from which came the nations of Moab and Ammon.

Solution: There is no question that Lot sinned here in several ways, to say nothing of the violation of incest laws that Moses later gave as commands to Israel. Noah was drunk, and he committed adultery with his daughters. Lot’s righteous soul was vexed with many sins due to his long association with the people of Sodom. But none of these sins are approved of in this passage. Indeed, the whole colorless tone of the narrative, without any positive comment by the narrator, indicates that there was no attempt to conceal the horror of his sins. Here is a good example of the principle that not everything recorded by the Bible is approved by the Bible.

Genesis 19:8—Was the sin of Sodom homosexuality or inhospitality?

Problem: Some have argued that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was inhospitality, not homosexuality. They base this claim on the Canaanite custom that guarantees protection for those coming under one’s roof. Lot is alleged to have referred to it when he said, “don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof ” (Gen. 19:8, niv). So Lot offered his daughters to satisfy the angry crowd in order to protect the lives of the visitors who had come under his roof. Some also claim that the request of the men of the city to “know” (Gen. 19:5) simply means “to get acquainted,” since the Hebrew word “know” (yada) generally has no sexual connotations whatsoever (cf. Ps. 139:1).

Solution: While it is true that the Hebrew word “know” (yada) does not necessarily mean “to have sex with,” nonetheless, in the context of the passage on Sodom and Gomorrah, it clearly has this meaning. This is evident for several reasons. First of all, 10 of the 12 times this word is used in Genesis it refers to sexual intercourse (cf. Gen. 4:1, 25).

Second, it means to know sexually in this very chapter. For Lot refers to his two virgin daughters as not having “known” a man (19:8), which is an obvious sexual use of the word.

Third, the meaning of a word is discovered by the context in which it is used. And the context here is definitely sexual, as is indicated by the reference to the wickedness of the city (18:20), and the virgins offered to appease their passions (19:8). Fourth, “know” cannot mean simply “get acquainted with,” because it is equated with a “wicked thing” (19:7). Fifth, why offer the virgin daughters to appease them if their intent was not sexual. If the men had asked to “know” the virgin daughters, no one would have mistaken their sexual intentions.

Sixth, God had already determined to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, as Genesis 18:16–33 indicates, even before the incident in 19:8. Consequently, it is much more reasonable to hold that God had pronounced judgment upon these cities for the sins they had already committed, namely homosexuality, than for a sin they had not yet committed, that is inhospitality.

Genesis 15:17; 19:23—Why does the Bible use unscientific terms such as “the sun going down”?

Problem: Evangelical Christians claim that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God. However, if the Bible is inerrant in all that it affirms, including historical and scientific facts, why do we find such unscientific terms as “the sun going down” or “the rising of the sun”?

Solution: The Bible is not claiming that the sun actually sets or rises. Rather, it is simply employing the same kind of observational language that we employ even today. It is a regular part of any weather forecast to announce the time of “sunrise” and “sunset.” To claim that the Bible is “unscientific,” or that there are scientific errors because of the use of such phrases, is a feeble argument. Such a charge would have to be equally leveled against virtually everyone today, including modern scientists who employ this type of language in normal conversation (see comments on Josh. 10:12–14).

John 14:6