Contradictions in the Bible (Part 2)

As we seek to educate our children in biblical matters, we need to be aware of tactics used by the enemy. For instance, one popular method used to plant seeds of doubt is Web sites that proclaim hundreds of errors or contradictions in the Bible. Consider the difference in a teen’s spiritual foundation if he or she is taught beforehand that atheists will do their best to point out alleged contradictions—versus a young person stumbling across a Web site of alleged contradictions, without any preparation.

One of the favorite alleged contradictions that Web sites like to use is the death of Judas. In Matthew 27:5 we find: “He [Judas] threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5). But what about Acts 1:18 that reads, “Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out” (Acts 1:18). So which was it? Did Judas hang himself, or did he fall headlong and burst in the middle? Atheists point at these two different scenarios and boldly proclaim that the Bible is not inspired. However, a closer look reveals that both instances could (and did) occur.

When the body dies, bacteria that are normally kept in check inside the body begin to immediately multiply and produce gases which cause the body to swell up. [Today we don’t worry about this much thanks to preparations made at funeral homes.] When Judas hung himself, his body experienced this same phenomena, with bacteria producing gases as his body was suspended in the Sun. While we are not told how he was brought down, two very good possibilities exist: (1) either he was cut down prior to the observance of special religious days (e.g., Sabbath); or (2) the rope he used eventually broke due to the weight. In either case we can see how his body would fall—headfirst, since the torso is heavier than the legs—and then the bloated body burst open to reveal his entrails. Did Judas hang himself? Yes. Did his body burst after hitting the ground? Definitely. Are these contradictory, leaving the Bible in question? Absolutely not! Rather than focusing on this alleged contradiction, skeptics would do better to realize the result of a man who walked with Jesus Christ and eventually sold out, giving in to temptation.

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