1 Samuel 31:4-5
Then Saul said to his armor bearer, "Draw your sword and pierce me through with it, otherwise these uncircumcised will come and pierce me through and make sport of me." But his armor bearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it. When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died with him.
2 Samuel 1:8-10
"He said to me, 'Who are you?' And I answered him, 'I am an Amalekite.' Then he said to me, 'Please stand beside me and kill me, for agony has seized me because my life still lingers in me.' So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown which was on his head and the bracelet which was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord."
There is no logical contradiction here.
While exactly what happened is not perfectly clear, there are at least two possibilities.
It is possible that the armor bearer fled after Saul asked him for a mercy killing, then Saul fell upon his own sword, as we see in 1 Samuel, and then the Amalekite found him not yet dead though mortally wounded, and killed him as he asked. The dead body was then later discovered by the returning armor bearer, who was so distraught that he killed himself.
It is also possible that the Amalekite found Saul dead by his own hand, stole his crown and bracelet, then went to David, the enemy of Saul, and lied about having killed the former king, expecting some kind of reward. Interestingly enough, David did not want Saul killed as God had anointed Saul the king of Israel, and so he executed the Amalekite for murdering the king on the basis of his own testimony, rather than rewarding him.
If one passage stated authoritatively that Saul killed himself, and another stated authoritatively that it is not the case that Saul killed himself, then there would be a contradiction. Neither passage authoritatively states that Saul killed himself, and neither passage authoritatively states that it is not the case that Saul killed himself.
1 Samuel states that Saul fell on his own sword, and that his armor bearer saw Saul dead. We don't know what may have happened between these two events. While the natural reading of the narrative is that the armor bearer was present when Saul fell on his sword and remained present until he died, that is really only inferred from the text, not explicitly stated within it, and therefore cannot be taken as certain.
2 Samuel states that an Amalekite claimed to have killed Saul. We have absolutely no idea if he is telling the truth or not.
So there is nothing even remotely like a contradiction here.
Indeed, the Christian worldview is the only worldview that is not inherently contradictory.
Here's a story for you:
My grandmother Emma died slowly of cancer. Her last words were "I love you, my grandson," and then she fell asleep, never to wake up.
Two days after this happened, a man came to my father and said he murdered my grandmother Emma by chopping off her head.
Now, when you read my story above, do you come to the conclusion that the author (me) is telling you a story that cannot possibly be true because it is logically contradictory? I doubt it! As far as you can tell from reading it, the story above could have really happened. I have not claimed that "Emma died of cancer" and that "it is not the case that Emma died of cancer". In fact, there is no logical contradiction in the story at all!
Why should we not read the narrative of Saul's death the same way as the above story?
"When you say, 'the Christian worldview is the only worldview that is not inherently contradictory' that is an absolute lie."
Of course it isn't. Given reality, the Christian God is necessary. Nothing could be the way it is apart from Him. If that were not the case, He would not be worthy of all honor and praise, and He is. We would not need to depend upon upon Him, and we do.
To put it another way (and I think you'd agree) if it is even logically possible that the Christian God does not exist, then it is logically necessary that the Christian God does not exist (rephrasing the ontological argument).
However, since the Christian God DOES exist, it is not logically possible that the Christian God does not exist, and therefore any worldview that claims He does not exist is logically contradictory and ultimately incoherent.
As for your story for your grandmother, yes I actually do think that both stories cannot both possibly be true; The same person died two different ways. Even if I were to grant Jesus' resurrection and all of the people who were risen in Matthew when Jesus died, the average person (in this case, your grandmother or Saul)doesn't rise from the dead to be killed again. If this were the case, why not mention it?
I ask, what is the difference between saying one thing happened, and then either saying specifically it didn't happen or that something else happened?
If someone were to come in after me and say, 'on the morning of December 30th, charris ate an unspecified number of pancakes and two eggs, and drank a glass of milk. After, he left the room and went about his day.'
Yes it is possible that you could combine the stories and figure out I had three pancakes, orange juice, milk, and two eggs. But then you are re-writing what each person said.
When you add the absolutes of death, I would assume that we both agree that Saul only died once. Saying that Saul died by (inferred:willingly) falling on his sword, and then saying that he was killed (even if he pushed Saul over), these are two different accounts.
My point about the Christian world view isn't that it can't be contradictory. My problem was with the 'only.' If you're a Christian, then of course, it wouldn't be contradictory. But from my point of view (atheist), it is and mine isn't. (I think the main difference is I don't have a book to go by.)
My point in the story with my grandmother was not that the two ACCOUNTS don't contradict each other, but rather that the NARRATIVE AS A WHOLE does not contradict itself, or in other words, THE NARRATOR (God) has not contradicted himself.
I agree with you that to make the two accounts work together seems a little contrived, although it is possible. However, since it is possible, we are not talking about a logical contradiction, even with respect to the two accounts.
But let's say that for the sake of argument, the two accounts are logically contradictory. Since they are given by two different persons (the narrator and the Amalekite) and since we know the narrator is God and is therefore always right, we rationally conclude that the Amalekite is lying. This conclusion does not seem contrived and actually works well with the entire narrative.
Even if the two accounts were logically contradictory (and they aren't) the narrative as a whole is not.
"But from my point of view (atheist), [Christianity is contradictory] and [Atheism] isn't."
So are you the brand of Atheist that believes that you have never denied the existence of God (ie. there is no progress through time)?
Or are you the brand of Atheist that believes that 0 + 0 = 94,872,953,481,245,962 (ie. progress through time began uncaused)?
Or are you the brand of Atheist that believes in finite infinites (ie. progress through time has been going on forever)?
I would suggest that either way, from within your own worldview, with your own presuppositions, your views are logically contradictory. In other words, to accept your own beliefs, you must necessarily reject your own beliefs.
On the other hand, Christianity is not logically contradictory. It is the only worldview that isn't.
Is there a logical contradiction? No. There's a historical and critical contradiction. If I wanted to say I had three pancakes and two eggs, I should have said so. The same event shouldn't change based on who is telling the story.
If you say that God is the narrator and is right compared to the contradictory explanation, I'm find with that. My next question would be, why did the bible publish a lie?
Unfortunately, God didn't physically write either book; humans did. This lends itself to an even more plausible explanation. If saying 'God is the narrator, therefore no contradiction' means anything, then I could say, 'There is a square circle, but it
The problem I have with this false dilemma is that it doesn't agree with observation. First, all that is required is a previous cause, not a first cause. Now, our universe does have a beginning, about 13.7 billion years ago. However, this does not mean there was nothing else before it (meaning that our universe may not have had a beginning). Even then, we see things that happen uncaused all of the time. "In fact, physical events at the atomic and subatomic level are observed to have no evident cause. For example, when an atom in an excited energy level drops to a lower level and emits a photon... Similarly, no cause is evident in the decay of a radioactive nucleus." -Victor Stenger. I would also add to that list 'virtual particles.'
If you weren't referring to this, then please ignore it.
*1st) Never denying the existence of God wouldn't mean there is no progress. In any case, that would be against you, not me.
*2nd) All that is needed is a prior cause, not a first cause. Even you admit this, otherwise God would need a cause. (Something can't cause itself, you know.)
*3rd) 'Progress through time has been going on forever' isn't a 'finite infinite,' as you say it is. (Unless I misunderstand you.) It is simply having prior cause ad infinitum. This isn't contradicting anything because I've never said everything needs to be finite, also because it does it agree with observation.
So no, I haven't contradicted my own worldview.
The main thing is, what would it be contradictory to?
Observation? We see people die all the time and they don't rise again, so Jesus' resurrection would be a contradiction.
Itself? Something cannot be omniscient and omnipotent; if it knows everything, it doesn't have the power to change the future. If it has the power to change the future, it doesn't know everything (otherwise it would already have known the future would change).
Other beliefs? What good would this be? Then everything would contradict everything.
So what's a standard we can agree on to see if it's contradictory?
I hope you had a good new year! :)
The two books of Samuel were originally one single book and still are in Jewish Bibles. There is no legitimate reason to suggest that these two chapters were written by two different human authors. However, even if they were, that does not negate any of the explanations I provided above: 1 Samuel 31 and 2 Samuel 1 are still not logically contradictory.
The Christian concept of God's omnipotence is not the same as the logically incoherent concept you so adeptly, lucidly and humorously defeated: our God cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). Our God is omnipotent in the sense that:
1. Everything that either has happened or that will happen are ultimately caused by God Himself.
2. If it hasn't happened, and it won't happen, it can't happen.
3. Therefore God is capable of causing everything that can happen (omnipotence).
Everything that changes is caused:
If (X) changes, then during some portion of time (X) is different than it would otherwise be. Thus, (X) does not exist apart from time since the use of time is necessary to describe its inherent attributes.
Either (X) began to be or it is not the case that (X) began to be.
If, without cause, (X) began to be, then: having nothing, adding nothing to it, something resulted: 0 + 0 > 0.
If it is not the case that (X) began to be, then (X) has existed for an infinite period of time. This is the same as saying that we have now arrived at the end of an infinite series: we have arrived at the end of a series that has no end.
Thus, since Atheist Math is bad, and ending the unending is impossible, that which changes is always caused.
God does not change (Malachi 3:6).
I didn't say that God could deny himself. (What sense would that even make? Sounds like something Charley Manson would do.) However, my statement wasn't that God couldn't be omnipotent. My statement was that God couldn't be omnipotent and omniscient. It's a tad like the paradox, Can God create a rock so heavy he can't lift?, except it deals with the range of his knowledge.
That said, I have a big problem with point 2, in that, according to quantum mechanics, given enough time anything can happen. (QM is based on probabilities, after all.) My favorite thought experiment is this: push a wall. You don't go through, right? Given enough time, you will.
Virtual particles spontaneously emerge from nothing, then a fraction of a second later they collide with themselves and are gone. (This is what causes Hawking Radiation of black holes.)
So the destruction of virtual particles is caused, yes. Without the emergence of virtual particles it couldn't destroy itself. But the emergence itself, the 'first cause' of virtual particles, is nonexistent.
Time is a product of entropy, but I don't think that's a very controversial point. For things in the universe, then yes. Either (X) began or it didn't. (Whether it is caused or not is addressed above.) However, what reason is there to think the universe itself i
"If it is not the case that (X) began to be, then (X) has existed for an infinite period of time."
Works for me.
"This is the same as saying that we have now arrived at the end of an infinite series: we have arrived at the end of a series that has no end."
However, it is not saying that we've reached the end of an infinite series. We're just at some arbitrary point along that series. Time will continue after us, and it continued before us.
What is the difference between saying the universe is infinite in time and God is infinite in time? Wouldn't that mean, by what you've s
"My statement was that God couldn't be omnipotent and omniscient."
Interestingly enough, God knows the future because He is the one who makes it happen -- one of the logical reasons we can provide for God's omniscience is His omnipotence. Far from being mutually exclusive, the one is based on the other. He knows everything about everything because He is the one who ultimately causes it all.
"What causes quantum fluctuations and virtual particles? The answer is simple enough: it isn't caused."
It is logically incoherent to suggest that we know that they are uncaused, as that would mean zero is not zero and therefore knowledge is impossible, and thus we would be incapable of knowing that they are uncaused. It would be self-defeating.
It is unknown whether or not virtual particles even exist. If current theory is accurate, though, it seems they are the result of continuous energy fluctuations in quantum mechanical vacuums. This means that if they actually exist then they are caused, which of course we already knew anyway, because to say that we know they aren't is self-defeating.
"given enough time anything can happen."
Not unless zero does not equal zero, in which case the Laws of Logic are invalid, knowledge is not possible, and there would be no way that you could know that "anything can happen".
"the total energy of the universe is 0!"
I'm not following your argument. You seem to be saying:
P1) The amount of energy in the universe does not change.
C1) Therefore things that change do not have to be caused.
Even if we accept the premise, I don't see how the conclusion follows from it.
"We're just at some arbitrary point along that series."
It seems to me you are suggesting that time is like a horizontal line that has no left-most point and has no right-most point, and we are somewhere on the line, moving from left to right.
If this is the case then the length of line to our left is infinite. Since time progresses, we have already traversed every inch to our left. But this would be infinite regress. We have reached the end of something that has no end -- an infinite series: the left portion of the line. We have iterated all the way through something that cannot be iterated through.
This is logically incoherent, as I said.
"What is the difference between saying the universe is infinite in time and God is infinite in time?"
I'm not sure what "God is infinite in time" is supposed to mean. Did I say that at some point? Does the Bible say this? If so, please tell me where so I can look it up. I'm not sure where you got this from. Please keep in mind that I am arguing for and defending the Christian worldview, not some other perspective.
If what you mean is that God has existed for an infinite number of past seconds (or something like that) then I do not believe this, and the Bible teaches otherwise in both Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1, namely, there was a beginning. So I would not hold to the idea that "God is infinite in time", nor would I defend it. It seems to me that it is illogical and heretical.
I'm not sure the comments here are the best place for this kind of a discussion, due to length restraints and topic relevance. If you'd like to continue our discussion at length, feel free to use the Contact page of the website.
If, in Genesis, the beginning also includes the beginning of God, then how can God be the First Cause?
The beginning in Genesis does not include the beginning of God (Deuteronomy 33:27; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:3, 8:58; Romans 1:20; 2 Corinthians 4:18; Hebrews 7:3; 1 John 1:2). It is the beginning of His creation, including the vector we generally refer to as "time".
Even if the scriptures did not make this clear, and they do, we know deductively that there is a personal, eternal, omnipotent first cause:
2 Samuel 1:10 can be dismissed since the narrator merely quotes a claim from the Amalekite.
The last half of 1 Samuel 31:4 is not a quote. The narrator tells us point blank: Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.