Contradiction #1 – Is God Good ‘To All’ or ‘Just A Few’?

I’ve decided to do something a little different. A while ago I got given a list of contradictions in the bible. I believe that the bible is without contraction. So this is my effort to refute each one. this is for my benefit primarily. But feel free to interact using comments / Facebook / email. I am happy to change things up, or discuss where you think I am wrong. There lots of them, so only a couple at a time. God bless. In red is the supplied contradiction. 

PSA 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

JER 13:14 And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.

[Editor’s note: Some readers have raised an objection to this alleged contradiction. They point out that PSA 145:20 states that The Lord keeps all who love Him, but that He will destroy the wicked. In other words, some see no contradiction between “The Lord is good to all” and JER 13:14. Others contend, however, that even if the Lord destroys the wicked he could do so with compassion, pity, and mercy. Further, there are biblical examples that indicate that the Lord is not necessarily “good” or merciful– even to those who are not wicked. One such example is Job. As one reader points out, “If Psalm 145:9 was not a contradiction of Psalm 145:20 or Jeremiah 13:14, it would read something like

this: “The LORD is good to all, except the wicked: and his tender mercies are over all his works, except when He is punishing the wicked.” In any case, the idea that the Lord is good and merciful is contradicted by countless examples in the Bible where God orders the destruction of infants, personally kills David’s infant child, etc.]

1. Psalms are poetry, love songs written to God. In all cultures, both past and present that tends to manipulate the rules of absolutes. One could argue that the Bible should be beyond such rules, but as it is written by man, for man, to accommodate humanity such rules still apply. The bible is divinely inspired and is perfect to serve its purpose in pointing man to Christ. Although this is not the reason this psalm was written (like using a balloon to hammer nails) we can see in the case of Ps145:20 (as is written in the editors note) the contrast between just and unjust punishment. The God of scripture, in His authority has the right to reprimand as He sees fit. To some God will show kindness and mercy, to others He will punish. This occurs according to His discretion. This concept is supported by the rest of the bible.

In the case of Jeremiah 13:14, the book has a prophetic overtone to it, leading to a different form of literary construct. At this point Jerry is predicting the future of God’s justice if God’s people choose to rebel against Him. This hasn’t happened, but will happen if the people don’t obey God.

2. A parallel might be that ‘you wouldn’t allow a son to be involved in the family business if he was repeatedly bringing dishonour to the company by dealing drugs under the company banner. Your consequence might be to sack him, might even be to tell the police.’ In the same way God’s people bring shame to God’s reputation and here in Jer13:14 the consequences for such are outlined.

3. This text is unsettling because as children we are (sometimes unhelpfully) told that God is all about LOVE, LOVE and more LOVE. Often Christians grow up with a poor understanding of how God responds to rebellion. And that is with ANGER. This undoubtedly leads to people questioning the consistency of God through his dealings with the world. The Jer13:14 text is also unsettling because it moves family members into conflict father and son against each other. The breaking up of the family unit has been a sore point for all generations, because in our human nature it is such basic instinct to protect that. The question then gets asked “even a loving God sees the value of family and why would he mess with that?”. The unsettling answer is ‘God has created all mankind to be in union with Himself as one large family. Jeremiah foretelling of destruction has nothing to do with the issues of mercy, it has to do with the issues of justice. In a pre-Jesus context God directly punishes humans for all their rebellion. And in all cases His punishment is severe. If God were to allow sin to go unnoticed, that would be a contradiction. Find me that example and I will be stuck. Therefore in His perfectly consistent behaviour He punishes the rebellious. Unsettling, but biblical.