More problems for biblical inerrantists. From *The Skeptical Review*, January- February 1995:
by Farrell Till
Elsewhere in this issue (pp. 9, 16), we discussed inconsistencies in the biblical claim that God cannot be tempted (James 1:13) and the fact that the Bible also claims that although Jesus was God (John 1:1, 14), he was nevertheless tempted (Mark 1:12-13;Heb. 5:14-15). If we accept the premise that Jesus actually was God incarnate, we have another inconsistency between the passages that teach that God is omniscient or all-knowing (Ps. 147:5) and other passages that indicate that Jesus didn't know certain things.
In summarizing the childhood of Jesus, Luke said that he "increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" (2:3), but if Jesus were truly an omniscient deity, how could he possibly have "increased in wisdom"? To increase one's wisdom is to increase one's knowledge, so if Jesus increased in wisdom, he couldn't have been omniscient when he began to increase his wisdom. Yet we are asked to believe that Jesus was the omniscient god who made all things (Col. 1:16).
In speaking to the apostles about the time of his second coming, Jesus said, "But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Matt. 24:36). The problem in this statement is obvious. If Jesus were an omniscient deity, how could it possibly be that he would not know the day and hour of his second coming? The issue of omniscience aside, we might also ask how it could possibly be that the Father would know something that the Son wouldn't know if the Father and the Son were one and the same as the absurd doctrine of the trinity teaches.
Some scribes must have recognized the problem that this passage poses, because some Greek manuscripts of the New Testament made no reference to "the Son" in this verse. The ASV, RSV, NRSV, NIV, and other versions of the New Testament have a footnote to inform readers that "some ancient authorities omit 'nor the Son,'" and the KJV and NKJV omit the reference entirely. However, the fact that "some ancient authorities" don't mention "the Son" in this verse is of no benefit to inerrantists, because the exact statement is in Mark's parallel account of Jesus' discourse on his second coming (13:32), and there are no footnotes in Mark to inform us that "some ancient authorities" omitted the reference to "the Son." Hence, the problem remains. God is omniscient, Jesus was God, yet Jesus didn't know when he would come again, even though the Father, who is the same God that Jesus is (was) did know. Was Peter wrong then when he said to Jesus, "Lord, You know all things" (John 21:17)? And if Peter was right, were Matthew and Mark wrong when they said that Jesus said there was at least one thing he didn't know? And if there was even one thing that Jesus didn't know, how could he have been an omniscient god?
Maybe some enterprising inerrantist can explain all this to us dumb skeptics.