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Biblical Inerrancy and Infallibility is a Failed Theology

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/25/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 298 times Debate No: 83035
Debate Rounds (5)
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In this debate, I will be arguing for the proposition that Biblical inerrancy and infallibility is a failed theological concept. By innerancy, I mean that the Bible, as most fundamentalists would say, is free from all contradictions or error in history, science, theology, teaching. etc. By accepting this challenge, you will be arguing that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God, devoid of error.

This debate will have five rounds. Round one is for introduction, while round two is opening arguments only. Round three and four are rebuttals and counter-rebuttals while round five is closing statements.


1. Use well-reputed sources. Tertiary sources with an obvious bent, and poor sourcing themselves, such as Answers in Genesis, cannot be used. You can, however, use the secondary or primary sources that they cite (Assuming they are not citing themselves). This applies to me as well. I will not be allowed to use poor sources like a skeptic blog, skepticpedia, or similar poorly-composed sources.

2. "God did it" in any way, shape, or form, is not an acceptable response. This is included in topics related to canonicity, preservation of texts, etc.

3. Simply rebutting attacks does not prove inerrancy. Instead, you also have to provide arguments, both theological and otherwise, for innerancy.

4. I would like to point out that I am a liberal Christian who believes Jesus Christ is the only Son of God who died to take away the sins of the world. That being, theological arguments are open and viable as well.

Good luck!


I would like to thank Pro for offering this debate.

I will be arguing that the Bible makes all true claims about history, science, theology, teaching, etc.

I look forward to an engaging and well meaning discussion about the nature of Christianity and the role of the historical texts that make up the modern Bible.

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for this debate.

I will build my argument off of five ideas 1) The Bible has a faulty view of cosmology - 2) The Bible has a faulty view of ethics - 3) The Bible contains contradictions - 4) The Bible shows a polytheistic world - 5) The Bible's loss of textual integrity, poor canon, and poor composition make it difficult to view it as inerrant.

In this opener, I will lay down 1-4 while devoting another portion next round to dealing with the theological questions behind 5.

To begin, let's start with

1) The Bible has a faulty view of cosmology
To most fundamentalists and evangelicals, the Bible is a perfectly composed book that not only gives spiritual insight, but also shows us science and history as it truly is. The egregious view of Young Earth Creationism is a perfect view of that. Instead of turning this into a Creation v. Evolution debate, I would like to instead concentrate on verses that show a view of cosmology in which the earth is a flat disk with the dome sky surrounding it.

Starting in Genesis, we see a lot of this idea. Genesis chapter one starts off telling us about Creation. Take a moment and look closely at some of the statements it makes:

Genesis 1:1-2 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over thesurface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”

Genesis 1:6-9 “Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. Then God said, “Let the waters belowthe heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.

Starting right there in Genesis 1, we see the general idea of pre-exilic cosmology. Notice for a moment something that is forgotten by literalists: God never created water. He manipulated it, He commanded it, but He never created it. It was already in existence. The eternal water.

Notice also that God created an “expanse” to divide water “above the expanse” from waters below it. Is there an ocean above the sky? Hardly. The historian Josephus gives a little commentary to show that this view of a solid dome sky was not dead even after Jesus’ own death: “he placed the heaven over the whole world, and separated it from the other parts, and he determined it should stand by itself. He also placed a crystalline round it.”

On the third day, according to the text, God gathered the waters and land, respectively, into one place, a single pangea continent surrounded by a single, giant ocean. God did not create land in this story. Rather, God moved the water to allow dry land to appear. This is very different from the way we were taught in Sunday School, but it is what the text actually describes.

Another good text to show this view is Isaiah 40 :22

"It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;"

Some Evangelicals will honestly try to tell me that this is saying that the earth is round. No, it is stating that God sits on what is essentially a floating throne above a flat earth. This is made equally clear by the Hebrew words used. The first Hebrew word used for circle, if it were describing a sphere, is דּוּר (Dur) while the Hebrew word in Isaiah 40:22 is ח֣וּג (Hug), which literally means "flat circle." Also, this is not a metaphor or simile, because we see in the next part of the sentence "like grasshoppers," "like a curtain," and "like a tent." These are symbolized by Hebrew prepositions that are lacking in the part about the earth. For now, these are the two passages I will lay out for examination.

2) The Bible contains a faulty view of ethics
The Old Testament especially views women as objects, slavery was accepted, violence was rampant, and "family values" were at an all time low. Consider a few of these verses with my commentary of why they are abhorrent

Exodus 21:20-21 "When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod, and the slave dies under his abuse, the owner must be punished. 21 However, if the slave can stand up after a day or two, the owner should not be punished because he is his owner’s property."
This text is a great double-whammy, showing both slavery as ownership of another human being, but also that this owner could beat that human being to near death without consequence, only at death or permanent maiming is there a mention of punishment. This is despicable. Note also that this is the direct law from God, not out of context. The direct words of God according to tradition.

Psalm 137:9 "Blessed is he who takes your little children and dashes their heads on the rocks!"
In this passage, found in a Psalm about revenge, shows graphically not only was the writer of the Psalm propagating revenge by killing babies and children, he also says you will be "blessed" because of it. If that's not sick, I do not know what is.

1 Samuel 15:3 "Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’
This time, the call to kill children via genocide is not from a mouthpiece of God like a Psalmist, but in context from God Himself. God commands the genocide of a people-group, including infants. That is wrong.

3) The Bible Contains Contradictions
This one will be a straight forward as well. I will lay out contradicting passages and offer my commentary

Matthew 3:17 "and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” "
Mark 1:11 "And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” "
These are obvious contradictions. What did the voice speak directly to Jesus, or to the crowd. To make matters worse, the author of Hebrews, Psalms, and the more likely variants in Luke indicates that it said "You are my beloved Son. Today I have become Your Father."

The second contradiction I want to call attention to is not in detail, but in broad storyline.

In John, the entire book is laid out with Jesus' signs

The seven signs are changing water into wine, healing the royal son, healing the paralytic, feeding the 5000, walking on water, healing the blind man, and raising Lazarus. The Greek word for "sign" is not the same for "miracle." The word for sign is sēmeion, while the word for miracle Dunamis.

In the Gospel of Matthew 12:38 - 39 we read "Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign (sēmeion) from you.”But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. "

So wait a minute, in Matthew Jesus says there will not be a single sign, but in John Jesus performs 7? John 20:30 even says "Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. "
According to John, Jesus did many, more signs to have us believe! How does that mesh with Jesus saying He will not give any signs at all?

4) The Bible Shows a Polytheistic World
There are several words for "God" used in Hebrew. Yahweh is the name of God (also called Jehovah). Adonai is a name meaning "Lord." Elohim means "God or gods" while El means "God, god, mighty one." To start, let's look at the word Elohim, and by extension, El. אֱלֹהִים (Elohim) is essentially the pluralization, using the hireq-yod-mem masculine plural suffix, of the word אֵל (El). Keep that in mind as we go that Elohim both is used as a plural word meaning gods and also a name for the Hebrew God. One way we can tell if it's being used as a plural or a singular is if another name for God (like YHWH) is used in the same passage. take a look at these polytheistic passages that I have transliterated the names of God and pluralization in order to have a clearer understanding.

It is also worth noting that El is a Canaanite god, so read it in that context as well.

Psalm 29:1
Ascribe to Yahweh, O sons of the god(s)/sons of El,
Ascribe to Yahweh glory and strength.

Psalm 82:1

Elohim takes His stand in His own congregation;
He judges in the midst of the gods

Psalm 89:7-8

An El greatly feared in the council of the gods,
And awesome above all those who are around Him?
O YHWH, God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty YHWH?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.

Exodus 15:11
“Who is like You among the gods, O YHWH?
Who is like You, majestic in holiness,
Awesome in praises, working wonders?"

Job 1:6 "Now there was a day when the sons of God/El came to present themselves before YHWH, and Satan also came among them."

Job 2:1 "Again there was a day when the sons of God/El came to present themselves before YHWH, and Satan also came among them to present himself before YHWH."

Obviously, this is describing a polytheistic universe where YHWH is a son of El, but is more powerful and rules over them.

This is the end of my argument for this round. To conserve space, I will save my sources for the next round. I hope that is acceptable. Best of luck to my opponent.




The collection of books that make up the Bible are accurate in regards to the historical, scientific, and theological claims that are made.

One point that I want to stress is that each of the books in the Bible were written in different time periods and to different audiences. It is important to take the grammatical-historical approach in understanding the original intention of the writings. So, I argue that each book, correctly interpreted, makes correct claims about reality.

Creation Vs Evolution

My first argument is that the book of Genesis correctly describes the creation of the world and the history thereafter. The universe was created sometime around 6,000 years ago, with everything created in complete form.

Obviously, this opens up an entire debate into the creation vs evolution discussion, which is a major topic on its own. So, I will maintain one critical argument in favor of this position: genetic entropy.

Dr. John Sanford is a geneticist who created the gene gun. He maintains the thesis of genetic entropy, that life was necessarily created in a perfect form, and every generation thereafter has decreased in fitness of life. This would explain why the pre-flood humans lived for almost a thousand of years, and how over time, humans' life spans have significantly decreased.

An analogy: Imagine God created an entire dictionary book. Every year, the book is copied, and each copy will contain a few mutations that corrupt the book. After thousands of years, the book will become completely illegible.

What this means is that every species has a life span, and are heading towards extinction. Eventually, the human genome will decay to the point where humans will no longer exist.

John Sanford wrote a book explaining his thesis, which can be bought here (1), and here is a relevant lecture summarizing his thesis (2).


My second argument deals with a philosophical principle: Christianity supports anarchy.

Statism is a delusional belief system where an elite ruling class forces laws on non-consenting citizens. People are forced to pay taxes and obey laws that they did not concede to.

The book of Samuel shows God against statism, specifically a monarchy in the passage, and explains how the citizens will eventually regret making the decision to create one. (3)

The Gospels show Jesus stating that we are not required to pay taxes, but He did so, so that He would not cause offense. (4)

Anarcho-communism is the correct political system for a society to run, and the system which was intended by God. The best community is where all people make voluntary rules (as opposed to democracy, where the majority suppress the minority, or a republic, where the majority is ruled by the minority), and everyone works together to create equal resources for all who provide labor for the society. Every person has a role, and everyone works together, all voluntarily.


My third argument is that Jesus considered the Old Testament as historically accurate and consistent. If the Old Testament is faulty, then Jesus held incorrect beliefs about the Bible. If He held incorrect beliefs, it is impossible that he was the Son of God. For Christianity to be a valid belief system, one must consider the Bible as completely true, or all of it is based on false beliefs and mythology.

These are just samples of some historical, scientific, and theological truths that validate the Bible. If my opponent has any other areas of the Bible that he feels are scientifically or historically inaccurate, or other areas of the creation- evolution debate, he may bring them up, and I will show evidences to support the Bible (i.e. Noah's flood, Exodus, Sodom and Gomorrrah, etc)

I thank my opponent for the opportunity to present my case. I look forward to his challenges to my belief system, and look forward to an engaging discussion on this issue.




3. Samuel 8:10-22

4. Matthew 17: 10-24

Debate Round No. 2


1Samuel15-3 forfeited this round.


Lupricona forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


1Samuel15-3 forfeited this round.


Lupricona forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


1Samuel15-3 forfeited this round.


Lupricona forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by triangle.128k 11 months ago
Answers in genesis and other biased sources are the only sources that fundamentalists have... lol. You're leaving them with no sources backing them up.
Posted by 1Samuel15-3 11 months ago
Answers in Genesis claims some form of scientific legitimacy, but it has none whatsoever. It cites itself, produces no peer-reviewed papers, and in general is known for manipulating evidence.
Posted by Godgirl 11 months ago
I'm somewhat interested but I know I'm not really good enough at either debating or theology to accept. I do want to follow this debate l, though. I'd like to see how it plays out.

Why is answers in genesis bad?
Posted by 1Samuel15-3 11 months ago
I know. I was once one myself, which is why I made that rule.
Posted by Kyle_the_Heretic 11 months ago
Taking Answers in Genesis from away the fundamentalists is like tying their brains behind their backs. Many of them need such sites to do their fallacious thinking for them.
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