You’ve done a great job with the website. I have a question. As a practicing Christian, the greatest challenge to my faith comes from certain Old Testament scriptures. On one hand the Bible often displays wisdom and knowledge that is otherwise unknown by man at the time it was written. An example would be the references to crucifixion hundreds of years before it was devised. On the other hand, certain scripture shows the opposite. For example, there is Deuteronomy 22:17. This passage implies they were unaware that a girl’s hymen can be broken without sexual intercourse. Allowing or setting that law could result in the stoning of someone who is innocent. This type of contradiction in quality of message is puzzling to me. I would be gratedul for any comments. 


I very much appreciate your respect for scripture. I believe that in the problem you raise, you are making an unjustified assumption. You are assuming that, if a very small percentage of women anatomically do not have a closed hymen, then it is wrong for God to institute the law you find in Deuteronomy. I believe that Deuteronomy 22:17 does not prove a "science error" in the Bible. This was the common, accepted practice for determining virginity in the culture at the time. If anyone can supply a better means that the Jews could have used to determine virginity, then they should propose it, but I know of no better means to make this determination. I assume that in the real situation, if a girl was found not to produce blood when having sex, the leaders would have started an investigation and not simply punished her on the spot. In fact, I believe it is likely that the Jews were aware that this test was not infallible and used wisdom and judgement in applying it. I cannot prove this, but believe it is likely.

God was working with fallible people, using human customs which were not infallible. He had to provide laws to real people in real situations 3500 years ago, not something which works in our modern context. If we take this into account, I believe it provides a reasonable answer to your question. I do not see proof of a biblical error or a scientific error in this difficulty.

John Oakes  

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