Does God Tempt Us?

In the Epistle of James we read “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” (James 1:13). However, doesn’t that contradict the fact that God tempted Abraham, Job and Paul?  

Adam’s Sin Resulted in the Corruption of Nature, and in Pain  

Death came into existence as a consequence of not following God’s commandments and guidance for a happy, eternal and painless life. Yet man disobeyed God and followed Satan’s temptations. God warned man of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2: 16,17). 

The consequences of the fall were not only death but also a corrupted sinful nature which resulted in pain. God told Adam: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19). 

Therefore, the original sin that man freely committed has caused the earth to be cursed and also made living on it to be painful until the time of death. 

Satan tempts us, and God allows it for a Purpose 

But hasn’t God tempted Job beyond measure and caused him physical and psychological pain? In the Book of Job for example “Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” So, Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life. (Job 2:3-6). 

It is clear from this passage that it was Satan that tempted Job, yet Satan first needed the permission from God to tempt Job. 

Therefore, if we’re being tempted, we can be sure that God has allowed the temptations for a specific reason. In the case of Job, he was taught to be humble, he received double of everything he had (Job 42:12), and he saw God (Job 42:5). The same can be said of Paul who was tempted by Satan “lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure” (2 Corinthians 12:7) 

But didn’t God tempt Abraham? 

God’s request to Abraham to sacrifice his son is not temptation by evil. There was no painful outcome to this temptation whether Abraham obeyed God or not. Had Abraham not obeyed God, his son Isaac would have continued to live, and had he obeyed, which he did, God redeemed Isaac and no harm had befell the boy (Genesis 22:12) 

In conclusion, temptation and pain are the result of the fallen nature that man freely brought upon himself. Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires. “When desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin. And when sin becomes full-grown, it brings forth death” (James 1:13-17). God does not tempt us with evil, yet He allows our temptation by Satan for a good purpose. 

How Did Judas Die?

How did Judas die? Who bought the field? Is it Jeremiah or Zechariah, who prophesied about the potter’s field? 

Let’s imagine a hypothetical situation where someone asks you to get a piece of paper from their desk, and you actually went and found that there was no paper on the desk, but you found a piece of paper on the floor and the window was open, would you think that this person lied to you? Or would you conclude that the paper may have fallen from the desk to the floor due to the air current from the open window? 

This is exactly the answer to those who say that there is a contradiction in the Bible regarding the death of Judas. The Gospel of Matthew says that he “went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5), while Luke the evangelist in the book of Acts says that “he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out” (Acts 1:18). Which of them is telling the truth? If we examine the text closely, we will understand that he hanged himself, then fell on the ground, which led to his body bursting open, and his intestines spilling out. So it is an arrangement of events and not a contradiction, as the skeptics claim. 

As for the purchase of the field, we find the Gospel of Matthew saying that the chief priests consulted and bought the potter’s field with the silver that Judas threw in the temple, and being the price of blood, the priests decided that it cannot enter the treasury. On the other hand, the book of Acts says that Judas acquired the field. Who among them says the truth? 

To respond to this suspicion of contradiction, we must return to two points: 

The first point is the original language in which the text was written, because going back to the original language tells us what the writer intended from the text. In the book of Acts, Luke the Evangelist says that Judas (acquired) a field… The word to acquire here in the original language is written ἐκτήσατο (aktisato) which is a verb in the ancient Greek language meaning that a person gained or acquired something through another person, i.e. a third party. Judas here was a third party in the acquisition process,  as it was acquired through the chief priests.Luke did not go into the details, but directly mentioned the end result, and he said that Judas fell on his face (as a result of the decomposition of the hanged body or the breaking of the rope with which he hanged himself) and he mentioned that he acquired the field (as a result of the high priests buying the field with the money of Judas himself, as Matthew said in his gospel). 

The second point is the way Matthew wrote his gospel. We find that Matthew always links events with the prophecies of the old Testament, so he mentions the details that can be linked in the minds of the Jews with their scriptures to prove to them that these events were foretold by the prophets, so we find him mentioning the name of the field (the potter’s field, while Luke did not mention the name of the field in the book of Acts) and connects it directly to a prophecy from the Old Testament and says that the chief priests took the silver and bought the field. 

We come to the last issue, which is who is the prophet who prophesied the potter’s field? This prophecy is partially mentioned in the book of Zechariah, and partially in the book of Jeremiah. Did he make a mistake when he cited the prophet Jeremiah instead of the prophet Zechariah? 

Simply and without going into details, the Jews used to divide scriptures of the Old Testament into three parts: the law – the psalms – the prophets. The Jews called the part of the prophets Jeremiah (because at that time it was the first book in the group). Therefore, as we are accustomed to with Matthew when he talks to the Jews, he mentions what they know (what was said by Jeremiah as the overall title of the book of the prophets including the book of Zechariah) and he did not mention the division that we know of today (Zechariah). 

Likewise, the prophecy mentioned by Matthew is a prophecy consisting of two parts, one of which was mentioned in the book of Zechariah, and the other was already mentioned in the book of Jeremiah, but because this part of the book was called Jeremiah, Matthew did not make the division. A skeptic should go back to history to find out how the Jews arranged the Tanakh (the Hebrew name for the Old Testament). 


Judas hanged himself (as mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew) and then fell on his face (as mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles) and the chief priests bought the field by proxy with Judas’ money (as the Gospel of Matthew mentioned), and thus Judas acquired the field as a third party as the verb “acquire” means in the original language (as mentioned in the book of Acts). The prophecy mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew is a prophecy that consists of two parts, one of which is mentioned in the Book of Zechariah and the other in the Book of Jeremiah, but the Jews used to call all the writings of the prophets Jeremiah.  

Did Jesus Heal Two Blind Men Or Only One Blind Man?

Also, did this take place on His way to Jericho or from Jericho? 

According to the gospel of Matthew, Jesus healed two blind men (Matthew 20), while according to the gospels of Mark and Luke, He healed only one blind man (Mark 10 and Luke 18). The gospel of Luke also states that Jesus was entering Jericho (Luke 18), nevertheless, the gospel of Mark states that Jesus was going out of Jericho. 

How can we reconcile the difference between these biblical accounts? 

Those who doubt the authenticity of the bible are diligent in searching for any discrepancy that might prove the existence of a contradiction in the bible. Yet they barely exert the same amount of effort to understand the historical and geographical background of the text which explains most of these alleged contradictions. Additionally, they only read the Bible in their own language without returning to the original language in which the Bible was written.  

One of the famous events that at first glance might seem confusing or contradicting is the healing of the blind men mentioned in the different gospels. But before getting to that event and explaining it, let’s just illustrate what happened with an example. Imagine a friend of yours who owns two mobile phones and one of them got broken. Later that friend told a group of your friends that he was going to fix his phone. Does that statement make him a liar or contradicting himself? You know that he has two mobile phones and him saying that he was going to fix his phone doesn’t contradict the fact that he still has two phones.  

In a similar manner, When Mark and Luke mentioned the event of the blind man healing (the same event mentioned by Matthew due to the use of almost the same words to describe it, hence pointing to the same event), they didn’t mention that there was only one blind man; nevertheless, they focused on the healing of one person as his father was known to the readers at the time. The blind man was Bartimaeus which translates to the “son of Timaeus”. This however does not deny the presence of another blind man. 

Mentioning one does not deny or refute the existence of others. In that sense, the mention in Luke and Mark of only one person doesn’t preclude the possibility that there were two blind men. Had they said that only one blind man was healed, then this would have been a contradiction, but that is not the case. There is also another opinion explaining that these two blind men were not together, it is very possible that one was met by Jesus at the beginning of the road, while the other towards the end of the road. Hence, considering them two separate events Mark and Luke only mentioned one; but Matthew mentioned the two. 

This leads us to the second alleged contradiction: Was Jesus entering or going out of Jericho? 

Between the years 1929 and 1936, the English archaeologist John Gargstang conducted research in Palestine, through which he discovered the existence of two cities with the name of Jericho. One of which is the one whose walls fell before Joshua and the people of Israel (that city was demolished and built several times). And the other is Herod’s Jericho, where the winter palace of Herod is found. It is located southwest of ancient Jericho at about one mile distance. The Jewish historian Josephus spoke of the existence of both cities in his books “The wars of the Jews” and “Antiquities of the Jews”. 

Hence, on his way from across the Jordan river heading to Jerusalem, Jesus was going outside of ancient Jericho (according to Matthew) moving towards Herod’s Jericho (according to Luke); that is where he healed two blind men on his way (according to Matthew). One of them was Bartimaeus (according to Mark) and the other was unknown to the readers. It’s also very possible that the two men were about one mile (1500 meters) apart, leading Mark and Luke to consider them as separate events and therefore, mention only one. 

This explanation should draw our attention to the importance of understanding the background of the text as well as look for the spiritual, literal and historical meaning behind it.        

Does God Break The Laws Of Nature By Doing Miracles?

This question positions the laws of nature as if they are criminal laws, and as such, breaking them is immoral or unreasonable. Therefore, God cannot do miracles, because He can’t be immoral or unreasonable to contradict Himself. 

But that is far from the truth. Moral and civil laws are laws imposed on people to enforce right behaviour. On the other hand, the laws of nature are not imposed on nature. Rather, they are laws that describe how nature behaves normally. The earth doesn’t wake up everyday reading a law that it should revolve around itself every 24 hours, or revolve around the sun every 365 days. It simply does so, and scientific laws aim to explain nature’s normal behavior. By understanding the ordinary behaviour of nature, one can know if a miracle happens, as it doesn’t comply with that ordinary behaviour. 

For example, if you wake up one day discovering that a hundred dollar bill disappeared from your desk drawer, would you conclude that the 100 dollar bill broke the laws of nature or that there is an “agent”, that is someone, who stole the money? Similarly, miracles attest to God as the ultimate authority who can intervene to change nature’s course. 

Do Miracles Contradict Science?

The short answer is yes, miracles contradict science. In fact, without contradicting science, they would stop being miracles! The definition of a miracle is “a supernatural event that seems inexplicable by natural or scientific laws,” while science aims to explain naturally occurring phenomena.  

But, that doesn’t mean that miracles don’t happen. It also doesn’t mean that it is unreasonable to believe in miracles. People who believe in miracles believe so because there is evidence for miracles, even though that evidence is not repeatable. And… it is completely reasonable to believe that an event has occurred based on personal observation, even though that observation occurred only once.  

For example, if we were to take a sample of the resurrected people in a cemetery [illustrative image of a cemetery with someone sitting as if recording on paper], the result would be zero. However, if one person became alive after dying for four days [image of Jesus raising Lazarus out of the tomb with many people observing], and this event was witnessed by his relatives and many other people, then it is reasonable to believe that this miraculous event occurred.  

Does The Bible Say That Practicing Homosexuality Is Sinful?

The Bible totally and uncompromisingly rejects the act of homosexuality and same-sex marriage from cover to cover, just like it condemns adultery, fornication, and even unchaste thoughts. 

The first indication of this can be found in the creation story, which occurs in the first book of the Bible, Genesis: 

“So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27) 

It can be clearly seen that God created man male and female. He did not create two men or two women. And He commanded them to multiply. (Genesis 1:28) 

So, God’s plan for man has been that two people of the opposite sex, as male and female only, marry and multiply, that is, procreate. There was no intention of homosexuality, for He did not create other men or women for Adam and Eve to marry. Another confirmation of this arrangement is found in the following verse: 

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24). 

Here it is said a man and his wife and not his husband, and wife is understood to be a female, since Adam only had Eve as his companion. 

And, in marriage, God says that these two form one flesh, that is, one unit. So the idea of polygamy is also against the arrangement of God as described in this verse. 

The following Bible passages clearly establish that God rejected homosexuality (the act, the idea, etc…) and even punished the people who practiced it. 

a.   The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the rescue of Lot from the coming judgment in Genesis 19:1-13. 

Not only did God destroy the people of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their homosexual practice, but He also burned their cities outright. A judgment from God! 

b.       The laws that God gave to the Jewish people in the book of Leviticus: 

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22; KJV) 

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” (Leviticus 20:13) 

The New Testament is consistent with the Old Testament in condemning homosexual practice. In the Epistle to the Romans, St. Paul states: 

“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” (Romans 1:25-27) 

Since God does not change, homosexuality is still a sin and therefore against God’s will to this day. 

c.   The Bible teaches that such have no part in eternal life 

Don’t you know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) 

“Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers. For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine. According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” (1 Timothy 1:9-11) 

The Bible teaches here in several places not only that homosexuals but also child molesters and those who disregard and do not obey the law (outlaws) including homosexuals. For the commandment is unequivocally clear that homosexuality is against God’s will and purpose for man. 

d.       Homosexuality and gay marriage are against God’s will and intention 

“And He answered and said to them, Have you not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female.” (Matthew 19:4) 

From the above Bible verse it can be shown very well that Jesus (God as man) clearly states that the intention of man’s marriage and procreation was intended to be between a man and a woman. 

e.       Homosexual behaviour (clothing, etc…) 

The woman shall not wear that which pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abominations unto the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 22:5) 

Even homosexual behaviour, such as dressing like the opposite sex, is an abomination and forbidden in God’s eyes. 

Does Homosexuality in Animals Mean That It Is Morally Ok?

Regardless of one’s view about the origin of humans, whether intelligently designed or blindly evolved, one can easily notice that humans are intellectually superior to other creatures (animals). It can happen that some animals are stronger, faster, and bigger than humans. But of all creatures, humans are the most intelligent. It is humans who founded civilizations, write poetry, build rockets, and save lives through medical operations. 

Now, can animals be our moral reference when it comes to sexual behaviour?  

Not really! As the National Geographic has once stated: “we should be wary of referring to animals when considering what’s acceptable in human society For instance, infanticide as practiced by lions and many other animals isn’t something people gay or straight generally approve of in humans.” There are many other behaviors that animals practice that we don’t accept as morally correct. We, therefore, don’t take animals as our moral compass. 

The Bible teaches that nature, including animals, became corrupt after Adam and Eve had sinned. It is natural that humans and animals have sexual desire. Yet, not only is practicing homosexuality sinful, but even unchaste thoughts by a heterosexual are sinful. It is only in the Bible where we can find the moral compass that directs us to purity and the saintly life that God intended for us to live, as creatures in His image and likeness.