Why do stories within the Old and New Testaments often conflict
with one another?
the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and New Testament contain diverse
books (Latin = biblia) that tell about God. Neither testament
offers a seamless narrative.
Hebrew texts tell about God primarily through the stories of the
Abrahamic tribes, Hebrew people and the nation Israel. That God
is known variously as Yahweh, El, El Shaddai
and Adonai. The Hebrew texts were composed over a period
of 700 years by numerous people, mostly anonymous, in several
different literary styles (myth, history, song, wisdom, prophecy).
pre-history found in Genesis seeks to explain the origins of the
Hebrew tribes. Their actual history starts with the Exodus from
Egypt. These are books about God, and as such they tell what people
believed to be true. The stories conflict because people's experiences
are always different, and because political considerations entered
read the Hebrew Bible effectively, you need to step into it, try
to understand why a story was being told, what encounter with
the Divine had occurred, or what event in human history was being
lifted up as revealing God. The story of Adam and Eve, therefore,
isn't a literal account of human origins, but a way of expressing
a later generation's understanding of why evil existed and what
people meant to God and to each other.
New Testament is similar, except that its focus is on Jesus of
Nazareth and on the faith community that formed after Easter and
Pentecost. In unique literary forms (gospels, epistles, apocalyptic)
composed over a period of about 100 years, the New Testament seeks
to communicate Jesus—his ministry, life, death and resurrection—and
the work done in his name, and then to call the reader to faith
in Jesus as Christ, Messiah, Son of God.
four gospels offer four different, sometimes conflicting, perspectives
on Jesus; the letters respond to specific issues of early Christian
communities and therefore have their own diverse tone and content;
and the apocalyptic (Revelation to John) dealt with persecution
of early Christians.