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Biblical contradiction: Did Jesus come to heal the girl before or after she died?




There’s a famous story from the Gospel of Mark, where Jesus is called to heal a sick girl, but unfortunately she dies before he can heal her, yet the miracle of the story is that Jesus brought her back from the dead, as the story says:

Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea. And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live." So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue's house who said, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?"  As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Do not be afraid; only believe." And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. When He came in, He said to them, "Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping." And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, "Talitha, cumi," which is translated, "Little girl, I say to you, arise." Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement. (Mark 5:21-24, 35-42)

So the father of this girl comes asking Jesus for help before his daughter dies, she is still alive when the father calls for Jesus’ help, so the father wants Jesus to heal her in time before she dies.

Now if we go read the same story from the Gospel of Matthew, we find that there is a slight, and important difference. In Matthew's version the girl's father comes asking for help after she dies:

While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, "My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live." So Jesus arose and followed him, and so did His disciples.When Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, He said to them, "Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping." And they ridiculed Him. But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. (Matthew 9:18-19, 23-25)


So notice the major difference, in Mark's version the girl is not dead when the father seeks Jesus’ help, in Matthew's version the girl is already dead when the father comes asking for Jesus’ help. So we have two completely different accounts, both cannot be right. Either the father asked Jesus for help while his daughter was alive, or he asked Jesus for help after she died, which one is it? Well, we don't know, we will have to guess. Though it’s more probable that Mark’s version is the correct one, and Matthew altered the story to make the story seem better. In Matthew’s version, Jesus is coming to bring a girl back from the dead, in Mark’s version, Jesus was initially coming to heal a sick girl before she dies.

Christian apologists, as usual, will probably try to play this down, saying oh well so what, one says she was alive, another says she was dead, big deal, the main moral of the story is intact. The problem with this is that it ignores the fact that the Bible is the supposed pure inerrant and divinely inspired word of God. So did God inspire two different contradicting stories? Did God inspire one wrong story? Because both cannot be right, one is wrong, so God must have inspired a wrong story. Now we know that's not possible, which leads us to conclude that the Bible is not the pure inerrant inspired word of God, and what happened is that the authors saw fit to change the stories around, and if authors could tamper with God’s supposed word and change things, then that brings the entire reliability of the New Testament into question.

Lastly, what's to say that both stories aren't false? Since the fact has been established, that the Gospels are not the inerrant complete inspired word of God, then we need to ask ourselves why should we trust any of it?

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