If you haven’t heard, this past weekend Marvel released the most anticipated movie of the year with Avengers: Infinity War. Marvel has done extremely well for themselves the past ten years with movies since launching Iron Man back in 2008. Infinity War makes the 19th movie in the so far three phase story line, which means 18 movies have been building up to this moment. I can’t think of any other movie franchise that has had this type of success or been this dedicated to one overarching storyline.
However, not everything has been perfect. There are many who love to find the inconsistencies between the movies. There was a hidden easter egg in the original Thor of the Infinity Gauntlet located in Odin’s treasure room (so sorry for how nerdy that just sounded) that created issues for later writers and directors. There are plot holes, inconsistencies, and some bad logic that are ignored in an effort to make a better movie. This got me thinking though. If 19 movies, each that have hundreds of people working on them, can’t even get their stories straight within ten years, how did the 40 or so authors of the Bible manage to do such a good job over the course of 1500 years? And on top of that, before email, text messages or phone calls, even before the printing press.
This is one of the things that I think helps Christians have a solid ground in apologetics. It’s not a nail in the coffin by any means, but the fact that we have a Bible that is as accurate and consistent as it is a pretty miraculous thing. Even though there are some inconsistencies in the Bible, most experts are ok with this because it shows a lack of intentionally corroborating stories. In other words, if all the stories were the same, people would be suspicious that they had worked together to figure out how to say it is making it a story rather than a witness account.
Of course, there is the issue of confirmation bias, that is where you pay more attention to what confirms your beliefs than what challenges them. This is why we will often see things in the Christian community such as “Scientists find evidence that the Bible was right” or “The Bible claimed the Earth was round hundreds of years before scientists” or whatever else seems to prove that the Bible is right. You don’t see as many articles floating around in those communities with headlines of “Bible wrong about the sun standing still.” What this means for us as Christians though is that we tend to ignore those minor inconsistencies that we come across.
So here’s my challenge for you. Stop ignoring the inconsistencies. Instead, embrace them and figure out why they are there. There is a really good reason why in 2 Samuel 24 it’s the Lord who incited David to take a census, but in 1 Chronicles it’s Satan (I won’t spoil it for you here). There’s personality in the various gospel accounts that when you understand them to make them that much better than if they all wrote the exact same thing. We tend to learn more when encountering the unexpected than just repeating what we’ve already understood.