In article <email@example.com> on the soc.religion.islam newsgroup, firstname.lastname@example.org (MAsadi) claimed that these Bible verses are contradictory:
John 5:31 "If I bear witness to myself my testamony is NOT true." However the infallible himself says in chapter 8: John 8:14 "..."Even if i do bear witness to myself, my testamony IS true." Hmmm well IS it or ISIT NOT?? To be or not to be that is the question my friends.
Let me first give the quick (and sufficient answer) from the Countering Contradictions Site which resolves the problem on strictly logical terms like this:
Now the slightly improved answer that I gave on the newsgroup:
To solve this "problem", let me quote the context of these verses and this should become clearer instantly.
5:25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. 28 "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out--those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. 31 "If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. 32 There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is valid. 33 "You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. 36 "I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.
Jesus clearly says that if he is the only one who testifies for him, then this testimony is not valid. What is he talking about? He is speaking about the generally accepted legal standards which were given in the Torah, Deuteronomy 19:15
But, then Jesus continues to show in the following verses that he has indeed those needed witnesses, namely John the Baptist, God the Father Himself, his own work, i.e. his miracles... which all testify for him. So there is indeed ample testimony for his truthfulness and on the basis of these testimonies people should believe him.
Instead of inventing contradictions, you would be better advised to ponder what group you want to belong to of those mentioned in verse 29. It is Jesus who will call forth the dead. Those who have mocked his word might not find much favor.
Now, what does the other passage say. You quote it as:
John 8:14 "..."Even if i do bear witness to myself, my testamony IS true." Hmmm well IS it or ISIT NOT??
You even dare to corrupt the scriptures by covering up half of the sentence? Don't you know even the Qur'an is passing strong judgment on those who do such a thing! The sentence doesn't end there, Jesus continues with a "because ... " and gives the reason for it.
Also, before we continue with the details on this verse, let me ask you this: If God says something, is it trustworthy even if he is the only one who says so? Does the LORD need anybody to agree with him in order to make a statement valid? I think even within Islam you will find the right answer.
Let us look what the whole passage actually says.
13 The Pharisees challenged him, "Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid." [i.e. the same legal standard mentioned by Jesus above] 14 Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. [Here Jesus makes an argument from his identity, not about legal rules. He knows that per law, a testimony needs to be confirmed by at least two people, and he again points this out in verse 17! Here he states that he is above the law (GOD's law through Moses!) and hence even his own testimony is enough. Any perceptive person will see that this is again an implicite but very clear claim to his deity.] 15 You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16 But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 17 In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. [it is "your" law - Jesus consistently says it that way, not "my" or "our" law, because they are subject to it and he is not. But then he continues as in the first passage and shows that even under the law, he does meet the demand of the law and has enough witnesses.] 18 I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me." 19 Then they asked him, "Where is your father?" "You do not know me or my Father," Jesus replied. "If you knew me, you would know my Father also." [Knowledge of Jesus and knowledge of God the Father are inseparable.] ... 23 But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins." 25 "Who are you?" they asked. "Just what I have been claiming all along," Jesus replied. [many times before and again here, he made clear that he has divine authority, not because it is "given" to him, but because of his origin. I am from above, not from this world. In other words, I am not just a human being.] ... 28 So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [the one I claim to be] and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.
This is Jesus' prophecy that they will crucify him [lift him up on the cross] and then [afterwards] they will see that the Father will confirm all of Jesus words and deeds. How? Because he will be raised from the dead.
Anyway, that is a topic for another time.
To summarize: Your "contradiction" is none. One time he speaks about the issue of what the law says, and according to the law, there are at least two witnesses necessary. And this is confirmed in BOTH texts, John 5 and John 8. But the other time he speaks about his *special* authority because of which, he wouldn't really need any other witness. But this does not cancel the general validity of the law for human legal interaction.
In any case, Jesus fulfils the demand of the law, even if he wouldn't have to.
Does God need a witness other than himself?
Who alone stands above the Law of God?
May God open the eyes of your heart and mind to see His truth.
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