Biblical inerrancy?

In this essay, I知 going to examine the question of biblical inerrancy. I知 going to argue that the bible as we have it today, is an imperfect document. However, this will not exclude a couple of other possibilities, that are often claimed by Christians. It will not exclude the possibility that the original copies of these documents were correct, nor will it exclude the possibility that the bible is correct in all important doctrines.

I will argue against inerrancy in three ways. First, we値l look for direct contradictions within the bible.
Secondly, we値l look for seemingly bad moral advice in the bible. Finally, we値l look for statements in the bible that contradict other known facts. We値l then examine the claim that the bible makes prophetic predictions.

Again, we will not conclude here that the bible must be false. All we will conclude is that our current versions should not simply be read as literal truth in all cases.


I壇 first like to examine one contradiction in some detail, and then mention others more briefly. This first one may seem like a fairly minor matter, but we are asking if the document is perfect, even in unimportant matters. What we値l demonstrate here, is that at least some details should not be taken literally, and should be interpreted symbolically.

First lets look at the history in Chronicles and Kings

2 Chronicles 22:1
And the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his youngest son king in his stead: for the band of men that came with the Arabians to the camp had slain all the eldest. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned.

Here we have Ahaziah son of Jehoram.

2 Chronicles 22:11
But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons that were slain,

2 Chronicles 24:1
Joash was seven years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Zibiah of Beersheba.

Here we have Joash son of Ahaziah.

2 Chronicles 24:25
And when they were departed from him, (for they left him in great diseases,) his own servants conspired against him for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and slew him on his bed, and he died: and they buried him in the city of David, but they buried him not in the sepulchres of the kings. 26   And these are they that conspired against him; Zabad the son of Shimeath an Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith a Moabitess. 27   Now concerning his sons, and the greatness of the burdens laid upon him, and the repairing of the house of God, behold, they are written in the story of the book of the kings. And Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.

2 Kings 12:20
And his servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and slew Joash in the house of Millo, which goeth down to Silla. 21 For Jozachar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his      servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his
fathers in the city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.

2 Chronicles 25:1
Amaziah was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem.

2 Chronicles 25:25
And Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah

Here we have Amaziah son of Joash.

2 Chronicles 26:1
Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah.

Here we have Uzziah son of Amaziah.

So, all together we have:
Ahaziah son of Jehoram.
Joash son of Ahaziah.
Amaziah son of Joash.
Uzziah son of Amaziah.

Now let's look at Matthew -

Matthew 1:17 "
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations."

Matthew 1:8
Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah

Matthew skips from Jehoram straight to Uzziah. He ommits the generations/kings in between. Matthew gets a count of 14, but there are 17 in Kings/Chronicles. There is no way for these to both be factually correct, without interpreting one of them away, or viewing one as symbolic.

Also, as a side note here, we can notice that Luke's genealogy is much different than Matthew痴. It is sometime said, rather creatively, that one is the line of decent for Mary, and one for John. But this is never stated. It is 42 generations from David to Jesus in Luke, and only 28 in Matthew.

Now, we could say that Matthew left out some generations, and used the term 吐ather loosely. We could even speculate that he had reasons for leaving out the 3 kings. But in Matthew 1:17 he explicitly states there are 14 generations. He is trying to show a pattern of 14,14,14. There are 17 kings in Chronicles. It does not seem possible for everything here to all be literally true.

Rather, Matthew is making the point that Jesus is the next great phase in the history of Israel. He probably uses literary license to make this point. We should look at the point Matthew was making, not so much the details of the way he makes the point.

Next lets look at the time of Jesus痴 death.

John 19:14
And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

John 19:31
The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

Jesus dies on the preparation day for Passover.

However, in Mark痴 timeline we have:

Mark 14:12
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"

We are at the day before Passover.

Mark 14:17
When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me--one who is eating with me."

We are at Passover

Mark 14:37
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping.

We are at the night after the Passover feast.

Mark 14:72
Immediately the rooster crowed the second time.

Morning after Passover

Mark 15:1
Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision.

Mark 15:25
It was the third hour when they crucified him. At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama

Jesus lives thought the preparation day, has the last supper and dies after that, while in John Jesus dies on the preparation day for Passover. So which day did Jesus die on?

Now, in this case, some have argued there must have been two preparation days, for two different feasts. But there is certainly no evidence that that was ever the case. In addition any attempt to do this sort of reconciliation, is not taking the evidence at face value, but instead, acting on the assumption that both must be true, they are forced into some sort of agreement, with fairly wild additional assumptions.

Rather, John is making the point that Jesus is the Lamb of God. John says this in the beginning of his gospel. He has Jesus die at the same time that the lambs are being slaughtered in the temple. So, here again, literary license is used to make a point.

Here is a table that shows the ordering of events, in the first 3 gospels.

The events that are listed as parallel are often described in almost exactly the same words. In order for the order to be correct in all three, he would have had to do many of the things many times. Did he really do all those things more than once? Or does the evidence suggest the order is not correct in at least two of the synoptic gospels?

One could also look at the temple clearing in John as a specific example. It happens years before the death of Jesus in John, near the beginning of the gospel. It happens days before his death in the other three.

A large number of other examples can be found here:
(see heading "Is the bible always right?")

It may be possible to come up with highly speculative ways to explain these. But, in all these cases, we should ask what does the evidence point to. And I contend that an unbiased, open assessment of the evidence says that we are not looking at inerrant documents.

Moral advice

Next let痴 look at the question of whether or not the bible seems to offer bad moral advice.

Exodus 21:20 "I
f a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, 21 but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.

I think this one speaks for itself. I would contend that an infinitely good God, would have to be at least as moral as we are, and a good deal more. Can the above really be reconciled with the bible being the inerrant word of an infinitely good God? Notice, specifically, that the slave is referred to as property.

There are quite a number of references to slavery. Here are some:

Leviticus 25:44 "
Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.

Ephesians 6:5
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.

In Philemon, Paul writes a letter returning a slave to his master.

All of these taken together led some to reason as follows:

"There is not one verse in the Bible inhibiting slavery, but many regulating it. It is not then, we conclude, immoral." - Rev. Alexander Campbell

Is a document, that could so easily be used to justify that statement, the inerrant word of a perfectly good God?

We could also look at just some of Paul痴 views on women, from:

Paul says "the head of the woman is the man," meaning that the women are to be subordinate to men.
1 Corinthians 11:3

Men are made in "the image and glory of God," but not women; they are "the glory" of men. Paul concludes that women are made from and for men. 1 Corinthians 11:7-9

Women are commanded by Paul to be silent in church and to be obedient to men. He further says that "if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in church." 1 Corinthians 14:34-35

Paul orders wives to submit themselves to their husbands "in every thing" as though they were gods. "For the husband is the head of the wife." Ephesians 5:22-24

Women are to dress modestly, "with shamefacedness" -- "not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array." 1 Timothy 2:9

Paul forbids women to teach or "to usurp authority over" men. Rather they are to "learn [from men] in silence with all subjection [to men]." 1 Timothy 2:11-12

Men are superior to women in Paul's eyes, since Adam was made before, and sinned after, Eve. But even though women are inferior to men, Paul says they shouldn't be discouraged because they shall "be saved in childbearing." 1 Timothy 2:14-15


Finally, we can look at some of the ways the bible contradicts modern science. I値l focus on only one here. The genesis account of creation is in stark contrast to the modern scientific account of the universe. I知 going to focus here on young earth creationism. Old earth creationists generally do not insist that the bible must be read literally, and they try to reconcile the bible with the evidence from the universe, taken more seriously. A nice list of resources for all different viewpoints can be found here:

I壇 like to start off with a brief tour of distance scales in astronomy. The way we find distance to the nearest stars is by parallax. If you close one eye, then the other, objects seem to move, if they are near. Survey teams use this principle. If we use the orbit of the earth as a baseline, we can see the close stars shift back and forth slightly against the background stars, as the earth moves around the sun. So we can calculate their distance, which then calibrates other distance measures. Using these methods, we arrive at the following distance scales.

Light travels around the earth 7 times in one second. The moon is 2 light-seconds away. The sun is 8 light minutes away. The outer planets are a few light hours away. This is as far as our machines have traveled. It is 4 light-years to the nearest star. Our galaxy is about 100,000 light years across. There are about 400,000,000,000 stars like our sun in it. Some are larger, some smaller. The nearest galaxy like ours is 2,000,000 light years away. There are billions of galaxies in the visible universe each with hundreds of billions of stars, stretching out across 12,000,000,000 light years.

Now, if a supreme being exists, I think he might have had something to do with all that. Man certainly did not make it. If I see something written large there, I am not going to accept that a book that may have been authored by man is more authoritative than the universe clearly authored by God. I mean which is more likely authored by man, a book, or the universe? I'll take the universe as the authority. And, I値l choose the scientific method, discussed in the first essay, as the method to study it.

There are no scientists, that I am aware of, formally trained in general relativity, that believe the universe is young. Even some conservative Christians are very critical of efforts to show the universe is young.
There is also an overwhelming consensus of scientists in the geological and biological fields about the age of the earth. One objection that is sometimes made at this point is: 鉄ince when does a consensus indicate truth? But, a consensus of experts is a reasonable way to go about looking for probable truth, which is what we are looking for here.

Another objection is that there are plenty of "creation scientists" that disagree. First of all, there are not very many of them, really. Secondly, these 都cientists are often outside of their area, and no more qualified in their speculations than anyone else. Often, they do not have accredited degrees.
These 都cientists do not publish in scientific journals. And, in the case of groups like ICR, they make money from the sale of creationist texts to the home school market. In short, when they are doing creationism, they are not doing science.

They generally do not argue from the evidence. Most of their arguments assume the bible is true, and try to reconcile it to the facts. It will always be possible to reconcile any creation idea with the evidence, if enough assumptions are made. (See
knowledge essay). For example, we could just claim the universe was created with the look of age. The only question then is why would a God choose to do that? To fool us? We could just as easily speculate that the universe was created 5 minutes ago, with our memories intact. The question is not what could possibly be reconciled, but where does the evidence point, and I argue there is a huge amount of scientific evidence for the age of the universe. The whole science of astronomy would have to be almost completely false for young earth creationism to be true.

A good resource for addressing the various claims of young-earth creationist is here:
I知 not going to try to do anything nearly comprehensive on this topic, but I値l just give a flavor of the big picture, from my point of view. In order to do that, what I知 going to do next is just to run through some astronomy facts, that I know myself, that are relevant to the age of the universe, and a general understanding of astronomy. Then we値l look at one specific bit of evidence, and the response of some young-earth creationists in some detail.

There was a big bang about 13 billion years ago. (Leave aside, whether this was a beginning, and who or what caused it for now). Many people think the big bang was an explosion in space. Rather, the way modern cosmologists describe it is that our universe is infinite in space. At the moment following the big bang all of the universe, everywhere was filled with energy at its maximum possible density. Over time the energy and matter has become less dense.

There are 3 traditional major lines of evidence for the big bang. First, as we look out into the universe at distant galaxies, we find that there is a direct relation between their distance from us, and what we call the 途ed-shift. To picture a red shift, think of a train-whistle going by. The pitch of the sound drops as it passes. This is because the sound waves are stretched behind it. At high velocities, the same thing happens to light waves, causing them to shift towards the red. (Longer waves). This expansion reflects the expansion of space, and is one of the only solutions to Einstein痴 equations. An infinite universe could not simply stay static. If we calculate the rate of expansion, and the slowing due to gravity, etc., everything would have been all together about 14 billion years ago. Beyond 14 billion light-years away, there is nothing to see. Light from that far could not have reached us in the time since the big bang.

The second line of evidence involves the amount of hydrogen and helium in deep space. Something like 15% of the regular matter of the universe is helium. Almost all the rest is hydrogen. We understand fusion reaction well. We can calculate an expanding cooling gas cloud of newly formed protons, in the early universe. We can calculate what fraction would have concerted to helium, before the universe got too cool for the reaction to happen. The result is that nothing heavier than helium would have formed, and the amount of helium would have been what we see. The heavier elements are made in supernovas.

The third line of evidence is the 3-degree Kelvin microwave background radiation. A blackbody radiates with a specific spectrum.  The peak of the spectrum is related to the temperature. When the universe was hot, all hydrogen was ionized, stripped of its electron. As the universe cooled, it reached a temperature that allowed neutral hydrogen atoms to form. Light could now travel freely. The light from that period is still traveling in all directions. It is red-shifted, and cooled a long way from then, but everywhere we look, the universe glows at 3 degrees above absolute zero.

As soon as the universe was filled with neutral hydrogen, gravity could start drawing objects together.
We can calculate the temperature and density at that time, and then it is a simple calculation to find the size of the gas clouds that would start to form. This turns out to be about 50,000 solar masses. So we should see object this size. We do. Globular clusters are spherical balls of roughly 50,000 stars. They can be found in and around every galaxy in the universe, including ours. Many have been absorbed into larger objects, but those that orbit farther from the center of galaxies are intact.

Stars come in lots of different sizes. We understand the fusion process in them that generates heat and light well. The number of neutrinos from our sun now matches with theory.  Stars are pulled together by gravity, and held up by their nuclear furnace. The bigger the star, the hotter it will burn. We can calculate how long the fuel should last. Our sun would have something like 10,000,000,000 years of fuel. Others have less or more. By the color and spectrum of stars we can tell how hot they are. By their distance, and apparent brightness, we know how bright they are, so we can calculate how big they are. When a star runs out of fuel it goes through changes, then dies. If you plot on a graph Mass/brightness for stars, you quickly see a pattern. The graph is a straight line, but then some stars are off the line. These are dying stars.
In some places new stars can form. But if there is no dust and gas, there is no new formation.
If you look at the globular clusters, they have no dust and gas to form new stars. All the stars that would have less that 15,000,000,000 years of fuel are already gone. The stars are metal poor, only hydrogen and helium, exactly what we would expect for the first stars to form.

If stars have been dying for 15,000,000,000 years we should see the remains. We do. We can count the white dwarf embers we see. They match with the predicted number. We can look at white dwarfs that died relatively recently. They are still surrounded by gas they ejected. We can measure how far away the gas is, and how fast it is moving, so we know haw long ago it exploded.  Also we know how hot they are when they form, and we can calculate how long they would take to cool. The coolest white dwarves, are exactly what we expect. Supernovas are the violent explosive ends of the biggest stars. They are very important because they make heavier elements in their cores before they die. After they die, the explosions distribute the elements. So even though the first generation of stars had no heavy elements, later stars did. In areas where we see dust and gas to keep forming young hot stars, we also see new stars that are not metal poor.

Spiral galaxies have arms that are like shock waves, and this helps compress the gas, and allow stars to form. If you simulate a large group of 400,000,000,000 stars, rotating, and held together by gravity, a spiral pattern is what we should expect to see, and do see.  Our sun goes around the galaxy once every 200,000,000 years. (It痴 30,000 light years from galactic center). This spiral pattern would take a number of revolutions to form.

Galaxies have massive black holes in their centers. Most have no new stuff falling in, so they are quiet. A few are involved in sucking in more stuff right now. These galaxies are 殿ctive and great jets of energy shoot off of them. When galaxies first formed, the black holes would have formed and been very very violent as they swallowed initial material. At the edge of the universe, at a look-back time equal to when the galaxies were forming we see quasars. These are so vastly bright; they could not be anything but a massive black hole in action.

The second and third generation stars had more metal in the cloud that formed them. We can look around the universe and see stars at all stages of living, dying, and being born from rotating self-gravitating clouds. If you simulate the cloud forming, and then turn on the central fire in the star, what you see happen is that the heavy bits stay in orbit and start lumping together. You get planets.

In our solar system Mercury and Venus are close to the sun. The time it takes to rotate in place, and the time to revolve around the sun is now equal for Venus. (3/2 for Mercury). This lock step is what should happen to close bodies due to tidal action. (Over a large time.) Our moon is in lock step with the earth. The moon spins once a month, and goes around the earth, once a month. Tidal forces would cause this over a long time. The planets and moons that we would expect to show lockstep do, the ones that would not have had time in 5 billion years, do not.

There are various radioactive dating techniques. Besides experimental confirmation, and comparison to other dating systems, like tree rings, radioactive decay can be predicted from quantum mechanics. If radioactive decay did not do what it is claimed to do, one of the 2 pillars of modern physics would fall. This is not likely, given its enormous success at providing lasers, nuclear reactors, tiny microcircuits, MRI, and much more. Also see this article about dating techniques by a Christian with a Ph.D. physics

The fossil record matches our DNA record. Pick two species. See how far apart they are genetically and how far back in time they meet in the fossil record. The larger the difference in DNA, the father back the fossil record converges. If the answers these lines of evidence give is wrong, why do they give the same wrong answer? (also see essay on

We can dig up ice cores in the arctic that form one layer at a time, that have far more than 10,000 layers. Our planet wobbles on its axis every 25,000 years. Easy to calculate, and observe. We can find records in the earth痴 rocks that have this 25,000 year cycle imprinted in them Longer cycles show too. Radioactive elements that we would expect to be gone from the earth in 4.5 billion years, because of short decay times, are gone. Those with longer decay times are not gone. We see continents drifting apart at only inches per year. But we have found the same lines of ore and running on different sides of an ocean. The Appellations and the mountains of Norway were once one chain. Africa and South America look like they fit together on a map, and in fact the rocks show they really did match together millions of years ago.

India is ramming north into Asia, and raising the Himalayas a few inches a year. These took millions of years to form. Other mountain chains show millions of years of weathering. The Hawaiian islands were formed by drifting over a volcanic hot spot. We can see how fast the plate moves, so we know how long the islands have been forming.

There is no reasonable way a 吐lood could have made features like the Grand Canyon. This is erosion over very long times.

The creators on the planets and moons could not possibly have all happened in 10,000 years. The effect on their orbits would be too profound, and still noticeable.

The list goes on, and on

Plate tectonics

Now let痴 look at one particular line of evidence, the spreading apart of the Atlantic Ocean due to plate tectonics. Some good resources are here:

As I mentioned earlier, the map of the African and South American coasts appear to fit together. The mid-atlantic ridge is currently producing new crust, and at the current rate of spreading, the continents would have been together about 150 million years ago. The earth痴 magnetic field varies with time, and the record of these shifts can be found in the rocks under the Atlantic. There are strips of rocks that were formed by different magnetic conditions, in matching sets, on either side of the mid-Atlantic ridge. Under the Atlantic Ocean, the sediment varies in thickness. The thinnest sediment is near the Mid-Atlantic ridge where new sea floor is currently being generated. That is to say, sediment thickness there is zero. The thickest sediment hugs the continental margins, around 150 million year's worth. The measured rate of sea floor spreading, when extrapolated backwards in time, gives the same age for the Atlantic sea floor as does radiometric dating. That is, the farther we get from the Mid-Atlantic ridge the thicker the sediment tends to get; that thickness correlates with increased age of the sea floor as determined by radiometric dating as well as the known rate at which the Atlantic is widening. The Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) technique, in combination with laser ranging techniques, have successfully measured the movement of the earth's plates relative to one another.

What are the odds of such a triple "coincidence" occurring?

If that ocean floor is indeed spreading, then the thickness of those stripes and their distance from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge preserve a chronological record of magnetic field reversals. When those distances and widths are divided by the sea floor spreading rate, do we get a match with the magnetic reversal chronology based on the radiometric dating of continental rocks? Yes, we do.

Creationist advocates can do very little with this. The speculations they give are that during the flood, the drift happened very rapidly. Basically, the whole mantel of the earth suddenly went into fast convection. Obviously a huge force would be needed to start and stop this movement, and there are no signs that the earth suddenly became one molten ball, only a few thousand years ago. This is a very clear example of the goal driving the theory, not the evidence. On the evidence the earth is clearly old. However, if your assumptions are wild enough, you will always be able to support any theory. The speculation in this case stops only just short of saying the whole earth was created only a few thousand years ago, with the look of age built in.

Based on the evidence of modern science, we should not hold a literal interpretation of the bible.

Modern science in the bible?

Let痴 look now at another claim that is sometimes made about the bible and science. It is sometimes said that the bible contains modern scientific information that no early people could have known. I believe all such supposed occurrences fit into one of two categories. They are either very vague things that modern supporters try to interpret to match modern science, or they are things that an ancient people could have known or guessed.

I値l only cover one example here. The one I see most often is:
Job 26:7
He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
he suspends the earth over nothing.

It is argued that since the bible says the earth is not supported by anything, this matches with modern science. However, it still seems to assume there is a 電own in space. It shows no understanding of gravity on the earth, always pointing to the center of the earth. If we think there is a general down to the universe, then there are only two possibilities.
1) There is a stack of things supporting the earth.
2) It hangs magically in space.
Since the author痴 point is to show the power of God, it is not surprising he chooses the latter.

Also we need to note that ancient people knew the fact that the earth was round. The Greeks, in fact, calculated the radius of the earth, with fairly good accuracy. So there is nothing here to indicate the bible has any knowledge in it that we could not reasonably expect ancient people to know.


Finally, it is often claimed that the bible makes prophetic predictions. In order for this to be true, we need three things.
1) A verifiable prediction was made before the event.
2) The prediction was specific, not vague.
3) The event took place, and is verifiable.
I don't believe there are any predictions made in the Bible that meet all three of those conditions.

That does not mean the bible is wrong in predictions it makes, in just means that prophecies can not be used as convincing evidence of a super-natural hand at work in producing the texts.

For example, in the book of Daniel, there are predictions that match well with events that we can verify outside of the bible. Daniel seems to predict the 4 generals and kingdoms that follow Alexander the great. However, in the case of the book of Daniel, it is not likely written in the time it claims. It claims to be written in the time of the Babylonian captivity. But it gets details of the history of that time wrong. However, it is fairly accurate is describing the time it claims to predict. It痴 position in the Hebrew bible would also tend to indicate its late authorship. The
New Jerusalem bible has a good introduction to Daniel that discusses various issues involving its authorship, including the odd fact that the language changes half way through. It was probably a Jewish Midrash, a form of elaboration on traditional stories. 


Based on self-contradictions within the bible, seemingly poor ethical advice, and contradictions to modern science, as well as an examination of the claims of foreknowledge, that are sometimes made, I conclude based on the evidence that it is highly unlikely that we have a book whose direct author is a supreme being. However, that does not mean individual claims within the book are false. What is means is that we only have the authority and testimony of men making those claims. However, after reading the testimony of these men, and hearing their arguments, we may be led to the conclusion that the bible must be accurate at least in terms of all important doctrine.
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