One, Two, or Zero Angels at the Tomb?

(This is a reaction to the January 7 bible study lesson at

Moses knew when writing about the days of Creation that light comes from the sun, moon, and stars. He might have thought that someday the Creation story in Genesis could be criticized because it isn’t common sense to think say that light and atmosphere and even land and plants could be created on days 1–3 before the sun was created. Even if he didn’t foresee the criticism, God knows all times and so knew it. But God inspired Moses to write the Creation story as it is, anyway.

And it’s good when there are difficult and seemingly contradictory things in the Bible. It reminds me of something the Adventist writer Chris Blake said about the places where the Gospel writers don’t agree with each other. Were there two angels at Jesus’ tomb, one angel, or no angels?

Blake writes that in real life (and he proves this to his students in class by having students write down what they remember of an unusual event that he puts on for them) different people remember different details of the same event; different people, including Gospel writers, can remember different amounts of angels at the tomb, for example.
If all the little details were exactly the same, that would make us think they had gotten together to get their stories straight. But the imperfections are evidence that they were writing down real events, because life is imperfect and inexplicable at times. Blake mentions that he’ll never know where some of his socks disappeared to, for example.

But none of the Gospel writers disagree about the fact that Jesus rose from the dead, has gone back to Heaven, and is coming again to take us home soon. And maybe some of the details of the Creation story seem weird to us with our understanding of science (and that can change–new laws of Nature are still being discovered), but the main points are clear: God made us and everything in our environment; and that fact determines everything about us and the world we live in.

When people look for flaws and inconsistencies in the Bible, they will find a reflection of some of the flaws and strange things about real life, because that’s the way life is. But they will also find amazing truths that the Creator has given to us that can only be found in the Bible.

~Lemuel Bach
(Praise Team Leader at New Horizons SDA Church in Republic, MO)


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