Answering The Atheist
April 17, 2005 / Volume 5, Issue 16
THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
Was Asa perfect? 2 Chronicles 15:17 says he was "perfect all his days" while 2 Chronicles 16:7, 10, 12 all reveal that he was not perfect. Is there a contradiction?
First, it should be understood that the statement found in the KJV that Asa was "perfect" does not mean sinless. The Hebrew word is shalem, meaning complete, whole, or peaceable. It appears that the questioner took the statement to mean that Asa was sinless, and thus contrasted it with texts which reveal Asa sinning.
Still, how can it be said of a man who failed to seek the Lord's help in battle, imprisoned a prophet of God, oppressed people, and failed to seek the Lord while diseased, that he was complete, whole or peaceable? It is noteworthy that the statement of Asa's faithfulness to the Lord appears before the record of these evil deeds. In the first 35 years of his reign, it could rightly be said (and the writer of 2 Chronicles did say) that he was perfect (complete, whole, peaceable) all the days of his life. To that point, he had been. Had the statement been made at the conclusion of chapter 16, then certainly there would be a problem. However, in the chronology of Asa's life, the statement is absolutely true at the conclusion of chapter 15.
There is no contradiction.
This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible