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Answering The Atheist
July 8, 2007 / Volume 7, Issue 27

Should we follow our own hearts? Ecclesiastes 11:9 says we should follow our heart and eyes, but Numbers 15:39 says not to follow our heart and eyes. Is there a contradiction?

This rivals the most dishonest attempts that I have seen at setting one Bible verse against another. Ecclesiastes 11:9 says we should follow our heart, but Numbers 15:39 says we should not. Must be a contradiction, right? Look at what the verses (in their entirety) say:

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. (Ecclesiastes 11:9)

And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the LORD and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God. (Numbers 15:39-40)

The Numbers text reveals that we should not follow our heart into wickedness. In Ecclesiastes, is Solomon saying we should follow our heart? No. He is warning the young, that if they follow their heart into wickedness, that they will be brought into judgment.

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible