Presentation on theme: "Defenders of the Faith Series Based on the Book When Skeptics Ask By Dr. Norman Geisler Presented by Warm / Interactive / Relevant / Challenging / Action."— Presentation transcript:
Defenders of the Faith Series Based on the Book When Skeptics Ask By Dr. Norman Geisler Presented by Warm / Interactive / Relevant / Challenging / Action Oriented
The Modern Dilemma Faith or Science? Is there a logical / reasonable / common sense basis for Christianity, or does it require mystical faith, or is it the fantastic creation (or superstition) of an uninformed mind? To some degree this is a 500-year war which has it’s roots in the Enlightenment which ended the Dark Ages in Europe It has kicked into high gear in the US (and the Western world) as society leans toward secularism This question frames many divisive issues of our culture today
In The End For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries. (Robert Jastrow)
Approach Study the foundation of Christianity from a perspective that you may not have been exposed to in the past – one based on sound logic and tested for reasonableness The study is organized around 12 questions – questions that we all might encounter as we engage the community We’ll end on look at Postmodernism – you may be surprised to discover a way of thinking that is dominating our culture
Approach (cont’d) We have a lot of material to cover in a short time frame – which presents quite a challenge We will use material from Dr. Geisler’s book to focus on a few critical thoughts as a response to each question It would be very beneficial for you to purchase the book and do supplemental study
Approach (cont’d) During the course of the study we will occasionally characterize the belief systems of the major world religions –Judaism –Islam –Hinduism –Buddhism –Taoism
Objectives Build your personal faith and confidence in Christianity Prepare you to meet the challenge of effective ministry in the context of where we live, work, and play
Two Ministries Ministry #1 The people I share the Gospel with just don’t ask questions about God’s existence, evidence for the Resurrection, etc. They aren’t interested in whether truth is objective, or what ancient historians said about Jesus and the Resurrection, or solutions to the problem of evil. Most people just aren’t the kind that are philosophical about what they believe
Two Ministries Ministry #2 Religion is ridiculed Opposition to Christianity on intellectual grounds Challenged by “trained” skeptics and agnostics Asked to answer difficult questions concerning the foundations of the faith
Two Ministries Both are valid and necessary ministries #1 is Evangelism #2 is Pre-Evangelism As we look back in the history of this country, a lot of what has been done in the name of the church is ministry #1 As we look forward in history, we must be prepared to do ministry #2 Why?
A Christian’s Challenge We know the Bible tells us to do Evangelism, but what about Pre- Evangelism? Is that only for a few geniuses and specifically gifted people, or should we all be involved? Do we really need to answer every man?
A Christian’s Challenge 1 Peter 3:15 – Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect... 2 Cor. 10:5 – We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God... Col. 4:6 – Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
3 Reasons for Pre-Evangelism Unbelievers have good questions –Reasonable questions deserve reasonable answers We have good answers –Christianity is true - reality will always be on our side God commands us to give them the answers
Two Ministries Summarized EvangelismPre-Evangelism Done by all ChristiansDone by any Christian when needed Anytime / anyplaceOnly if an objection is raised Content is GospelContent is all of Christian doctrine Based on revelationBased on reason States GospelClarify Christian Teaching Goal is faithGoal is understanding
Resources - Written Dr. Norman Geisler – our text, The Battle for God, Who Made God?, etc. Lee Stroebel – A Case for [Christianity, Christ, etc.] Josh McDowell, Campus Crusade – Evidence that Demands a Verdict, others Classic Authors – Kreeft, Tacelli
Resources - On Line Cross Roads Project – xenus.org/ministries/crossroads apologetics.com reasons.org godandscience.org evidenceofgod.com answersingenesis.org ankerberg.org many others – google or wikipedia apologetics
Defenders of the Faith Series Module 2 Questions About God Based on the Book When Skeptics Ask By Dr. Norman Geisler
Objectives Build your personal faith and confidence in Christianity Prepare you to meet the challenge of effective ministry in the context of where we live, work, and play –1 Peter 3:15 – Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect...
The Foundation for Truth The existence of a personal, moral God is fundamental to all that Christians believe. If there is no moral God, there is no moral being against whom we have sinned; therefore, salvation is not needed. Furthermore, if there is not God, there could be no acts of God (miracles), and the stories of Jesus can only be understood as fiction or myth.
Question of the Day The first question that must be addressed in pre-evangelism is, “Does God exist?” The second question is very closely related to the first: “If God exists, what kind of God is He?” We’ll address question #1 today, and next week we’ll address question #2
Does God Exist? There have traditionally been four basic arguments used to prove God’s existence. They are called: Cosmological Teleological Axiological Ontological - Creation( cosmos means creation) - Design( telos means purpose) - Moral law (axios means judgment) - Being (ontos means being)
Argument from Creation Basic Idea – Since there is a universe, it must have been caused by something beyond itself. It is based on the law of causality, which says that every limited thing is caused by something other than itself. There are two different forms of this argument; –The universe needed a cause at its beginning –It needs a cause right now to continue existing Read Romans 1:19-20
Argument from Creation The scientific evidence strongly supports the idea that the universe had a beginning (e.g. Big Bang) 2 nd Law of Thermodynamics says the universe is running out of usable energy If it is running down, then it could not be eternal What is winding down must have been wound up Robert Jastrow (founder-director of Goddard Inst. Of Space Studies), “A sound explanation may exist for the explosive birth of our Universe; but if it does, science cannot find out what the explanation is. The scientist’s pursuit of the past ends in the moment of creation.”
Argument from Design This argument reason from some specific aspect of creation to a Creator who puts it there. It argues from design to an intelligent Designer. 1.All designs imply a designer 2.There is a great design in the universe 3.Therefore, there must be a Great Designer of the universe Read Ps. 139:13-14
Argument from Design Watches imply watchmakers; buildings imply architects; paintings imply artists; and coded messages imply an intelligent sender It is always our expectation because we see it happening over and over. This is another way of stating the principle of causality. The greater the design, the greater the designer Great complexity cannot be explained by natural forces One scientist figured the odds for a one-cell animal to emerge by pure chance at 1 in 10 40000
Argument from Moral Law This argument is based on the moral order of the universe rather than the physical order. These argue that the cause of the universe must be moral, in addition to being powerful and intelligent 1.All men are conscious of an objective moral law 2.Moral laws imply a moral Lawgiver 3.Therefore, there must be a supreme moral Lawgiver
Argument from Moral Law Moral laws don’t describe what is; they prescribe what ought to be They do not simply describe the way men behave, they tell us what men ought to do Thus, any moral “ought” comes from beyond the physical universe It transcends the natural order and requires a transcendent cause Even those who say there is no moral law expect to be treated with fairness, courtesy, and dignity – everyone expects others to follow some moral codes, even those who try to deny them
Argument from Being This argument attempts to prove that God must exist by definition. Once we get an idea of what God is, that idea necessarily involves existence One form of this argument talks about God as a perfect Being –Whatever perfection can be attributed to the most perfect Being possible (conceivable) must be attributed to it (otherwise it would not be the most perfect being possible.) –Necessary existence is a perfection which can be attributed to the most perfect Being.
All Roads Lead to a Cause All traditional arguments rest on the idea of causality The argument from being needs the confirmation that something exists in which perfection and being is found The argument from design implies that the design was caused Morality, justice, and truth as principals of an argument all assume that there is some cause for these things The argument from Creation is the strongest argument which proves God’s existence.
The Law of Causality Every limited thing is caused by something other than itself
Defenders of the Faith Series Module 3 Questions About other gods Based on the Book When Skeptics Ask By Dr. Norman Geisler
Review What were the four basic arguments used to prove the existence of God –Creation –Design –Moral Law –Being What ministry has as its goal removing obstacles to faith? –Pre-evangelism (as opposed to Evangelism which has as its goal leading one to faith)
Worldviews How one understands God determines so much about the way he sees the world. This is called a worldview.
Worldviews (cont’d) There are six worldviews that oppose Christianity. –Atheism – there is no God –Deism – God exists, but doesn’t perform miracles –Pantheism – all is God –Panentheism – God is developing along with the world –Finite Godism – God exists but is limited and/or imperfect –Polytheism – there are many Gods
Worldviews (cont’d) To which worldview did Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud subscribe? –Atheism ? Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson? –Deism What is the largest and fastest polytheistic religion in America today? –Mormons What movie was based on Pantheistic philosophy –Star Wars
Atheism – What If There Is Not God? A skeptic doubts that God exists, and an agnostic says he doesn’t know if God is out there, the atheist claims to know that there is no God. There is only the world and the natural forces that operate it.
Atheism …and God –There never was and never will be a God either in the world or beyond it. …and the World –The world is uncreated and eternal …and Evil –Think that the existence of evil is one of the primary evidences that there is no God … and Values –Morals are relative and situational
Deism – What If God Made The World And Then Left It Alone? Similar to the Christian view with one exception, God doesn’t perform miracles – ever. God made the world but lets it run on natural principles. He oversees human history, but He doesn’t intervene.
Deism …and God –He never intervenes (e.g. Jesus was not God, therefore no Trinity), and no judgment …and the World –The world is God’s only revelation through reason …and Evil –Man’s actions are the source of evil … and Values –The human desire for happiness is the single moral principle which guides all actions
Responding to Deism Deism is inconsistent on its most basic premise. Deists believe in the biggest miracle of all (Creation) but reject what they consider to be all the little miracles.
Pantheism – What if the World is God? Prevalent view of Eastern religions. Entering the West via the New Age movement (yoga, meditation, macrobiotic diets, and channeling.) Central focus – all is God and God is all In addition to Hinduism, Taoism, and some forms of Buddhism it is also the view of Christian Science, Unity, Scientology and Theosophy.
Pantheism …and God –The absolute being that unites all things …and the World –Was not created by God, but eternally emanates from Him …and Evil –Matter and evil are unreal. If God is all, and God is good, then evil does not really exist … and Values –Ethical conduct is a means for spiritual growth. There is no absolute basis for morality.
Responding to Pantheism The basic claim is self-defeating. The statement, “Reason can tell us nothing about God,” is either a reasonable statement (true or false) or it is not. On the face of it, it appears to be a reasonable statement that reason gives us no information about God – except that it just did. It just told us we can’t use reason
Polytheism – What if There are Many Gods? Says there are many finite gods who reign over separate realms of the universe. The gods of ancient Greece, Rome, and Norway are good examples. Each god had a certain domain and was worshiped as supreme in that respect only.
Polytheism …and God –The multiplicity and chaos of the world shows that there are many gods with sometimes discordant plans. Gods have a beginning but no end. …and the World –The universe is neither eternal or made of eternal matter. …and Evil –Is a necessary part of nature … and Values –Given by the gods, and the gods punish whoever breaks the laws.
Responding to Polytheism Polytheism runs aground on its own principles. If the gods are not eternal, but come from nature, then they are not the ultimate. It would be better to worship nature itself which gave the gods birth (however that is pantheism) Gods are made in the image of man – they have human imperfections – is this worthy of worship ?
Conclusion We have taken a look at four of the six worldviews and have given reasons for rejecting each. This doesn’t make Christianity true by default. Last week we presented arguments in proof of God’s existence and His creation God’s existence, His creation, and miraculous intervention (miracles) are the distinctives of Theism
Next Week What is the most common objection to Theism? Evil Module 4 Questions About Evil
Defenders of the Faith Series Module 4 Questions About Evil Based on the Book When Skeptics Ask By Dr. Norman Geisler
Review What are the six worldviews that oppose Christianity –Atheism – there is no God –Deism – God exists, but doesn’t perform miracles –Pantheism – all is God –Panentheism – God is developing along with the world –Finite Godism – God exists but is limited and/or imperfect –Polytheism – There are many gods
Review (cont’d) What worldview is represented by Evangelical Christians –Theism What are the distinctive beliefs of Theists? –God’s existence, His creation, and miraculous intervention (miracles) What is the most common objection to Theism? –The fact of Evil
Language Adjustment Many times already during the course of this study I’ve appealed to your: –Logic –Rationality –Reason I want to make a slight adjustment. Rationalism is a technical term that we will encounter in the chapter “Questions about Truth” and it doesn’t necessary play well as an appeal. Common Sense
Reality “Sooner or later I must face the question in plain language. What reason have we, except our own desperate wishes, to believe that God is, by any standard we can conceive, “good?” Doesn’t all the prima facie evidence suggest exactly the opposite? “ This quote did not come from an atheist, agnostic, or skeptic. This quote came from one of the great defenders of the faith, C.S.Lewis while he was greiving over the loss of his wife to cancer.
Reality (cont’d) Sooner or later each of us must deal with the problem of pain – that is, the problem of evil. If God did not claim to be good, then the problem would be simple; but He does. If He were not all-powerful, as the finite godists say, there would not be a problem. Even if we can’t give an answer for every individual painful situation we can find some general principles about evil. We can show that the idea of a good and powerful God is not irreconcilable to the existence of evil.
Today’s Focus Chapter 4 of “When Skeptics Ask” is organized around 7 questions pertaining to evil: 1.What is Evil? 2.Where Did Evil Come From? 3.Why Can’t Evil Be Stopped? 4.What is the Purpose of Evil? 5.Does There Have to be So Much Evil? 6.Couldn’t God Make a World Without Evil? 7.When Why Did God Choose This World?
What is Evil? Evil is a substance that grabs hold of certain things and makes them bad. Evil is, in reality, a parasite that cannot exist except as a hole in something that should be solid. –If a man lacks the ability to see – that is evil. –If a person lacks kindness in his heart and respect for human life that should be there, then he may commit murder.
Where Did Evil Come From? Consider the following argument: 1.God made everything perfect. 2.One of the perfect things God made was free creatures. 3.Free will is the cause of evil. 4.So, imperfection (evil) can arise form perfection (not directly, but indirectly through freedom.) God created the fact of freedom; we perform the acts of freedom. He made evil possible; men made evil actual. To be free we had to have not only the opportunity to choose good, but also the ability to choose evil. Does this explanation satisfy you? Why not?
Why Can’t Evil be Stopped? Evil cannot be destroyed without destroying freedom. Freedom was given to us so we could love. So if freedom were destroyed, which is the only way to end evil, that would be evil in itself, because it would deprive free creatures of their greatest good. If evil is to be overcome, we need to talk about it being defeated, not destroyed. The argument against God from evil makes some arrogant assumptions. Just because evil is not destroyed right now does not mean that it never will be. Apparently God would rather wrestle with our rebellious wills than to reign supreme over rocks and trees.
What is the Purpose of Evil? There is a difference between our knowing the purpose for evil and God having a purpose for it. We can’t assume that there is no good purpose for something just because we don’t know what it could be. We do know some of God’s purposes for evil: –God uses evil to warn us of greater evils (touching a hot stove) –Pain keeps us from self-destruction (if you couldn’t feel the hot stove, you’d hold on until it burned you.) –In some cases evil helps to bring about a greater good (e.g. Joseph, Job, and Samson.) –Permitting some evil helps defeat evil (the Cross)
Why Did God Choose This World? This may not be the best of all possible worlds, but it is the best way to the best world. If God is to both preserve freedom and defeat evil, then this is the best way to do it. Those who choose God will be confirmed in it, and sin will cease. Those who reject God are in eternal quarantine and cannot upset the perfect world that has come about. The ultimate goal of a perfect world with free creatures will have been achieved.
Key Words for Understanding Evil? Freedom Free Will Love Defeat
Next Week What is the “granddaddy” of all miracles? The Creation Module 5 Questions About Miracles
Defenders of the Faith Series (Logic, Common Sense, Reason) Module 5 Questions About Miracles Based on the Book When Skeptics Ask By Dr. Norman Geisler
Review Quote 1 Peter 3:15 – theme verse for study. –Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. What are the three distinctive beliefs of Theism –God’s existence –His creation –Miraculous intervention (miracles)
Facts The Bible is laced with miracles. –The creation –The Flood –The Red Sea –Jonah and the Whale –The resurrection of Lazarus Miracles are received as a wonderful confirmation of the power and message of God or as a stumbling block.
Our Approach Not to give a complete explanation of how each miracle occurred. Not to convince anyone that miracles should be considered part of the normal operations of the universe. The objective is to convince people that the naturalistic attitude toward miracles goes against common sense. The naturalistic attitude is based on faulty logic and unsound thinking – results are assumed before the quest for truth begins.
Framework The chapter in our text is organized around three pairs of questions: –Believability of Miracles (possibility / credibility) –Consistency with Modern Methods of Study (scientific / historical) –Religious Grounds for Explaining Miracles (myth / pantheistic claims) Miracle (by Definition) –Divine intervention into, or interruption of, the regular course of the world that produces a purposeful but unusual event that would not have occurred otherwise.
Further Thoughts Natural laws are understood to be the normal, regular way the world operates. A miracle occurs as an unusual, irregular, and specific act of God who is beyond the universe. This does not mean that miracles are violations of natural law or even opposed to them. Miracles don’t violate the regular laws of cause and effect, they simply have a cause that transcends nature.
Possibility Possibility hinges on a fundamental question: Is God inside nature’s boundary or outside. If natural laws are fixed and immutable and God is inside the universe, then God is constrained to obey the laws of nature. In reality this is a denial of God’s existence – it reflects pantheism. The bottom line – if God exists, then miracles are possible. If there is anything beyond the universe which might cause something to happen in the universe, then there is a chance that it will do so.
Credibility Miracles by definition are rare occurrences. There are those (e.g. empiricist) who weight as “greater evidence” “that which is repeated more often.” This view means that no miracle can never have enough evidence for a reasonable person to believe it. It equates evidence with probability. Wise men do not proportion their belief to mere probabilities, but to the facts. Reasonable people allow for discovery that goes against our experience – this is what fuels new learning
Are Miracles Scientific Many people argue that miracles are contrary to the scientific method (i.e. principles of uniformity and regularity.) Scientists themselves are conflicted. How can a scientist keep an open mind, and not reject evidence that ruins his preconceived theories. He cannot close his mind to the possibility of supernatural explanations.
Are Miracles Scientific (cont’d) Science arbitrarily insist that all explanations must be natural ones. This builds in the grand assumption that all events will have a natural explanation. There is no proof for this assumption. The only way that he can know this is to know beforehand that miracles cannot occur. It is a leap of naturalistic faith. Miracles do not destroy science, but trying to explain miracles by means of natural causes is definitely unscientific. Science actually points to an intelligent cause for these events (miracles are events which have purpose)
Are Miracles Definable? Faith Healers? The “miracle” of a baby’s birth? The “miracle” of passing an exam? The Bible associates three words with miracles: – Power – comes from a God who is beyond the universe –Sign – the purpose of miracles; they confirm God’s message and His messenger –Wonder – the nature of miracles; they inspire awe in those who see them because they are astonishing
Are Miracles Definable? Morally, because God is good, miracles only produce and/or promote good. Doctrinally, miracles tell us which are true prophets and which are false (e.g. Elijah & prophets of Baal.) No error is allowed for a prophet of God (Read Deut. 18:22) Biblical prophecy is unique, while most predictions are vague and wrong, the Scriptures are remarkably precise and accurate.
Conclusion Miracles are possible, believable, and historical. They don’t violate science, are not mere myths, and can be distinguished from even supernormal (manipulation of natural law – i.e. Luke Skywalker learning to use the Force) events.
Next Week Jesus Did He exist? Module 6 Questions About Jesus Christ
Defenders of the Faith Series (Logic, Common Sense, Reason) Module 6 Questions About Jesus Based on the Book When Skeptics Ask By Dr. Norman Geisler
Review Paraphase the Law of Causality –Every limited thing is caused by something other than itself. Why is it important? –It is the strongest proof of the existence of God – “Argument from Creation.” What is the most common objection to Theism? –The fact of Evil
Facts The truth of Christianity depends entirely on the truth and truthfulness of Jesus Christ. –Did He exist? –How can we know anything about His life? –Who was He? –Why should we believe in Him above above all others? Without positive answers to these questions, the truth-claims of Christianity are void.
Defense Approach Examine the historical evidence and reason that Jesus not only existed, but that He was God in the flesh. The outline of the argument goes like this: –The New Testament documents are historically reliable evidence. –The historical evidence of the New Testament shows that Jesus claimed to be God and confirmed that claim by miraculous signs culminating in His resurrection. –Therefore, there is reliable historical evidence that Jesus Christ is God.
Two Objections to Approach Historical evidence is relative and cannot give objective knowledge about the events of the past. –Objective does not mean absolute, but historical evidence gives us a fair but revisable account of the events. Revisable as new evidence surfaces.
Two Objections to Approach The New Testament is a religious book and not a historical document. –The Bible is a source of religious knowledge and as such we cannot expect non-believers to accept what it says as such. –However, there can be no objection to accepting what the Bible says about historical events if we can show that the New Testament is also a historical record. (Next weeks study)
Questions for Today Who was Jesus? What claims did the disciples make about Jesus? What evidence did Jesus give to support His claims?
Who was Jesus? The Nicene Creed (A.D. 325) states the uniform belief of all orthodox Christianity that Christ was fully God and fully Man. All heresies regarding Christ deny one or the other of these. Jesus was fully human, claimed to be God, and offered more than adequate evidence to support that claim.
Jesus: Fully Human! Docetism – a doctrine that says that Jesus was a phantom, an apparition with no physical substance, but: Jesus went through all the normal processes of human development – birth, growth (physical, mental, emotional) Jesus displayed all of the traits of humanity in His needs – hunger, thirst, weariness, breathing, expressions of sorrow, anger, wonder, grief and compassion and temptation. There is nothing more opposed to the divine nature than death, yet Jesus died a human death.
Jesus: Claims to be God! Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11) Psalm 23:1 says, “[Yahweh] is my shepherd.” The risen Christ says, “I am the first and the last” (Rev. 1:17) – precisely the words used by Yahweh in Isaiah 42:8. The psalmist declared, “[Yahweh] is my light” (27:1) Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12) Jesus said “Before Abraham was born, I AM” (John 8:58) In Exodus 3:14 God identifies Himself as “I AM.” The Jews of Jesus’ day clearly understood His claim to be God.
What claims did the disciples make about Jesus? They attributed to Jesus the titles of Deity (Master, “the first and the last”, “the true light”, etc.) They considered Him to be Messiah-God. Quote John 1:1 – the beginning of the NT. They attributed the powers of God to Jesus – ability to resurrect the dead, forgive sins, and creative agent of the universe. They associated Jesus’ name with God’s – Quote Matt. 28:19
What claims did the disciples make about Jesus? They called Him God directly – Thomas cried “My Lord and my God” John 20:28. They said He was superior to Angels – “let all the angels of God worship Him” (Heb. 1:5-6)
What evidence did Jesus give to support the claims? He offered supernatural confirmation of His claims to be a supernatural Being. The logic of the argument goes like this: –A miracle is an act of God that confirms the truth of God associated with it. –Jesus offered three lines of miraculous evidence to confirm His claim to be God – His fulfillment of prophecy, His sinless life and miraculous deeds, and His resurrection. –Therefore, Jesus’ miracles confirm He is God.
Summary and Conclusions Truth can be learn from historical documents. There is no reason that the NT cannot be accepted as an reliable historical document. Jesus claimed to be Yahweh God via several direct ways: fulfillment of prophecy, a sinless and miraculous life, and His resurrection. There is solid historical evidence to each of these claims. Therefore, Jesus’ claim to be God is true.
Next Week The Bible How Important is the Bible? Module 7 Questions About the Bible
Defenders of the Faith Series (Logic, Common Sense, Reason) Module 7 Questions About the Bible Based on the Book When Skeptics Ask By Dr. Norman Geisler
Review The Nicene Creed (A.D. 325) states ? –the uniform belief of all orthodox Christianity that Christ was fully God and fully Man. What are the distinctive beliefs of Theists? –God’s existence, His creation, and miraculous intervention (miracles) What is the most common objection to Theism? –The fact of Evil
The Facts of the Bible How Important is the Bible? Early on it tells us: –We can know God exists –What God is like –How He can overcome evil –How He can perform miracles –That Jesus is God It is: –A guide to archeology –A poetic laced work of literature –A history of God’s relationship with humans - sacred
Questions of the Day Is the Bible really a revelation from God? We will answer that questions by answering the following: –How do we know that the Bible came from God? –How was the Bible written? –Can the Bible be wrong? –How was the Bible put together? –How reliable are our modern Bibles?
How do we know that the Bible came from God? Jesus told us so! It is on His authority, as the God of the universe, that we are sure that the Bible is the Word of God. He confirmed the Old Testament’s authority in His teaching He promised an authoritative New Testament through His disciples
How do we know that the Bible came from God? Authority – Matt. 22:43 Reliability – Matt. 26:54 Finality – Matt. 4:4, 7, 10 Sufficiency – Luke 16:31 Indestructibility – Matt. 5:17-18 Unity – Luke 24:27, 44 Clarity – Luke 24:27 Historicity – Matt: 12:40 Facticity (scientifically) – Matt. 19:2-5 Inerrancy – Matt. 22:29; John 3:12; 17:17 Infallibility – John 1-:35
How do we know that the Bible came from God? Jesus promised the New Testament. Read John 14:25-26 Read John 16:13 These statements promise that the teachings of Jesus will be remembered and understood, and that additional truths would be given to the apostles so that the church could be established. They set the stage for an apostolic era which begin at Pentecost and continued until the last apostle died (~AD. 100)
How was the Bible written? The process by which it was written is called inspiration. Read II Timothy 3:16. Inspired literally means “God breathed.” Read 1 Peter 1:21 The word “moved” means literally “to be carried along,” like a ship carried by the wind. God carried each writer along as he wrote so that the message was kept intact. This is not the same thing as a song writer feeling enthusiastic.
How do we know that the Bible came from God? How does inspiration work? –This remains largely a mystery, but – –We know they were not mere secretaries –Neither were they merely witnesses to revelation Scripture comes from God. The only adequate view incorporates both divine and human factors. The message is wholly from God, but the humanity of the write is included to enhance the message. 1 Cor. 2:13
Can the Bible be wrong? This has been one of the great issues of this century. Is the Bible inerrant (meaning no errors) or is it merely an infallible guide in matters of faith and practice (meaning it is true, but that there may be errors in science, geography, and history.) Jesus expected His accuracy in factually testable matters to be proof that He was telling the truth about spiritual matters that cannot be tested. Read Mark 2:9-11.
Can the Bible be wrong? Jesus had an annoying habit of affirming the very passages that “higher criticism” calls errors. –Creation –Flood –Sodom and Gomorrah –Jonah and the whale These passages show that Jesus linked the historical reality of the OT with the truth of His own spiritual message. The Bible teaches truth about both spiritual and scientific / historical matters.
How was the Bible put together? Five questions have been asked by the church in accepting and rejecting books as canonical. –Was it written by a prophet of God? –Was he confirmed by an act of God? –Doe it tell the truth about God? –Does it have the power of God? –Was it accepted by the people of God? The bottom line is whatever God inspired is Scripture and what He did not inspire is not.
How reliable are our modern Bibles? There is a great deal of evidence that suggests that the Bibles we read are extremely close to the original, inspired manuscripts. The evidence is seen in the accuracy of the copies that we have. Such reliability helps support our claim that the Bible is valuable as a historical account as well as a revelation from God.
How reliable are our modern Bibles? One event in the mid part of last century helped us to understand how accurate our modern old testament was when compared to older copies. The Dead Sea scrolls were 1000 years older than anything we had seen in modern times. The comparisons show an amazing reliability in the transmission of the text. One scholar observed that the two copies of Isaiah found in the Qumram caves proved to be “word for word” identical in more than 95 percent of the text. The 5 percent of variation consisted of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling.
How reliable are our modern Bibles? For the New Testament, the evidence is overwhelming. –There are 5,366 manuscripts to compare and draw information from, and some date from the 2 nd & 3 rd century – within 70 years of their writing. –There are less than 40 places in the New Testament where we are really not certain which reading is original, but not one of these has any effect on a central doctrine of the faith. We could actually construct almost the entire New Testament from quotations in the church fathers of the 2 nd and 3 rd centuries. Only eleven verses are missing, mostly from 2 and 3 John.
How reliable are our modern Bibles? If we can be certain of the New Testament (previous slide) and have an Old Testament that has not changed in 2000 years, then we don’t need the originals to know what they said. The Text of our modern Bibles is so close to the original that we can have every confidence that what it teaches is truth.
Summary The Bible is the Word of God. This teaching is supported by Jesus Himself. Jesus confirmed the inspiration of the Old and New Testament. The testimony of Jesus and the apostles is that the Bible is inerrant in what it teaches about all matters, down to the tense of verbs and the very last letters of the words. We have a great deal of evidence to show that the Bibles we have represent the original manuscripts with a high degree of accuracy. Like no other book from the ancient world, The Bible in your hand is God speaking to you.
Next Week The Bible Is the Bible full of contradictions and mistakes? Module 8 Questions About Bible Difficulties
Defenders of the Faith Series (Logic, Common Sense, Reason) Module 8 Questions About Bible Difficulties Based on the Book When Skeptics Ask By Dr. Norman Geisler
Review What is the first question that must be addressed in pre-evangelism? –“Does God exist?” The second question is very closely related to the first. What is it? –“If God exists, what kind of God is He?”
Bible Difficulties “How can you believe that stuff?” Don’t you know the Bible is chock-full of contradictions and mistakes? A great many people have only heard that there are problems in the Bible, but have never examined the evidence. There are real problems in the Bible, but there are also real answers to those difficult passages. In the short time that we have this morning we’re going to examine some of these hard questions.
Questions of the Day What are the guidelines for handling difficult passages? How can we resolve: –Genealogical problems –Ethical problems –Historical problems –Quotation problems –Scientific problems Not Enough Time
Guidelines for Difficulties Attitude: –The burden of proof rests on the critics –We have good reason to believe that the Bible tells the truth since there is good evidence that the whole Bible is inspired by God (last chapter.) –As long as we can show there is a possible solution – then the conflict has been resolved. –Like an American Citizen, the Bible should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. –Like a reliable friend, it should be given the benefit of the doubt.
Guidelines for Difficulties #1 - Be sure that you know what the text says –A misquoted verse will often mislead someone –Sometimes textual problems are disguised in the English translations –A good commentary can tell you about these things and probably answer 90% of the objections you will encounter –Our Bibles are only as inerrant inasmuch as they agree with the originals that God inspired
Guidelines for Difficulties #2 - Be sure that you know what the text means –The Bible uses some words and phrases that may not mean exactly what you expect them to mean –Example: Some have complained that Jesus was wrong to call the mustard seed the smallest seed when an orchid seed is really smaller –The word He used for “seed” means garden seeds that yield a crop. He is comparing it to seeds which are sown in a garden. –Some words change meaning in different contexts. –In Acts 19:32, the word usually used for “church” is used for a “mob” in a town forum –Clear passages often help in understanding difficult ones
Guidelines for Difficulties #3 – Don’t confuse error with imprecision –Somebody read 1 Kings 7:23 –What was the diameter of the basin for washing? –What is the circumference of the basin? –Circumference = diameter x 3.141 –30 does not equal 10 x 3.141 –If you round off pi to 3 then the math works nicely –One can be faithful to the idea without using exact math. –This standard is accepted in everyday conversation and even the media.
Guidelines for Difficulties #4 – Don’t confuse falsity with perspective –Just because a witness only sees part of the accident or only sees it from one angle doesn’t mean that his testimony is false –When a biblical writer records a part of an event which he saw, his record is still true #5 – Language about the world is everyday language –What if an archeologist 2,000 years from now found a copy of the book “The Sun Also Rises,” would he be justified to think that our culture does not understand the concept of the earth revolving around the sun?
Guidelines for Difficulties #6 – Remember that the Bible records things that It does not approve –David’s sins (2 Sam. 11) –Solomon’s polygamy (1 Kings 11:1-8) –Satan’s lie (Genesis 3:4-5) –There are no lead-in sermons condemning these sins –These sermons are not necessary because the sin is condemned elsewhere
How Can We Resolve Some of These Difficulties? Genealogical Problems Ethical Problems Historical Problems Quotation Problems Scientific Problems
Genealogical Problems Genealogies in the OT do not support archaeological evidence of the history of the human race Luke 3:36 demonstrates that there are gaps in the genealogies (inserts Cainan between Shelah and Arphaxad.) The Bible uses the term “father” and “son” to denote any direct ancestry or descendence
Ethical Problems The Slaughter of the Amalekites (1 Sam. 15) Killing innocent people is morally wrong!? 1.It is wrong for man to kill innocent people, but it is not necessarily wrong for God. As the Giver of Life, He has the right to take it as He wills (Job 1:21; Deut. 32:39) 2.It is false to assume that these people were “innocent” 3.The Bible tells us that the Canaanites were so guilty that the land “vomited” them out (Lev. 18:25) 4.It is presumptuous to think our own moral standards should judge God and tell Him what is right and wrong
Sneak Preview Over the next five weeks we enter a stretch where we will be taking a look at some fascinating topics including: –Archeology –Science and Evolution –The Afterlife –Truth –Morals Don’t you miss it!
Next Week Archaeology No archeological discovery has ever controverted a single biblical reference? Module 9 Questions About Archaeology
Defenders of the Faith Series (Logic, Common Sense, Reason) Module 9 Questions About Archaeology Based on the Book When Skeptics Ask By Dr. Norman Geisler
Review The Bible associates three words with miracles: – Power – comes from a God who is beyond the universe –Sign – the purpose of miracles; they confirm God’s message and His messenger –Wonder – the nature of miracles; they inspire awe in those who see them because they are astonishing
The Bible & Archaeology One Archaeologist boldly stated: –No archaeological discovery has ever controverted a single biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible. After the headlines this week, could he have made the same statement? Why / Why Not?
Archaeology: Special Science Physics and chemistry can do experiments to re-create the processes that are studied. Archaeologists have the evidence left from the one and only time that civilization lived. Archaeology tries to find plausible and probable explanations for the evidence it finds. As such there are no “laws” of Archaeology
Today’s Approach To show that archaeology does confirm the historicity of the Bible and that, in doing so, it often enhances our understanding of the text (remember our “tour” a few months ago.
Today’s Approach OT areas explored in our text: –The Creation –The Flood –The Tower of Babel –Moses as a Historian –The Patriarchs –Saul, David, and Solomon –The Assyrian Invasion –The Captivity NT areas explored: –The accuracy of Luke –The Bible vs. Secular Historians A few examples
The Creation The common assumption is that the Hebrew account is simply a purged and simplified version of the Babylonian legend. This is not good archaeological methodology. The rule is that simple accounts or traditions give rise to elaborate legends (i.e. mythological accounts) but not vice versa.
The Creation The recent discovery (>17,000 clay tablets) of Creation accounts at Ebla predate the Babylonian account by 600 years. The Ebla Creation is strikingly close to Genesis, speaking of one being who created the heavens, moon, stars, and earth; even believing Creation out of nothing (ex nihilo.) This shows that it is the Bible that contains the ancient, less embellished version of the story and transmits the facts without the corruption of the mythological renderings
Geneaologies – Family Trees One of the names found on the Ebla tablets is Ibrium. Sound like anyone you know? Abraham and Hebrew are derived from this name. Know something else? Ibrium was a king of Ebla. Isn’t it interesting that archaeology may be telling us that God moved mightily in the heart of a royal descendent who pulled up his roots and moved to a distant “promised land” when he already was living the “good life.”
The Patriarchs Ancients used a contract between rulers and their servants, called a suzerainty covenant. It had six parts: –A preamble – names the author –A History of the relationship between the two parties –Listing of the vasal responsibilities –Copy to be placed where the people worship and read periodically –Several gods are cited as witnesses –A set of blessings and curses are documented which show how God will respond. Now here’s the fun part
The Patriarchs The OT book of Deuteronomy is laid out like a suzerainty contract. The Hittites of Moses’ time used this form frequently. Deuteronomy was a legal document – a contract between God and Israel We continue the OT tradition today by periodically reading the contract and living by it’s terms.
Saul At Saul’s death, Samuel tells us that his armour was put in the temple of Ashtaroth (a Canaanite fertility goddess) at Bethshan while Chronicles says that his head was put in the temple of Dagon, the Philistine corn god. This was thought to be an error because it was highly unlikely that enemy peoples would have temples in the same place at the same time. Excavations have found that there are two temples at this site that are separated by a hallway; one for Dagon and the other for Ashtaroth. It appears that the Philistines had adapted the Canaanite goddess as their own.
The Scourging Roman historian and archaeologists have revealed much about the practice of scourging. The instrument used was a Roman flagrum – a three-lash whip with pieces of bone or lead at the tips. As it was being used it would tear through anything; skin, muscle, nerves, even chipping bones. The victim was tied to an upright stake or bent over a thrashing post.
The Scourging There were sometimes two scourgers standing on either side who would alternate blows, not only on the back, but swinging up into the chest and around the legs in both directions. It is not known if the Romans accommodated to the Jewish limit of 39 lashes. Roman soldiers would often taunt their victims after whippings, so one would expect the victim to have facial bruises, swelling, a broken nose, and portions of the beard plucked out. Not exactly a “nice” Easter thought.
Conclusion We find good evidence from archaeology that the Scriptures are accurate. In many cases, the Scriptures even reflect firsthand knowledge of the times and customs it describes. While many have doubted the accuracy of the Bible, time and continued research have consistently demonstrated that the Word of God is better informed than its critics. The evidence is substantial, and the rewards in understanding and confidence that it brings are well worth the trouble.
Next Week Modern science claims to have proven the Bible wrong! Who’s right? Module 10 Questions About Science and Evolution
Defenders of the Faith Series (Logic, Common Sense, Reason) Module 10 Questions About Science and Evolution Based on the Book When Skeptics Ask By Dr. Norman Geisler
Review The clay tablets of Ebla referenced the name Ibrium. It is likely that this is a reference to what OT character? –Abraham Name at least one interesting fact revealed about Ibrium from the tablets. –He was of kingly lineage
The Challenge The Bible’s views on the origins of the universe, first life, and new life forms, have caused many to falter in their acceptance of the Scriptures as truth. Modern science claims to have proven them wrong beyond the shadow of a doubt. The theory of evolution is now posited as a fact. Who is right? The Bible or science? This chapter deals with this problem by stating a basic argument, then applying that argument to the three areas of origins: the universe, first life, and new life forms.
Our Approach Today We’re going to make sure we understand what evolution is and what the basic argument against it from a creationist viewpoint. Then we will look at the origin of the universe. We will not have time today for discussing new life or new life forms.
Evolution Defined Let’s be sure we understand what evolution is and how modern evolutionists view origins. Evolution was not “invented” by Charles Darwin in 1859, but actually is a very old view that has naturalistic philosophical roots. Remember in Chapter 3 we said that nontheists say the universe is uncaused - it just always was and will be. This view believes all matter carries in it the principles of life, therefore life arising from non-living things is not a problem. Equally certain in this view is the progress from less complex to more complex life forms.
Evolution Defined Modern evolution is different than it’s roots. Since many scientists are materialistic, they hold to the basic design without the spiritual connotations. However, without the spiritual aspects guiding the system, there is no mechanism to explain the progress of the species. Enter C. Darwin provided a mechanism to make evolution work beginning with matter alone – called natural selection
Evolution Defined Much of what Darwin taught has been rejected and surpassed by modern evolutionists, but the doctrine of natural selection has been maintained. The view that the universe is uncaused is only taught by those who have not kept up. Research done in the last 30 years has shown that it is possible to generate some amino acids necessary for life using only a few basic gases, water, and an electrical charge. This has encouraged the view that life arose from non- living matter and evolved through natural selection.
Operation vs. Origin Science Operation Science deals with the way things normally operate. Things that happen over and over in a regular and repeated way. Seeks answers that are testable by repeating the experiment over and over in a regular way. The idea of supernatural events is strongly resisted by operation science. Origin Science studies past singularities, rather than present normalities – how things began. It is a different study requiring a different approach. It uses analogies of cause/effect relationships to explain events It does not claim to give definitive answers but plausible ones.
Operation vs. Origin Science Origin ScienceOperation Science Studies pastStudies present Studies singularitiesStudies regularities Studies unrepeatableStudies repeatable Re-creation not possibleRe-creation possible How things beganHow things work May find primary causeFinds secondary causes Conclusions not falsifiable Conclusions falsifiable A search for primary cause vs. secondary causes A forensic science vs. an empirical science Does not claim definite answers but plausible answers
Arguments Against Evolution There are good scientific grounds to reject evolution and believe in Creation. Science is based on causality; every event has a cause. Things don’t happen willy-nilly. The idea that whatever caused some effect in the past will cause the same effect in the present is called the principle of uniformity. All science is based on finding causes using these two principles: causality and uniformity.
Arguments Against Evolution First step – it has applied the principles of operation science to the study of origins. It is seeking regular and repeated causes for events that occurred only once. It is a valid science to look for intelligent primary causes to events that show signs of intelligence. Second step – origin science is not restricted to secondary causes (natural causes that operate the universe.) Present experience tells us that an intelligent cause is operating and when it is not.
Summary Argument Origin science should be used to study origins –There are two kinds of science: operation science and origin science; and we must use one or the other to study origins. –Operation science should not be used to study unique, unrepeatable past events because it is devoted to studying the normal operations of the present. –So, origin science is the proper method for studying origins because it studies unique, unrepeated events, which origins are by definition Origin science admits the possibility of primary intelligent causes.
Summary Argument Primary intelligent causes can be identified when there is evidence of specified complexity. Therefore, wherever there is evidence of specified complexity, origin science should posit a primary intelligent cause. Now we can apply this type of argument to the three areas of origins: the origin of the universe, the origin of first life, and the origin of new life forms.
The Origin of the Universe Evolutionary scientists have told us that the universe either came from nothing by nothing or that it was always here. In either case, holding to such beliefs has a high cost for the scientist, for both of these violate a fundamental law of science; the law of causality. Both views require that the scientist believe in events happening without a cause. If the whole universe is uncaused, why should we believe that the parts are caused? If the parts are all caused, then what evidence would suggest that the whole is uncaused?
1 st Evidence of Creation 1 st Law of Thermo – energy is constant, 2 nd Law of Thermo – usable energy is decreasing – everything tending toward disorder. If the overall amount of energy stays the same, but we are running out of usable energy, then what we started with was not an infinite amount. You can’t run out of an infinite amount. This means the universe is and always has been finite. It could not have existed forever in the past and will not exist forever into the future. So it must have had a beginning.
2nd Evidence of Creation All galaxies are moving outward from a central point of origin, and all things were expanding faster in the past than they are now. The belief is that the Universe exploded into being. This “Big Bang” was a beginning point from which the entire universe has come. Putting an expanding universe in reverse leads us back to the point where the universe gets smaller and smaller until it vanishes into nothing. At some point in the distant past, the universe came into being out of nothing.
3rd Evidence of Creation There is a radiation echo that seems to come from everything. It was first thought to be a malfunction or static on the instruments. It was found that the static is coming from everywhere – the universe itself has low-level radiation from some past catastrophe that looks like a giant fireball. No explanation other than the big bang has been found for the fireball radiation – this evidence must lead one to conclude that there was a beginning
Next Week If at first you don’t succeed, try try again! Is that how it goes in death? Module 11 Questions About the Afterlife
Defenders of the Faith Series (Logic, Common Sense, Reason) Module 11 Questions About the Afterlife Based on the Book When Skeptics Ask By Dr. Norman Geisler
Review What mechanism was offered to make evolution “work” beginning with matter alone? –Natural Selection offered by Charles Darwin What Science studies past singularities, rather than present normalities – how things began. –Origen Science
Reincarnation is “In” Reincarnation is the belief that, after death, the soul passes on to another body. According to a Gallup poll in 1982, 23 percent or almost one in four Americans believe in reincarnation. What do you think is the figure for professing Christians? –21% How did beliefs that derive from Hindu scripture and ancient Western philosophers find such acceptance in the US even among Christians?
Understanding Reincarnation The soul (i.e. jiva) survives death as a mental entity. If you have done good deeds you are born into a more pleasant situation, otherwise you may end up as a animal, vegetable or mineral in the next life, bringing the karma from your past life. Karma is both the actions or deeds done. Death is the gateway to a new life, but the objective is to escape (i.e. moksha) the cycle. The escape leads to the final state of nirvana which affords peace with God &/or rest
Why do People Believe in Reincarcation? Immortality of the soul –Plato believed that our soul existed before we were born and it continues to exist after we die; and nothing, either good or evil, can corrupt it. Psychological evidence of past lives –It has been used to explain phobias of childhood; skills not learned in life; bad relationships; vendettas; gender identity issues; etc. The justice of reincarnation –It feeds the “human” sense of justice; do good – you get a reward; do bad – get punished. Damnation is too harsh.
What is Wrong with Reincarnation? It does not solve the problem of evil –Unjust suffering is not solved, just declared just. Karma does not equal Law –It is not a moral prescription but a system of retribution. It is ultimately antihumanitarian –It has led to thousands of poor, crippled, maimed and homeless. If you help someone to ease their suffering, you would be working against the law of karma. It does not guarantee spiritual progress –There is no gauarantee that anyone will ever reach moksha
What is Resurrection? Resurrectionists believe that the same physical body is made incorruptable after death. Reincarnation is an intermediate state whereas resurrection is an ultimate state enjoying God. Read Luke 24:39 A resurrection body has similarities and differences with a mortal body –Appear and disappear at will (Luke 24:31 Everyone will get a new immortal body; some will spend eternity with God and some will not.
Next Week If we’re going to tell the world that we have truth, then we better have some idea of what truth is! Module 12 Questions About the Truth
Defenders of the Faith Series (Logic, Common Sense, Reason) Module 12 Questions About Truth Based on the Book When Skeptics Ask By Dr. Norman Geisler
Review What OT book is a laid out like a legal document – a contract between God and Israel –Deuteronomy For extra credit, what was the form of the contract called? –suzerainty contract
What is Truth? In many ways contemporary society struggles for a definition for truth. If one allows for absolute truth then one must be prepared for an absolute truth teller (i.e. God) An absolute truth teller is not compatible with the modern notion of convenient truth (i.e. truth is what I want it to be.) So in a simplistic way, modern man’s attempt to establish “I” as king has first to eliminate absolute truth. Today we’ll examine three questions about truth.
Is Truth Relative or Absolute? Absolute truth doesn’t change; relative truth changes from time to time and person to person. The relativist claims that truth is dependent on the person making the statement. If relativism were true then the world would be full of contradictory conditions. No relativist can say, “It is absolutely true that this is true for me.” Either the claim that the truth is relative is an absolute claim, which would falsify the relativist’s position, or it is an assertion that can never be made, because every time you make it you have to add another “relatively.”
Is Truth Relative or Absolute? There are some benefits to relativism. It means that you can never be wrong. I’m right even when I’m wrong. The drawback is that I could never learn anything either, because learning is moving from a false belief to a true one – that is, from an absolutely false belief to an absolutely true one. “Open-mindedness” has become a self-evident virtue in our society. Openness is the most close-minded position because it eliminates any absolute view from consideration. In the long run openness cannot be true unless it is open to some real absolutes that cannot be denied. Open-mindedness should not be confused with empty- mindedness
Is Truth Knowable? Skepticism says that we should doubt whether anything can be known whereas agnosticism says that nothing can be known. Both views are self-defeating. If you know that you don’t know anything, then at least you know that much. But that means you have positive knowledge of something and you no longer have to be agnostic. Likewise, you may say that you should doubt everything, but you don’t doubt that. That is you don’t doubt that you should doubt.
Is Truth Knowable? One great philosopher had an effective way to deal with skepticism. He would ask, “Do you doubt your own existence?” If they answered yes, then he would point out that they exist in order to doubt and that certainly should remove their doubts. If they answered no, then he could show them that there are at least some things which are beyond doubt. If they remained silent, he simply said, “I guest there is nobody here after all. I may as well go talk to somebody who exists.”
Is Truth Logical? Logic is a necessary presupposition of al thought. Without logic (the laws of thought), we can’t even think. But is logic only a presupposition? How do we know that logic applies to reality? We know it because it is undeniable. A self-evident principle is one that cannot be denied without assuming that it is true in the process of the denial. If you have to assume that a statement is true in order to deny it, it is actually undeniable.
Is Truth Logical? First principles, which are the starting point of all truth and the foundation of all thought, are these kind of statements. Logic applied to reality is a key example. All logic can be reduced to one single axiom – the law of noncontradiction (no two opposite statements can both be true at the same time in the same sense. We can recognize that these ideas are self-evident by intuition, without having to test them by attempting to deny them. Want to see some examples?
Self-evident Truths Self-evident propositions about logic –Law of noncontradiction (A is not non-A) –Law of identity (A is A) –Law of excluded middle (either A or non-A) –Laws of valid inference Self-evident propositions about knowledge –Something can be known –Opposites cannot both be true –Everything cannot be false Self-evident propositions about existence –Something exists (e.g. I do) –Nothing cannot produce something –Everything that comes to be is caused
Conclusion These self-evident principles become the foundation for all knowledge. From this point, logic and evidence can confirm that God exists and that Christ is His Son. Truth has an absolute foundation in undeniable first principles and it can be tested through logical means because it ultimately corresponds to reality. Christianity claims to be true and it bids all to come in and dine at the table of truth.
Next Week Abortion... Gay rights... Sex education... Drug abuse... Pornography... Are all moral issues. As we have become more vocal on morals, so have our critics. Module 13 Questions About Morals
Defenders of the Faith Series (Logic, Common Sense, Reason) Module 13 Questions About Morals Based on the Book When Skeptics Ask By Dr. Norman Geisler
Review Can an open mind embrace absolute truth? –In the long run openness cannot be true unless it is open to some real absolutes that cannot be denied. Name one thing that we have examined in this study that strengthened your faith.
Morals As we (i.e. Christians) have become more vocal concerning morals, the outside world has become harsher in its criticism of our views. They can’t quite conceive of why we think that we are right. Where did values come from? Some ancient book that can be interpreted in hundreds of ways and was written by men who could never have imagined what the modern world would be like? While our vision of virtue seems to be growing sharper, the rest of the world seems to be rapidly slipping into blindness and running from the light.
Morals (cont’d) What is the driver for erosion of virtue from the culture? We saw last week that relativism (i.e. faux openness) undermines truth. This week we can see that it also undermines morality. Where is this coming from? –Media? –Education Institutions? We’re going to start our defense of the moral high ground today by showing that belief in absolute morals is reasonable. Values are absolute and have an absolute basis.
Are There Any Absolute Values? As we saw last week: in order to deny absolutes, one must imply that there are absolutes in the process of denial. To deny absolutes you have to make an absolute denial. How can you be absolutely sure there are no absolutes? If relativity were true, then there must be something to which all things are relative, but which is not relative itself. In other words, something has to be absolute before we can see that everything is relative to it. Even someone who claims that there are no values still values the right to his opinion and expects you to do the same.
Great Thinkers Agree with Jesus Some thinkers have tried to reduce all moral principles to cone central absolute. It can be discovered by asking the question, “Would I want this action to be a universal practice for all men?” If you answer no, then don’t do it. Examples: –Would you want all men to lie to you? –Would you want all men to murder? Jesus demonstrated this concept in His summary of the Law in Matt. 24:37-40. Love is an absolute value that is universally recognized.
Where Do Values Come From? Love is something people have, but not something that they are. All moral absolutes must have an absolute prescriber, and humans are not absolute. So where does love come from? The Christian answer is that all loves comes from God. In fact, the Bible says, “God is love” (1 John 4:16) Since God is by nature love, He can give love to His creatures. The most explicit knowledge of God’s love comes from the Scriptures.
Objectives Build your personal faith and confidence in Christianity Prepare you to meet the challenge of effective ministry in the context of where we live, work, and play How have we done?
Review What is the label given statements which are the starting point of all truth and the foundation of all thought? –First principles What is one way that we can recognize that these ideas are self-evident without having to test them by attempting to deny them? –Intuition
Postmodernism “Post modern" thinking has affected nearly all disciplines since [about] 1950, both in the natural and social sciences, to such an extent that it is now taken for granted as the reigning paradigm. Remember our approach: Logic, Common Sense, Reason. Would you think that Postmodernism is progressive, intellectually satisfying, and built on a platform of logic and reason? Let’s find out.
Postmodernism – What is it? Postmodernism is the term used by sociologists and others to describe a way of thinking that has become very pervasive in the Western world over the last generation. It is an approach to reality that is having a significant effect on literature, theatre, art, education, psychotherapy, law, science, architecture, the study of history and people's view of religion.
Postmodernism – A Worldview This worldview deeply values the following: spirituality, pluralism, the experiential, relativity, altruism, community, creativity, the arts, environmentalism, globality, holism, and authenticity. In many ways we are transitioning away from the "modern" values of rationalism, science, dogmatism, individualism, pragmatism, capitalism, nationalism, compartmentalism, and veneered religiosity.
Postmodernism – Old or New? The postmodern cultural context is very similar to that of the New Testament. God's message will not only survive, but will thrive in this cultural milieu. Since many of these values are intrinsic to the Christian worldview, the church can use them as a bridge to our culture and society. Some postmodern values and ideas are in dynamic tension with Christianity.Christianity
Postmodernism & Education We are witnessing a broad based backlash against reason in our culture. This backlash is widely promoted in contemporary higher education. The argument is that every time somebody claims to be in possession of the truth (especially religious truth), it ends up repressing people. So its best to make no claims to truth at all
Postmodernism & Truth Rejecting objective truth is the cornerstone of postmodernism. In essence, postmodern ideology declares an end to all ideology and all claims to truth. How has this seemingly anti intellectual outlook gained such wide acceptance in history's most advanced civilization? That question requires us to understand how postmodernists conceive the past three hundred years of western history.
Postmodernism Rejects Progress! Postmodernism abandons modernism, the humanist philosophy of the European Enlightenment. Modernists built a culture that exalted technological achievement and mastery over the natural order. The "myth of progress" ends up in a nightmare of violence
Postmodernism & Objectivity Postmodernists hold that the pretense of objective truth always does violence by excluding other voices (regarding other world views to be invalid), and marginalizing the vulnerable by scripting them out of the story. Truth claims, we are told, are essentially tools to legitimate power. That's why in postmodern culture, the person to be feared is the one who believes that we can discover ultimate truth. The dogmatist, the totalizer, the absolutist is both naive and dangerous
Postmodernism & Objectivity A growing number, especially among the emerging generation, believe that reason and truth are inherently political and subversive. That's why they are often so cynical. According to the voices in contemporary culture that shape "Generation X" thinking, claims to truth are clever disguises for the pernicious "will to power.“ Consequently, rather than dominating others with our "version of reality," we should accept all beliefs as equally valid. Openness without the restraint of reason, and tolerance without moral appraisal are the new postmodern mandates.
Examining Postmodernism Where have you observed the influence of Postmodernsim? Where do you think the battle grounds of “postmodernism” are? How should / can we respond?