Mission Statement To help equip and encourage Christians in apologetics ministry so they might engage honest truth-seekers, under the right circumstances, with gentleness, respect, and with the ultimate goal of introducing the Gospel of Jesus
Topics Covered The Five W’s of Apologetics Engaging Others and Worldview Arguments for God Dealing with Doubt Islam and Christianity The Problem of Evil The Case for Christ Origins (Evolution, Intelligent Design, Creation)
What is Apologetics? How many of you thought the first time you heard the word ‘apologetics’ it was about apologizing?
Origin Apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia (a-p&-'lO-j(E-)&) “A written or verbal defense”
Christian Apologetics Defined The discipline of rationally justifying one’s belief in Christianity through systematic discourse
Extra-biblical and Biblical Christian Apologetics sometimes enters into areas not directly addressed in the Bible but always integrates the Christian worldview.
What is the Ultimate Goal? Lead the honest truth-seeker to an openness where the Gospel is shared Rom 10:17 – “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”
Why Apologetics? Why should we be interested in Apologetics? Why are you interested in Apologetics?
Be Prepared! 1 Peter 3:15 – “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. 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”
How Would You Respond? How do you know what you believe is true? How do you know God exists – what proof is there? How can we trust something [Bible] written thousands of years ago? How do we know other religious creeds are not true? Why isn’t God more visible if He wants everyone to know him? Hasn’t Science/Evolution completely disproved biblical creation? How can there be a loving God with so much suffering in the world? Hasn’t Science proven religious faith is unnecessary? How do we know the Resurrection occurred?
Results? Out of the nine questions – how many did you feel like you would be able to give a sound answer to? By the way, this course will not be about resolving all your tough questions through impeccable argumentation!
Being Persuasive Is being persuasive a good thing or does the idea seem too much like coerciveness? Persuasiveness is a good thing - it means to “win someone over.”
Paul Persuaded 1Cor. 9:19-23: Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Paul Reasoned Acts 17 (1-3 and 16,17) When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead …While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God- fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.
Just Say the Word! But haven’t we been taught to not worry about what to say?
Origin of “Don’t Worry!” Matthew 10:19 - But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say… Luke 12:11 - When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say… God is our defender in times of trouble! (Psalm 9, 41, 59) We should not take these versus to imply - one need not concern themselves with how they share the Gospel.
Uploading One option is to just upload the message… A bare-minimum do-not-be-concerned-about- the-delivery version of the plan of salvation
Uploading Examples Is it effective in bringing unbelievers to salvation to merely stand on a street corner holding a sign with the reference: “John 3:16” Why or why not? If an unbeliever were to share their disbelief in the Bible and their negative past experience in the Church, would you respond by quoting: “John 3:16” Why or why not?
Most of Us Do Not Upload Our approach to reaching out to the unbeliever is important and God gives us many tools for the job. Sometimes it is the right word at the right time guided by the Spirit; sometimes it is a prophetic word or verse of Scripture. Sometimes we are called to merely listen. And sometimes, we are to give an answer back for the hope we have…. Because it is not persuasive!
Logic Teaser Hearing the Gospel is a necessary condition for salvation but not a sufficient condition. Yes, merely hearing the Gospel can be on occasion immediately effective in someone coming to faith in Christ – but that is different than the logic-term “sufficient condition.” Necessary Condition – is one which must be satisfied to ensure Sufficient Condition – is one which, if satisfied, ensures
Friendship Evangelism Prominent evangelistic ministries targeting young- adults on college campuses employ friendship evangelism: Campus Crusade for Christ Every Nation Campus Ministries Why is friendship evangelism effective? Because it leads to persuasiveness through trust. Trust building is pre-evangelism.
Secularized Culture Oftentimes we have a tough challenge presenting biblical truths and the Gospel to unbelievers because of the culture we live in…
Dr. William Lane Craig Speaking about the secularization of Europe and effectiveness of apologetics in that setting…
Worldly Philosophy Aren’t we taught to stay away from worldly philosophy? Colossians 2:8 – “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
Correctly Handle – Not Avoid So that we are not taken captive by the World’s philosophy we should be prepared to correctly handle the truth – Take everything to Christ! READ: 2 Corinthians 10:5 – “take it to Christ” Proverbs 23:23 – “buy the truth” 1 Thessalonians 5:21 – “test everything” 2 Timothy 2:14-15 – “correctly handle” 2 Timothy 3:16 – “especially the Word”
Martin Luther’s View Ministerial Use of Reason - this is the use of logic/reason as a servant or "handmaid" to the Bible and theology. Logic/reason is not put on par with or above the Bible, but stands in a subordinate role to God's revelation. Magisterial Use of Reason - this is the placing of logic/reason on par with or actually above the Bible. Here logic/reason (that of the individual or a group) is allegedly the final judge, arbitrator, or authority of truth. √ X
Pre-Evangelism In preparation of presenting the Gospel…but only one tool (introducing Law before Gospel is pre-evangelism for example) Weeding the field analogy – sometimes we help to sow the seed; sometimes we help in the harvest; sometimes as the apologist we get to weed the field by removing false ideas. Removing the boulders analogy – getting rid of the boulders in front of the door (Jesus) one must go through for salvation.
Apologetics For the Believer Ministering to other believers to help with epistemic tension (though doubt is primarily a spiritual battle!) Check your brains at the door: often suggested as a reason to pursue apologetics – but it misses the point and puts the focus on us (and our self- esteem) instead of service to God
Discussion End of Session 1 Time for open discussion about the material covered
Opener From The Barna Group (barna.org - June 2007) Atheists and Agnostics Take Aim at Christians “Most atheists and agnostics (56%) agree with the idea that radical Christianity is just as threatening in America as is radical Islam.” “At the same time, two-thirds of Christians (63%) who have an active faith perceive that the nation is becoming more hostile and negative toward Christianity.” ("Active faith" was defined as simply having gone to church, read the Bible and prayed during the week preceding the survey.)
Opener From The Barna Group (barna.org - June 2007) Atheists and Agnostics Take Aim at Christians About one in 11 Americans (9%) say they have “no faith.” – that’s 20 Million Americans! – and one in 5 of those label themselves as atheists. GenerationCurrent ages1992*2007* Adult Mosaics % Busters %14% Boomers42-608%9% Elders61+4%6% No-faith Trend
Opener From The Barna Group (barna.org - June 2007) Atheists and Agnostics Take Aim at Christians One of the most fascinating insights from the research is the increasing size of the no-faith segment with each successive generation. When adjusted for age and compared to 15 years ago, each generation has changed surprisingly little over the past decade and a half. Each new generation entered adulthood with a certain degree of secular fervor, which appears to stay relatively constant within that generation over time. This contradicts the popular notion that such generational differences are simply a product of people becoming more faith-oriented as they age.
Recap Apologetics – Greek apologia Christian Apologetics – the discipline of rationally justifying Christian belief through systematic discourse Ultimate Goal – Rom 1:17 Be Prepared – 1 Peter 3:15 Are You Prepared? – maybe not as much as we’d like
Recap Persuasive – is a good thing (to win someone over) Paul was persuasive – he reasoned with others Some approaches are more persuasive than others Apologetics is pre-evangelism – but only one tool (introducing Law before Gospel is pre-evangelism for example) Friendship Evangelism - trust building is pre-evangelism
Terms Covered So Far Pre-evangelism – whereas evangelism is the activity whereby a Christian explains or presents the Christian gospel of Jesus to one seen as a non-Christian: pre-evangelism is the activity of preparing the unbeliever for the reception of the gospel – both activities are practiced with love, gentleness and respect. Secular – the state of being separate from religion. Secularism works to separate public life from the religious life. As Christians, secularism is in opposition to an integrated Christian worldview. Worldview – think of this as “the way one sees the world.” (more on this later.)
Question? Evangelism or Pre-evangelism – which activity should come first when we engage an honest truth-seeker? It all depends on where God leads!
Terms Coming UP Naturalism (philosophical) – all phenomena or hypotheses commonly labeled as supernatural, are either false, unknowable, or not inherently different from natural phenomena or hypotheses Theist / Theism – theism is the belief in one of more deities (as Christians we are theists who believe in a transcendent God) Atheist / Atheism – atheism (a-theism or not-theism) rejects theism. A “strong” atheist affirms the non-existence of God. The “weak” version simply affirms an insufficient belief in theism (non-theism).
Where Apologetics? Where will you find apologetic resources and where are apologetic activities making a difference?
Online Resources – excellent audio archive for beginner to advanced apologetics – The VERITAS Forum – Leadership University – Oxford Center for Christian Apologetics – Ravi Zacharias International Ministries – WLC’s Site – Access Research Network – William Dembski’s weblog on Intelligent Design and (excellent Bible resource sites) (my site plug :-)
Organizations / Courses Alpha International – employs a strong apologetic element in their courses Today 31,260 courses are running in 154 countries throughout the world. The material for the course has been translated into 61 languages plus Braille. These courses are going on in workplaces, schools, churches, college campuses and prisons.
Organizations / Courses VERITAS Forum – Since 1992 speaking mostly at US campuses - The forums are created by local university students, professors, and ministers while shaped and guided by the headquarter VERITAS team. Campus Crusade for Christ and Josh McDowell Ministries – Para-church ministry that operates student chapters on university and college campuses
Dr. William Lane Craig Apologetics impact at the university …(6 min audio clip)
Our Spheres of Influence The apologetic impact can go beyond our immediate evangelistic contacts to affect change in the atmosphere of our homes, workplaces, and even the church [personal testimony here]
Who Are the Apologists? (other than us armchair apologists) The earliest apologists used historical defenses and then later arguments for God’s existence…(e.g. Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Origen, Augustine, Aquinas) Was Martin Luther an apologist? “Busy reconstructing the church, Luther was not known as an apologist. However, he said nothing, properly understood, that would negate the consistent use of reason by the classical apologists in defending the faith.” (Norman Geisler)
Types and Proponents Classical – first establish the validity of theism (that God exists) then proceed to specific Christian truths – stress on rational processes, historical evidence, confirming miracles Augustine, Aquinas, WL Craig, N Geisler, CS Lewis, JP Moreland, J Locke, W Paley, RC Sproul
Types and Proponents Historical / Evidential – stresses historical evidence as the basis for demonstrating the truth of Christianity. Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Origen, JW Montgomery and G Habermas
Types and Proponents Cumulative Case – an eclectic approach. Overlaps the classical approach but downplays the need for theistic arguments in advance. Overlaps the historical approach but does not rest their case there. Sometimes appeals to experiential evidence (testimony of changed lives.) Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel
Types and Proponents Experiential or Existential – appeal primarily if not exclusively to experience as evidence of the Christian faith. Eckart, Kierkegaard, Bultmann, Barth
Types and Proponents Presuppositional - reject the validity of theistic proofs and start directly from a presupposed Trinitarian view. Without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, everything is seen through a jaundiced eye. Cornelius Van Til, John Frame (revelational) Gordon Clark, C F H Henry (rational) Francis Schaeffer (practical)
When is Apologetics Effective? Younger the better – you can’t teach an old dog, new tricks – statistically we are far less likely to change our fundamental religious belief as we age. The Barna Research study, announced on 11/12/99, shows that the vast majority of those who are saved experience the conversion during childhood -- before the age of 14. A person who is unsaved at the age of 14 only has a 10% chance of being saved later in life. According to FCA: Over the age of 30 – only a 4% chance of being saved.
Avoid Quarreling Romans 12:16-18: Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. A good apologist knows when to not respond! Read 2 Timothy 2:23-24
Apologetics 5 Ws Conclusion From defense to persuasion but in all things – love! Dr. Greg Pritchard
Apologetics How? End of Session 2 Time for open discussion about the material covered Well that’s what the rest of the course will address!
Opener (from adherents.com (2/2007) – world population 6+ billion) How many Chinese dualists are there in the world? 0.4 Billion How many Muslims are there in the world? 1.3 Billion How many Hindus are there in the world? 0.9 Billion How many Christians are there in the world? 2.0 Billion How many atheists are there in the world? 1.1 Billion
Recap Where apologetics – where is apologetic activity taking place (universities, workplace, home, church) Types – classical, historical, evidential, experiential, presuppositional When Apologetics – in congenial situations with an honest truth-seeker who is open to respectful discourse (avoid quarreling) Christian Apologetics – is the art of Christian persuasion and is always done in love (not to defend ourselves or win arguments!)
Worldview Overview Worldview defined; (calqued from the German Weltanschauung) provides a framework for generating, sustaining, and applying knowledge – it is ones’ general view of the universe and our place in it which affects one's conduct. It is one’s system of beliefs; their ideology; how one sees the world. Everyone has a worldview, whether or not they can articulate it.
Worldview Questions Where did everything come from? What should I do with my life? Why is life meaningful and is there any ultimate purpose? How do I know what is right and wrong? What happens to me after I die?
Substantive Worldview An ingrained, comprehensive, momentous and cohesive worldview. It is deep-rooted unlike the ever-shifting position to suit the moment and our immediate desires. It is wide-ranging unlike the skeptical view there is little to know outside of our meager experiences. It is deeply meaningful unlike the view which says: “I don’t know and I don’t care.” It coheres with a minimum of contradictory views.
First Principles of Logic A first principle of logic cannot be deduced from any other principle of logic Law of Noncontradiction : ~(p · ~p) a proposition and its negation is necessarily false. “One cannot say something is and is not in the exact same sense.” A first principle is universal, not invented, but discovered; undeniable, irrefutable
Contradictory vs. Contrary Contradictory propositions: if two propositions are contradictory - one must be true and the other false. Contrary propositions: if two propositions are contrary – only one can be true (they could both be false though) Note: a proposition is the information content of an assertion and is either true or false.
Christian Worldview There exists a personal triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) God created the heavens and the Earth The universe had a beginning (it is not eternal-past) Jesus is the Son of God There is a spiritual realm Natural causes are not the only causes in space-time Miracles happen
Christian Worldview The virgin birth and resurrection of Jesus were real events in history We are more than just matter – we are spirit and matter Life is not merely the result of chance + time + energy The universe is designed Morality is universal and objective based on divine command Our existence does not cease at the grave
Islamic Worldview There exists a God (Allah) – He is not triune Allah created the heavens and the Earth (seven universes in layers) The universe had a beginning from a solid mass of water Jesus is not the son of Allah but a great prophet – Muhammad is the greatest and last prophet ( AD) There is a spiritual realm Natural causes are not the only causes in space-time Miracles happen
Islamic Worldview Jesus was virgin born, spoke in the cradle but was not crucified (Allah “lifted him up to his presence”) We are matter and spirit Life is not the merely result of chance + time + energy The universe is designed Morality is universal and objective based on the commands of Allah Our existence does not cease at the grave
Atheist Worldview God does not exist The universe is a “brute fact” The universe did not have a beginning – it is eternal-past Jesus was just a man – if he existed at all There is no spiritual realm There are no supernatural causes Miracles do not happen
Atheist Worldview The virgin birth and resurrection events are not real historical events We are mere matter Life is the result of chance + time + energy The universe may appear designed, but isn’t Morality is relative: simply the product of socio- evolutionary processes We cease to exist at the grave
Pantheistic Worldview “God is all” – not personal The universe is (or part of) God (Hindu -> Brahman is the material and efficient cause) The universe is eternally recurring, cyclical Jesus is God – and so are we! All is spiritual All cause/effect is God Miracles irrelevant – all activity is divine
Pantheistic Worldview Jesus was not virgin-born and did not rise from the dead Matter is illusory – there is only spirit (some pantheists separate body and soul) Abiogenesis is left open – some pantheists believe evolution is divine mechanism The universe is not designed Morality is objective and tied to the divine Unity (for some tied to nature) No immortality (absorption) – others (soul separates from body)
Worldview Division Two individuals with substantive worldview and with minimal overlap in their core beliefs will have a difficult time persuading each other.
Arguments for God Cosmological Argument (Contingency) Cosmological Argument (Kalam) Teleological Argument Moral Argument
Syllogism Syllogism – a three-part deductive argument Deductive Argument – the truth of the premises ensures the truth of the conclusion Good Deductive Argument – is sound and has premises that are more plausible than their denials Sound Deductive Argument – is formally and informally valid
Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit “From Nothing, Nothing Comes” Metaphysical Principle - one that is understood immediately and needs no supporting evidence What is “nothing?” eks-'ni-hi-"lO-"ni-"hil-'fit (lat) The remotest, darkest and vacuous region of space is not nothing!
Actual Infinite Can you give me an example of an actual infinite set in the physical world? Actual Infinite Sets: are mathematical constructs only – they do not exist in the physical world.
Cosmological Argument (Argument from Contingency) Why is there something rather than nothing? – a profound question posed by the great mathematician and Christian philosopher G. W. Leibniz who concluded all contingent being requires a reason for its existence.
Cosmological Argument (Argument from Contingency) Contingent Being – the reason for its existence lies outside of itself and it may to cease to exist (e.g. the Earth) Necessary Being – there is no reason for its existence that lies outside of itself and it cannot cease to exist (e.g. God)
Cosmological Argument (Argument from Contingency) The universe either exists contingently or necessarily: we must choose - there are no other reasonable choices. 1.The universe either exists necessarily or contingently 2.The universe is not necessary 3.Therefore the universe is contingent
Cosmological Argument (Argument from Contingency) 1. Things that are contingent have a reason for their existence 2. The universe is contingent 3. Therefore the universe has a reason for its existence
Cosmological Argument (Kalam Version) 1. That which begins to exist has a cause 2. The universe began to exist 3. Therefore the universe has a cause Kalam (“speaking”) – developed by Muslims during the Middle Ages.
Dr. William Lane Craig Cosmological Argument Synopsis…(4 min video clip)
Cosmological Argument (Kalam Version) Conclusion – the universe was caused ex nihilo. [read Hebrews 11:3] Personal – the cause must transcend space and time; have unimaginable creative power; and be personal to cause a temporal effect from eternity Attempts to circumvent have been unsuccessful (discuss various models)
Discussion End of Session 3 Time for open discussion about the material covered
Opener How many stars in the known universe? 70 Sextillion (7/2003 Sydney Australia Study) 70,000 million million million (7 x 10^22) 1000 times the number of grains of sand from all of the beaches of the Earth 10 times the number of grains of sand from all of the beaches and deserts of the Earth
Recap Worldview / Substantive – ingrained, comprehensive, momentous and cohesive belief system Worldviews Intro – looked at Christianity, Islam, Atheism and Pantheism Deductive Argument – a good deductive argument is sound with premises more plausible than their denials
Recap Cosmological Argument – (Contingency and Kalam versions) Metaphysical Assumptions – ex nihilo nihil fit (from nothing, nothing comes) and Actual Infinite Sets (are ideas only) First Principles – law of noncontradiction (contradictory/contrary)
Teleological Argument (Argument from Design) Greek word Telos – “end or purpose” Greek word Teleos – “completion, perfection, arriving at a goal” Argument’s origin – as far back as Plato (Timaeus) and Aristotle (Metaphysics) Aquinas – One of his five proofs for the existence of God (Summa Theologica) William Paley – Watchmaker Analogy from (Natural Theology) (tee-lee-AH-lah-jik-al) (tee-loss) (tee-lee-oss)
Teleological Argument (Argument from Design) 1) That which is designed, has a designer 2) The Universe was designed 3) Therefore, the Universe has a designer
Disjunctive Syllogism 1) P v Q (reads P “or” Q) 2) ~P (reads “not-P”) 3) Therefore; Q Note: P v Q v R; ~P · ~Q; therefore R Sherlock Holmes Approach
Dr. William Lane Craig Teleological Argument Synopsis…(4 min video clip)
Teleological Argument (Argument from Design) 1) The Universe is either the result of law, chance or design 2) The Universe is not the result of law or chance 3) Therefore, the Universe is designed
Anthropic Coincidences From the Privileged Planet…(4 min video clip)
Ockham’s Razor Attributed to the 14 th century Franciscan friar William of Ockham. The principle states: an explanation of a phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible. “entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity” Law of Parsimony (law of succinctness)
Anthropic Principles Anthropic Principle – coined by Brandon Carter and expanded on by Barrow and Tipler – puts constraints, as human observers, on the sort of universes we could observe, and therefore affects our ability to form an explanation of its existence. WAP – Weak Anthropic Principle SAP – Strong Anthropic Principle PAP – Participatory Anthropic Principle FAP – Final Anthropic Principle
Anthropic Principles WAP (Weak Anthropic Principle) – “we must be prepared to take account of the fact that our location in the universe is necessarily privileged to the extent of being compatible with our existence as observers.” (Carter) – in other words, why be surprised everything is fined tuned – if it were not, we wouldn’t be here to observe it…But this hardly addresses the statistical unlikelihood in fine-tuning! [lottery analogy] SAP (Strong Anthropic Principle) - "The Universe must have those properties which allow life to develop within it at some stage in its history." There are various flavors of SAP (no pun intended) – from a teleological view to the ensemble view (multiverse) – but why believe in an unobservable, unverifiable multiverse?
Anthropic Principles PAP (Participatory Anthropic Principle) – a SAP variation based on Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. It is based on the idea observation makes real. FAP (Final Anthropic Principle) - "Intelligent information- processing must come into existence in the Universe, and, once it comes into existence, it will never die out." - "At the instant the Omega Point is reached, life will have gained control of all matter and forces not only in a single universe, but in all universes whose existence is logically possible; life will have spread into all spatial regions in all universes which could logically exist, and will have stored an infinite amount of information, including all bits of knowledge which it is logically possible to know. And this is the end." (Barrow and Tipler)Omega Point
Modus Tollens 1) If P then Q 2) ~Q 3) Therefore; ~P Note: Q is a necessary condition on P Note: Q therefore P is fallacious – it is called affirming the consequent (basic rule of inference for conditional statements)
The Moral Argument (Argument from Objective Moral Values) 1) If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist 2) Objective moral values do exist 3) Therefore; God exists
Objective Values Defined What are objective values? - Objective values are “recognized and discovered, not invented by humans” (“True for you but not for me”, Paul Copan, Bethany House Publishers 1998.) Are absolute and have unconditional existence; they are not relative or dependant. They are independent of human consciousness, consequence or interpretation. There is an implied obligation, or a duty to comply. Furthermore, they are universal in that they are not subject to a particular localization of space and time.
Dr. William Lane Craig Moral Argument Synopsis…(4 min video clip)
Poll Raise your hand to the following questions if you agree? 1) I found the cosmological argument compelling for God’s existence? 2) I found the teleological argument compelling for God’s existence? 3) I found the moral argument compelling for God’s existence?
Cumulative Case for God For GodFor Unbelief Cosmological argument Teleological argument Moral argument Neo-Darwinian evolution (over-extrapolation) Argument from evil Argument from absence
Much More Than Arguments For FaithFor Doubt Word Prayer Worship Sacraments Studies Music Fellowship Secularization through… Arts, Movies, TV Books, Music Internet, Gaming Educational Institutions Peer influence Spiritual Realm
Dealing with Doubt Within the body of believers
Discussion End of Session 4 Time for open discussion about the material covered
Opener What is the fastest growing major world religion? Islam – 1.84% / yr Christianity – 1.38% / yr How fast is Christianity growing? Growth rates over the period from 2000 to 2005; all figures from the nondenominational World Christian Database, a project of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Recap Teleological Argument – argument from design; Anthropic coincidences and principles Moral Argument – argument from objective moral values Cumulative Case – none of the arguments for God are analytic proofs; they help to build a plausible case for God
Reason and The Holy Spirit How does God reveal the true nature of Jesus to us? Read: 1 Corinthians 12:3 Read: Ephesians 3:2-6 How was the special revelation of Scripture given to the prophets? Read: 2 Peter 1:20-21 Read: 2 Timothy 3:16 (theopneustos, thay-AH-noo-stos)
Augustine on Reason Reason is prior to faith: “no one indeed believes anything unless he has first thought that it is to be believed.” And, “it is necessary that everything which is believed should be believed after thought has led the way.” (On Free Will, 5) How can anyone believe the preacher without first understanding his message? Reason sets apart humans: “God forbid that He should hate in us that faculty by which He made us superior to all other beings…” (Letters 120:1) Reason elaborates on God’s general revelation (Free Will 2.6) Reason removes objections to faith (Letters )
Augustine on the Limits of Reason Regarding the Holy Spirit when it comes to certainty of the Christian faith: “First believe - then understand.” (On the Creed 4) “If we wish to first know and then believe, we should not be able to know or believe.” (On the Gospel of John 7:29)
Thomas Aquinas Will overrides Reason Human reason can be used to prove natural theology Human reason can illustrate supernatural theology Human reason can refute false ideas “Arguments confirm truths that exceed natural knowledge and manifest God’s works that surpass all knowledge” (Summa Contra Gentiles 1.6) He also said… “When a man has a will ready to believe, he loves the truth he believes…” “faith involves will and reason does not coerce the will.”
More on Reason and the Holy Spirit John Calvin Calvin believed reason was adequate to understand the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, and even the truth of Christianity. At the same time, he believed no one could come to certainty about these truths apart from the Holy Spirit.
More on Reason and the Holy Spirit Martin Luther (Third Article in his Small Catechism) “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith…”
More on Reason and the Holy Spirit B. B. Warfield “It is easy, of course, to say that a Christian man must take his standpoint not above the Scriptures, but in the Scriptures. He very certainly must. But surely he first must have Scriptures, authenticated to him as such, before he can take his standpoint in them.”
More on Reason and the Holy Spirit John Warwick Montgomery Lutheran apologist John Warwick Montgomery does believe that conversion is totally the work of the Holy Spirit but also believes that the Holy Spirit works through the evidence provided by the apologist to remove the obstacles to faith (Faith Founded on Fact, Newburgh, IN: Trinity Press, 1978). “If you reject Him it will not be because of a deficiency of evidence but because of a perversity of will.”
More on Reason and the Holy Spirit Norman Geisler “The Holy Spirit is necessary for full assurance of the truths of Christianity, and he alone prompts people to believe in God’s saving truth. The Holy Spirit works in and through evidence, but not separate from it. As the Spirit of a rational God, he does not bypass the head on the way to the heart…”
Compare the Islamic and Christian Concept of God A debate between William Lane Craig and Jamal Bedawi at the University of Illinois
What to Expect Unlikely to Convert – both debaters do fairly well and it is unlikely this debate will sway the Christian or Muslim from their current position. Draws out Concepts – the debate does do a fairly good job of drawing out a few distinctions between the Muslim and Christian conception of God and Jesus Debating Tactics – some interesting tactics are displayed by both sides showing the debaters skills in rhetoric
Craig’s Opening Statement
I.Christian conception of God is true I.Jesus regarded himself as the unique divine son of God II.Jesus’ resurrection from the dead by God vindicated his claims II.Islamic conception of God is inadequate I.Philosophically it is morally inadequate I.God’s love is shown conditional and partial – but should not be as the greatest conceivable being II.Historically it is inadequate I.Qur’an and New Testament make conflicting claims about Jesus and the NT is a better source for the historical Jesus
Bedawi’s Opening Statement
I.Qur’an – ample description of “God’s closeness” (Wadud) II.Jesus was one of the 5 greatest prophets (all prophets are Muslim) III. Rebuttal of Craig on Jesus’ divinity: I.Downplays “son of God” (term servant is superior) II.Matthew 11:27 (“God gave me everything”) III. No knowledge “of the hour”: shows lack of divinity IV. Jesus greater than the angels – still a creature V.God raised Jesus – greater power apart from Jesus VI. Resurrection – does not imply divinity (straw man) IV. Rebuttal of Craig on Islam: I.Islam is not an offshoot (all share one source – Allah) II.Makes several assertions on Allah’s love III. God loves “good deeds” and hates “evil deeds” IV. But, morally inadequate: Allah loving the sinner and saint equally (contradictory?)
Bedawi’s Opening Statement V.Rebutting Craig (rapid-fire assertion) continued: I.Gives several examples of how Allah loves II.John 14 – (way, truth, and life) – speaking for Allah on the true path as revealed by all of the prophets III.Downplays John 10 – “I and the Father are one.” – one in “purpose” not “essence.” IV.Downplays “he who sees me sees God” – metaphor and besides, “nobody ever saw God” (except Jesus?) V.Thomas exegesis: “my godly lord” VI.Downplays Mark 14 – “worship from others” VII.Downplays “before Abraham was, I am” (mere foreknowledge) VIII. Jews would have left Jesus alone if he claimed to be God (really?)
Bedawi’s Opening Statement V.More rapid-fire assertions: I.If Jesus were God he would have been clearer about it “was Jesus not clear enough that he need to be clearer” (rework of Bedawi’s opening about the hiddeness of God line from Islamic tradition) II.Should not believe the disciples in all matters – they were not prophets (undermining his own mine?) III.Mathew 28 on baptism – 4 th century forgery? IV.Eusebius didn’t refer to trinity – came later at Nicene V.I Timothy 3:16 – “He” instead of “God” who was manifest in the flesh VI.Bible not authentic anyway – British museum codex-A (again, does this not undercut the branch Bedawi is sitting on?)
Craig’s Rebuttal (12 min)
Craig’s Rebuttal I.Christian conception of God is true I.Jesus regarded himself as the unique divine son of God – Bedawi did not dispute authenticity of Jesus’ statements: I.Servant more honorific comment is from a quranic perspective II.“God the Son”/“Son of God” distinction (John 1:18 ‘only begotten God’) III.“Matthew 11” on “if God gave everything” argument was incoherent IV.Mark 13:32: “Jesus must know the hour” (but Jesus was genuinely man) V.Noted the mistranslation of the Greek in John (on Thomas)
Craig’s Rebuttal II.Jesus’ resurrection from the dead by God vindicated his claims (empty tomb; appearances and origin of the church) - Bedawi did not dispute these three facts of history but tried to “soften the blow” I.Resurrection does not make you divine – agreed II.No other “resurrection” like Jesus’ (other cases are revivifications) III.Islamic conception of God is inadequate I.Philosophically it is morally inadequate – Bedawi made no positive arguments for Islam – and Bedawi agrees “God must be all-loving” I.Much rhetoric on both sides as Bedawi claims Allah is “all loving” and Craig claims his love is conditional II.On historical inadequacy – Bedawi made no case at all
Discussion End of Session 5-6 Time for open discussion about the material covered
Opener "Why is there pain, evil and suffering?“ (17%) Christian researcher George Barna polled thousands of Americans in 1989 and asked the question, "If you could ask God one question, what would it be?" The answer by an overwhelming margin was? … “Undoubtedly the greatest intellectual obstacle to belief in God.” William Lane Craig
Dr. Ravi Zacharias (Intro) Is There Meaning in Evil and Suffering (The Faith & Science Lecture Forum)
The Problem of Evil Theodicy: is a specific branch of theology and philosophy that attempts to reconcile the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the existence of God being all-good and all-powerful
David Hume – Logical Problem 18 th Century Scottish Philosopher on the logical problem of evil “ Is He willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is impotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Whence then is evil? " I.If God is all-powerful G(p) then He must be able to prevent evil E(a) I.G(p) -> E(a) II.If God is all-good G(g) then He must desire to prevent evil E(d) I.G(g) -> E(d) III.If God is able to prevent evil and has the desire to prevent evil, then evil should not exist I.(E(a) · E(d)) -> ~E IV.Evil does exist. I.E V.Therefore; God is either limited in power or goodness, or both. I.Therefore; ~E(a) v ~E(d) – from iii (DT and MT) II.Therefore; ~G(p) v ~G(g) – from I and ii (MT)
David Hume – Logical Problem 18 th Century Scottish Philosopher on the logical problem of evil If God is all-powerful then He must be able to prevent evil This is arguably false – God cannot do what is logically impossible or contrary to His nature If God is all-good then He must desire to prevent evil This is arguably false – there may be morally sufficient reasons to allow evil for a greater purpose
C. S. Lewis on Free Will “Free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata; of creatures that worked like machines; would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other....”
Alvin Plantinga on Free Will “Now God can create free creatures, but he cannot cause or determine them to do only what is right. For if he does so, then they are not significantly free after all; they do not do what is right freely. To create creatures capable of moral good, therefore, he must create creatures capable of moral evil; and he cannot leave these creatures free to perform evil and at the same time prevent them from doing so.”
Augustine God thought we were worth creating “A runaway horse is better than a stone.”
Dr. Ravi Zacharias (25 min) Is There Meaning in Evil and Suffering (The Faith & Science Lecture Forum)
Probabilistic Problem of Evil The logical problem of evil is easily defeated using possible-worlds arguments consistent with the Christian worldview – but logical possibilities often come cheap! The probabilistic problem of evil draws out the quantity, degree and apparent pointlessness of evil and gratuitous suffering and tries to show possible-worlds solutions are not probable with respect to our background knowledge.
Christian Worldview Response The chief purpose of life is not happiness, but knowledge of God (Ravi talks about worship here) Mankind is in a state of rebellion against God and His purpose (Ravi noted cumulative evil is individual evil multiplied) God’s purpose is not just for this life but spills over beyond the grave into eternal life The knowledge of God is an incommensurable good William Lane Craig – Hard Questions, Real Answers
C. S. Lewis “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world…No doubt Pain as God's megaphone is a terrible instrument: it may lead to final and unrepented rebellion. But it gives the only opportunity the bad man can have for amendment. It removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.”
Dr. Ravi Zacharias (from the floor 7 min) Is There Meaning in Evil and Suffering (The Faith & Science Lecture Forum)
Discussion End of Session 7 Time for open discussion about the material covered
Writings of Antiquity (chart by Norman Geisler, 1986) Author/ BookDate WrittenEarliest CopiesTime GapNo. of Copies Percent Accuracy Homer, Iliad800 B. C c. 400 B.C.c. 400 yrs64395 Herodotus History B. C.c. A. D. 900c. 1,350 yrs8? Thucydides, History B. C. c. A. D. 900c. 1,300 yrs8? Plato400 B. C.c. A. D. 900c. 1,300 yrs 7? Caesar, Gallic Wars B. C.c. A. D. 900c. 1,000 yrs10? Livy, History of Rome 59 B. C. - A. D. 17 4th cent.(partial) mostly 10th cent. c. 400 yrs c. 1,000 yrs 1 partial 19 copies ? Tacitus, Annals A. D. 100c. A. D. 1100c. 1,000 yrs20? Pliny Secundus, Natural History A. D c. 850c. 750 yrs7? New Testament A. D c. 114 (fragment) c. 200 (books) c. 250 (most of N.T.) c. 325 (complete N.T.) ±50 yrs 100 yrs 150 yrs 225 yrs 5366 [Greek] 99+
Craig on the Resurrection (6 min)
Craig on the Origin of Christian Faith (6 min)
Craig on the Empty Tomb (9 min)
Craig on Jesus’ Appearances (12 min)
Craig on Gospel’s Confirmation (10 min)
Craig on Philosophical Presuppositions (4 min)
Discussion End of Session 8 Time for open discussion about the material covered
Opener Less than the volume of a pinhead All of the world’s unique information on the Internet (2007) is estimated to be less than 10^20 bytes (100 million, trillion bytes) If all of this information were stored as DNA – how much space would you need?
On The Origin of Life From Genesis Genesis 1:1 - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:11 - Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. Genesis 1:20 - And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." Genesis 1:24 - And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” Genesis 1:26 - Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." Genesis 2:2 - By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
On The Origin of Life Five Dominant Views Darwinian Evolution Theistic Evolution Self- Organization Intelligent Design + God Intelligent Design + God Cosmic Ancestry Cosmic Ancestry Naturalism Supernaturalism Biblically Compatible + abiogenesis Chance + necessity + time God-directed front-loaded design?
Terms Used Neo-Darwinism: In general it is the combined view developed in the mid-20 th century from genetics and Darwinian evolution theory where the gene is the primary unit of evolution and contingency and material mechanisms cause variation Biogenesis: Life arising from life Abiogenesis: Life arising from non-life Biological Evolution: Descent with modification
Appeal to Ignorance God of the Gaps: a version of the logical fallacy: “appeal to ignorance” when science fails to provide a naturalistic explanation one infers a supernatural one. Cuts both ways: Scientism will often cry “god- of-the-gaps” and then appeal to future discovery to fill the gap – but this no defeater for a supernatural inference! Appealing to Gaps: provides no explanation
Darwinian Dogma It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane Richard Dawkins Let me lay my cards on the table. If I were to give an award for the single best idea anyone ever had, I'd give it to Darwin, ahead of even Newton or Einstein and everyone else. In a single stroke, the idea of evolution by natural selection unifies the realm of life, meaning and purpose with the realm of space and time, cause and effect, mechanism and physical law. Daniel Dennett - Darwin's Dangerous Idea (1995)
Taking Darwinism Seriously Christians need to take the challenges of Darwinism seriously and not hand-wave it off with pithy uninformed comments. [e.g. Million monkeys on typewriters analogy]
Darwinism Intro (9 min)
Irreducible Complexity (17 min)
Irreducible Complexity Irreducibly complex systems: cannot be built gradually because their end-function does not exist until all requisite components are in place Co-option: a process by which components from one functional system are reused in another novel functional system
Biochemical Predestination (21min)
Intelligent Design (13 min)
yes Design Inference Filter Necessity Design HP HP – High Probability IP – Intermediate Probability SP – Small Probability Spec – Specification IP SP+Spec Chance no Is an effect the result of a design-cause?
Mountain Archer Analogy 1. HP – hitting the valley 2. IP – hitting one of a small number of trees you were not aiming for 3. IP / Sp – landing in a stream running through the valley you were aiming for (design can slip through – false-negative) 4. SP - hitting a particular stone you were not aiming for 5. SP / Sp – hitting a small bull's-eye intentionally (only design can be caught here – no false-positives) Imagine shooting an arrow off a mountain to a 10 sq. mile valley 10,000 feet below
Design Inference Complexity + Specification = Design 1. There is a relationship between small probability and complexity 2. To infer design the probability must be very small (below the universal bound) 3. A specification is a conditionally independent pattern
Improbability Bound If the odds are less than 1e-150 for a contingent (chance) cause to produce a complex specified effect, then the effect obtaining is below the limit of statistical possibility The GUID - 3F2504E0-4F89-11D3-9A0C-0305E82C3301 (5.3e-36)
Design Inference Complexity Specification A A B B A – Natural Process B - Design C – Limit of natural process C C
Conclusion 1. The Design Inference is straightforward – how you apply it to biology is not 2. The I.D. camp must improve their methodology for applying the Design Inference to biological systems 3. The Darwinist camp, instead of engaging in sound scientific and philosophical debate, is trying to excommunicate I.D. from the scientific community 4. The jury is still out…
Discussion End of Session 9-10 Time for open discussion about the material covered