Three Major Questions all Christians Must Be Prepared to Answer in Defending the Christian Faith
How can Creation be true when Evolution is a proven fact?
Can you prove Jesus really rose from the grave?
How do you know the Bible is the Word of God and not just Man’s?
Apologetics – A ready (reasonable) defense of the Faith
“…but sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” I Peter 3:15 NASB
To help make these three questions more memorable, three acronyms will be proposed and defined to help you in communicating a ready defense.
Response to Question #1 - Evolution
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1 NASB
Pithecanthropus erectus: The F-A-C-E1 that demonstrates the farce of evolution.
F Fossils. The fossil record is an embarrassment to evolutionists.
Darwin wrote, “Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely-graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record.”
Now that we have progressed some 120 years, has science solved this mystery?
Harvard evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould says, the fossil record is an “embarrassment” because of “the extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record [which] persists as the trade secret of paleontology”
Gould has even ruled out Archaeopteryx as an intermediary form. As a result of this lack of evidence, Pro-Avis has been “created” by Yale’s John Ostrom as a possible intermediary form with no supporting fossil evidence. Due to this lack of evidence, a new theory, Punctuated Equilibrium has been constructed. Punctuated equilibrium basically contends that major evolutionary advances must have taken place in single large steps, thus concluding that the egg came before the chicken!
The fossil record alone has been the demise of Darwinian Evolution.
A Ape-Men. Frauds abound.
Pithecanthropus Erectus (a.k.a. Java Man, Homo Erectus) – Consisted of a skullcap, femur and three teeth. The femur was found fifty feet from the skullcap. Two human skulls were found in close proximity, but never reported as a part of the find.
Piltdown Man – A jaw of an ape was stained and reshaped to make it appear as though it matched a human skull. Declared a fraud in 1953, but a good example of how scientists and good science are not synonymous.
Peking Man – Based on one tooth discovered in China. Several skulls were found with blunt “tools”. These were determined to be no more than monkey skulls that were bashed in by the tools they were found with. Yet, many choose not to confuse the truth with the facts!
Nebraska Man – Based on a single tooth that was later attached to an actual skull, which was then attached to the skeleton of a wild pig. An entire “pre-human” male and female were created from this single tooth, complete with facial features and hair. This fraud was used in the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925 to prove evolution was a fact. What’s up with that?
Not one serious example of a transitional “pre-human” has ever been found.
C Chance. The idea that the complexity of our universe came about through chance is a statistical impossibility.
Dr. James Coppedge, a statistician, explains, “The probability of a single protein molecule being arranged by chance is 1 in 10161, using all atoms on earth and allowing all the time since the world began…For a minimum set of the required 239 protein molecules for the smallest theoretical life, the probability is 1 in 10119,879. It would take 10119,879 years on average to get a set of such proteins. That is 10119,879 times the estimated age of the earth and is a figure with 119,831 zeros.”
Mathematics and evolution do not mix…there just is not, nor can ever be, enough time!
E Entropy. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics militates against the theory of evolution.
Evolution postulates that everything goes from randomness to complexity and from disorder to order. Entropy demonstrates the opposite – everything tends toward disorder. Entropy is a documented fact of science, which is proven using the scientific method, whereas evolution is considered a low-grade hypothesis since it is not repeatable or supported by observation. The laws of conservation and cause and effect also militate against the theory.
Bottom Line: If Adam did not eat the forbidden fruit, if he did not fall into a life of constant sin terminating in death, what need is there for redemption? Evolution and Christianity cannot be reconciled. Theistic Evolution is a contradiction of terms.
"So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men" Romans 5:18 NASB
"if chance exists in any size, shape or form, God cannot exist. The two are mutually exclusive. If chance existed, it would destroy God's sovereignty. If God is not sovereign, he is not God. If he is not God, he simply is not. If chance is, God is not. If God is, chance is not." – Theologian R.C. Sproul
Why do men still not believe?
"Why does the scientific community not greedily embrace its startling discovery? Why is the observation of design handled with intellectual gloves? The dilemma is that while one side of the elephant is labeled intelligent design, the other side might be labeled God." Dr. Behe from Darwin's Black Box
What does Scripture say?
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…" Romans 1:18-22 NASB
Heart of the Matter
The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart.
To save a world that's dying is the only place to start.
You can sway one's opinion, turn their point of view.
But only 'till the heart is changed can the old become the new.
- Brother's Keeper
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill can not be hidden.” Matt 5:14 NASB
Response to Question #2 - The Resurrection
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest F-E-A-T1 in the annuls of human history.
F Fact. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is an undeniable fact of history.
Dr. Simon Greenleaf was the Royal Professor of Law at Harvard and greatest authority on legal evidence in the 19th century. After being goaded into examining the evidence for the resurrection by his students, Greenleaf suggested in 1846 that any cross-examination of the eye-witness testimonies recorded in Scripture would result in “an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability and truth” (Hanegraaff, p.136)
E Empty Tomb. The first major support for the resurrection of Christ is the empty tomb.
No one challenged Peter’s Pentecost assertion (Acts 2:24-33)
Joseph’s tomb was known…why didn’t the Jewish authorities present the body?
Jews and Romans both acknowledged the empty tomb with a fabrication (Matt 28:11-15)
If the guards slept, how did they know it was the disciples?
Why didn’t the guards awake as a 2-ton stone was rolled up an incline?
Why would depressed and cowardly disciples risk death by disturbing a stone with a Roman seal?
Why would guards risk death by falling asleep guarding the tomb of one they had heard say he would rise again?
Why would the disciples re-wrap the grave clothes and spices while stealing the body?
No historical record from the 1st or 2nd century is written attacking the factuality of the empty tomb or claiming the discovery of a corpse. Tom Anderson said, “The silence of history is deafening when it comes to testimony against the resurrection” (Josh McDowell’s The Resurrection Factor. P.66).
A Appearances. The second major support for the resurrection of Christ is the appearance of Christ afterward.
To Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-17)
To the other women (Matt 28:9-10)
To Peter (I Cor 15:5)
To disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)
To 10 disciples ((Luke 24:36-43)
To the 11 disciples (John 20:26-29)
To 7 disciples by Galilee (John 21:1-23)
To more than 500 (I Cor 15:6)
To the 11 at the ascension (John 21:1-23)
T Transformation. The third greatest apologetic for the resurrection is the radical transformation that took place in the lives of Christ’s disciples.
The existence and growth of the Christian Church
The change in the disciples: Cowards Lions
The day of Pentecost (John 14:6 and Acts 1:8 Acts 2:1-41)
The change of the day of worship to Sunday (Acts 20:7 and I Cor 16:2)
The Nature of Christ’s Resurrection Body
It was a real body (John 20:20)
It was identified as the same one laid in the tomb (John 20:25-29)
It was changed so as to never again to be subject to death and limitations (I Cor 15:52 and John 20:26)
It proved Christ to be the Son of God (Rom 1:4)
It confirmed the truth of all Christ had said (Matt 28:6)
It makes certain the resurrection of all (I Cor 15:20-22)
It makes certain the coming judgement (Acts 1:31)
It gives assurance of the acceptance with God (Rom 4:25)
It guarantees power for service (Eph 1:19-22)
It guarantees the believer’s resurrection (II Cor 4:15 and I Cor 15:51-58)
It designates Christ as head of the Church (Eph 1:9-22)
It means a sympathetic High Priest in heaven (Heb 4:14-16)
Jesus said, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen.” (Rev 1:17-18)
Jesus said…”I am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” (John 11:25)
Jesus said…”I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
Response to Question #3 – Bible: Divine in Origin
We can use M-A-P-S1 to demonstrate that the Bible is Divine in origin.
M Manuscripts. Since we don’t have the original biblical manuscripts, we must ask, “How good are the copies?” The Bible has stronger manuscript support than any other work of classical literature, including those of Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, and Tacitus.
Eye witness authenticity
Old Testament (Moses)
Chronicled the events in Egypt
40 years in the desert
Final encampment before entering the Promised Land
Luke gathered eyewitness testimony, “…carefully investigating everything…” Luke 1:1-3
Peter reminds us the disciples, “did not follow cleverly invented stories” but “were eyewitnesses of [Jesus’] majesty” II Peter 1:16
Secular Historians – confirm many of the events, people, places and customs
Josephus (before A.D. 100)
Tacitus (around A.D. 120)
Suetonius (A.D. 110)
Pliny the Younger (A.D. 110)
Early Church fathers (prior t 250 A.D.)
Irenaeus, Tertullian, Julius Africanus and Clement of Rome
All but 25 verses of New Testament are quoted by early church fathers.
A Archaeology. There is not one example of Archaelogical evidence that refutes the historicity of the Bible.
Middle Eastern archaeological investigations have proven the Bible to be true and unerringly accurate in its historical descriptions. Nelson Glueck, a renowned Jewish archaeologist, states, "No archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.''
Dr. William Albright, who was not a friend of Christianity and was probably the foremost
authority in Middle East archaeology in his time, said this about the Bible: "There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of the Old Testament."
Here are a couple of examples of the historical accuracy of the Bible. A good example is found in Genesis 14. The Bible speaks of Abraham's victory over Chedorlaomer and five
Mesopotamian kings. For years, the critics stated that these accounts were fictitious and many people discredited the Bible. In the 1960s, however, the Ebla tablets were discovered in northern Syria. The Ebla kingdom was a powerful kingdom in the twentieth century B.C. The Ebla tablets are records of its history. Thousands of tablets have been discovered. What is important is that many of these tablets make a reference to all five cities of the plain proving the Genesis 14 account to be accurate.
Another example is the story of Jericho recorded in the book of Joshua. For years skeptics thought the story of the falling walls of Jericho was a myth. However, in the 1930s, Dr. John Garstang made a remarkable discovery. He states, "As to the main fact, then, there remains no doubt: the walls fell outwards so completely, the attackers would be able to clamber up and over the ruins of the city." This is remarkable because city walls fall inward, not outward.
The March 5, 1990 issue of Time magazine featured an article called, "Score One For the Bible." In it, archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon claimed Jericho's walls had fallen suddenly. Many scholars feel this was caused by an earthquake which may also explain the damming of the Jordan. Additionally, grain was discovered, which shows the city was conquered quickly. This find adds credence to the biblical account. Further study by Brian Wood found the date of the fall of Jericho to match the Bible's date.
No book is as ancient, and at the same time, as convincingly accurate as the Bible.
P Prophecy. The Bible records predictions of events that could not be known or predicted by chance or common sense.
The prophecies in the Bible are very specific and accurate. Nostradamus claims to have made hundreds of prophecies that have come true, but if you read his prophecies, you will find them to be vague and unclear. His symbols and language can be taken to mean a number of historical events. Unlike many such prophecies, biblical prophecy is very specific.
Here are some examples. In Ezekiel 26, which was written in 587 B.C., Ezekiel prophesies that the mighty city of Tyre would be destroyed. Tyre was made up of two parts, a mainland port city and an island city half a mile off shore. Ezekiel predicted mainland Tyre would be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, many nations would fight against her, the debris of the city would be thrown into the ocean, the city would never be found again, and fishermen would come there to lay their nets.
In 573 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the mainland city of Tyre. Many of the refugees of the city sailed to the island and the island city of Tyre remained a powerful city. In 333 B.C., however, Alexander the Great laid siege to Tyre. Using the rubble of mainland Tyre, he built a causeway to the island city of Tyre. He then captured and completely destroyed the city.
Today, Tyre is a small fishing town where fishing boats come to rest and fisherman spread their nets. The great ancient city of Tyre to this day lies buried in ruins exactly as prophesied. If we were to calculate the odds of this event happening by chance, the figures would be astronomical. No, it was not by coincidence.
Here's another example. There are over three hundred prophecies made of Jesus in the Old Testament. Prophecies such as His place of birth, how he would die, His rejection by the nation of Israel, and so on. All these prophecies were made hundreds of years before Jesus ever came to earth. Because of the accuracy of the prophecies, many skeptics have believed that they must have been written after 70 A.D.--after the birth and death of Jesus, and the destruction of Jerusalem. They have thereby tried to deny that they are even prophecies.
However, in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. These scrolls contained the book of Isaiah and other prophetic books. When dated, they were found to be written from 120 to 100 B.C., well before Jesus was born. It would have been an incredible accomplishment for Jesus to have fulfilled all three hundred prophecies. Some say these prophecies were fulfilled by chance, but the odds for this would be exceptionally large. It would take more faith to believe in that chance happening than in the fact that Jesus is God and these prophecies are divinely inspired.
S Statistics. It is statically preposterous that any or all of the Bible's specific, detailed prophecies could have been fulfilled through chance, good guessing, or deliberate deceit.
What mere human could get 300 prophecies correct about one person (Jesus)? When you look at some of the improbable prophecies of the Old and New Testaments, it seems incredible that skeptics-knowing the authenticity and history of the texts-could reject the statistical verdict: The Bible is the Word of God and Jesus Christ is the Divine Messiah, just as scripture predicted many times and in many ways.
The Bible was written over a span of 1600 years by 40 authors in three languages on hundreds of subjects. And yet there is one common theme: God's redemption of humankind. Clearly, statistical probability concerning biblical prophecy is a powerful indicator of the trustworthiness of Scripture.
It’s easy for apologists to come to rely primarily on their arguments when responding to critics, which is something even Paul wouldn’t do (1 Cor. 2:3-5). What we learn from Scripture is the power of Scripture itself. "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword," Hebrews says (4:12). Isaiah 55:11 says that God’s word will accomplish his will. In Acts 2:37 we see the results of the proclamation of the word of God in changed people.
So, where am I going with this? I wonder how many people who object to our insistence that our "holy book" is the only true word of God have ever read any of it! Before we launch into a lengthy apologetic for Scripture, it might be good to get them to read it and let the Spirit open their minds to see its truth (1 Cor. 2:6-16).
The Anvil? God's Word.
Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith's door
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime:
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
"How many anvils have you had," said I,
"To wear and batter all these hammers so?"
"Just one," said he, and then, with twinkling eye,
"The anvil wears the hammers out, you know."
And so, thought I, the anvil of God's word,
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed . . . the hammer's gone.
1. Acronyms and related material is taken or adapted from: Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1993).
Bill Akright & Jeff Jensen