Apologetics

A Christian Response to Richard Dawkins' Atheism (Part 1)

With today’s fascination for “coming out” as something, many have decided to “come out” as atheists all over the world. Atheism is a phenomenon that surrounds us whether we realize it or not. We all likely have classmates, neighbors, or co-workers who are atheists. This situation should remind us that having atheists in our life means having people in our life, who also claim to be atheists.

Recently, I saw a woman shock her former church by announcing online: “I am an Atheist.” For her and her former church, the challenge of atheism is not just a philosophical challenge. It is a personal one. Atheism is a challenge to men and women, many of whom are young, and some of whom may even read these words.

The following apologia is my response to a particular version of modern atheism, the one recently popularized by English scientist, Richard Dawkins. In his massive polemic against God, The God Delusion (2006), Dawkins filled 374 pages with denunciations of “the pernicious delusion” of God. Dawkins summarized his claims in a much shorter piece published with the release of his book. My response to Dawkins will be based on his shorter article: “Why There Almost Certainly Is No God.” Read more about A Christian Response to Richard Dawkins' Atheism (Part 1)

Is There A God?

(About this series)

CHAPTER II: IS THERE A GOD?

BY REV. THOMAS WHITELAW, M. A., D. D., KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND

Whether or not there is a supreme personal intelligence, infinite and eternal, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, the Creator, upholder and ruler of the universe, immanent in and yet transcending all things, gracious and merciful, the Father and Redeemer of mankind, is surely the profoundest problem that can agitate the human mind. Lying as it does at the foundation of all man’s religious beliefs—as to responsibility and duty, sin and salvation, immortality and future blessedness, as to the possibility of a revelation, of an incarnation, of a resurrection, as to the value of prayer, the credibility of miracle, the reality of providence,—with the reply given to it are bound up not alone the temporal and eternal happiness of the individual, but also the welfare and progress of the race. Nevertheless, to it have been returned the most varied responses.

The Atheist, for example, asserts that there is no God. The Agnostic professes that he cannot tell whether there is a God or not. The Materialist boasts that he does not need a God, that he can run the universe without one. The (Bible) Fool wishes there was no God. The Christian answers that he cannot do without a God.

I. THE ANSWER OF THE ATHEIST

“There is no God”

In these days it will hardly do to pass by this bold and confident negation by simply saying that the theoretical atheist is an altogether exceptional specimen of humanity, and that Read more about Is There A God?

A History of the Problem of Evil - Overview

The seemingly unavoidable contradiction between the existence of a personal God and the reality of evil provides a crucial point of entry not only for (1) argument for and against the existence of God and (2) discussion of the nature and character of such a God; but also, as Neiman suggests, the problem of evil is itself an organizing principle for history of philosophy.1 Thus the theologian will not be the only interlocutor on the subject, but rather in fact the philosopher must also dedicate significant energies to understanding and ultimately dealing with the problem. Perhaps if Neiman is correct, the problem has even less to do with philosophy of religion than with philosophy itself, or then again, as I would suggest the problem of evil affords an example of the unbreakable bond between religion and philosophy and the resultant necessity of interdisciplinarity between the two.

Noting the significance, then, of the issue, this present discussion will (1) identify major theorists and their statements of the problem within context, and (2) give attention to various attempts at resolution also within a chronological context. I will neither offer critiques of these various attempts nor propose a theodicy (explanation or defense of why God permits evil), nor will I attempt to offer a comprehensive discussion of pertinent thinkers and their views. The focus here will be an introductory survey intended to provide a working and historically informed definition of the problem of evil from theological and philosophical vantage points. Read more about A History of the Problem of Evil - Overview

The Certainty and Importance of the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead

(About this series)

CHAPTER III THE CERTAINTY AND IMPORTANCE OF THE BODILY RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST FROM THE DEAD

BY REV. R. A. TORREY, D. D.
(Copyrighted by R. A. Torrey in Great Britain and America and published herewith by permission. {sic}

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the corner-stone of Christian doctrine. It is mentioned directly one hundred and four or more times in the New Testament. It was the most prominent and cardinal point in the apostolic testimony. When the apostolic company, after the apostasy of Judas Iscariot, felt it necessary to complete their number again by the addition of one to take the place of Judas Iscariot, it was in order that he might “be a witness with us of His resurrection” (Acts 1:21, 22). The resurrection of Jesus Christ was the one point that Peter emphasized in his great sermon on the Day of Pentecost. His whole sermon centered in that fact. Its key-note was, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:32, cf. vs. 24-31). When the Apostles were filled again with the Holy Spirit some days later, the one central result was that “with great power gave the Apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” The central doctrine that the Apostle Paul preached to the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers on Mars Hill was Jesus and the resurrection. (Acts 17:18, cf. Acts 23:6; 1 Cor. 15:15.) The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the two fundamental truths of the Gospel, the other being His atoning death. Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:1. 3, 4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; For I Read more about The Certainty and Importance of the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead

Can We See God in Creation?

Can We See God in Creation? This is a profound question—and the answer is both yes and no.

Yes

First—yes, we can see our glorious God in creation:

O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens! (NKJV, Ps. 8:1)

The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
(Ps. 19:1, 2; cf. Job 12:7-10)

No

But in a second sense—no, we cannot see God in creation. Consider the following Scripture passages: Read more about Can We See God in Creation?

All Things Continue As They Were?

There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife” (ESV, Luke 20:27-33).

In the Jewish world of Jesus’ day, the Sadducees were the most skeptical. Their understanding of the Old Testament focused on the “literal” or normal meaning of the words and prioritized the first five books as more authoritative then the rest of the Old Testament.

Their method of interpreting the Bible led them to “deny that there is a resurrection” (Luke 20:27, ESV) and reject angels and spirits (Acts 23:8). We are informed by the Pharisee and Jewish historian Josephus (c. 37-c. 100) that they rejected the “belief of the immortal duration of the soul, and the punishments and rewards in Hades,” and the sovereignty of God (The Wars of the Jews, 2.8.14).

In our day, we would identify Christians holding these views as liberal. The Sadducees were obviously skeptical of the more fantastic claims of the Bible, and they leaned heavily towards the materialism of Epicureanism (Acts 17:18). And in this tendency, they are similar to moderate evangelicals and liberal Christians. Their normal or “literal” is dependent on an understanding of God’s word and world that does not match God’s revelation. Read more about All Things Continue As They Were?

Biblical Apologetics and Ministry Today

From Paraklesis, a resource of Baptist Bible Seminary (Spring, 2013). Used by permission.

Apologetics is derived from the Greek noun apologia and verb apologeomai, which appear 18 times in the New Testament. In each instance, the terms emphasize the sense of defending or vindicating oneself and/or truth claims.

The New Testament authors repeatedly affirm the critical importance of defending or justifying the truthfulness of the Christian truth claims. For example, Paul commends the Philippian church for supporting him in the defense of the gospel (Phil 1:7, 16). Later, Paul defended himself against unjust allegations (1 Cor 9:3) and he defended his apostleship (2 Cor 12:19).

Toward the end of his ministry he wrote that at his first defense no one supported him though the Lord stood with him (2 Tim 4:16). When Paul appeared before the Roman authorities of Felix (Acts 24), Festus (Acts 25), and Agrippa (Acts 26), he presented a defense of himself and the Christian faith. Scripture writers repeatedly appealed to historical facts and logical arguments in presenting, explaining, and defending the truthfulness and veracity of the gospel. Read more about Biblical Apologetics and Ministry Today

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