This is a hard topic to teach, as even if we were to prove that God exists, not necessarily leads to salvation as there’s no salvific truth. There are too many movies or clips we watch that are just as bad as pagan standards
You prove there is a, “god” though the person could be as lost as any other person!
Apologetics = “Give a Defense”
No, no, no. It is not of apologizing. Some people show up to a class I led and think we are learning how to say, “Sorry-well.” Which is important, but by definition, it is a bit off.
Apologetics is the study of, “Defense of the faith.” Why should you read this and believe in these truth claims?
Scripture commands us to be ready to always give an answer. (1 Peter 3:15)
From my understanding, those who are reading this blog are seeking to have a deeper understanding of the Word of God and have a desire to learn about defend the faith well. At least for my case, I had my father, who at the time was not a believer so I begin to dive into these profound truths of the gospel.
You may be wanting to be equipped to know to handle the truth as you have family, friends, neighbor or colleges who do not know Christ and want to share some of this information you learn. You’re at the right place.
Let’s jump into some of the hurdles we must jump over before we dive in further in this topic.
Understanding your Audience
Just because someone says they are an atheist, doesn’t necessarily mean all are coming from the same boat.
Let me explain;
1. Dogmatic Atheist
2. Practical Atheist
3. Virtual Atheist
This breakdown is a wide range of those who are not in Christ. “a” is negative pronoun of, “not” The etymological root for the word atheism originated before the 5th century BCE from the ancient Greek ἄθεος (atheos), meaning “without god(s)”.
Therefore, even “Agnosticism” which the word “Gnosticism” stems the idea of coming from nothing: (not knowing) are atheist. It may be familiar to Christians as we read in the scripture where John writes the letter of 1 John in this context written to believers presently facing an internal church problem of false teachers (Gnostics).
Thomas Jefferson famously held the banner of, “Deist” or “Deism,” denied the Christian concepts of miracles and the Trinity. They rejected the doctrines that Jesus was the promised Messiah and the incarnate Son of God. They are equally lost and are dead in their trespasses.
People get paranoid with the argument, “I don’t believe in God. Therefore, God doesn’t exist.” Well, that is a self-defeating statement.
It’s almost saying like, “God doesn’t believe in atheist. Therefore, an atheist does not exist.”
Anyone in their right mind with the laws of logic can discern how foolish of an argument that is. That is a foolish argument to base one’s argument for the existence of God.
So, who is a “Believer” and an, “Unbeliever”?
The Council of Trent, held between 1545 and 1563 in Trent, or Trento, in northern Italy; one of the major ecumenical council solidify these questions.
Since Post Protestant Reformation with Martin Luther and John Calvin, there has been the leaps and bounds for Christians to solidify the fundamental to the faith (Doctrinal Foundation) but here are few of the major that are core doctrinal stands.
1. Immaculate conception (Virgin birth)
2. Hypostatic Union: Christ incarnate (Fully God, fully man – against Arianism)
3. Doctrine of Trinity: (Father, Son, Holy Spirit: Against Modalism)
4. The Five Solas: (Eph. 2:8: Against Roman Catholicism)
5. Inerrancy of Scripture
Now we are not speaking of the disputed doctrines, but these are stands that are irreconcilable differences that we cannot disagree upon.
Defending the Faith
Here are the six meta-apologetic questions people from all walks will often ask;
1. Why should I believe in the bible?
2. Isn’t there salvation outside of Christianity?
3. How do we know God exists?
4. Could you justify God in the midst of evil?
5. Aren’t the miracles in the bible just made up?
6. Why should I believe in Jesus?
One of the questions we are attempting to answer in this blog is the question three, “How do we know God exists?”
Let me go with the general quick synoptic of arguments that are available from all sides.
1. Classical Arguments
- Cosmological argument:“His being first cause” Laws of logic
- Teleological argument: “His designing intellect” Greek word τέλος: we get that for the word “Telescope” the end product.
- Anthropological argument: “His personality” His deity and his being within mankind. Imago Dei.
- Ontological argument: “The perfection of God” Greek word ὄντως: it means just, “being” and who God is. Perfection and order.
- Moral argument: “His moral argument” Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
2. Evidentialist Arguments
Rationalist: Factual, truth, and realism.
Widely read… in the popular read to the lay readers. (Examples: Lee Strobel, Josh MacDowell)
Scientific: Enlightenment period (1700ish)
Why did it take the distinct from then? Miracles were not as common… they couldn’t just say that was just a miracle. They had to come up with naturalistic reasoning to back up Christianity.
3. Pre-suppositional Arguments
“Only God can make God known.” This is a famous phrase you hear.
If it is God then how can we talk with those apart from God?
Intellect: We have to appeal to this. We have to construct with there. How we have to answer this. Natural construct of it… valid knowledge of God
They approach the living God with presupposing that God exists. Intellectual knowledge of epistemological understanding; self-revelation in Christ. (Scripture)
- Transcendental argument
4. Fideist Arguments
What does it mean to know God? (Philippians 4) “I want to know God in his suffering!”
The question that beckons the “Knowledge of God”. Is knowledge of info ABOUT GOD? What is “truth”? Is knowing mean simple DATA?
“I came to make him KNOWN” (John 6:15) Is there anything else included in that? Is knowledge being something floating out there?
Based on the concluding questions to the answer, knowing God is more an intimate experience of God. The question even, “Who is God?” is not a mathematical occasion as it is intimately against the deity of the very person. God is a personal being rather than an impersonal being.
Therefore, if God exists, it is a folly way to attempt it.
As one of the early church fathers, Anselm of Canterbury said it very well trying to provide proof of the existence of God, “Fides Quaerens Intellectum” as translated from Latin, “Faith seeking understanding.”
Faith questing understanding: Faith comes as an align so that we may be able to understand Him. It’s faith first and then understanding.
The Art of Apologetics
I certainly have not figured all this out, but I will try to the best of my ability by God’s grace to communicate this hard topic.
I pray God will reveal himself as he has never before, and we will experience a great transformation by the power of the Holy Spirit.
God is the one who will bring the transformation and it will not be easy. He will give you and me discernment and we will understand his truth. I pray that you will have a hunger for the Lord and you will gaze into God’s face.
My aim and attempt to provide a framework to work with so that you can go back on this lifelong journey of defending the faith.
This battle with truth is a lifetime of a process so that you may pass on these truth claims to the next generation.