From a “Sunday School” lesson…

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Or you will also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly [deserves], That he not be wise in his own eyes. (Proverbs 26.4-5 NASB)



Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Or you will also be like him.

Every unbelieving objection to faith stems from a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the teachings of Christianity. To illustrate this point, think of driving on the left hand side of the road. Most of you all would think that it is absurd to drive on the left hand side of the road, but that is only because you do not live somewhere like England, where driving on the left hand side of the road is the norm. When things are pulled out of their context they cease to make sense. The same is true for claims meant to be understood in terms of the Christian worldview which supports them. Objections are often a result of attempting to make the Bible say something that it is not saying to begin with.

Answer a fool as his folly [deserves], That he not be wise in his own eyes.

Also, unbelieving objections to Christianity are possible only when elements necessary to make them are borrowed from Christianity. When non-Christians make arguments against Christianity they appeal to things that can only make sense if Christianity is true. If someone argues against Christianity while assuming that it is true then that person is refuting his or herself. We will turn now to some specific objections to see these two principles in play.



Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Or you will also be like him.

Unbelievers often object to miracles in a mocking tone. They will say that miracles are not possible, so things like the virgin birth and the resurrection could never have happened. Let’s place miracle claims in their context. God created the entire universe and sustains it every moment of every day. He is the ultimate cause behind every secondary cause we see in the universe. Cannot a God like this work to have a woman give birth to a child without sexual intercourse? Can He not raise someone from the dead? Given that the God of Christian Scripture exists there is no reason to think that these things never could or never did happen and every reason to think that they have.

Answer a fool as his folly [deserves], That he not be wise in his own eyes.

I said that unbelievers have to assume Christianity true to even make these sorts of objections though. How is the unbeliever doing that in this case? Usually, when pressed to provide an explanation for why miracles cannot happen, the unbeliever responds by saying that miracles violate the laws of nature. The very simple response to this is that without God there are no laws of nature. God orders the universe the way that it is so that typically women do not have babies without having sexual intercourse and men are not raised from the dead. We observe things like this over and over and over again and formulate general principles to describe them. If there is no God back of everything to bring it about that things continue to happen in an orderly fashion then there is no reason to think that any future experience of like events will ever result in the same effects.



Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Or you will also be like him.

Often science is set over against religion as though the two are completely at odds with one another. This fails to take into account that God has created us with senses and reasoning abilities so that we might come to know God, the world, and ourselves; the three being tied up in one another. Scripture gives place to science. We do not merely jump about from conclusion to conclusion without observation and inferences and experimentation. Scripture does not have every answer to every scientific question and it does not ever state that it does. Insofar as Scripture does take a position on a scientific view however, the view expressed in Scripture is the true one. We must not misrepresent Scripture as being somehow opposed to science when it is not.

Answer a fool as his folly [deserves], That he not be wise in his own eyes.

Again, science is only possible because Christianity is true. There is no reason to think that our inward thoughts correspond to the outward world unless God made them do so and then told us that He did (which, He did). Science cannot support itself; the scientific method cannot be tested using the scientific method. Science is not the only way of knowing, it is based upon a supporting structure that includes principles like regularities in nature. The only way we can know that there are regularities in nature and that things will tend to be the same in future experience as they have been in past experience is if Christianity is true and God is governing this world. Otherwise, everything is random and subject to unpredictable and radical change which would completely undermine the scientific endeavor.



Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Or you will also be like him.

If we define evolution as an inherently naturalistic process then it cannot be reconciled with the Christian faith. If we speak of evolution as being merely change over time involving observable mutations, gene drift and natural selection then we can of course accept it with no problems as we understand that this is God’s world and He is behind everything which occurs in it. The occurrences we have in view here are those which are a second layer of explanation in the realm of biology. If we ask how a car was started we can give many different types of answers which are all correct. For example, an electric system fired a spark which lit gas mixed with air to get the engine running. We might also say that Susie turned the key. We might say that God brought it about that the car should start. All of these are non-contradictory explanations on different levels and of different types of how the car was started. The same is the case in explanations of all of the different life we see all around us. (Please do not misunderstand me here; I am in no way arguing for “theistic evolution” as traditionally understood. The careful reader will note that I am making most of the point turn on how we even define “evolution”, which I think is correct. I do not mean to argue with respect to specific biological categories and do not pretend to be knowledgeable enough in that area to be able to do so.)

Answer a fool as his folly [deserves], That he not be wise in his own eyes.

Biological evolutionary theory starts with the existence of the universe and life to begin with but has no really satisfactory answer as to where any of it came from. The same is not true in the Christian worldview. God created the world and created all of the flora and fauna we see around us. God created humans in His image or likeness with higher faculties than all of the rest of creation that we might come to know Him. Our senses are designed to give us true information when they are functioning properly in a cognitive environment for which they are designed. If naturalistic evolution is true then we have no reason to think that it is true as our faculties may not be such that their activities result in the acquisition of true beliefs.


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