An Informal Introduction to Covenantal Apologetics: Part 5 – Arguments that Christianity is true.
By C.L. Bolt
There are many arguments that Christian tenets are true. For example, we believe that everything that begins to exist has a reason for its coming into being. Intuitively we believe that something cannot come from nothing, and so everything that comes about must have a cause for its coming into being. If there were no conditions to be met through a cause before something could start existing, then it seems that things would pop into being right away and saturate the entire universe with entities of all shapes and sizes. We are impressed by performing arts magicians because they seem to make things come into existence all by themselves and seemingly without cause or at least without their usual causes. We would not be so mystified if it was part of our normal everyday experience to see things popping into being uncaused. The Bible even gives us an indication that things begin to exist because they are caused, as this is God’s world and is an orderly place that He wants us to know in order to come to know Him better.
The Bible also teaches that the universe began to exist. It seems strange to think of a universe that has existed an infinitely long time, since we might wonder how, if there were an infinite number of points in time prior to this point in time, we ever reached this point of time. How long would it take you to count to infinity? Could you do so before tomorrow? Of course not. How long would it take the universe to count to infinity? Could it do so before to tomorrow? So one wonders how we reached this point in time if an infinite number of such points in time came before now. Scientists also tell us that the universe is expanding. Eventually the gravity between entities will weaken so much that orbits will deteriorate and entities will begin moving at higher speeds. Eventually the universe will expand outward so quickly that it reaches a heat death. At least, this is what scientists, theorizing, tell us may happen. But, if there was an infinite amount of time before now in which this heat death could have happened, then it would have already. Yet it has not happened, and so the universe must have had a beginning. Of course, much of this is speculation, and probably not very good argument, but we know that insofar as these things are true and are based upon good argumentation, they support what the Bible teaches, for the Bible teaches that the universe began to exist.
Now if everything which begins to come into being has a cause for its coming into being, and the universe began to exist, then the universe has a cause! We know from the Bible that this cause is God. God is the Creator. God created the universe, and He did so at a finite point in the past. The universe has not always existed; it was created by all-powerful God out of nothing. In the case of this particular argument then, we not only have the Bible to tell us the truth about the universe being caused by God, but we have an argument that confirms our belief.
The same is true about design. When we look out around us in the world we see amazing examples of design in our world. The universe is so finely tuned that it permits life, like us, to not only exist, but flourish! The human body is fearfully and wonderfully made, as medical doctors are finding more and more to be the case all the time. There are numerous other instances of incredible design in the natural world; instances of design that indicate someone designed them. There are parts that tiny living things use to propel themselves that look like what humans have built to propel boats. There are parts in creatures like eyes which are completely useless if they are not formed in one fell swoop much like a mousetrap is useless if all of its parts are not together at the same time. However, when there is design that means that there must be a designer, and again we know from the Bible that God not only created the world but designed what He created. So we know that the designer of the world is God, and we can know Him through the evidence of the argument from design in nature.
Even thinking of God leads us to believe that God exists. If God is the most perfect being as it appears that the Bible indicates, then there is nothing greater than God! But if we think of a god in this way who also exists when our God does not, then our God is no longer the greatest possible being or most perfect being, the other being is. Think through it again; it is greater for something to exist than not to exist. For example, a unicorn in our minds can be very nice, but the unicorn that only exists in our minds is not more real than the unicorn which actually exists. The unicorn which actually exists is greater than or more perfect than the unicorn that does not exist.
If we think of God as the most perfect being, He is only the most perfect being if He exists. If another perfect being is thought of but thought of as not existing, then there is a more perfect being, namely, the one that might exist. So then the perfect being, by definition, must exist. The unicorn does not exist because it is not a most perfect being. A unicorn can be the most perfect unicorn ever in our thoughts, but that is very different from thinking about a completely perfect being. So God exists.
Finally, we know that Jesus lived and was crucified under Pontius Pilate. We have historical testimonies outside of the Bible that tell us this. The Jewish historian Josephus and the Roman official Tacitus both tell us this, for example. We infer from the accounts of crucifixion in those days that Jesus was really and truly put to death. We know that He was then buried. He was buried in the tomb of a prominent figure whom people would have known about. Yet, the body of Jesus was found missing from the tomb. The Jewish authorities who were opposed to Jesus wanted people to go around and say that the body of Jesus had been stolen. But the only reason for them to make this story up is if they needed to try and explain why there was no body there! We know that there was no body in the tomb of Jesus, because the Jews were making up stories to cover up the fact that the body of Jesus was not there in the tomb. The body and tomb would have been right there in Jerusalem for anyone to go check out to see whether or not the body was really still there or was really gone, but no one ever turned up information that the body was still in the tomb. There is also a testimony concerning three women who were some of the first to find the empty tomb. Women in that society were much less trusted as witnesses by society. The authors of the Gospels would not have included this testimony of the empty tomb of Jesus had they of not actually told of their experience. Not only were there reports and evidence of a death and empty tomb, but there were appearances of the Lord Jesus to the disciples and many others as well. The Bible tells us plainly what happened; Jesus was crucified for our sins, buried, and raised again on the third day in accordance with the Word of God.
There are many more arguments like these for the truth of the Christian worldview, but we should not expect others to accept them, especially since they do not share our presuppositions which make these proofs so appealing and seemingly obviously sound.
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Chris, that was an excellent summation of theistic arguments held in a biblical framework. I wish these arguments were used in this way in debates with atheists in order to display the myth of neutrality and the foolishness of their worldview. I think James White’s debate with Dan Barker is one of the only times i’ve heard evidence presented in public debate in this fashion.
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