Was Jesus Death A Sham And His Resurrection A Hoax

By analyzing the medical and historical data, Dr. Alexander Metherell, a physician who also holds a doctorate in engineering, concluded Jesus could not have survived the gruesome rigors of crucifixion, much less the gaping wound that pierced his lung and heart. In fact, even before the crucifixion he was in serious to critical condition and suffering from hypovolemic shock as the result of a horrific flogging. The idea that he somehow swooned on the cross and pretended to be dead lacks any...

Objection 1 How Can God Send Children to Hell

People recoil at the thought of children languishing in hell. In fact, some atheists like to taunt Christians by dredging up writings by nineteenth-century evangelists who used horrific language to describe the ghastly experiences of children in hell. For example, a British priest nicknamed the children's apostle wrote these gruesome words A little child is in this red-hot oven. Hear how it screams to come out See how it turns and twists itself about in the fire It beats its head against the...

Deliberations

Questions for Reflection or Group Study Describe the education you received in evolution. In what ways did it affect your outlook toward God Before reading this interview with Bradley, how specifically did you believe life arose on earth Did the interview change your viewpoint How and why Based on the evidence, do you believe it's reasonable to infer the existence of an Intelligent Designer Why or why not In light of the facts, do you believe it would take more faith to believe life arose...

Theory 2 Chemical Affinity

With random chance being soundly rejected as an explanation for the origin of life, scientists turned to another theory that there must be some inherent attraction that would cause amino acids to spontaneously link up in the right sequence to create the protein molecules out of which living cells are made. This idea was popularized in a 1969 book, co-authored by Kenyon, which argued that the emergence of life actually might have been biochemically predestined because of these chemical bonding...

For Further Evidence

The Problem of Miracles. In Reasonable Faith, 127-155. Wheaton, 111. Crossway, 1994. R. Douglas Geivett and Gary R. Habermas, eds. In Defense of Miracles. Downers Grove, Ill. InterVarsity Press, 1997. C. S. Lewis. Miracles A Preliminary Study. New York Macmillan. 1947. J. A. Cover. Miracles and Christian Theism. In Reason for the Hope Within, ed. Michael J. Murray, 345-374. Grand Rapids, Mich. Eerdmans, 1999. Norman L. Geisler. Miracles and the Modern Mind. Grand Rapids,...

Portrait Of Christianity

We could have gone on to discuss other historical blots on Christianity, including the oppression of women, which has occurred despite Jesus' countercultural attitude toward them, and the way many people in the South on quoted the Bible in a twisted attempt to justify racism and slavery. But I had already spent a long time grilling Woodbridge. Without trying to defend the indefensible he had sought to provide some context and explanation In order to establish whether these episodes were...

Knock On The Door

As I had been observing Craig while he rattled off his reasons for believing in God, I noticed that he displayed a serene confidence in what he was saying. Before we finished, I wanted to get to the heart of what was producing that conviction. As you sit here right now, deep in your soul, do you know for a fact that Christianity is true I asked. Without hesitating, he replied, Yes, I do. Ultimately, how do you know for sure Ultimately, the way a Christian really knows that Christianity is true...

Is There Credible Evidence For Jesus Outside His Biographies

We have better historical documentation for Jesus than for the founder of any other ancient religion, said Edwin Yamauchi of Miami University, a leading expert on ancient history. Sources from outside the Bible corroborate that many people believed Jesus performed healings and was the Messiah, that he was crucified, and that despite this shameful death, his followers, who believed he was still alive, worshiped him as God. One expert documented thirty-nine ancient sources that corroborate more...

Gods Fallback Position

Okay, then, I said as I settled deeper into the couch, here's your chance to set the record straight. Let's lay some groundwork by getting our definitions in order. You said hell is not a torture chamber. Then what is it The essence of hell is relational, he replied. Christianity says people are the most valuable things in the entire creation. If people matter, then personal relationships matter, and hell is largely relational. In the Bible, hell is separation or banishment from the most...

Species Of Doubt

Anderson has described himself as being a congenital doubter, or someone who's always asking, What if Like lawyers and accountants who are trained to identify what could possibly go wrong, congenital doubters are drawn like magnets to uncertainties and questions. They may be filled with angst or have a melancholy personality. For them, faith doesn't come naturally. But that's just one species of doubt. I asked Anderson for examples of others. He leaned back in his chair, lifting the front two...

Was Jesus Crazy When He Claimed To Be The Son Of

Gary Collins, a professor of psychology for twenty years and author of forty-five books on psychology-related topics, said Jesus exhibited no inappropriate emotions, was in contact with reality, was brilliant and had amazing insights into human nature, and enjoyed deep and abiding relationships. I just don't see signs that Jesus was suffering from any known mental illness, he concluded. In addition, Jesus backed up his claim to being God through miraculous feats of healing, astounding...

The Second Interview William Lane Craig

My initial reaction to seeing Bill Craig was disbelief. His beard, which for twenty-three years had given him a serious and scholarly demeanor, was gone. My face must have registered my shock. I turned fifty, he explained, so I celebrated by shaving it off. Craig ushered me down a flight of stairs to his office, a well-organized room dominated by a dark wood desk and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves with neatly arranged rows of books and scholarly journals. I settled into a comfortable chair while...

Piercing The Smoke Screen

As it turned out, Ron Bronski survived my cynical attempts to skewer his story. The street-savvy police detectives were absolutely convinced that the changes in his life were authentic. So was the prosecutor. After hearing the evidence, the judge agreed, and instead of sentencing him to the penitentiary, he set him free on probation. Go home and be with your family, he told a surprised and grateful Bronski. Today, more than twenty years later, Bronski is still a minister to street kids in the...

The Illusion Of Faith

Templeton ran his fingers through his hair. He had been talking in adamant tones, and I could tell he was beginning to tire. I wanted to be sensitive to his condition, but I had a few other questions I wanted to pursue. With his permission, I continued. As we're talking, Billy Graham is in the midst of a series of rallies in Indiana, I told Templeton. What would you say to the people who've stepped forward to put their faith in Christ Templeton's eyes got wide. Why, I wouldn't interfere in...

So What About Gandhi

He didn't follow Jesus, I said, so I suppose you would say he was not redeemed. That is something that will be determined by God, Zacharias replied. However, what is it Gandhi believed He summarized it in one statement God is truth and truth is God.' My question to him would be, 'What does that mean ' We are sitting in a room that is a true statement. What has this got to do with whether this room is god or not It doesn't. It only conforms to a statement I have...

Having Faith In Doubt

I continued to replay the mental tape of my interview with Anderson as I flew back to Chicago on a half-empty flight that night. I found myself agreeing with his evaluation of the role of doubt. While it can be disconcerting, and although it can eventually become destructive if left untended, doubt clearly can have benefits. I resonated with the view of Gary Parker in his book The Gift of Doubt If faith never encounters doubt, if truth never struggles with error, if good never battles with...

The Faith Experiment

Deciding to believe, going where faith is, consuming faith-building materials, clarifying the object of faith certainly these were all good recommendations. But something still seemed to be absent. At some point, the faith journey needs to begin, I said. How does that happen Sitting and brooding over faith and doubt will never make a believer out of anybody, came Anderson's response. Neither will reading all the right books or hanging out with the right people or even making the decision to...

The Most Reasonable Inference

Time after time, origin-of-life scientists have come up empty when they've tried to theorize how chemicals could evolve into living matter. Recently, some have used computer models to try to show how chemical reactions might have occurred on the primitive earth, but these scenarios only work if the computer is programmed to eliminate some of the insurmountable obstacles that chemicals would have actually faced in the real world. When a scientist at the Santa Fe Institute, where some computer...

Build Molecules

By happenstance, over in nearby Houston, nanoscientist James Tour, a professor at Rice University's Department of Chemistry and Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, had recently finished giving a speech. With a doctorate in organic chemistry from Purdue University and post-doctoral work at Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin, Tour is on the cuttingedge of research into the molecular world. He has written more than one hundred and forty technical research articles and...

Coping With Contradictions

When I asked about alleged contradictions in the Bible, Geisler leaned back in his chair and smiled. It was an issue he had spent a lifetime studying. I've made a hobby of collecting alleged discrepancies, inaccuracies, and conflicting statements in the Bible, he said. I have a list of about eight hundred of them. A few years ago I coauthored a book called When Critics Ask, which devotes nearly six hundred pages to setting the record straight. 36 All I can tell you is that in my experience when...

Reason 1 God Makes Sense of the Universes Origin

Both philosophically and scientifically, Craig said, I would argue that the universe and time itself had a beginning at some point in the finite past. But since something cannot just come out of nothing, there has to be a transcendent cause beyond space and time which brought the universe into being. And the universe came into being in what has been called the Big Bang I asked. Exactly. As Stephen Hawking said, 'Almost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning at...

Objection

I Still Have Doubts, So I Can't Be a Christian INTRODUCTION THE CHALLENGE OF FAITH Christian theism must be rejected by any person with even a shred of respect for reason. Christian faith is not an irrational leap. Examined objectively, the claims of the Bible are rational propositions well supported by reason and evidence. William Franklin Graham steadied himself by gripping both sides of the podium. He was eighty years old, fighting Parkinson's disease, but he stared intently at the throngs...

Real Acts Of

I asked Craig what he thought about physicist Max Plank's prediction that faith in miracles would inevitably yield ground to the advance of science and biologist Richard Dawkin's remark that scientists would someday understand the workings of the universe and thus vanquish the need for miraculous explanations. Craig's reaction surprised me. I think they're right, he declared. I looked up from my notes, thinking perhaps he had misunderstood my question. Excuse me I said. Really, he insisted, I...

What About The Children

Intellectually, I could understand Geisler's answer up to this point. However, emotionally it didn't go far enough. I was still unsettled. But the children I persisted. Geisler, himself the father of six children and grandfather of nine, was sympathetic. Socially and physically, the fate of children throughout history has always been with their parents, whether that's for good or for ill, he pointed out. But, Lee, you need to understand the situation among the Amalekites. In that thoroughly...

The Miracles Of Jesus

Let's say you're an honest investigator, I said, picking up on his last thought. What would you look for to convince you that something miraculous has occurred You would have a number of criteria. You would have to investigate to see if something cannot be accounted for in terms of the natural forces that were operable at that time and place. And you'd look for a religio-historical context. I wanted to pursue this idea of context. Hume said that if historians uniformly agreed that the Queen of...

Traveling The Same Path

I gazed out the window at the undulating meadows of the Canadian countryside. Finally, Leslie said, It sounds like your interview ended a little abruptly. What did Templeton say before you left Actually, he was very warm. He even gave me a tour of his apartment, I told her. It was like he didn't want me to leave. But no matter how much I tried, I couldn't get him to reengage in discussing his feelings about Jesus. I thought for a moment before continuing. He...

The Truth About Hell

I leaned back on the couch and thought for a moment. Moreland had adroitly responded to the toughest objections to the issue of hell. I had to admit that when I took all of his answers together, they did seem to provide a reasonable rationale for the doctrine. Yet that didn't remove my discomfort. And I was in good company. C. S. Lewis once said the doctrine of hell is one of the chief grounds on which Christianity is attacked as barbarous and the goodness of God impugned.i6 As for Moreland, he...

Attribute 2 God Is All Knowing

I asked Kreeft to move on to the next divine quality-God's omniscience. He pushed back his chair to get more comfortable, then looked off to the side as he collected his thoughts once more. Let's begin this way, he said. God, if he is all-wise, knows not only the present but the future. And he knows not only present good and evil but future good and evil. If his wisdom vastly exceeds ours, as the hunter's exceeds the bear's, it is at least possible-contrary to Templeton's analysis-that a loving...

Reason 2 Evidence of Divine Origin

Geisler thumbed through his well-worn Bible, turning all the way to its opening sentence and then balancing the open book on his lap. It all goes back to whether the first verse of the Bible is true when it says, 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,' Geisler said. I believe there's overwhelming scientific evidence that it is true-everything that has a beginning has a beginner, the universe had a beginning, therefore it had a beginner the universe was tweaked and fine tuned...

Confirmation By Miracles

Advancing to the other reason for the Bible's divine authority, Geisler said there's one sure way to determine whether a prophet is truly a spokesman for God or a charlatan trying to deceive the masses can he produce clear-cut miracles All three great monotheistic religions-Christianity, Judaism, and Islam-recognize the validity of miracles as a means of confirming a message from God. Even famed skeptic Bertrand Russell conceded that miracles would authenticate a truth claim. In the...

Of Elephants And Faith

Even if Zacharias was right about Christianity, however, does this necessarily mean that all other religions are false Perhaps they're all teaching the same fundamental truths at their core, using different language, diverse images, and various traditions to communicate basically identical beliefs. Some people say that when you strip away everything, all the world religions are essentially teaching the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of humankind, I said. That would...

Sin 5 antiSemitism

One of the ugliest blights on Christianity's history has been anti-Semitism-certainly an ironic circumstance, since Jesus was Jewish and claimed to be the long awaited Messiah of Israel and the world. His disciples were Jewish, and Jews also wrote the entire New Testament, with the exception of Acts and the third gospel, which were authored by the physician Luke. In 1998, the Roman Catholic church apologized for errors and failures of some Catholics for not aiding Jews during the Nazi...

Does Archaeology Confirm Or Contradict Jesus Biographies

John McRay, a professor of archaeology for more than fifteen years and author of Archaeology and the New Testament, said there's no question that archaeological findings have enhanced the New Testament's credibility. No discovery has ever disproved a biblical reference. Further, archaeology has established that Luke, who wrote about one-quarter of the New Testament, was an especially careful historian. Concluded one expert If Luke was so painstakingly accurate in his historical reporting of...

Tackling Templetons Challenge

Although I understood Moreland's point that the morality or immorality of hell is independent of our feelings toward the issue, I decided my best tactic would be to confront Moreland head-on with Templeton's objections-emotion and all. I cleared my throat and sat upright, turning to face Moreland more squarely. Look, Dr. Moreland, I began, my voice notching up in intensity, I interviewed Charles Templeton about this matter and he was very adamant. He told me I couldn't hold someone's hand to a...

Objection 8 Why Doesnt God Give People a Second Chance

The Bible says explicitly that people are destined to die once and to then face judgment. Yet if God is really loving, why wouldn't he give people a second chance after death to make the decision to follow him and go to heaven If people tasted hell, wouldn't that give them a strong motivation to change their minds I asked. This question assumes God didn't do everything he could do before people died, and I reject that, Moreland said. God does everything he can to give people a chance, and there...

The Roots Of Doubt

Anderson was the son of committed Christians who were part of a small but tight-knit church in an area largely devoid of Christians. He said he derived his identity and sense of value from his family and church community, but even so his doubts about Christianity started early. Even as a little kid, I had a melancholy, contemplative personality, he began. I brooded a lot. I wasalways looking at the underside of things, not taking anything at face value, always questioning, always probing one...

Sin 1 The Crusades

Let's skip ahead, I said to Woodbridge. Christian crusaders tried for two centuries to expel the Muslims from the Holy Land. I opened a history book and paged through it until I found the right entry. One horrific account described the Crusaders' entry into Jerusalem in the First Crusade this way, I said, reading to Woodbridge the following description from an eyewitness Some of our men cut off the heads of their enemies others shot them with arrows, so that they fell from the towers others...

Was Jesus Really Convinced He Was The Son Of

By going back to the very earliest traditions, which are unquestionably safe from legendary development, Ben Witherington III, author of The Christology of Jesus, was able to show that Jesus had a supreme and transcendent self-understanding. Based on the evidence, Witherington said Did Jesus believe he was the Son of God, the anointed one of God The answer is yes. Did he see himself as the Son of Man The answer is yes. Did he see himself as the final Messiah Yes, that's the way he viewed...

Faith As A Verb

I know, Lee, that you're a former atheist, Anderson said. You could probably come up with a hundred questions about God that I wouldn't know how to answer. But do you know what It doesn't matter, because I've discovered that this is true. I didn't develop a silly grin and glassy eyes. I've discovered it is more blessed to give than it is to receive. I've walked and walked with this. Every time I discover a new insight, every time Jesus speaks to me personally in ways I can't even articulate,...

Objection 6 How Can Hell Exist Alongside of Heaven

If heaven is supposed to be a place without tears, then how can there be an eternal hell existing at the same time I asked. Wouldn't those in heaven mourn for those who are suffering forever in hell First of all, I think people in heaven will realize that hell is a way of honoring people as being intrinsically valuable creatures made in God's image, Moreland said. Second, many times a person's ability to enjoy something comes from growing older and gaining a more mature perspective. When my...

Reason 3 God Makes Sense of Objective Moral Values

Craig summarized his next point succinctly at the outset A third factor pointing toward God is the existence of objective moral values in the universe. If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist. That, of course, raised the question of what he meant by objective values. Craig was quick to add both a definition and an illustration. Objective moral values are valid and binding independently of whether anyone believes in them or not, he explained. For example, to label the...

Extraordinary Evidence

While I could see Craig's point, I wanted to pursue this avenue further. Some critics say that the Resurrection is an extraordinary event and therefore it requires extraordinary evidence, I said. Doesn't that assertion have a certain amount of appeal Yes, that sounds like common sense, he replied. But it's demonstrably false. Because this standard would prevent you from believing in all sorts of events that we do rationally embrace. For example, you would not believe the report on the evening...

Was Jesus Seen Alive After His Death On The Cross

The evidence for the post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus didn't develop gradually over the years as mythology distorted memories of his life. Rather, said renowned Resurrection expert Gary Habermas, his resurrection was the central proclamation of the early church from the very beginning. The ancient creed from 1 Corinthians 15 mentions specific individuals who encountered the risen Christ, and Paul even challenged first-century doubters to talk with these individuals personally to determine...

Sin 4 Exploitation by Missionaries

Despite noble intentions, they are ignorant of the place where they set up shop and indifferent to the hearts and values of the people they have come to help. They meddle in things which are none of their business. They assume that the natives' traditional spirituality is defective, even devilish. They bribe or coerce the people to abandon their traditional ways until, in the process of trying to 'save' the people, the missionaries wind up destroying them.21 I...

Is The Jesus Of History The Same As The Jesus Of Faith

Gregory Boyd, a Yale- and Princeton-educated scholar who wrote the award-winning Cynic Sage or Son of God, offered a devastating critique of the Jesus Seminar, a group that questions whether Jesus said or did most of what's attributed to him. He identified the Seminar as an extremely small number of radical-fringe scholars who are on the far, far left wing of New Testament thinking. The Seminar ruled out the possibility of miracles at the outset, employed questionable criteria, and some...

Sin 2 The Inquisition

The Inquisition began in 1163 when Pope Alexander III instructed bishops to discover evidence of heresy and take action against the heretics. What developed was a campaign of terror, with secret proceedings, supreme authority vested in the inquisitor, and a complete lack of due process, where the accused didn't know the names of their accusers, there was no defense attorney, and torture was used to extract confessions. Those who refused to repent were turned over to the government to be burned...

Faith And Prejudice

I paused to think about Kreeft's point, but he continued before I could reply. However, he said, I certainly don't want to demean Templeton. He's responding in a very honest and heartfelt way to the fact that something counts against God. Only in a world where faith is difficult can faith exist. I don't have faith in two plus two equals four or in the noonday sun. Those are beyond question. But Scripture describes God as a hidden God. You have to make an effort of faith to find him. There are...

Note of Hope

It was mid-afternoon on a bright spring day in Orange County, California, where Leslie and I had recently moved. I had just printed out the nearly five hundred pages of the manuscript of this book and was in the midst of packing them into a box when Leslie poked her head into my office. What are you doing she asked. I gestured toward the manuscript. There's someone I want to send this to, I replied. Leslie put down her cup of tea and walked over to put her arm around my shoulder. Chuck...

Objection 5 Why Doesnt God Just Snuff People

Another aspect of hell that's especially troubling to people is that its duration is eternal. But what if hell didn't last forever Instead, what if God annihilated people that is, snuffed them out of existence-instead of forcing them to be consciously separated from him forever and ever Surely, I said to Moreland, that would be more humane than an eternity of regret and remorse. Believe it or not, everlasting separation from God is morally superior to annihilation, he replied. Why would God be...

Every Tear His Tear

We were clearly moving toward the climax of our discussion. The clues Kreeft had mentioned at the outset of our interview were converging, and I could sense an increasing passion and conviction in his voice. I wanted to see more of his heart-and I wouldn't be disappointed. The answer, then, to suffering, I said in trying to sum up where we've come, is not an answer at all. Correct, he emphasized, leaning forward as he pleaded his case. It's the Answerer. It's Jesus himself. It's not a bunch of...

Theory 3 Self Ordering Tendencies

This theory comes with an intimidating title non-equilibrium thermodynamics. Basically, the concept says that under certain circumstances, if energy is passed through a system at a fairly high rate, the system becomes unstable and will actually rearrange itself into an alternate and somewhat more complicated form. An example is water draining out of a bathtub. Initially, the water molecules merely drop at random down the drain. But toward the end, the exit becomes much more orderly as the...

Miracles And Legends

The conclusions of these scholars was helpful, but I wanted more than that. What is the specific evidence that Jesus performed miracles I asked. Part of it is that these events are found in all of the strata of the gospel sources. For example, the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand is found in all of the gospels, so you have independent, multiple attestation to these events. There is no vestige of a non-miraculous Jesus of Nazareth in any of the sources therefore, it's very likely that...

Gods Orders To Kill

I looked intently into Geisler's eyes. My voice leaked sarcasm as I posed the most pointed objection to God's character. You talk about compassion and mercy, I said, but those qualities are hard to understand when we see God ordering genocide by telling the Israelites in Deuteronomy 7 to 'totally destroy' the Canaanites and six other nations and to 'show them no mercy.' That got me started on a roll. And that wasn't an isolated incident, I continued, picking up speed as I went. God ordered the...

Loving God Would Never Torture People In Hell

There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ's moral character, and that is that he believed in hell. I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment. Hell is God's great compliment to the reality of human freedom and the dignity of human choice. Judge Cortland A. Mathers was in a quandary. Standing before him was a defendant who was guilty of playing a minor role in a drug case. She was a thirty-oneyear-old impoverished mother...

Objection 9 Isnt Reincarnation More Rational Than Hell

Instead, they believe in reincarnation, where people return to this world in another form after their death and are given another opportunity to work off the bad karma they generated in their past life and move toward enlightenment. Wouldn't reincarnation be a rational way for a loving God to give people a fresh start so that they might repent the next time around and he wouldn't have to send them to hell I asked. Wouldn't this be preferable to hell Remember, we...

Sin 3 The Salem Witch Trials

The Salem witch trials at the end of the 1600s are frequently cited as a kind of Christian hysteria. In all, nineteen people were hanged and one pressed to death for refusing to testify.20 Isn't this another example of how Christian beliefs can result in the trampling of the rights of others I asked. Yes, it's an example-if, in point of fact, true Christianity is involved here. When you unpack the episodes leading to the trials, you see there are many factors that precipitated them. There are...

The Sixth Interview J P Moreland

It didn't take long to get my rental car and drive to J. P. Moreland's house, which is located not far from the Talbot School of Theology, where he is a professor in the master's program in philosophy and ethics. Moreland's book, Beyond Death Exploring the Evidence for Immortality, showed that he had done a lot of thorough thinking and personal soul-searching about the doctrine of hell. He and coauthor Gary Habermas also delved into the nature of the soul, near-death experiences, reincarnation,...

Why Is It Hard To Believe

It was almost time for lunch and I was getting hungry. Do you want to get a bite to eat I asked Geisler. Sure, he said. There's a little sandwich place down the road. I glanced through my notes. I thought I had covered everything I wanted to discuss-but then I noticed a quotation I had brought along with me. It was a sentiment that reflected the frustration of a lot of people why does God make it so difficult to believe in him I didn't want to end the interview without asking Geisler about it....

What Faith Isnt

I knew that misconceptions about faith often open the door to doubts because they can create false expectations or misunderstandings about the nature of God. For instance, if people incorrectly think God has promised to heal everyone or make everyone wealthy if they just exhibit sufficient faith, they can fall prey to doubts when illness strikes or bankruptcy looms. In order to arrive at an accurate view of faith, I decided to first clear out the theological underbrush by defining what faith...

The Arrogance Of Christianity

Forgive me for being blunt, I said in prefacing my question, but isn't it grossly arrogant for Christians to claim Jesus is the one and only way to God Why do Christians think they're justified in asserting that they're right and that everybody else in the world is wrong While Zacharias' accent and conservative business attire-a starched white shirt and muted tie-gave him an air of formality, he was invariably enthusiastic, warm, and engaging in his answers. Lee, I hear that question so much,...

Confirmation By Prophecies

Geisler began with a sweeping sentence The Bible is the only book in the world that has precise, specific predictions that were made hundreds of years in advance and that were literally fulfilled. Gesturing toward one of the books packed into his shelves, he continued by saying, According to Barton Payne's Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, there are 191 predictions in the Old Testament about the coming of Christ, including his ancestry, the city in which he would be born, that he would be born...

God Isnt Worthy Of Worship If He Kills Innocent Children

The Bible tells us to be like God, and then on page after page it describes God as a mass murderer. But you, 0 Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. As I walked through the metal detectors and past the uniformed guards, I could sense an undercurrent of expectation at the White House. Despite efforts to project a business-as-usual facade, it was clear that something big was going on behind the scenes. The Monica Lewinsky scandal had been...

Reason 4 God Makes Sense of the Resurrection

With this point, Craig said he was going to switch gears a bit. We've been saying that if we have good reasons to believe in God, then we can believe in miracles, he said. I've been giving reasons that point toward God's existence. But miracles themselves also can be part of the cumulative case for God. That's true, for instance, of the Resurrection. If Jesus of Nazareth really did come back from the dead, then we have a divine miracle on our hands and, thus, evidence for the existence of God....

Reasoning By Analogy

The analogical method was described in the nineteenth century by astronomer John F W Herschel, who wrote If the analogy of two phenomena be very close and striking, while, at the same time, the cause of one is very obvious, it becomes scarcely possible to refuse to admit the action of an analogous cause in the other, though not so obvious in itself.58 How does this apply to the origin-of-life issue I asked Bradley. If the only time we see written information-whether it's a painting on a cave...

Objection 7 Why Didnt God Create Only Those He Knew Would Follow

If God knows the future, why did he create people whom he knew would never turn to hint and who would therefore end up in hell I asked. Couldn't he have created only those whom he knew would follow him and simply not created those whom he knew would reject him That option would seem to be much more humane than hell. It depends on God's goal, said Moreland. If God had chosen to create just a handful of four, six, or seven people, maybe he could have only created those people who would go to...

Flames Worms And Gnashing Teeth

There was that torture chamber imagery again. No wonder that's a popular vision of hell, I said. When I was about ten years old, I was taken to Sunday school, where the teacher lit a candle and said, 'Do you know how much it hurts to burn your finger Well, imagine your whole body being in fire forever and ever. That's what hell is.' Moreland nodded as if he had heard that kind of story before. Now, some kids got scared, I added. I just got resentful that this guy was trying to manipulate me. I...

Theory 6 Life from Clay

Another hypothesis popularized by the media in recent years was Scottish chemist A. G. Cairns-Smith's suggestion that life somehow arose on clays whose crystalline structure had enough complexity to somehow encourage prebiotic chemicals to assemble together.49 What about that approach I asked Bradley. In one sense, the clays might help, because molecules don't like to react in water, and the surface of the clay might give them a less-wet environment, Bradley replied. But how would the clay be...

The Eighth Interview Lynn Anderson Dmin

Outside his 1929-vintage house, filled with primitive typewriters, quaint candlestick telephones, and other antiques from that era, Lynn Anderson works in a cozy office above his garage. His working space has a rustic feel, with Indian and western art on the walls, wooden bookcases from floor to ceiling, and a photo of the cabin where he was born in Saskatchewan sixty-three years ago. There was no electricity on the homestead where he grew up, just one beloved battery-powered radio that kept...

Since Miracles Contradict Science They Cannot Be True

The virgin birth, the Resurrection, the raising of Lazarus, even the Old Testament miracles, all are freely used for religious propaganda, and they are very effective with an audience of unsophisticates and children. It is not just a provocative rumor that God has acted in history, but a fact worthy of our intellectual conviction. The miracles of Christianity are not an embarrassment to the Christian worldview. Rather, they are testimony to the compassion of God for human beings benighted by...

Why Christianity Spread

Historians have long marveled at-and theorized about the amazing speed with which Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire despite brutal persecution. I asked Woodbridge to assess the comments made by atheist-turned-Christian Patrick Glynn Part of the reason for Christianity's rapid spread, historians have remarked, was simply that the early Christians were such nice people. The very kindness of the Christians and their service to the poor and downtrodden attracted new adherents....

Theory 1 Random Chance

I had been taught in school that if chemicals had an ample amount of time to interact in the warm little ponds of early earth, eventually the improbable would become probable and life would emerge. Given Bradley's description of what would have to happen, however, I could see why this theory has lost support in recent years. Scientists once believed in the idea of random chance plus time yielding life, because they also believed in the steady-state theory of the universe, Bradley said. This...

Objection 4 Couldnt God Force Everyone to Go to Heaven

Let me go back to a point you made at the outset, I said to Moreland. You said God is grieved by the necessity of hell. Then why can't he simply force everyone to go to heaven That would seem to be a simple solution. Because that, replied Moreland, would be immoral. Immoral I said in surprise. More immoral than hell Yes, immoral. Follow me on this there's a difference between intrinsic value and instrumental value. Something has intrinsic value if it's valuable and good in and of itself...

The Fifth Interview Ravi Zacharias Dd

There's an old Indian saying that says there are two ways to get to your nose, Ravi Zacharias told me as he removed his black suet coat and sat down at a round wooden table en his office. There's this way, he said, pointing directly to his nose. Then he reached around the back of his head and touched his nose from the far side. And there's this way, he said with a smile. In other words, Indians sometimes prefer to take a long and circuitous route to an answer rather than getting to the point...

Its Offensive To Claim Jesus Is The Only Way To

I am absolutely against any religion that says that one faith is superior to another. I don't see how that is anything different than spiritual racism. It's c way of saying that we are closer to God than you and that's what leads to hatred. Moses could mediate on the law Muhammad could brandish a sword Buddha could give personal counsel Confucius could offer wise sayings but none of these men was qualified to offer an atonement for the sins of the world Christ alone is worthy of unlimited...

Bearing The Pain

I sat back in my chair and reflected on what Kreeft had said so far. Some of his arguments were stronger than others, but at least he wasn't merely offering canned explanations. The clues seemed to be leading somewhere. I decided to ask him about a quote from Augustine, who said Since God is the highest good, he would not allow any evil to exist in his works unless his omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil. After reading him those words, I said, Does that mean...

Primordial Detective Story

Everyone concedes that evolution is true to some extent. Undeniably, there are variations within species of animals and plants, which explains why there are more than two hundred different varieties of dogs, cows can be bred for improved milk production, and bacteria can adapt and develop immunity to antibiotics. This is called microevolution. But Darwin's theory goes much further than that, claiming that life began millions of years ago with simple single-cell creatures and then developed...

Origin Meaning Morality Destiny

Anyone can claim to be the only path to God. In fact, quite a few crackpots have made that assertion throughout history. The real issue is why anybody should believe Jesus was telling the truth when he said it. On what basis do you believe this claim by Jesus is true I asked Zacharias. Ah, yes, that is the heart of the question, he replied, his head nodding. On one hand, you can say that the resurrection of Jesus established him as being the son of God. If that's true, then all other faith...

Redemption Righteousness Worship

Comedian Quentin Crisp once said When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, 'Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don't believe ' His humor was actually a sad commentary on the depth of sectarian strife in that land. Through the centuries, the world has seen plenty of acrimony and violence over differences in the way people view God. Disgusted by religious bickering, some people have...

Objection 1 Since Evil And Suffering Exist A Loving God Cannot

Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot or he can, but does not want to or he cannot and does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, and does not want to, he is wicked. But, if God both can and wants to abolish evil, then how comes evil in the world The fact of suffering undoubtedly constitutes the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith, and has been in every generation. Its distribution and degree appear to be entirely random and therefore unfair....

Attribute 3 God Is All Good

That left us with God's attribute of goodness. Good is a notoriously tricky word, Kreeft began, because even in human affairs there's such a wide range of meaning. But the difference, once again, between us and God is certainly greater than the difference between us and animals, and since good varies enormously between us and animals, it must vary even more enormously between us and God. Granted, I said. But if I sat there and did nothing while my child got run over by a truck, I wouldn't be...

The Power Of A Picture

Occasionally, I could see evidence of his Alzheimer's, such as when he was unable to recall a precise sequence of events or when he'd repeat himself. But for the most part he spoke with eloquence and enthusiasm, using an impressive vocabulary, his rich and robust voice rising and lowering for emphasis. He had an aristocratic tone that sounded nearly theatrical at times. Was there one thing in particular that caused you to lose your faith in God I asked at the...