Moreland's simple illustration was extremely helpful to me. As I delved into the most troublesome obstacles to faith, they tended to loom so large in my mind that they crowded out other relevant information. And maybe as you've focused on an issue that's particularly nettlesome for you, the same phenomenon has occurred.
Debunking Christianity takes more than just trying to poke a hole in it by raising an objection. That's because there's a backdrop of other relevant evidence that creates a strong presumption in favor of faith in Jesus Christ. Simply examining individual challenges isn't enough; this broad sweep of evidence needs to be kept in mind as each individual objection is weighed.
What kind of evidence? My interviews with the experts elicited these persuasive facts that point powerfully toward the existence of God and his unique Son, Jesus Christ:
• The Big Bang. William Lane Craig, co-author of Oxford University Press' Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology, showed that the universe and time itself had a beginning at some point in the finite past. Scientists refer to this as the Big Bang. Craig argued that whatever begins to exist has a cause, the universe began to exist, and therefore the universe has a cause-that is, a Creator who is uncaused, changeless, timeless, and immaterial. Even renowned atheist Kai Nielsen once said: "Suppose you suddenly hear a loud bang ... and you ask me, 'What made that bang?' and I reply, 'Nothing, it just happened.' You would not accept that." To which Craig said that if there is obviously a cause for a little bang, doesn't it also make sense that there would be a Cause for a Big Bang?
• The fine-tuned universe. In the past thirty-five years, scientists have been stunned to discover how life in the universe is astoundingly balanced on a razor's edge. The Big Bang was actually a highly ordered event that required an enormous amount of information, and from the moment of inception the universe was finely tuned to an incomprehensible precision for the existence of life like ourselves. An infinitesimal difference in the rate of the universe's initial expansion, the strength of gravity or the weak force, or dozens of other constants and quantities would have created a life-prohibiting rather than a life-sustaining universe. All of this contributes to the conclusion that there's an Intelligent Designer behind creation.
• The moral law. Without God, morality is simply the product of sociobiological evolution and basically a question of taste or personal preference. For instance, rape may become taboo in the course of human development because it's not socially advantageous, but it's also conceivable that rape could have evolved as something that's beneficial for survival of the species. In other words, without God there is no absolute right and wrong that imposes itself on our conscience. But we know deep down that objective moral values do exist-some actions like rape and child torture, for example, are universal moral abominations-and, therefore, this means God exists.
• The origin of life. Darwinism can offer no credible theory for how life could have emerged naturally from nonliving chemicals. Earth's early atmosphere would have blocked the development of the building blocks of life, and assembling even the most primitive living matter would be so outrageously difficult that it absolutely could not have been the product of unguided or random processes. On the contrary, the vast amount of specific information contained inside every living cell-encoded in the four-letter chemical alphabet of DNA-strongly confirms the existence of an Intelligent Designer who was behind the miraculous creation of life.
• The Bible's credibility. Scholar Norman Geisler convincingly argued that there's more evidence that the Bible is a reliable source than there is for any other book from the ancient world. Its essential trustworthiness has been corroborated repeatedly by archaeological discoveries, "and if we can trust the Bible when it's telling us about straightforward earthly things that can be verified, then we can trust it in areas where we can't directly verify it in an empirical way," he said. Further, the Bible's divine origin has been established in two ways. First, in defiance of all mathematical odds, dozens of ancient prophecies about the Messiah-including the precise time frame in which he would appear-were miraculously fulfilled in only one person throughout history: Jesus of Nazareth. Second, biblical prophets performed miracles to confirm their divine authority. Jesus' own miracles were even acknowledged by his enemies.
By contrast, in the Koran when unbelievers challenged Muhammad to perform a miracle, he refused and merely told them to read a chapter in the Koran, even though he conceded, "God hath certainly power to send down a sign."
• The resurrection of Jesus. Craig built a compelling case that Jesus Christ returned from the dead in the ultimate authentication of his claim to divinity. He presented four facts that are widely accepted by New Testament historians from a broad spectrum. First, after being crucified, Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathea in a tomb. This means its location was known to Jew, Christian, and Roman alike. Second, on the Sunday after the crucifixion the tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers. Indeed, nobody claimed the tomb was anything but vacant. Third, on multiple occasions and under various circumstances, different individuals and groups experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead. This cannot be dismissed as legendary because of the extremely early date of these accounts. Fourth, the original disciples suddenly and sincerely came to believe Jesus was risen from the dead despite their predisposition to the contrary. They were willing to go to their death proclaiming Jesus was resurrected and thus proved he was the Son of God-and nobody knowingly and willingly dies for a lie.
In addition, the thirteen scholars and experts I interviewed for my previous book, The Case for Christ, established that the biographies of Jesus in the New Testament stand up to intellectual scrutiny; that they were reliably passed down to us through history; that there's corroborating evidence for Jesus outside the Bible; that Jesus wasn't psychologically imbalanced when he claimed he was God; and that he fulfilled all the attributes of deity. [Please see the "Appendix: A Summary of The Case for Christ" in the back of this book for an overview of these findings.]
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