In last week’s post, we discussed 5 out of 10 so-called “big problems” that many Christians are faced with answering, but may not even know about.

By way of a short introduction, I will stress again that while it is impossible to have an expert answer for each one of these objections, you should, as a Christian, be ready to put 1 Peter 3:15 into action at any time.

Our faith is true and is most certainly worth defending. We don’t believe in fairy tales and to echo the sentiment of the Apostle Peter, “we have not followed cunningly devised fables.”

The truth is not afraid of questions, and Jesus Christ has real answers to real questions that our culture and society is asking today.

Here are the remaining 5 big problems I think all Christians should be well prepared to deal with and answer.

Problem #6. The “Problem” of Evil and Suffering

 

The philosophically based “problem of evil and suffering” as it is so-called is probably one of the main objections to the Christian faith and consequently, the God of the Bible.

One has only to look at the natural evil of the past few weeks (multiple deaths due to hurricanes and massive earthquakes), and remember events such as 9-11-2001 to be taken over with grief and the most somber of spirits.

The denier of religion says, “Since there is so much evil in the world, there’s no way an all-powering, all-loving God exists.” Known philosophically as “The Euthyphro dilemma”, the question is asked, “Is something good because God says it is good, or does God say something is good because it is good.”

This article points out that the issue is really a false dilemma for the Christian. In other words, God is the standard of goodness because He is the Creator. Everything He creates is purposeful, therefore something is not good when it violates its purpose (for example, in the context of “sex” (which is good), rape is bad).

Implicit in the very question of whether or not God is good lies a measurement issue: “Good, according to what standard?” is an appropriate question. It is for this reason that I believe the existence of evil is actually proof for God (and GOOD proof!)–not against Him.

By what standard do we measure against to determine if something is morally good? Does society determine? Who arbiters between societies? Is one actually right (objectively)?

These questions must be dealt with, but are usually swept under the rug with cunning word play, false dilemmas, and ridiculous notions that betray our human experience, which clearly demonstrates the existence of good and evil.

This is one question you must have an answer for, because it usually lies at the end of a long trail of objections, usually masked with an intellectual front. But this one is extremely emotional, and must be dealt with gracefully and with a high level of sensitivity.

Important thoughts to consider:

  1. Those with this objection usually misunderstand the nature of God.
  2. Morality is baked into our experience (Romans 2:15 proves this Scripturally).
  3. The concept of evil is negative in nature; meaning evil is not a “thing”, it is the absence of good (much like darkness is the absence of light). If there is objective “good”, God exists.

Questions to ask your “opponent”:

  1. Have you ever considered that if evil exists at all, there must be a God?
  2. What do you mean by “God”?
  3. Would it be appropriate to say that torturing babies for fun would be wrong, in spite of geographical location?

I have written about the nature of morality here and here. Also, an entire section of the site is dedicated to issues like this, which can be found here.

Problem #7. The Bible is an Invention of Men

 

Since the Bible bears an awfully striking resemblance to our experience, much attempt has been made to discredit its very origins.

Even many secular scholars that would champion much of the historical and archaeological data found in the Bible’s pages must have a way out of accepting its spiritual claims–so a denial of its divine inspiration seems to be the logical next step.

This is, of course, in direct opposition to the Bible’s claim that “prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21).

If you’re not careful, answering this question can lead down a rabbit trail that is just simply not necessary. This article points out a few nicely crafted responses in the form of questions. Don’t dismiss this method–it’s the one Jesus Himself used most often!

Practically, the dating of the writings, prophetic claims, and the consistency to be found in the Word of God are perfect examples of what we would expect if it was indeed divinely inspired and written by a transcendent Author. Not to mention the scientific accuracy.

This objection is a “last straw” one may resort to, but don’t let them have it! They can’t prove it was not divinely inspired anymore than you could prove it was. If anything, the lines of evidence I mentioned in the previous paragraph seem to indicate more proof for divine authorship than against.

Important thoughts to consider:

  1. Yes, the Bible was written by men. But God oversaw the project.
  2. A good way to counter this objection is with questions.
  3. The evidence we have FOR divine authorship far outweighs the evidence against.

Questions to ask your “opponent”:

  1. Do you really believe that you are omnipresent? The only way for you to prove that God had no involvement in the writing of the Scriptures is for you to be omnipresent.
  2. How do you know that God was not involved?
  3. Can you point to any internal evidence that would suggest the Bible was not authored by God?

This article and this article shed some light on how we can know that the Bible is truly God’s Word.

Problem #8. The Inherent Problems with Naturalism

 

Despite it being the overarching philosophy in our day, the idea of materialistic naturalism actually stands on remarkably weak ground. A common sense look at the world around us seems to indicate there is more to live than molecules and chemical reactions–something compels us to find meaning and purpose in our experience.

The problem one must confront is how to justify such things in a naturalistic world. I would argue that many who consider themselves to be naturalists are actually dualists–meaning they believe non-material ideas exist somewhere in the far reaches of the universe, just not here. This was the dominant philosophy of Plato.

In other words, somewhere in the universe, there is a physical entity known as the number two, and somehow, we are able to experience it here. But even if this were true, there is still a major problem that even Plato couldn’t solve–how does one link the physical “number two” found deep in the universe with our concept of it here? This is a problem as well–one that naturalism cannot solve.

So what is left? Materialism cannot make sense of ideas such as transcendent laws of logic, uniformity of nature, moral laws and intuition–it’s simply bankrupt in this department. And, dualism doesn’t seem to hold water. The reality is that Christian theism is really the only acceptable solution to this problem. It consistently matches our experience with its predictions, and seems to best represent the world as it actually is.

It’s for this reason that I don’t argue for the Christian faith from an evidential perspective. That is–I don’t believe that slinging all of my evidence for God at an unbeliever will cause him to believe. Rather, as was shown in last week’s post, I use Dr. Jason Lisle’s “Don’t Answer; Answer” method to challenge the presuppositions about what they believe, rather than the beliefs themselves. This not only leads to a gospel presentation more naturally, but it simply the Biblical way of defending the faith (see Proverbs 26:4-5).

Important thoughts to consider:

  1. A purely “material” world is not consistent with our experience, no matter what mainstream science says about it. Science is important, but rarely authoritative.
  2. Most naturalists are really dualists in disguise. Point this error out to them and ask them to resolve it.
  3. This is an important reason why challenging presuppositions is more effective and Biblical than challenging beliefs with evidence.

Questions to ask your “opponent”:

  1. In your world, does “love” exist? If it is purely a chemical reaction, who/what decides to love only some people?
  2. Based on the feelings you have towards others (human rights, etc.), are you aware that you are not actually a naturalist. Since you are really a dualist in disguise, can you explain how you link the immaterial with the material?
  3. Are you aware the laws you require to live by–logic, uniformity of nature, and morality–are only consistent and available in the Christian worldview? On what basis do you justify these without an appeal to a transcendent being (a.k.a., God).

Problem #9. A Missing Component of Darwinian Evolution

 

Probably the most “devastating blow” to Christianity today is the modern scientific theory of Darwinian Evolution. Made popular by none other than Charles Darwin in 1859, this idea holds that life–indeed, all life–can be traced back to a common ancestor.

Now, obviously, Mr. Darwin had considerably less scientific knowledge and information to work with in his day, and yet, since that time, the majority of his theories have remained at the forefront of mainstream scientific discovery. Many of us realize the implications it would have on our faith if evolution were true. So the question remains–is it? Are “primitive” Christians smarter than P.h.D. scientists?

We have plenty of evidence to confirm (and “affirm” as Christians) the OBSERVABLE evidence of evolution. But we must define terms. The observable form of evolution (commonly called microevolution, variation within the kinds, speciation, natural selection, etc.) finds no contradiction with Scripture, and is so plain to see with our own eyes that to deny it would be on par with denying our own existence.

The problem is that evolutionists conflate terms and ideas, add “deep time” (millions of years) into the recipe, and argue that the small changes we see will by necessity result in much larger changes (eventually). Of course, no one has ever witnessed an animal “kind” changing. No one has seen a population of fish begin slowly morphing into a population of Giraffe.

This missing ingredient is new genetic information. According to Dr. Jason Lisle, “Scientifically, we can define information as a coded message containing an expected action and intended purpose…DNA qualifies under the definition of information: it contains an encoded message (the base pair triplets represent amino acids) and has an expected action (the formation of proteins) and an intended purpose (life).”

The implication here is that the mutations which result from the process of variation (or, microevolution/natural selection) only change information found currently inside of the organism’s genome. Nothing new is being added, which would be a fundamental requirement for vertical (Darwinian) evolution. To use Dr. Lisle’s words, “The information in DNA cannot have come about by mutations and natural selection because the laws of information science tell us that all information comes from a mind.”

Since natural selection selects, and doesn’t create, we see the issue quite clearly: Darwinian Evolution requires a mechanism that just simply is not found anywhere, in any organism, on the entire planet.

Important thoughts to consider:

  1. It is a misnomer that Christians do not accept evolution, at least in the observable sense. We are simply unwilling to extrapolate that it extends further than what can be observed.
  2. Defining terms will be crucial to the outcome of any meaningful discussion on the topic.
  3. Evolution (in the Darwinian, molecules-to-man sense) is philosophy–not science.

Questions to ask your “opponent”:

  1. I’m curious. When you say “evolution,” can you explain what you mean by that term?
  2. How come when intellectual “mainstream” scientists tell us fish turned into Giraffes (which we never see) you applaud their rationality, but when creation scientists tell us Giraffes have always been Giraffes (which we DO see) they are “ignorant and unlearned?”
  3. Can you please show me one example in all of known history where new genetic information was randomly inserted into the genome of an organism by mutation or natural selection?

For more information along these lines, subscribe and listen to my podcast, where Creationism is the main subject matter.

Problem #10. Dinosaurs and the Bible

 

A careful reading of problem #9 should cause you to pause for concern. The reality is that, when looking at evolution for what it really is, the notion of it is quite unintuitive.

As evolutionist Richard Lewontin has rightly pointed out, “It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.”

In simple terms: “It’s okay that science doesn’t make sense; just so long as we keep God out of things.”

In light of this materialistic doctrinaire view, the only rational way to go about teaching such nonsense is to start early! Children are used to believing the surreal–the perfect time to introduce them to it. So while frogs can’t turn into princes instantaneously (a fairy tale that mainstream scientists would happily equate to the notion of Christianity), frogs can turn into princes over millions of years. That is “science.”

They have cleverly turned the tables, and taught our children that what we are teaching them is the fairy tale, and they are teaching the reality. But nothing could be further from the truth. The point here is that kids think dinosaurs are cool, so some of the first words children read will be about dinosaurs living “millions of years ago.” Oh yes, they start early.

Of course, the Bible actually talks about dinosaurs. It doesn’t use the word dinosaur because it hadn’t been invented yet. But consider this passage:

Job 40:15-24 — “Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.”

The word “behemoth” means, simply, “huge beast,” and commentators commonly take it to be either an elephant or a hippopotamus. The subsequent description, however, fits neither of these, nor any other living animal. No elephant or hippo has a tail like a cedar! The behemoth was the “chief” of all created land animals, which could only, therefore, have been one of the great land dinosaurs. These, like all other animals, were created on the fifth and sixth days of creation week. Seemingly, the dinosaur had representatives preserved on Noah’s ark. Some descendants survived to and beyond Job’s day, giving rise to all the traditions of dragons in various parts of the world. (Taken from the Henry Morris Study Bible, see here for further notes).

There is no contradiction between the existence of dinosaurs and Biblical reality. The Job passage appears to describe a Brachiosaurus (or possibly some other Sauropod dinosaur). The flood is a perfectly reasonable extinction event (and supported by loads of evidence). Not to mention the dinosaur soft tissue discovered in recent years, proving without a doubt that dinosaurs are much younger than proposed by mainstream science.

Important thoughts to consider:

  1. Dinosaurs (as dragons) have been depicted in the drawings, pottery, and legends of many ancient cultures.
  2. Many dinosaur fossils such as this one unmistakably prove rapid burial by a hydraulic catastrophe of some kind (though mainstream scientists deny a global flood).
  3. Our kids are being taught wrong about dinosaurs EARLY. Therefore, they should be taught correctly about it EARLY. I recommend ICR’s Guide to Dinosaurs.

Questions to ask your “opponent”:

  1. Are you aware that carbon-14 dating, as well as the discovery of soft dinosaur tissue, seem to suggest that dinosaurs are only thousands of years old, not millions?
  2. Have you ever considered that there is overwhelming scientific evidence for a worldwide flood, and that’s what destroyed most of the dinosaurs, as the Bible tells us?
  3. Are you aware that one of the earliest books written in the entire Bible, the book of Job, gives an immensely detailed account of what we now would recognize as a Sauropod dinosaur–literally thousands of years before we even knew about them?

I plan to write and podcast much more about dinosaurs in the future. Check back often and remember to listen to the podcast.

Conclusion

 

In this series, I have attempted to give a short overview of what I would consider being some of the most serious “challenges” to Christianity today.

Although much evidence and a few suggested questions have been proposed here, we must always remember that there is no evidence which leads one to “all truth,” but rather, it is the work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13).

That said, asking questions such as these will help you to expose an unbeliever to the folly of their worldview (Proverbs 26:5), and pave the way for a gospel presentation.

When witnessing to someone and sharing your faith, I suggest following the advice given in this article (and “problem #3” from part 1), interweaving some of the supporting evidence and asking these thought-provoking questions along the way.

I hope and pray this article, as well as part 1, will be a useful resource for you, your family, and your local body of believers.

Questions? Feel free to comment below and start the discussion, or click the blue button on the right (desktop only) to ask a question with a voicemail. We will do our best to answer in an upcoming post. Thanks!

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