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Answering Tough Questions

One of the great challenges facing church leaders currently is equipping their fellow-believers to give solid reasons for the hope they have, and to answer the challenging questions they get asked.  In this section you’ll find an apologetics course with accompanying resources, ready for you to adapt for your own situation and reuse.

Session 1 - Handout

Katy Kennedy

Written by Pete Lowman

You can download the PDF of the resource here. 

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for your hope!’ (1 Peter 3:15)

Why do we believe in God?  Multiple reasons for our hope...

Our central reasons for hope are the reality of Christ, and the fact that he rose from the dead.  But God may well use some of the following to point us or our friends towards himself…

God’s actions today – miracles, answered prayer – happening to you or someone you trust 

 

Something very different: God enabling endurance through deep suffering

 

The Bible – so profound, so relevant, so coherent

 

Remarkably accurate biblical prophecy 

 

What we love most: in childbirth, artistic beauty, nature

 

The laws of the universe; and, it’s so ‘well-made’

 

The sparrow, the panther, a mountain-range, a stallion......

 

What we sense deeply in our hearts: people have absolute value, love is a reality, there is a right and wrong (see Tim Keller The Reason for God ch9)

 

Universal intuitions of God throughout humankind

 

And above all, Jesus, and his resurrection…

 

Science and faith in Genesis: there are three Christian positions:   

 Theistic evolution:  Christians in Science  www.cis.org.uk, American Scientific Affiliation www.asa3.org, Faraday Institute  http://www.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/faraday/index.php; Denis Alexander (eg Creation or Evolution)

At the opposite end of the spectrum,  young-earth creationism (anti-evolution):  Biblical Creation Society  http://www.biblicalcreation.org.uk/;  Answers in Genesis http://www.answersingenesis.org/;  Institute for Creation Research  www.icr.org ; Ken Ham, John Peet

Old-earth creationism (also sceptical about evolution):   Reasons to Believe www.reasons.org, Answers in Creation www.answersincreation.org; Hugh Ross

Then also the highly significant   `intelligent design` movement does not commit to any of these positions!- it explores the possibility that the universe’s origins etc point towards an intelligent designer.  Access Research Network www.arn.org, Discovery Institute www.discovery.org. William Dembski , John Lennox (eg Seven Days that Divide the World)

See http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/Evolution/commission_on_creation.html#Commission%20on%20Creation for a detailed description of each position, and http://www.cis.org.uk/resources/articles-talks-and-links/creation/creationism-links/ for a helpful collection of links to each of them and their mutual debates.

 

Handling the questions - three simple conversation points: 

  • Evolution is an issue over which Christians     feel free to think and free to differ.  Many career scientists have     no difficulties believing both evolution and the Bible; so it certainly     hasn’t been proven that the two are irreconcilable, nor that learning from     one prevents us learning from the other. 
  •  Others rightly observe that evolutionary     theory is far from finally ‘proven’ (scientific theories never are). Some     huge and fascinating problems remain unsettled; see eg Phillip Johnson, Darwin     on Trial, and John Lennox, God’s Undertaker.       (It's evident that a number of theorists affirm Darwinian orthodoxy     consciously because they are determined not to believe in God; but if you     don't have a problem with God, the turmoil of these challenges becomes     intriguing.) 
  • Yet others notice the possibility that     evolutionary theory, to work, may even necessitate intelligent design     underlying it!  Some secular cosmologists have described the     evolutionary process as so problematic that a higher intelligence from     space must have watched over it to make it work (cf Fred Hoyle, Evolution     from Space) – ie, if there’s evolution, there must be some sort of     Creator!

 

 Three hot potatoes:

`But doesn't Genesis say the world was made 6000 years ago?'

 

 `But doesn't Genesis insist that the world was made in a week?'

 

 `But surely you don't believe in Adam and Eve?'