Session 1 - Handout
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
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?'