Answers Questions Apologetics

 
Below are some concise answers addressing a wide range of topics. At the end of several of the answers is a link to where you can find more in-depth help on the ABR website. God bless you! If you enjoy these concise answers to questions, I think you'll love my book One Minute Answers to Skeptics Top Forty Questions.

What evidence is there that God exists?

There are several lines of evidence that God exists. Take the universe itself. Philosophers and thinkers down through the centuries have concluded that there are really only three different possibilities to explain its existence.

A. It has always been.

No need for God. The universe has always been around.

B. It created itself.

Again, no need for God. It brought itself into existence.

C. It was created by an immaterial creative agent—God.

Let’s walk through these options and consider which is the most reasonable to believe.

The first option, that the universe has always been (or is eternal), has been utterly rejected by the scientific community. Why? The scientific evidence against an eternal universe has demolished this theory. It's not a group of pastors that scratched option one off the list. No. The scientific community scratched option one off the list. Why? Astronomers are pointing to the discoveries of:

•  the background radiation echo
•  the second law of thermodynamics
•  the motion of the galaxies

...all of which have led them to conclude that the universe had a beginning.

Stephen Hawking, the late astronomer from Cambridge University, agreed this is the consensus. He said, “Almost everyone believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning.” [Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, The Nature of Space and Time, The Isaac Newton Institute Series of Lectures (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 20.]

That’s interesting. This is in perfect harmony with what the Bible says (in the very first verse!)…

Genesis 1:1
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

The Bible makes it very clear that the universe actually had a beginning, exactly like the scientific community has finally discovered—more than 3,000 years after Moses penned those words. (They could have known this a lot sooner had they taken the Bible seriously.)

Arno Penzias, who was awarded a Nobel Prize for discovering evidence (the background radiation echo) that the universe did have a beginning, agrees that the scientific data lines right up with the Bible. He said:

“The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms and the Bible as a whole.” –Arno Penzias

[Interview by Malcolm Browne, “Clues to the Universe’s
Origin Expected,” The New York Times, March 12, 1978, p. 1]

Well, because the universe had a beginning, that rules out option A doesn’t it?—that the universe has just always been. Very well, that leaves us with two options to explain the existence of the universe. Let’s talk about option B for a moment.

B. It created itself.
C. It was created by God.

This option, that the universe created itself, is fraught with problems. The idea that anything could create itself is absurd. For it would have to exist and not exist at the same time. Friends, that’s irrational. For something to create itself, it would have to be before it was. Well, this violates an ironclad law of knowledge: the law of non-contradiction.

The law of non-contradiction states: A cannot be both A and non-A at the same time and in the same relationship.

For example, you can't be at church right now and not at church right now. You are either HERE or NOT HERE. So then, it's absurd to suggest that the universe existed (A) and didn’t exist (non-A) at the same time.

But that is precisely what would be required for the universe to have created itself. So surely, the universe did not create itself. And yet, this is what leading atheist thinkers believe. How did the universe create itself? Well, many of them have concluded, like Richard Dawkins, that...

"The universe evolved literally out of nothing."
[Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution,
(First Mariner Books, fifth edition, 2005), p
. 613]

Nothing! Stephen Hawking says the same thing, that the universe came from:

"Nothing." [USA Today, September 2, 2010]

These men, considered by some to be two of the brightest atheists on the planet, say ‘Once there was nothing. And that nothingness turned itself into all the billions of galaxies, stars, and planets making up the entire universe.’

Surely you don't believe this. Friends, it seems patently obvious to me that nothing cannot do something. Nothing cannot see, smell, act, think, let alone create something.

Can you imagine turning on the news and hearing the newscaster say: “Nothing caught doing something on film! Tune in at 11:00 and see the footage!"

Why do you laugh? Because it doesn’t happen. It can’t happen. And it never has happened!

Science Bible 699pxSo, there are three options for the existence of the universe…

A. It has always been.
B. It created itself.
C. It was created by God.

Options A and B can be thrown out purely on scientific and philosophical grounds. And so we conclude (almost by default!) that option C (that God created the universe) is the most reasonable option. And I’ll continue to strengthen my case as we move along.

SKEPTIC: “Now hold on a second here Charlie. The first law of thermodynamics states that: Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. So your theistic view, this idea that God created all the energy and matter in the universe, runs contrary to a widely accepted scientific law!” 

ME: This has become a popular objection some atheists bring up when the origin of the universe is discussed. Well, there are a couple of problems with this conclusion that I’d like to briefly point out.

First, those who raise this objection have a misunderstanding of the first law of thermodynamics. A more accurate definition of the law is:

As far as we have observed, the actual amount of energy in an isolated system [like our universe] remains constant despite internal changes. 

Friends, the First Law of Thermodynamics in no way rules out a creator of an isolated system like our universe. According to the Bible God exists outside the universe He created. So, at the time of creation, He wasn’t bound by laws that did not even exist. There wasn’t a sign up in the universe that said, "Sorry, Energy levels must remain the same. No creating!" No.

Prior to Genesis 1:1, there was no universe to put a sign up in. There was no first law of thermodynamics. God is the creator of the laws that are at work inside the universe He created. So, it’s a mistake to conclude (as many atheists have) that the first law of thermodynamics somehow rules out a creator of the universe.


Apologetics Quotes Book2

SKEPTIC: "But Charlie, if the cosmos demands a creator, then who made God—if He exists?"

ME: "Nobody made God. Unlike the finite physical universe that demands a creator, God does not need a creator. Why?  Because God is eternal (He’s always existed) and He is immaterial (He’s a Spirit); He’s not made up of physical parts that need assembly.

And the fact that God is eternal and an immaterial spirit is something the Scriptures affirm in multiple places. For example in Psalm 90:2, Moses wrote, "Even from everlasting to everlasting You are God.” God is eternal.

In John 4:24, Jesus said that "God is spirit."

So, putting those two truths together, God is an eternal spirit. And because that is the case, He does not need a creator. But the physical universe falls into an entirely different category. As the scientific discoveries have shown, it has not always existed. And anything that begins to exist, requires a cause or maker. Things don’t  just pop into existence all on their own. Nothing does not produce something."

SKEPTIC: "You Christians really believe that God has just always existed?"

ME: "Yes!"

SKEPTIC: "Impossible!"

ME: "Well, before you scoff at the fact that God has always existed, keep this in mind: something or someone must have always existed. Do you realize that?"

SKEPTIC: "Why do you think that?"

ME: "Well, think through this with me: If nothing cannot produce something, and yet something exists (e.g., the universe), then a creative agent must have always existed. Why? In order to bring that which exists into being. Think of it this way:

1.  If there ever was a time that absolutely nothing existed, nothing would exist now.
2.  Something exists now.

3.  Therefore, there was never a time that absolutely nothing existed.

So, we have no problem believing that God is the One who always existed. And because that is the case, the answer to the question Who made God? is no one. God is eternal and does not need a maker. The universe though is not eternal and therefore does require a maker.

SKEPTIC: “Well Charlie, I still think it's foolish to believe in something you can’t see.”

ME: "I don't. Have you ever seen your thoughts? Do they really exist? Have you ever seen gravity? Do you believe gravity is real? When you see a painting, do you need to see the painter to rightly conclude a painter exists? No. So, some things that are invisible or currently out of sight are actually real, aren’t they? Well, I believe the same is true with the universe and God. I don’t need to see the maker of the universe to confidently conclude He exists.

For more help on this topic, go here.


God Evidence Apologetics


“How do you know Jesus was a real person?”

There is a wealth of evidence Jesus was a real person. So much evidence, that even historians who are critical of the Bible, consider His existence beyond dispute. For starters, there are the 27 documents making up the New Testament that tell us about His life. There are no compelling reasons to discount their claims about Jesus being a real person, and several good reasons to take their claims seriously. In addition to the New Testament documents, more than thirty historical sources outside of the Bible mention Him within a century and a half of His life. These sources confirm more than a hundred details in the New Testament surrounding Jesus’s life. For example, Flavius Josephus, a first-century historian, affirms that Jesus was “a doer of amazing deeds,” that Pontius “Pilate condemned him to be crucified to die,” that He was a teacher who “won over many Jews and many of the Greeks,” and that He was reportedly seen alive by His disciples after His crucifixion. A collection of ancient Jewish writings called the Talmud, also mentions Jesus, even confirming He was put to death on the eve of the Passover Feast, just as the Biblical account describes. The Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus mentions Jesus, as does the historian Suetonius. Friend, the evidence is certain. Jesus of Nazareth was a real person. I encourage you to read the New Testament accounts of His life and get to know who He was and is. For more on this topic, go here.


Answers Atheists video



 The God of the Old Testament commanded genocide, the wiping out of the Canaanite people in the Book of Joshua. A loving God would never command such a thing!

Have you read the Old Testament passages regarding the Canaanites? What were the Canaanites doing that brought God’s judgment on them? I’m interested to hear your take on it…Oh, you haven’t read the passages? You forgot?

The Bible tells us the Canaanites at the time of Joshua were an exceedingly wicked people who were indulging in incest, adultery, polygamy, bestiality, witchcraft, child sacrifice to an idol named Molech, and a variety of other “abominable customs” (Leviticus 18; Deuteronomy 18:9-14). The Canaanites had become a dangerous threat to their posterity, neighbors, and the Israelites. So, God determined the Canaanites’ time on His planet was up. God created the Earth and all its inhabitants, and He has the right to do whatever He deems best with His creation. All life belongs to Him.

Think with me back to the events surrounding World War II. Many people believe the Allied Powers had a moral obligation, even a God-given obligation, to go to war against Japan and the Nazis to stop the great evils they were committing. If human governments have the right to send in a military force to put a stop to evildoers, doesn’t God have the right? Surely, He does! If you had lived at the time of Moses and Joshua and were aware of the great atrocities going on in Canaan, you probably would have been in favor of God’s intervention—unless you think burning children alive is okay.


The Bible was written by men! It's not trustworthy.”

Just because something was written by men doesn’t mean it’s not trustworthy. Humans are capable of communicating the truth. To say otherwise, would be to undermine the trustworthiness of your own words. So, humans can communicate truthfully. And what if those who desired to communicate truthfully even had God’s help as they wrote—to ensure there were no errors? Then things would turn out really well, wouldn’t you think? That is how the books of the Bible were written. God revealed Himself to certain people like Moses, Peter, and Paul, who wrote down what they saw and heard (1 Timothy 3:16). And we believe there are a wealth of good reasons and evidences to trust what the authors of the Bible wrote. The Bible, unlike any other ancient religious writing, has a wealth of evidence to support its reliability: hundreds of fulfilled prophecies, thousands of archaeological discoveries, its incredible internal harmony, historical confirmation in the ancient records of the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans, numerous scientific discoveries that have helped to validate different details in its pages, and so on. For more on these evidences for the Bible, go here.



Bible Evidence apologetics


Hasn’t the Bible undergone corruption as it was translated hundreds of times down through the centuries?”

The Bible has been translated into hundreds of different languages down through the centuries. You are right about that, but the text of the Bible has been accurately preserved all the way through. How do we know that to be the case? First, there is the manuscript evidence. Today, there exists several thousand partial and complete, ancient handwritten manuscript copies of the Bible, some dating as far back as the third century B.C. These manuscripts have allowed textual critics and scholars to verify that the Bible we have today is the same Bible the early church had. Secondly, there are the writings of the church fathers. By church fathers, I am referring to leaders in the early church. In their commentaries on the Bible, their letters to one another, and their letters to other churches, these men quoted the New Testament Scriptures alone more than 86,000 times. Their quotations have allowed scholars to reconstruct nearly the entire New Testament. These two evidences, the manuscript evidence and the writings of the church fathers, verify conclusively that the original text of the Bible has been accurately preserved. For more on this topic, go here.


The Gospels are full of contradictions!

What examples would you like to discuss? Friend, there are a handful of verses in the Gospels that may appear to be at odds with one another. But with a little investigation into the contexts of the passages or the cultural and geographical setting, they are easily explained. For example, critics say there’s a contradiction in the Gospels concerning where Jesus healed a blind man. Luke 18:35 says Jesus healed him “as He was approaching Jericho.” But Mark 10:46 says He healed the man “as He went out of Jericho.” So, critics say, “Surely Luke or Mark made a mistake. They can’t both be right.” And that appears to be the case, until you do a little homework and you find out that an archaeologist named Ernst Sellin discovered that there were what have been called “The Twin-Cities of Jericho” in Jesus’ time. There was the old city of Jericho (destroyed in Book of Joshua but rebuilt in 1 Kings 16:34) and there was the new Roman city of Jericho. There were two cities called “Jericho,” separated from one another by about a mile. Knowing this solves the dilemma. It’s likely that Luke referred to one of the cities and Mark referred to the other. A plausible explanation is that the miracle took place between the two cities (Mark mentioning the city Jesus had just left, Luke mentioning the city Jesus was approaching). The authors of the Gospels did not contradict one another. We address several other alleged contradictions in the Bible here and show how the critics have erred, not the Bible.


What about those who have never heard of Jesus? Will they be condemned to Hell?”

The Bible says that God is loving (Psalm 103:8, 1 John 4:10) and that He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). If a person has never heard of Jesus, the Bible says that God is going to be absolutely fair with them (Psalm 98:9), and that He will judge them based on what they do know through the testimony of creation and their conscience (Romans 1:20, 2:12-15). If a person truly seeks to know God, the Bible says that “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).” There are many ways that God can get the truth about salvation to those who truly seek to know Him. He can send a missionary (Acts 10), a radio broadcast, or a Bible (Psalm 119:130). Theoretically God could send a vision (Daniel 2) or an angel (Revelation 14:6). You have heard the truth. You have heard of Jesus’ death on the cross for your sins and God will hold you accountable for what you do with that information. For more on this topic, go here.


“If God is so loving, why does He allow evil and suffering?”

This is the most common question people have regarding God. Here is an interesting question for you to consider. What do you propose God should do about it? To stop evil and suffering, God would have to stop every act that causes any suffering. To do that, He would have to stop those who cause the suffering (adulterers, liars, murderers, criminals, fornicators, etc.). Wouldn’t that mean He would have to put a stop to you too? Haven’t you, by your own actions, caused some of the suffering that exists in the world? Haven’t you hurt somebody’s feelings? My friend, God has not destroyed evil because He would have to destroy us. By permitting evil and suffering to continue, God is actually showing the world mercy. The Bible says that there is coming a day when God will stop evil (2 Peter 3:7-13). He will judge sinners, put them away forever, and create a new heaven and a new earth where there will no longer be any death, mourning, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4). In the meantime, God is using the suffering that exists for good (Romans 8:28, Philippians 1:12). Often, when a person is suffering, they turn to God and receive the kind of help they truly need. For more on this topic, go here.


Apologetics Videos 2018


“The Bible condones slavery!”

Slavery was never part of God’s original plan for humanity and it wouldn’t exist if weren’t for humans living in rebellion to God’s instructions. The Bible says to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39) and to “regard one another as more important” than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). How could slavery flourish, if we all loved one another that way? A loving person doesn’t kidnap people, lock them up, and force them to work. Kidnapping humans is a sin that carried the death penalty in the Old Testament (Exodus 21:16; Deuteronomy 24:7). And buying and selling slaves is condemned in the Bible alongside murder (1 Timothy 1:8-10). Why then does the Bible have a handful of verses instructing people on how to treat slaves (Colossians 4:1)? Well, in Biblical times, people could sell themselves to be servants to pay off debts (Leviticus 25:39). And that was very common. So, for the servants’ sakes, God gave the Jews instructions regarding the treatment of servants. The instructions were given to protect and help the servants, not harm them or keep them down. For example, Exodus 20:10 said that servants were to have every seventh day of the week off. Deuteronomy 23:16 said to not mistreat a slave. It was Christians who understood God’s heart for kidnapped and mistreated slaves who led the fight to abolish slavery in England and America long ago. And Christians are at the forefront of the battle to eradicate the sex-slave trade today. For more on slavery in the Bible, click here.


“Haven’t certain books of the Bible been lost?”

No. The supposedly “lost books” of the Bible that have been found, the so-called gospels of Thomas, Philip, and Mary Magdalene, were not lost gospels, they were pseudo gospels that the early church rejected as uninspired, spurious writings. The Christian church was familiar with these documents, but purposely left them out of the Bible, easily recognizing that they were not divinely inspired. We too can be certain these books do not belong in the Bible. Why? First, they were not written by any of the apostles or their close associates (e.g., Mark or Luke). Most scholars, Christian and non-Christian, date these Gnostic gospels to the second and third centuries, long after the time of Christ. Secondly, these writings contradict authentic revelation. You can be absolutely confident that God, who inspired (2 Timothy 3:16) the men to pen the words of the Bible (2 Peter 1:21), saw to it that none of the inspired writings were lost. It would be foolish for us to think that an all-knowing, all-powerful God could lose track of books He intended to put in the Bible, or anything else for that matter. For more on this topic go here.


“Why would God have created us if He knew that so many would perish?

God being omniscient certainly did know before He created us, that many would reject Him and end up eternally separated from Him. His foreknowledge is perfect. So then, why did He create us, even knowing in advance that many would be lost? I believe the simplest answer is this: Just as the Lord knew many would reject Him, He also knew that many would freely receive Him and enjoy eternity with Him. Apparently, even knowing that many would reject Him and end up in Hell, He felt it worth it, so that we who would receive Him, could have fellowship with Him, and Him with us. Why should God have not created humans, just because some would refuse to love Him and submit their lives to Him? That would allow evil to triumph over good. I wouldn't refuse to start a family just because I realize that some of my descendants will reject the gospel and end up in Hell. Why? Because I know that many will not. I realize that by having kids, I become the trunk, if you will, to a large family tree. I realize that it is very likely that some of my descendants will reject the gospel and go to Hell. Should I have refused to start a family because these will suffer? No. Why? Because many of my descendants will not go to Hell but will get to enjoy the glories of heaven forever! And those who do suffer will end up in Hell of their own free accord. By me fathering (or grandfathering) children, I am not in any way forcing them to go to Hell. They will have the option to receive God's mercy and forgiveness. So I'm not going to withhold the blessings of eternity from my children and other descendants, because of the evil actions of a few. This is also true with God. He knew that some would reject Him, but He also knew that some would receive Him. For more on this topic, go here.


Scrolls Bible Evidence2


“Evolution is a proven fact. I stopped believing in your imaginary sky daddy a long time ago!"

God is certainly not an “imaginary skydaddy,” and you’ll regret believing that when you stand before His throne on the Day of Judgment (Hebrews 10:31). But may I ask you a question? You seem like you’re an open-minded individual. What are some of the books you’ve read wherein the author sought to lay out some of the major flaws with the theory of evolution? Oh, you haven’t read any? Hmm, I thought you would have examined what hundreds of scientists believe are fatal flaws with the theory of evolution before settling down so confidently in favor of it.

What flaws? you ask. How about the fossil record? If evolution really is the explanation for all of life, the fossil record should show continuous and gradual changes from the bottom layer to the top layers. But it doesn’t. Nearly all groups of animals appear suddenly, simultaneously, and fully developed in the fossil record. This alone is devastating to the theory.

But let me get this straight. You think it’s absurd to believe there’s a creative intelligence behind the universe’s existence, but you believe it’s more reasonable to believe that once there was nothing and that nothingness turned itself into all the stars, planets, and eventually living organisms? Interesting.

Have you ever studied the complexities of the human body? I have a hard time believing male and female human bodies came into existence without any kind of designer involved. Think this through with me. The human body has 206 bones, 640 muscles, hearts that beat over 100,000 times a day, and eyes made up of two million parts. I can’t even fathom the kind of faith it would take to believe all those parts found each other and assembled themselves.

What do you think evolved first, the human heart with all its valves and chambers, or the blood, or the veins? They all work together and are dependent on each other to keep the body alive. They certainly couldn’t have all come together at the same time, apart from a creator. So, what evolved first, and how did the first creature that managed to grow a heart chamber or a vein survive for thousands of years before the other stuff managed to evolve?

And what about the trillions of cells that make up your body? Bill Gates said that the DNA in the cells is like a computer program but far more advanced than anything Microsoft has ever created. How did that information get into the cells? Computer programs never write themselves. There is always a programmer involved.

Oh, the ape-men fossils are proof of evolution? Surely, they aren’t! “Piltdown man” turned out to be a colossal hoax. “Peking man” turned out to be a monkey. “Neanderthal man” turned out to be a human, not an ape-man. “Nebraska man” turned out to be a pig. “Lucy,” apparently, was a chimpanzee. Friend the theory of evolution is a materialistic creation-myth masquerading as science. I strongly urge you to read more on this here.


"How could the Gospel writers have accurately remembered all that Jesus said and did?"

Quite simply, God helped them. On the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples, “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:25-26). Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would help them by bringing to their remembrance “all” the things that He told them. In addition to the help of the Holy Spirit, it’s reasonable to assume that the disciples took detailed notes (Matthew being a tax collector would have been skilled in shorthand). Thirdly, it would be hard to forget the things Jesus did. Many of Jesus’ teachings were accompanied with extraordinary miracles that would have left a indelible (permanent) impression upon the disciples' minds.


If you enjoyed the concise answers above, you'll love this book...it answers skeptics' top 40 questions...

One Minute Answers 500px Charlie Campbell 3is the founder of the ABR Apologetics Ministry (AlwaysBeReady.com) and a popular guest speaker at churches and conferences all over North America. He is the author of several articles, books, and DVDs, some of which include:

•  The Bible's Scientific Accuracy and Foresight
•  Scrolls & Stones: Compelling Evidence the Bible Can Be Trusted
•  Evidence for God
•  One Minute Answers to Skeptics
•  Archaeological Evidence for the Bible
•  The Case for the Resurrection
•  If God is Loving, Why is there Evil and Suffering?
•  Homosexuality and the Bible
•  The End Times: Ten Upcoming Events in Bible Prophecy
•  Teaching and Preaching God's Word
•  Apologetics Quotes

His resources have been endorsed by Norman Geisler, Charles Colson, Chuck Smith, Ed Hindson, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Jeremy Camp, and many others. His doctrinal beliefs are outlined here. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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