Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Video: Why Does Anything Exist at All? by William Lane Craig


Dr. William Lane Craig was invited to speak at the Worldview Apologetics Conference hosted at Westminster Chapel in Bellevue, WA in April of 2017.

In this lecture, Dr. Craig expounds on Leibniz's contingency argument for why anything at all exists. The presentation is followed by a Q&A session.

Leibniz's argument, as defended by Dr. Craig, is as follows:

1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.

2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.

3. The universe exists.

4. The universe has an explanation of its existence.

5. Therefore, the explanation of the universe's existence is God.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts

An Edited Version of the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Common Objection #34- "Jesus never claimed to be God!"

Some people argue that Jesus never claimed to be God.  I reject this claim. Now, don't misunderstand me.  He didn’t use those exact words, but He clearly claimed to be God nonetheless.

Remember when God first appeared to Moses in the burning bush? Moses asked God for His name and God answered Moses as follows:

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14).

Now, it is important to understand that at the time of this interaction between God and Moses, Israelites revered the “I AM” name of God. This beloved title was not to be given to anyone or anything other than God Himself.  Now fast forward to Jesus’ time here on earth.  One day the Pharisees come along and they are questioning the power, authority and teachings of Jesus. They actually accuse Him of being demon possessed!  Consider John's record of what happened:

"The Jews answered him [Jesus], 'Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?'  Jesus answered, 'I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me.  Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge.  Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.'  The Jews said to him, 'Now we know that you have a demon!  Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, 'If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.'  Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?  And the prophets died!  Who do you make yourself out to be?'  Jesus answered, 'If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing.  It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, 'He is our God.'  But you have not known him.  I know him.  If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word.  Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day.  He saw it and was glad.'  So the Jews said to him, 'You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?'  Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.'  So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.'"  (John 8:48-59).

The Pharisees knew exactly what Jesus meant.  He was claiming to be God.  They were planning to stone him for blasphemy. 

Bible teacher J. Warner Wallace explains the implications of this passage:

“When Jesus took on God’s holy title as his own, He was stating the modern equivalent of ‘I am God.'  He did this repeatedly over the course of his ministry (see Mark 14:62, John 18:5-6, John 8:24 and John 8:28).  So while you may not find the expression ‘I am God’ in the Gospels, you’ll certainly find the ancient equivalent.  It’s no wonder that the Jewish religious leadership would eventually want Him executed.”1

Moreover, in John 10:30, Jesus makes this astonishing claim- "I and the Father are one."  Here, Jesus is claiming that He and the Father are one in nature or essence.  He was claiming deity.  The Jews understood this completely.  Why did they want to stone Him?  As the Jews themselves stated, "...because you, being a man, make yourself God" (John 10:33b).

So, even enemies of Jesus understood that he was claiming to be God.  

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. J. Warner Wallace, Jesus Specifically Said, "I am God," Nov. 7, 2016.

Related Posts

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Video: Where Did Jesus Say, "I Am God, Worship Me"? by David Wood

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For Further Research

The Circumstantial Case For John’s Authorship by J. Warner Wallace

Monday, August 14, 2017

Abortion Stunts Feminist Progress


Brian Fisher of Human Coalition writes the following in the subject blog post:

Abortion hasn’t solved the problems women have faced throughout human history, and modern feminists are remiss to fantasize that unrestricted access to abortion could solve any problems today.

Read his reasons for why he thinks so here.

Stand firm for Christ and firm for the preborn,
Chase

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Friday, August 11, 2017

Better be good for goodness sake?




Recently, I had the opportunity to take part in a brief dialogue regarding morality on social media.  Normally, I do not engage in commentary responding to someone’s blog, but I felt a sense of obligation because of what was said and the implications if this is what that person truly believes. 
The comments were in response to a blog post entitled “9Ways Atheist Moms are Different from Religious Moms.”  The post is not really what caught my attention.  I honestly can’t remember much from what I read other than there was a lot of interesting language used. 

What I remember is a comment in response to the blog basically saying that teaching your children about hell is child abuse.  Now I would agree that teaching the concept of hell as a scare tactic to get them to accept your belief is not the right approach.  But what struck me most about the comment was that someone who I would describe as an atheist was making a moral judgement on someone’s behavior.  On atheism, how can one make a moral judgement when objective moral values and duties do not exist?

I posed this question as a comment and was referred to an article from the NY Times entitled Good Minus God.  I read the article and noticed that it was written by philosopher Louise Antony.  I recalled that Antony had debated Willliam Lane Craig with the question being Is God Necessary for Morality?  I listened to the debate and much of what Antony presented in the debate was restated in her NY Times piece. 

Dr. Antony believes that “good” is independent of God.  If it is not, then one is faced with the dilemma that it is arbitrary as it is dependent upon what God commands. For example, if God said it is good to eat children, we would have to accept that as good because God said so. This "problem" is commonly referred to as "Euthyphro's Dilemma," named after a character in Plato's socratic dialogue on the subject of goodness.

But as Dr. Craig clearly points out, this problem is actually a false dilemma.  This is because there is a third option, this being that God wills something because He is good.  And since goodness is part of His nature, God is the anchor for objective morality.  Therefore goodness is not independent of God.

This does not mean that non-believers cannot live good a good life.  I know many people who do not claim to be Christians but live decent lives.  The question is, how can you define what good is without God?

The impression I got from Dr. Antony is that we as humans just recognize that good exists.  We can observe this when we see sentient beings suffer.  We don't need God to tell us that suffering is not good.  

Let me give an example why I believe this explanation is problematic.  In March of 2017, Teen Vogue published an article entitled "Planned Parenthood Videos Explain Abortion Process."  These videos make abortion look like a safe and fairly harmless procedure.  Contrast this with the horrific images you see in this abortion video (about 3 minutes and 26 seconds in).  On Dr. Antony's view, why is it not obvious for every human being to see that defenseless babies being tortured and ripped apart is murder?  I believe this shows a fatal flaw in the belief that good can exist without God.  On atheism, morality is arbitrary.   

However the theistic worldview, with God as the anchor of goodness, clearly appears to be the better explanation for objective moral values and duties.  
  

Additional Resources:

Reasonable Faith Video  The Moral Argument: Good without God?
Reasonable Faith Podcast- A Debate on the Moral Argument


God Bless,


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Ted Wright on the Old Testament and Archaeology

"In truth, the Old Testament is actually a reliable source of accurate historical information. The science of archaeology helps us to understand the Bible better, and the Bible also helps us understand what we discover in the ground. That being said, the Old Testament is also not merely historical chronicle either. It is nothing short of God’s Epic story of love and redemption for the people of Israel as well as all of humankind. The stories recorded in the OT were true in the past, and they are just as true today."1

To learn more, checkout Wright's article 10 Significant Old Testament Archaeological Discoveries.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:

Related Posts

Featured Resource: Epic Archaeology

The One Minute Apologist Interviews Ted Wright on the Exodus

Article: Was There an Exodus and Conquest? by Ted Wright

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Article: Is the Old Testament Reliable? by Chad A. Gross

I was recently given the opportunity and honor of contributing to the new Apologetics Study Bible for Students.  Below is my article.

The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew (with a few chapters penned in Aramaic).  It contains thirty-nine books written from about 1400-400 B.C.  The scribes who copied and preserved the text were careful and extremely thorough.  Effective safeguards were implemented as part of a painstaking process to ensure the accurate transmission of the text.  Scribes developed numerical systems to insure an accurate copy: they counted the number of lines, letters, and words per page of the new copy and then compared it to the original.  If differences were present, the copy was destroyed; they had to start over.

The strongest confirmation for the reliablity of the Old Testament text came with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 at Qumran.  Until that time, skeptics clung to the hope that an older text would be found that would demonstrate that the text had been significantly altered and corrupted. However, the opposite happened.  For example, an entire manuscript of Isaiah was found dating to approximately 75 B.C.  When Old Testament scholars compared it with the earliest existing copy of Isaiah know at that time (dating to A.D. 1008-09), the results were staggering.  They concluded ninety-five percent of the text had been copied and passed down accurately over a period of almost 1,100 years!  The other five percent- comprised of mere slips of the pen- consisted only of misspelled words and absent letters.

While many skeptics have dismissed the historicity of various Old Testament figures, places, and events, archaeological discoveries continue to vindicate the biblical record and silence its critics.  Some of the key biblical figures attested by discoveries include King David, patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, King Solomon, and King Nebuchadnezzar.  Key places proven include the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zoar, and Zeboiim mentioned in Genesis 14.  Also discovered are the entire kingdom of the Hethites that was once thought to be mythological and the site of Solomon's temple.  Moreover, ancient finds have authenticated some events recorded in the Old Testament.  One example involves the walls discovered at the site of Jericho; there a think layer of soot indicates the city was destroyed by fire as described in Joshua 6:24.  Further discoveries have demonstrated these walls fell outward, which is noteworthy when one considers that attacked city walls fall in the opposite direction.  This anomaly would have provided invaders a ramp to easily enter the city- precisely what Joshua 6:20 reports.

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, Jesus clearly believed the Old Testament is historically reliable.  Perhaps in anticipation of future skepticism, Jesus affirmed as true many passages that modern day Bible skeptics deny.  He affirmed the historicity of Adam and Eve (Mt. 19:4), the Noahic flood (Mt. 12:39), and the story of Jonah being swallowed by a great fish (Mt. 12:40).  He also referenced the Old Testament canon in Matthew 23:35 when he mentioned the span of time from the death of Abel (Gn. 4) until the death of Zechariah (2 Ch. 24).

On the grounds that the Old Testament text has been accurately preserved; that discoveries in archaeology have confirmed many of the people, places, and events recorded in its pages; and that Jesus himself taught the Old Testament as real history, the Christian can be confident the Old Testament is indeed historically reliable.

To learn more about this helpful resource, go here.  To order your copy, go here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts

Old Testament Law and the Charge of Inconsistency

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Moral Objections to the Old Testament by Peter J. Williams

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Book Preview: Our Deepest Desires by Gregory E. Ganssle

About the Author

Greg Ganssle (PhD, Syracuse) is professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. He is the author of several books, including A Reasonable God: Engaging the New Face of Atheism and Thinking About God, and he is the editor of God and Time.

About the Book

As human beings, we are created with desires.

We all long for meaningful relationships, lives that reflect goodness, engagements with beauty, and the freedom to pursue our lives with integrity. But where can our restless hearts find fulfillment for these universal longings?

Philosopher and apologist Greg Ganssle argues that our widely shared human aspirations are best understood and explained in light of the Christian story. With grace and insight, Ganssle explains how the good news of Jesus Christ makes sense of—and fulfills—our deepest desires. It is only in the particular claims of the Christian faith, he argues, that our universal human aspirations can find fulfillment and our restless hearts will be at peace.

Reviews

"Our Deepest Desires is a little gem of a book, written with the clarity and wisdom of a seasoned teacher. Learned yet accessible, Ganssle takes his readers on a fresh tour of life's big questions by tracking ways the claims of Christianity connect up with fundamental human longings. This may be our new Mere Christianity, and it will surely inspire conversations worth having."

- Eric Gregory, professor of religion and chair of the council of the humanities, Princeton University

"Christian philosophers and apologists have spilled much ink defending the truth of Christianity—rightly so, given the rise of New Atheism and other movements that call into question Christianity's plausibility. What has been widely neglected, however, is showing the desirability of Jesus and the gospel. In this brilliantly written book, Gregory Ganssle shows how the Christian story makes sense of our deepest longings—for love, beauty, truth, goodness, and freedom. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in finding a story that is both true to the way things are and true to the way things ought to be."

- Paul M. Gould, assistant professor of philosophy and Christian apologetics, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

You can order your copy here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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Monday, August 07, 2017

Abortion and Viral Videos

Clinton Wilcox of the Life Training Institute responds to a recent viral video; a video which is a response to Ben Shapiro's arguments against abortion. The "arguments" in this video that Wilcox responds to are the following:

If you believe abortion is murder and it should be outlawed accordingly, you must support all women having miscarriages being investigated for a possible negligent homicide, the same way you would want a person involved in running over someone else with their car investigated for negligent homicide.

Would we be comfortable allowing a woman at increased risk for miscarriage to get pregnant? 

Would people be comfortable with a woman trying to get pregnant who has a high risk of miscarriage, since they would not be comfortable with someone drunk getting behind the wheel of the car?

You can read Wilcox's response here.

Stand firm in Christ, and stand firm for the preborn,
Chase


Friday, August 04, 2017

Counterpoints: John Gray and John Lennox on Evolutionary Success and Truth

Atheist Philosopher John Gray: “The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.”1

Professor John Lennox: "But what about Gray’s own mind…one must suppose, according to Gray, that his writing this sentence [“The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth”] serves evolutionary success.  Well, it certainly would appear to serve the success of evolutionary theory, if it were true.  But then Gray has undermined the very concept of truth, and so has removed all reason for us to take him seriously.  Logical incoherence reigns once more."2

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnotes:
1. John Gray, Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia (Farrar, Straus and Giroux: London, 2007), 26 as quoted by Tanya Walker here.
2. John Lennox, Gunning For God: Why the New Atheists Are Missing the Target (Lion Hudson: Oxford, 2011), 108. as quoted by Tanya Walker as well.

Related Posts

Resource: Faith + Evolution

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Video: Evolution- A Theory in Crisis by Dr. Thomas Woodward

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Greer Heard Forum: Robin Collins - "God and the Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Discovery"


"On Friday, February 21st, 2014, philosopher and theologian, Dr William Lane Craig, was invited by the Greer Heard Forum to debate Dr Sean Carroll, an atheist theoretical physicist. The topic of debate was, "God and Cosmology: The Existence of God in Light of Contemporary Cosmology." The rigorous debate was concluded by a lengthy question and answer period with the audience.  The debate video can be found here.

On Saturday, Dr Robin Collins, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and chair of the Department of Philosophy at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, spoke on the topic "God and the Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Discovery." [1]

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

William Lane Craig on the "Many Worlds" Hypothesis as a Backhanded Compliment to Design

"The current debate over fine-tuning has now become a debate over the many worlds hypothesis.  In order to explain fine-tuning we're being asked to believe not merely that there are other unobservable universes, but that there is an infinite number of such worlds and that they randomly vary in their fundamental constants and quantities.  All this is needed to guarantee that a life-permitting universe like ours will appear by chance in the ensemble.  The many worlds hypothesis is really a sort of backhanded compliment to the design hypothesis.  For otherwise sober scientists would not be flocking to adopt so speculative and extravagant a view as the many worlds  hypothesis unless they felt absolutely compelled to.  So if someone says to you, 'The fine-tuning could have happened by chance!' or 'The improbable happens!' or 'It was just dumb luck!' ask him, 'Then why do the detractors of design feel compelled to embrace an extravagance like the many worlds hypothesis in order to avoid design?'"1

For those unfamiliar with the Design Argument, go here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. William Lane Craig, On Guard, p. 118.

Related Posts

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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Book Preview: Between One Faith and Another by Peter Kreeft

About the Author

Peter Kreeft (PhD, Fordham University) is professor of philosophy at Boston College where he has taught since 1965. A popular lecturer, he has also taught at many other colleges, seminaries, and educational institutions in the eastern United States. Kreeft has written more than fifty books, including The Best Things in Life, The Journey, How to Win the Culture War, and Handbook of Christian Apologetics (with Ronald Tacelli).

About the Book

How do we make sense of the world's different religions?

In today's globalized society, religion is deeply intertwined with every issue we see on the news. But talking about multiple religions can be contentious. Are different faiths compatible somehow? And how can we know whether one religion is more true than another?

In this creative thought experiment, Peter Kreeft invites us to encounter dialogues on the world's great faiths. His characters Thomas Keptic and Bea Lever are students in Professor Fesser's course on world religions, and the three explore the content and distinctive claims of each. Together they probe the plausibility of major religions, from Hinduism and Buddhism to Christianity and Islam. Along the way they explore how religions might relate to each other and to what extent exclusivism or inclusivism might make sense.

Ultimately, Kreeft gives us helpful tools for thinking fairly and critically about competing religious beliefs. If the religions are different kinds of music, do they together make harmony or cacophony? Decide for yourself.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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