Saturday, March 28, 2015

Expert Testimony: The Existence of God, the Problem of Evil, and the Facts on the Bible

One of the respected methods by which truth claims may be verified is by expert testimony. Expert testimony is offered in court cases to assist in the search for truth. In the same way, expert testimony from respected individuals in human history may offer voracity to the truth claims of the Christian faith.

True faith, Christian faith is grounded in hard facts and reasonable inquiry. I would like to offer forward verified quotations from great thinkers across the ages regarding three areas of inquiry: the existence of God, the problem of evil, and the reliability of the Bible.

Faith leads to knowledge. And knowledge leads to faith. God is not just a story, or a legend or a myth. God is real. We need only look through the annuls of time to see the great thinkers who have believed and testified to the reality of God.

Often we are simply not exposed to these facts, because many in our society seek to quietly ignore and dispose of the idea of God. But we must remember the ground we stand on. It is my firm belief that we must return to the faith of the founders of the United States, and western civilization. Why? So that western society will continue to survive, and prosper. Dr. John Lennox a renowned mathematician and devout Christian once traveled to Russia during the cold war era, a rare event, to speak to their scientists and great minds. Dr. Lennox was sharing regarding the many great scientists over history who have had devout faith in Jesus Christ, and the scientists in the audience were looking more and more angry. So much so that Dr. Lennox stopped his talk, and addressed them, asking them why they looked so upset. And one of them replied, "Why weren't any of us ever told about this?" The answer should be obvious... because knowledge is power. Knowledge is our road to truth.

So without further ado, I offer up this expert testimony regarding the existence of God, the problem of evil, and the reliability of the Bible for your consideration.

A. The Existence of God

1. The Design of the Universe: Does the universe need a designer?

"We have only to see a few letters of the alphabet spelling our name in the sand to recognize at once the work of an intelligent agent. How much more likely, then is the existence of an intelligent Creator behind human DNA, the colossal biological database that contains no fewer than 3.5 billion "letters" - the longest "word" yet discovered?" –John Lennox, God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway?, p. 75.

“Discoveries of the last half of the 20th century have brought the scientific community to the realization that our universe and our planet in the universe are so remarkably unique that it is almost impossible to imagine how this could have happened accidentally, causing many agnostic scientists to concede that indeed some intelligent creative force may be required to account for it.” –Dr. Walter Bradley, Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Texas A & M

“When you analyze all of the most current affirmative evidence from cosmology, physics, astronomy, biology, and so forth...the positive case for an intelligent designer becomes absolutely compelling.” –Jonathan Wells

2. The Hiddenness of God: Why isn't God more obvious?

"Either God exists, or he does not...Let us weigh the gain and the loss in betting that God exists...If you win, you win everything; if you lose, you lose nothing. Do not hesitate then, to gamble on His existence." –Blaise Pascal, French scientist and theologian, quoted in Harold Sala, Why You Can Have Confidence in the Bible, p. 159

"The chief reason people do not know God is not because He hides from them but because they hide from Him." –John Stott

“God maintains a delicate balance between keeping his existence sufficiently evident so people will know he's there and yet hiding his presence enough so that people who want to choose to ignore him can do it. This way, their choice of destiny is really free.” –J.P. Moreland

B. The Problem of Evil

1. Do our trials communicate to us?

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” –C. S. Lewis

“I saw a young sister, just before this service; and I said to her, "When did you find the Lord?" She replied, "It was when I was very ill." Yes, it is often so; God makes us ill in body that we may have time to think of Him, and turn to Him....What would become of some people if they were always in good health, or if they were always prospering? But tribulation is the black dog that goes after the stray sheep, and barks them back to the Good Shepherd. I thank God that there are such things as the visitations of correction and of holy discipline, to preserve our spirit, and bring us to Christ.” –Charles Spurgeon

2. Does the evil in the world disprove the goodness of God?

“The Biblical world-view is the only one that accepts the reality of evil and suffering while giving both the cause and the purpose, while offering God-given strength and sustenance in the midst of it.” –Ravi Zacharias

Someone once asked Billy Graham, "If Christianity is valid, why is there so much evil in the world?" To this the famous preacher replied, "With so much soap, why are there so many dirty people in the world? Christianity, like soap, must be personally applied if it is to make a difference in our lives." –Billy Graham

C. The Facts on the Bible

1. Can the Bible be trusted?

“I must say, that having for many years made the evidences of Christianity the subject of close study, the result has been a firm and increasing conviction of the authenticity and plenary [complete] inspiration of the Bible. It is indeed the Word of God.” –Simon Greenleaf, (1783-1853), Founder of Harvard Law School

“Today there survives more than 25,000 partial and complete, ancient handwritten manuscript copies of the New Testament. These hand written manuscripts have allowed scholars and textual critics to go back and verify that the Bible we have in our possession today is the same Bible that the early church possessed 2,000 years ago.” –Charlie Campbell

“I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.” –Sir Isaac Newton , legendary scientist

2. Does the Bible contradict itself?

"Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them.”
–E. Paul Hovey

“While many have doubted the accuracy of the Bible, time and continued research have consistently demonstrated that the Word of God is better informed than its critics. In fact, while thousands of finds from the ancient world support in broad outline and often in detail the biblical picture, not one incontrovertible find has ever contradicted the Bible.” –Norman Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics

3. Does the Bible contain prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus?

“The Old Testament contains over 300 references to the Messiah that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Computations using the science of probability on just 8 of these prophecies show the chance that someone could have fulfilled all 8 prophecies is 10 (to the 17th power), or 1 in 100 quadrillion.” –Fritz Ridenour, So What’s the Difference?, p. 28.

4. Does the Bible change lives?

“My father’s life was changed right before my eyes [when he trusted Christ]. It was like someone reached down and switched on a light inside him. He touched alcohol only once after that. He got the drink only as far as his lips and that was it—after forty years of drinking! He didn’t need it any more. Fourteen months later, he died form complications of his alcoholism. But in that fourteen-month period over a hundred people in the area around my tiny hometown committed their lives to Jesus Christ because of the change they saw in the town drunk, my dad.”
–Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, xxvii.