The Ultimate Proof of Creation
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:18-21
At CSI we were recently blessed to have renowned astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle present several intriguing talks for our annual luncheon. His keynote address was titled “Nuclear Strength Apologetics” taken from his book “the Ultimate Proof of Creation”. It was in this talk that he expounded upon the dramatic Bible teaching related to the passage in Romans above.
He tied it together with passages in the Bible that speak about knowledge like this one from Proverbs 1:7 that says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Also, in Proverbs 2 verse 6 it declares: “For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”
The concepts that he related taught us a Biblical way to easily obey 1 Peter 3:15-16 which exhorts us to “…sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” The phrase to give “an answer” here is where we get the term apologetics from. The Greek word is apologia: a speech in defense. Apologetics is therefore concerned with giving a reasoned defense for the hope we have in Christ Jesus. This is different from but equally important to preaching the Gospel to people. The Gospel is sharing your faith and helping people realize their need for a Savior to forgive their sins. This is the good news!
Dr. Lisle taught us that according to the Scriptures sited above, as well as many others, all men already know of God, but they willfully choose to suppress that knowledge in unrighteousness. He likened it to the picture of a child playing in the pool and sitting on a beachball to keep it under the water and then saying that he doesn’t know where the beachball is! Knowing that all men know God gives the believer a tremendous advantage in an apologetic situation. We need only to help the unbeliever to recognize that they do indeed know of Him.
“Don’t Answer, Answer Technique”
This is where we learned of the handy tool of Proverbs 26: 4-5, which reads “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” Dr. Lisle called this the “Don’t Answer, Answer Technique.” We know that the Bible teaches that it is the fool who says in his heart that there is no God (Psalm 14:1). When it says fool here it is not just calling names. It means that it is foolishness for a person to consider something as absurd that God has revealed to be certainly true. Like the boy pushing the beachball down and all the while saying it isn’t there. Consider if someone wanted to argue with you that he didn’t believe in words. All the arguments he gives you would necessarily use words. Yet he is oblivious to the inconsistency of his reasoning. That man would rightly be considered a fool.
Epistemology is the theory of knowledge and relates to the “why” of what we think and the way we understand certainty, the very basis of our knowledge. Another picture given is that of a small child sitting on his father’s lap and slapping him in the face. The only ability the child has to slap his father’s face is because he is sitting on his lap in the first place. Dr. Lisle taught us that the knowledge of God is something very basic to our way of thinking. He used the word “epistemology” to describe the concept. Epistemology is the theory of knowledge and relates to the “why” of what we think and the way we understand certainty, the very basis of our knowledge.
In Colossians 2 verse 3 Paul informs us through the Holy Spirit that in God “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” That means that our epistemology begins in the knowledge of God. In fact, he explained that a person cannot actually know anything without starting with an assumption that God exists. This ultimate authority is known as our “presupposition”. That is why this type of apologetics, first popularized by Cornelius Van Til (May 3, 1895 – April 17, 1987) a Dutch Christian philosopher and Reformed theologian, has come to be known as Presuppositionalism.
“Presuppositionalism is a school of Christian apologetics that believes the Christian faith is the only basis for rational thought. It presupposes that the Bible is divine revelation and attempts to expose flaws in other worldviews.” (From Wikipedia)
What Jason Lisle taught us is that virtually all knowledge, even such mundane things as how to tie a shoe or facts about stamps in a collection or what happens when you squeeze a tube of tooth paste presuppose certain things that only make sense from a Christian worldview, such as the uniformity of nature, universal laws of logic, the dignity of many, and ultimate morality, etc. Since the Bible teaches us that all knowledge comes from God, it follows that no person can know anything at all unless he knows (or presupposes) something about God. Not just any “god”, but only the triune Christian God of the Bible makes any knowledge intelligible.
“Wait, that certainly can’t be right!” You may say. “Surely unbelievers have knowledge without knowing God. What about people groups hidden in the far reaches of the world that have not yet even heard about God. Don’t they know anything? What about the ancient civilizations that existed before Christ came? Didn’t Aristotle and Plato have any knowledge?”
This is where we learned that yes, unbelievers do have knowledge, but they cannot give a rational reason for their knowledge. In other words, Jason was not saying that unbelievers can’t, for example, count. In fact, he mentioned they can often count better than he. However, as Van Til put it, unbelievers are unable to “account for their counting!”
In other words, why do they believe that counting works? If the universe were nothing more than material or energy that has reached the complicated form that it has now merely by pure chance, why would they expect abstract laws of logic and mathematics to hold true? The concept of the uniformity of nature does not make sense in a chance universe. However, it does make sense in the Christian world view. That is because we are told in the Bible that Jesus upholds all things by His might (Hebrews 1:3). The Bible reveals the character of God and we would expect His creation to be a reflection of His divine nature. Since God, by His very nature, cannot lie, it follows that the abstract law of logic known as the law of non-contradiction would always and in every case hold true in His created universe. Therefore, the unbeliever is standing on biblical presuppositions when he uses the laws of logic in order to attack the Bible. This is like the child slapping his father’s face while sitting on his lap. Our job is to help the unbeliever to become what famed presuppositional apologist Greg Bahnsen referred to as “epistemologically self-conscious”; to realize that the basis of his knowledge and legitimacy of his reasoning only makes sense in the Christian worldview.
This is where the Don’t Answer – Answer Technique comes in so handy.
Here is an example from a real comment that came in to the CSI Facebook page.
The visitor strongly asserted that it was wrong for CSI to teach children that men and dinosaurs lived contemporaneously. Using the Don’t Answer – Answer Technique, I first responded to the inquirer, “I don’t agree with your premise that it is wrong to teach children that men and dinosaurs lived together. I happen to believe the Bible and it clearly teaches that this is the actual case. I could just as easily charge that it is wrong for you to teach children otherwise.” This is the “Don’t Answer” part. In other words, I did not enter into the unbeliever’s folly by trying to produce evidence from a secular standpoint, and from there trying to reason about the evidence that God exists. Instead I used the second “Answer” part of the technique to demonstrate the absurdity or foolishness of the unbeliever’s claim, if his worldview was correct. I said to him “Let’s suppose for a moment you are right that it is wrong to teach children these things. In your worldview, why would it be wrong to lie to children? As a Christian, I have a basis for why it is wrong to lie to children, because the 9th Commandment says “Thou shalt not lie.” However, I assume you are not arguing from my point of view. So, I ask you why would it be wrong, according to your worldview, to lie? Doesn’t your worldview hold that there is no such thing as an absolute moral code?” If he is honest, he will have to agree.
In this way, you can help the unbeliever see that he is indeed borrowing from the Christian worldview to even make his argument against the clear teachings of the Bible. He is forced to admit that the basis of his argument presupposes a transcendent truth of morality, something that his professed worldview of naturalism categorically denies.
We must remember that we cannot convert anyone. This is the job of the Holy Spirit. It is only our job to give an answer. Although this form of apologetics cannot be rationally refuted, it does not mean that an unbeliever exposed to it in this way will suddenly repent and turn to the Lord. We must remember that we cannot convert anyone. This is the job of the Holy Spirit. It is only our job to give an answer. Our part is to shut the mouth of the unbeliever and to pray that God would replace the heart of stone with a heart of flesh, as it declares in Ezekiel 36:26.
Won’t you prayerfully consider joining with the Creation Studies Institute in support of our noble effort to confront the unbelieving world with the truth of the gospel through powerful creation messages and teachings?
Please consider helping us defend with reasoned Biblical answers the attacks against the faith from an unbelieving world. We need to add at least another 100 monthly donors with at least a $35 gift to assist us as we move from month to month in expanding and meeting our ministry needs. Monthly donors greatly assist us in accomplishing our goals. Your generous contributions help enable us to prepare the body of Christ to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” God bless you and thank you for partnering with us by His Grace!
CSI Board Member