Friday, October 24, 2014

What Does it Mean to Say God is Infinite?

The Kalam cosmological argument for God's existence is as follows:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause. [1]

One argument offered in support of Premise (2) is the impossibility of an actually infinite number of things.  The argument goes like this:

1. An actually infinite number of things cannot exist.
2. A beginningless series of events in time entails an actually infinite number of things.
3. Therefore, a beginningless series of events in time cannot exist. [2]

However, this often raises the question, "If an actually infinite number of things cannot exist, how can God be infinite as theists claim?"

As William Lane Craig explains, this question is based on a misunderstanding:

"When we speak of the infinity of God, we are not using the word in a mathematical sense to refer to an aggregate of an infinite number of finite parts.  God's infinity is, if you will, qualitative, not quantitative.  It means that God is metaphysically necessary, morally perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, etc." [3]

Courage and Godspeed,

1. To learn more about the Kalam cosmological argument, checkout this outstanding short video.
2. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, 3rd Ed., p. 116.
3. Ibid., p. 119; Emphasis mine.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Quote: Dr. Paul Brand on the design of nerve cells

“The more I delve into natural laws – the atom, the universe, the solid elements, molecules, the sun, and even more, the interplay of all the mechanisms required to sustain life – I am astounded.  The whole creation could collapse like a deck of cards if just one of those factors were removed.   Some people really believe that all the design and precision in nature came about by chance, that if millions of molecules bombard each other long enough a nerve cell and sensory ending at exactly the right threshold will be bound to turn up.  To those people I merely suggest that they try to make one, as I did, and see what chance is up against.” - Dr. Paul Brand

Dr. Brand was the first physician to recognize that leprosy did not cause the loss of tissue, but is actually the loss of sensation that makes sufferers susceptible to injury.

In his book Where is God When It Hurts?, Philip Yancey states, “Dr. Brand received a several-million-dollar grant for the express purpose of designing an artificial pain system…  After five years of work, thousands of man-hours, and several million dollars, Brand and his associates abandoned the entire project…  A warning system suitable for just one hand was exorbitantly expensive, subject to frequent mechanical breakdown, and hopelessly inadequate to interpret the profusion of sensations…  The body’s pain network includes several hundred million sensors that function maintenance free throughout a healthy person’s life.”

Have a little hope on me,

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Video: Homosexuality- Compassion and Clarity by Sean McDowell

As the culture war continues to heat up, homosexuality continues to take center stage.  It seems that one cannot even share an opposing opinion on the topic without being labeled "bigoted" or "homophobic."

In this featured talk, apologist Sean McDowell works through a number of Bible passages to explain the biblical view of homosexuality.  Sean also gives helpful advice on how the follower of Jesus can address this issue in a Christ-like manner.

Courage and Godspeed,

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Favorite Analogy of the Trinity

I had the pleasure of attending the Mt. Airy "Defending the Faith" Conference this past weekend and heard an excellent lecture given by Marvin Patrick entitled, "Three Gods or One?  Defending the Trinity."

Later that day, during lunch, Truthbomb team member Chase Deener and my atheist friend were discussing the various analogies that Patrick had shared and the strengths and liabilities of each and I shared my favorite analogy brielfy.  It is the musical analogy originally offered by theologian Jeremy S. Begbie.  Peter S. Williams explains it in his outstanding article Understanding the Trinity:

"...A musical chord is essentially composed of three different notes (to be a chord all three notes must be present), namely the first, third and fifth notes of a given musical scale. For example, the chord of C major is composed of the notes C (the root of the chord), E (the third from the root) and G (the fifth from the root). Each individual note is ‘a sound’, and all three notes played together are likewise ‘a sound’. Hence a chord is essentially three sounds in one sound, or one sound essentially composed of three different sounds (each of which has an individual identity as well as a corporate identity). By analogy, God is three divine persons in one divine personal being, or one divine personal being essentially composed of three divine persons. Moreover, when middle C (the root of the chord) is played it ‘fills’ the entire ‘heard space’. When the E above middle C is played at the same time, that second note simultaneously ‘fills’ the whole of the ‘heard space’; yet one can still hear both notes distinctly. When the G above middle C is added as well, a complete chord exists; one sound composed of three distinct sounds: [1]

What could be more apt than to speak of the Trinity as a three-note-resonance of life, mutually indwelling, without mutual exclusion and yet without merger, each occupying the same ‘space,’ yet recognizably and irreducibly distinct, mutually enhancing and establishing each other? 
So the doctrine of the Trinity isn't self-contradictory, and there are some analogies that help us to conceptualize the Trinity." [3]
I agree with those who hold that the Trinity is unique and there is nothing that one can point to that is a strict analogy or parallel to it; however, I find the above analogy helpful in demonstrating that the Trinity is not self-contradictory or illogical.
What do you think of the analogy?  What is your favorite analogy of the Trinity?  Sound off in the comments below!
Courage and Godspeed,
1. Peter S. Williams, Understanding the Trinity, 2012. 

2. As quoted by P. Williams- Jeremy Begbie (ed.), Beholding the Glory: Incarnation Through the Arts, (Baker, 2000), quoted by ‘Hearing God in C Major’, Stillpoint,
3. Ibid., 2012.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Proverbs for the Apologist

The one who gives an answer before he listens - this is foolishness and disgrace for him.1

This is critical for the apologist to adhere to as it can result in tackling straw-men arguments and alienating the person you are engaging in dialogue. Using the following tactical questions Greg Koukl has honed will help us to listen:

1. What do you mean by that?
2. How did you come to that conclusion?
3. Can you clear this up for me?

Stand firm in Christ,

1.  Proverbs 18:13. Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Apologetics from the Pulpit

When talking to pastors and church leaders I have noticed that sometimes they are not sure how to share apologetics from the pulpit.  The following are examples of how apologetics can be shared with a Sunday morning congregation.

Arguments from Morality

Is Jesus the Only Way to Heaven?

Investigating the Resurrection

Courage and Godspeed,

Friday, October 17, 2014

Video: The Pastor and Christian Apologetics by William Lane Craig

In this video Dr. William Lane Craig shares at a pastor's conference why all Chrisitans need to be trained in apologetics.

Craig contends that apologetics aids in:
  • shaping culture
  • strengthening believers
  • winning unbelievers
This is an outstanding message to send to your pastor or youth pastor.

Courage and Godspeed,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Walter Martin on the Rise of Cults

"The rise of the cults is 'directly proportional to the fluctuating emphasis which the Christian church has placed on the teaching of biblical doctrine to Christian laymen. To be sure, a few pastors, teachers, and evangelists defend adequately their beliefs, but most of them–and most of the average Christian laymen–are hard put to confront and refute a well-trained cultist of almost any variety.'" [1]

Courage and Godspeed,

1. As quoted by Charlie Campbell here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Article: What Every Christian Should Know about Paul by Eric Chabot

In this featured article, Eric Chabot of the Christian Apologetics Alliance writes of the Apostle Paul:

"Given that historians look to those who are contemporaries of the events, Paul is an important resource for what historians can know about Jesus of Nazareth. Furthermore, the earliest documents we have for the life of Jesus are Paul’s letters. Paul was a very competent rabbi who was trained at the rabbinic academy called the House of Hillel by ‘Gamaliel,’ a key rabbinic leader and member of the Sanhedrin.  Both Christian and non-Christian scholars have come to have great respect Paul."

He then continues by listing some very basic things that he contends all Christians should know about Paul.

You can checkout this excellent article here.  For more from Chabot, see here.

For more great resources checkout the Christian Apologetics Alliance.

Courage and Godspeed,