In the genre of apologetic writings, it can be difficult to
find new books that aren’t covering the same set of arguments in slightly
various ways. While this is not bad in itself – most offer fresh angles and
insights into the same “old” arguments – The Story of Reality is a breath of
fresh air. Often when reading, I find I hear the voice of the author speaking
the text in my head because the writing style parallels the authors speaking
style. Such was not the case with this. However Greg Koukl devised to write
this text, it is a uniquely fresh and enjoyable read. It covers a lot of ground
in a thorough yet winsome way. The arguments are basic and clear without getting
bogged down in details.
My only caveat is his assertion that every worldview has
four elements: creation, fall, redemption and restoration. I’m not sure many
atheists or agnostics would agree that the elements after “creation” are a part of “reality”.
What I would like to do is share some “clips” of
what I thought were his more significant thoughts concerning God’s Wrath, The
Trade and Perfect Justice, some of the more controversial aspects that are
unique to the Christian story.
It is hard to imagine anything in religion more repugnant to
people than the wrath of God. And it’s easy to see why.
First, God’s wrath is unsettling when we are the ones
standing in the dock. Law abiding citizens do not object when criminals pay their
due. Only the felon finds fault. Second, we are so well acquainted with our own
failures that familiarity has largely removed any deep sense of their gravity.
We are inclined to consider ourselves as, generally speaking, basically good
The notion of a “vengeful” God strikes us as inconsistent
with a God of love.
“Why doesn’t God do something?” we wonder. Yet we cry foul
when we learn God will do something decisive about evil and we are the evil
God would not be good if he truly hated evil but was benign
toward those who consistently cause it. Justice means exacting an appropriate
payment for a crime. No payment, no justice. No justice, no goodness. Is God
“vengeful”? No more than any good, fair, noble, just judge who must pass
sentence on lawbreakers. (97)
Each of the dead is judged by his own behavior, not by
comparing one person with another but simply by a raw accounting of each
person’s conduct recorded in books for all to see. Every misdeed has been
logged, every sin has been written down, and every careless word has been
If God is good, he must punish the guilty, and if he is good
he can only punish the guilty.
None will find safe harbor in his own merit since all things
hidden will be revealed. In the final reckoning, every man will be shown to be
a debtor to God – something each of us already knows deep in our own hearts.
Before the white throne, each person who is judged by his
own behavior is found guilty, the record in the books silencing every appeal.
It will be clear to all that God is justified when he speaks and blameless when
he judges. The books leave no room for debate, no ground for petition or plea.
When a debt was owed in the first century, a “certificate”
of debt was made. When the obligation was settled, it was officially resolved
with a single Greek word placed upon the parchment’s face: tetelestai.
When Jesus dies on the cross, when the full payment is made,
when the last of the debt of those who trust him melts away, when the justice
of God is fully satisfied, Jesus simply dismisses his spirit into the Father’s
hand and dies. But before he does, a single word falls from his lips. It is the
word tetelestai - “It is finished.”
His goal has been reached; his task has been achieved. The divine transaction
is complete. Jesus takes our guilt. We take his goodness. Theologians use terms
like justification or substitution or redemption or propitiation. We will
simply call it what Christians of the past have called it, the “Marvelous
How is an eternal hell an example of a loving God? Hell is
not an example of God’s love. It is an example of his justice. His love is
demonstrated by his free offer of pardon from hell, which many decline. But
they will not be able to decline his justice.
If God simply let wicked people go free, then he would not
be good at all. And if he were not good, it is very difficult to see how he
could be loving. Since God’s love and justice are both good things, they are
not in conflict with each other.
If you still insist that a loving God would never send
anyone to hell, then you must settle in your mind that desperately evil acts
will forever remain unpunished. Yet isn’t part of our complaint about evil that
evil people get away with the evil they have done? Have you thought about what
that would mean?
There is no contradiction between God’s love, which is
wonderful, and God’s justice, which is terrifying. I want you to see that they
come together in a breathtaking way when his love and his justice and his mercy
all converge at a cross. (162-163)
So is Mr. Koukl right? Do the puzzle pieces fit? Does the
Christian world view tell the “true” Story of Reality? Don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself, read the book, don’t wait for the movie.
Have a little hope on me, Roger
Koukl, G. (2017). The
Story of Reality. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Christian Father Shot in Head, Son Burned Alive Days After ISIS Affiliate Calls Believers 'Prey' Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-father-shot-in-head-son-buried-alive-days-after-isis-affiliate-calls-believers-prey-175729/#gX6MJFmfW83q9ZHj.99
In this video, David Wood of Acts 17 Apologetics interviews Guillaume Bignon, a former atheist turned Christian. I found his testimony worth sharing here.
Below is an excerpt from a Reasonable Faith podcast explaining how his then girlfriend's (now wife) belief in God is what motivated him to examine the evidence further-
"Her religious beliefs clearly remained the problem, and my new goal in life was essentially to explain to her why all this was untenable, so that she could put this nonsense behind her, and we could be together without her misconceptions standing in the way. So I started thinking about the whole thing. What good reason was there to think God exists, and what good reason was there to think atheism was true instead?
This step was important, because my own unbelief was comfortably resting on the fact that (smart) people around me didn’t believe in God either, but it was more a reasonable life assumption than the conclusion of a solid argument. So I started to take the question seriously, to objectively assess its credibility. But of course, if I was going to refute Christianity, I first needed to know what exactly it affirmed. So I picked up a Bible to figure it out. And at the same time, since I’m a scientist, I figured there was at least one experiment that could be carried out to dis-confirm the belief that God exists: I thought “if any of this is true, then there is a God who exists right now and presumably cares greatly about this project of mine”, so I started to pray in the air as an atheist “If there is a God, then here I am, I’m looking into this, why don’t you go ahead and reveal yourself to me. I’m open.”
According to Dr. William Lane Craig, "That was his fatal misstep as an unbeliever – turning to God and praying that prayer!"
In this series, we have been considering four facts about the fate of Jesus of Nazareth that the majority of NT historians accept. Specifically, we have been looking at the reasons the facts are so widely accepted.
Fact 1: After His crucifixion, Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathea in a tomb.
Fact 2: On the Sunday after the crucifixion, Jesus' tomb was found empty by a group of His women followers.
Fact 3: On multiple occasions, and under various circumstances, different individuals and groups saw Jesus alive after His death.
This week, we consider Fact 4: The original disciples suddenly and sincerely came to believe Jesus was risen from the dead, despite having every disposition to the contrary.
As philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig explains, "Consider the situation the disciples faced following Jesus' crucifixion:
1. Their leader was dead and Jewish messianic expectations did not expect a Messiah who, instead of triumphing over Israel's enemies, would be shamefully executed by them as a criminal.
2. According to OT law, Jesus' execution exposed Him as a heretic, a man accursed by God.
3. Jewish beliefs about the afterlife precluded anyone's rising from the dead to glory and immortality before the general resurrection of the dead at the end of the world.
Nevertheless, the original disciples suddenly came to believe so strongly that God had raised Jesus from the dead that they were willing to die for that belief."1
Next week, we will finish out this series by offering Dr. Craig's answer to the question, "What is the best explanation of these four facts?"
I will confess that I generally detest Christian and atheist memes. More often than not, they misrepresent the view they are usually ridiculing and only serve to take cheap shots at the opposition.
For example, consider the meme pictured in this post regarding prayer. It would have the reader believe that it is absurd for the believer to pray because, after all, "God has an unalterable and perfect plan for every person...!" So it seems to follow that there is no point in praying! You see how dumb those believers are?
Now, I wouldn't be so shocked at this incredibly shallow shot across the bow if it were not for the generally high amount of confidence I hold in the skeptic's ability to come up with creative solutions to apparent problems. Think about it. The skeptical community has given us such creative explanations as the multi-verse, punctuated equilibrium and even panspermia! But when considering how God could use the prayers of a believer to accomplish His own purposes (or "unalterable plan"), the skeptic apparently loses all ability to come up with a creative solution to the apparent problem.
In truth, this is not a problem at all and with a little bit of critical thinking, this supposed absurdity evaporates.
As theologian and philosopher Norman L. Geisler explains, God has ordained our prayers as a way to accomplish His purposes:
“God is omniscient…and an all knowing Being cannot change His mind. If He does, He is not really all-knowing. Therefore, God cannot change His mind in answer to prayer. When we pray (or have prayed), God not only knew what we were going to pray, but He ordained our prayer as a means of accomplishing His purpose."1
So in the same way God includes us in His plan to reach a lost world, God uses our prayers to accomplish His purposes. God not only supplies the end, but He also ordains the means and in the case of our communication with God, He has ordained our prayers as a way to accomplish His purposes. This means that the prayers of the believer truly do have meaning.
Now, someone could object and say, “But doesn’t that make God dependent upon our prayers?" No. No more than it makes God dependent upon us for the gospel to be shared to the ends of the earth. God has chosen to include us and our prayers in His plan of redemption, but He did not have to.
So, this meme, like so many others, serves to only misrepresent the position of an informed believer and demonstrates the skeptic's unwillingness to consider possible solutions to an apparent theological problem. Perhaps their time would be better well spent making substantive arguments instead of memes. I'm grateful for those who do.
In this provocative history of contemporary debates over evolution, veteran journalist Tom Bethell depicts Darwin’s theory as a nineteenth-century idea past its prime, propped up by logical fallacies, bogus claims, and empirical evidence that is all but disintegrating under an onslaught of new scientific discoveries. Bethell presents a concise yet wide-ranging tour of the flash points of modern evolutionary theory, investigating controversies over common descent, natural selection, the fossil record, biogeography, information theory, evolutionary psychology, artificial intelligence, and the growing intelligent design movement. Bethell’s account is enriched by his own personal encounters with of some of our era’s leading scientists and thinkers, including Harvard biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin; British paleontologist Colin Patterson; and renowned philosopher of science Karl Popper.
You can find a video introduction of the book here.