Re: Theology and apologetics

Glenn R. Morton (
Fri, 06 Nov 1998 16:33:08 -0600

Hi Paul,

At 04:41 PM 11/6/98 EST, wrote:
>Your basic question about needing some objective basis for the truth of
>Christianity is valid. But, the best objective evidence is not in Genesis
>1-11. The ultimate New Testament answer to this is the resurrection of
>(Acts 17:31: …having _furnished proof_ to all men by raising Him from the
>dead.") Paul rests the validity of Christianity upon this one event (I Cor
>15:14). This should be the foundation stone of your apologetic, not a pre-
>school story book like Gen 1-11, albeit the Spirit can take the theology in
>Gen 1-11 and apply it to the heart in a powerful way.

One reason I use Genesis 1-11 in the way I do, is the fact that the
physical evidence for Christ's resurrection is no longer available for
inspection. If a skeleton we have in a museum somewhere were actually the
skeleton of Jesus Christ, we would have no way of knowing that. We have to
rely on the testimony of the apostles for the resurrection. The things we
can verify are things like the use of crucifiction during that time period,
the customs etc. But those things do not verify the resurrection. So
unless you have some actual physical evidence (not testimony) of the
resurretion, I am unable to use it as the foundation for apologetics. I
can't come along and assume the resurrection and then use that as the basis
for an apologetic which then supports the idea of the resurrection. That is
assuming the conclusion--a logical fallacy. That is why I used the image of
Escher's etching--Waterfall--it is selfcontained and self-supporting. But
it is also IMPOSSIBLE.

Thus one must search for some other OBJECTIVE foundation. The Old Testament
relates many historical events which are in principle verifiable.
Considering that one would be loathe to believe the religious claims in a
document in which all events were historical events were false. I can't
verify that Jeremiah was put in the well, nor can I verify what the OT or
NT people actually said. Because of this, the next best thing is to
verifying the resurrection is to verify the historicity of things like the
Exodus (which remains unverified), or the Flood (which is falsified if one
places it in Mesopotamia or makes it global).

>Secondly, although I recognize the value of evidentialist apologetics, the
>best way to grow Christian faith is to exercise what you have. To him who
>will more be given. Jesus put it this way, "If any person is willing to do
>His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I
>speak from Myself." As a person walks with God, God walks with that person:
>"take my yoke upon you." The result over time is that just as God interacted
>in the lives of Abraham, David, the NT saints, etc., he interacts in lives
>today. As you look back over those interactions in your own life you know
>with assurance in whom you have believed. A living faith is sine qua non

I don't deny what you are saying. Faith is the sine qua non. But faith must
be based on some reason other than "I was taught this". And I will say that
I have found it much more interesting being where I am than where I was
before my crisis of faith and near brush with atheism. I don't know if you
know what a mandelbrot set is but it is a mathematical object which exists
in the complex plane. If viewed from a distance, it looks kinda like a

The entire complex plane is divided in two, those points on the plain which
are members of the Mandelbrot set and those which aren't. Inside the
snowman, the world is boring. All points are members of the mandelbrot
set. Far from the snowman, it is equally boring, all points are NOT members
of the mandelbrot set. But at the border, there is a chaotic region in
which some points are and some aren't members of the mandelbrot set. It is
in this chaotic, unpredictable region that all the interesting stuff happens.

Similarly, I have found that within the current apologetical paradigms,
either YEC or non-historical, life is boring. It is self-contained and
nothing new ever crops up. Everybody says the same thing, pats themselves
on the back about how orthodox they are but they solve no
science/theological problems at all. But apologetical life at the boundary
between christianity and atheism, is where the real action is. It is
chaotic, it is unpredictable, but it is REAL. The struggles are real, and
the answers novel. The answers are not the same old pablum. And faith is
very much required to navigate this land. Without it, one would fall into

>When you read the lives and writings of the great saints and missionaries
>(Behold Your God by Agnes Sanford, How to Live Like a King's Kid by Harold
>Hill, The New Wine is Better by Charles Thom, Surprised by the Power of the
>Spirit by Jack Deere, etc.) you see God breaking into history objectively in
>personal lives today. You also see God telling people things they could not
>otherwise know--as you requested in an earlier post. These writings can
>faith; but, better yet is to have the same kinds of experiences in your own
>When you have that existential foundation, the pre-school nature of Genesis
>1-11 is not all that significant.

Existential foundations are merely subjective. I used to have that kind of
faith when I was a YEC. I could feel really good, but that was all it


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