Apologetics and Gen 1-11

Sat, 7 Nov 1998 17:18:28 EST

at 11/6/98 2:30:04 PM Pacific Standard Time you wrote,

>> So unless you have some actual physical evidence (not testimony) of the
resurretion, I am unable to use it as the foundation for apologetics.<<

Eyewitness testimony is an objective foundation; and historians see it as
fundamental to the construction of history. In your first book you speak
several times of the necessity for believing your own eyes. And you were
referring to scientific data which needs more interpretation than directly
seeing a person who had been killed and buried, talking with him and eating
with him (Luke 24:36-43). And Luke, being a physician, had the finest
scientific training in the ancient world and employed it with the heightening
power of divine inspiration to write an accurate account based on eye-
witnesses (Luke 1:1-4). Eye witnesses provide an objective foundation. You
can build an apologetic upon it. Paul does so in I Cor 15; and many have
since then. In Gary Habermas' debate with Antony Flew over the reality of the
resurrection he employed that objective basis to win the debate in the eyes of
an unbiased panel. On the other side, where is the eyewitness testimony Jesus
did not rise? There is none. All the evidence is on the side of
Christianity. The only refutation unbelievers have is to adopt by carnal
faith the presupposition that miracles do not happen. And that is begging the

>>Existential foundations are merely subjective…but that was all it

It can and should be more. Eg., although the angel and the Spirit speaking to
Philip (Acts 8:26, 29) was a subjective experience to him, by obeying, he made
an objective connection with the eunuch reading Isa and wondering what it
meant--which connection in itself should reasonably build faith; and then the
eunuch was converted and baptized--which again would and should build faith.
The subjective experience when obeyed has objective results. It is those
objective results which build one's faith. And, walking with God like this is
exciting, not boring.

God still "walks with me and talks with me" in the lives of many Christians..
The God of the Bible is distinguished from idols on the basis that he speaks
(Habakkuk 2:18; I Cor 12:2). Hearing his voice or that of an angel is a
subjective experience; but, when you obey, the outcome is objective. Even if
you disobey, the outcome is objective, but usually with a loss. In either case
the results are objective and build faith.

When you have a series of experiences with God like those Philip had, or Agnes
Sanford, or Harold Hill, or many others, the fact that God compassionately
spoke his supra-cultural message to simple people in terms of their own
cultural beliefs in Genesis 1-11 (see Jonathan Clarke's excellent post) is
less likely to move one to unbelief.. I know the unbiblical rationalistic
doctrine that divine inspiration guarantees historical and scientific
inerrancy so that our Father supposedly could not have spoken to little
children in their own little world has resulted in false expectations from
Genesis 1-11; and those false expectations can be unsettling when they are
proven false. But, the Bible teaches us to rest _ultimately_ upon our living,
speaking, caring, sovereign God, the risen Jesus, not a rationalistically
defined inerrant book. I have a quarrel with Fundamentalism; and I believe
our Lord does too.

Even if you have to hold to the rationalistic definition of the Bible, Gen
1-11 is a different genre than even Gen 12-50 much less modern history.

Paul Seely