The Defense of the Faith
“…I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:17)
My favorite class to teach at Summit Bible College, where I serve as an adjunct professor and graduate advisor, is Christian Apologetics. Like many people, I used to think that apologetics had something to do with “apologizing” for the gospel. Nothing could be further from the truth. The word apologetics is a transliteration of the Greek word, apologia, translated in the verse above and other places in the New Testament as “defense.” Paul said he was “appointed for the defense (apologia) of the gospel.”
Some may think that defending the faith is a difficult task in our skeptical, secular progressive culture, but that is not the case. In fact, some have noted that we have entered into the golden age of apologetics. There are two reasons for this. One reason is that we have some of the best apologists alive on the planet today, laboring to defend the Christian faith in some of the most skeptical and challenging environments. Notable among these are names like Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig, and Lee Strobel whose movie, The Case for Christ, has been met with great success and very positive reviews, even from the more secular critics on Rotten Tomatoes. In fact, there are new voices, such as J. Warner Wallace, who are newer versions of the Lee Strobel-type apologist who come not from ministry but from secular professional backgrounds. While Lee Strobel was once an atheist and the legal editor for the Chicago Tribune, Wallace was a cold case investigator. Both came to faith using the tools of their trade to analyze the evidence and coming to the irrefutable conclusion that it pointed to the reality of the gospel message. When I was younger, the only Christian apologist I had heard of was Josh McDowell, whose wonderful book, Evidence That Demands A Verdict, touched the lives of millions and continues to do so today. Now, however, there are many great apologists crisscrossing the globe and effectively defending the Christian faith.
The second reason that we have entered a golden age of apologetics is that, contrary to popular belief, science is more and more confirming the biblical narrative. You won’t hear that from those who participated in the “March for Science,” which was more of a propaganda campaign for secular materialists and leftist ideologues, but it is true nonetheless. Let me give a brief explanation as to why this is so. The materialist (one who believes that there is no reality outside of physical matter), holds to the idea of a “closed system” when it comes to our universe. In other words, everything that exists in the universe must be explained by natural processes taking places within the universe. To the materialist, there is no transcendent force or creator lending a “helping hand.” They would say that we are the random product of matter plus chance plus time. No outside intelligence had any involvement in what we observe in the physical universe today.
This worldview, however, is being met with greater and greater challenges. Despite the materialists’ desperate attempts to keep Darwin’s theory of evolution propped up against the increasing tide of evidence against it, some scientists are calling for a “new” evolutionary model, since it has become obvious that Darwin cannot answer questions such as the origin of life and the extreme complexity we see in living systems. In fact, the likelihood of just the simplest protein being formed by chance according to unguided natural processes is about 1 in 10125. While that may not mean much to you, let me tell you just how remote that probability is. If you counted all the atoms in the known universe – we’re talking about all the atoms in all the matter in the entire universe – the number would only come up to about 1060. If you broke those atoms down to their subatomic parts (electrons, neutrons, etc.) they would only add up to about 1081. So, you can begin to see just how enormous the number 10125 is and how remote the possibility of even the simplest protein being formed by chance. Besides this, if we give the scientists their estimated age of the universe – something like 15 billion years, give or take – that is only 1017 seconds! There is simply not enough time on the cosmic calendar for even the simplest proteins to be formed by chance, much less the extremely complex forms of life we observe in the world around us.
Such improbabilities as these led famous astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle to say, “The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in (1020)2,000=1040,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.” Many other notable scientists have admitted the same. In fact, it was the discovery of the complexity of DNA that caused the once famous atheist philosopher, Anthony Flew, to renounce his atheism and become a Theist. These are not Bible-thumping evangelicals but highly respected scientists and philosophers who are simply admitting what all honest men in their respective fields know: the emperor of materialism has no clothes!
Beyond this, the materialist also has the problem of explaining the origin of the universe. The great discovery of 20th century cosmology was that of the finite universe. A hundred years ago, all “respectable” scientists believed in the “steady state model” of the universe, meaning that it was static and eternal. However, between Einstein’s discovery of the General Theory of Relativity and Edwin Hubble’s discovery of “Hubble’s Law,” that was changed forever. Edwin Hubble discovered that the galaxies are moving away from us at very high velocities. This was the first observable evidence that confirmed what Einstein’s theory of General Relativity predicted. Even though Einstein himself at first refused to acknowledge the fact, reverse engineering Hubble’s discovery brought the scientific community, including the great man himself, kicking and screaming to the inescapable conclusion that our universe had a beginning: a beginning which Sir Fred Hoyle (quoted above) derisively called “The Big Bang.” The name stuck, and all cosmologists now agree that it is the accepted paradigm for explaining the origin of the universe.
This being said, it presents the materialist with a conundrum. The theory states that all matter, energy, space, and even time BEGAN TO EXIST in a moment called a singularity. Since these various components of our universe began to exist at the moment of the Big Bang, it means they did not PRE-EXIST and cannot, therefore, be used in the explanation of the beginning of the universe. The implications of this are stunning – as many scientists knew they would be! This is why this discovery was so earth-shattering for the materialistic-leaning scientific community when it hit them like the proverbial ton of bricks! The only conclusion is a transcendent cause – something, or Someone, outside the system. The first cause (or Cause) had to be immaterial, eternal, powerful, and even intentional. Why intentional? Because we have also discovered our universe is finely tuned within an amazingly narrow set of parameters to support life on our very own planet. If you look at the requirements for that transcendent First Cause, it becomes apparent that the first line of Genesis is not a fairy tale, but an accurate description of the origin of the cosmos. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
There is more to say, and space does not permit me to do so here, but all of this is to say that while we are all called to the defense of the faith, it is not the terrifying, unlikely prospect that many popular atheists of the Richard Dawkins variety would have you believe. Both in the scriptures and in the book of nature, God has revealed himself, and His fingerprints are on the universe He created. So, be encouraged, and “be diligent to show yourself approved” in the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15). The eternal destiny of countless men, women, and children depend our effective defense of the gospel message!
 Fred Hoyle, Evolution from Space. (West Sussex, England: Littlehampton Book Services Ltd., 1982) 24
Dr. Randy Bunch is the pastor of West Kern Christian Center, located at 1000 6th Street in Taft, California, as well as a graduate advisor and adjunct professor at Summit Bible College in Bakersfield, California. He is the author of several books, including his new devotional, Immutable: Changeless Truth for a Changing World. For more information, or to purchase your copy, go to immuntablebook.com. For more information on the ministries of WKCC, you can go the ministry’s website at wkcconnect.org.