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Tough Questions

18 May

McDowell, J., & Stewart, D. D. (1993). Answers to tough questions. Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

Introduction:

The questions come from the above resource and only the questions. We will be providing our own answer and then you can get that book and compare what each of us has said.  We have provided our own answer because we do not feel that works like this go far enough in their explanations.

We feel that they only hit the surface answers and do not provide enough spiritual food for the believer to grow on or be prepared to face the unbeliever when they ask similar questions.

We have selected specific questions from that book due to space and time and we hope the answers provided will point out the right direction for your thinking to go.

The Bible      

What makes the Bible so special?

The nature of the Bible makes it special. It is divinely written, holy and provides all the answers to the questions we have. It is not a work of man though God used men to pen his words. The hand of the living and holy God is on this work.

The fact that the message of the Bible is consistent over the 1500 years or so it was written and the many different men God used to write his words. No other work can make this claim.

Hasn’t the New Testament been changed since it has been copied and recopied throughout history?

The simple answer is ‘no’. Many false teachers have tried to change the words of the New Testament but God promised to preserve his word thus the faulty works of others have been lost while God’s word remains.

We can trust that God guided the hands of the copyists who faithfully transmitted his word to his people.

How can anyone believe the New Testament account of the life of Jesus, seeing that it was written long after His death?

First, we do this by faith. We believe that God cannot lie and we believe that God will not allow us to have erroneous works only. He provides the truth to all throughout history. Second, we also do not know how long after Jesus’ death the gospels were written but remember Jesus told his disciples that the Holy Spirit will bring everything back to them so we know that God made sure that his NT writers had the truth and the accurate account of what took place during Jesus’ life time.

Why do some people say that Mark was the first Gospel written?

This is done because of the similarities between the gospel of Mark and the gospels of Luke and Matthew but similarities do not indicate chronology. There is no way for anyone to know who wrote their gospel first or even if any of the gospel writers had a copy of the others in front of them when they wrote their work.

The idea that Mark was written first is pure speculation.

There are so many different interpretations of the Bible, why should I believe yours?

You are not to believe interpretations. You are to seek and accept the truth. You will know when the truth presents itself thus it will not be that difficult in knowing which version or account to believe.

How can you believe a Bible that is full of contradictions?

The Bible is not full of contradictions. This is a charge made by those who do not have the spirit of truth helping them to the truth. The people who make these accusations do not understand the word of God as exampled by the account of Phillip and the Ethiopian.

The u believer needs the help of the believer and the holy Spirit to understand what God is saying in his word. Then the unbeliever must accept the truthful explanations and if they don’t then they will continue to be blind and make these false accusations.

Most people say Moses didn’t write the first five books of the Bible. What do you say?

Where is their proof? The Documentary Hypothesis claims there were other authors yet those authors were never attested to by any ancient writer, nor have any of their works been uncovered.

The claims that there were other authors lies in the Moses’ use of different names for God but different names is not criterion for authorship. The people who say Moses didn’t write the Pentateuch cannot provide any real evidence supporting their claims. They have none.

How could Moses have written the Book of Deuteronomy when it contains the account of his death?

No one has ever claimed that Moses wrote those verses. A person can be credited with being the author of the books of the Bible even if someone else penned those final words. It is absurd to deny Mosaic authorship when only a few verses may have been written by someone else.

If they do, then those people are looking for excuses to not believe the Bible and probably will not listen to reason. There is no contradiction here for no where in the Bible does it state that Moses wrote those words.

How do the Dead Sea Scrolls relate to biblical criticism?

They put bible criticism in its place and show that those who use that field of study are in error. The DSS provide proof that the Bible has not changed over the centuries. The Silver Scrolls found by Gabriel Barkay also support the DSS in providing evidence that God has kept his promise and his word has not changed no matter what has taken place in history.

How many Isaiahs were there?

One. The supposed divisions are man-made not God made.

God      

Why is Jesus the only way to get to God?

The simple answer to this is that is the way God set up the rules for salvation. God instituted a sacrificial system and with Jesus being the final sacrifice he becomes the only way to God.

How do you know that God exists?

Because we exist. Rene Descarte said ‘ I think therefore I am’ thus we can say ‘we exist therefore God exist.’ Science and every other investigation into our existence and origins has not provided any real alternative to God.

If evolution and other alternatives were true we would not have one religious movement or belief in existence today. God’s and Jesus’ name would not even exist nor be taken in vain. Good and evil, right and wrong, morality and immorality would not exist either as there would be no need for laws, good behavior because there is no final judgment to face and no ultimate judge to decide our faith.

Man would be incapable of punishing anyone for all invoked laws would be subjective and easily challenged. The fact that order and laws exist demonstrate that God exists.

Where did God come from? What was He doing before He created the universe?

God has always existed and we do not know. God has not told us what he has done prior to creation. For one thing it is none of our business, and for another, we probably could not handle the knowledge of his pre-creation actions.

We are not the judge of God and he does not give an account to us.

Isn’t the God of the Old Testament a God of hate while the God of the New Testament is one of love?

No. People think that because they do not like the fact that God punishes sin. Just discipline and punishment is not a product or sing of hatred but a sign of love. God cares about how his creation behaves thus he enforces his rules and punishes those who disobey them.

Jesus talked about punishing people as well as he told us many would come to him and say that they preached for him etc., and Jesus will say I never knew you (paraphrase). It seems that the God of the OT is the same as the God of the New as both will punish those who disobey them and both show the right love to their creation.

 Bible Difficulties

How could all the animals fit in the Ark?

All the animals did not fit on the ark. This is a common mistake so many people make. God told Noah to bring 2 of every ‘kind’ not species on to the ark and 7 of the clean kinds again not species.

Then the species alive today may not have been alive in Noah’s time. We do not know how many different animals there were at that time. We just do not know how many ‘kinds’ there were in existence and we know that God gave the right specifications for the size of the ark so that all representatives would fit comfortably.

God doesn’t make mistakes thus the ark was big enough to hold all the animals taken aboard, Noah and his family plus the food and water they would need to survive their sojourn on that boat.

How many of each animal entered the Ark?

The Bible answers this very clearly and it was not ‘each animal’ but ‘kinds’. The exact number is not known nor are we told by God how many there were. Any answer would be unverifiable.

Where do dinosaurs and other extinct animals fit into the biblical story?

Right where all the other animals belong. They are a product of God’s creative act and how genetic reproduction was designed to work. They were not a part of a pre-creation or evolutionary process, nor did they live 60 million+ years ago.

That is a story concocted by unbelieving scientists who cannot verify their claim. Why the dinosaurs and other animals go extinct in the ancient world is for the exact same reasons they have gone extinct today and throughout history—over hunting, diminished territory and lack of a food supply.

Do you really believe the story of Jonah and the whale?

Yes. Nothing is impossible for God.

Does the Bible allow for the theory of evolution?

No. Genesis 2:1ff shuts the door on the evolutionary thinking and other alternatives.

Were the days in Genesis 1 twenty-four hours or a long period of time?

They were single 24 hour days. The Bible makes sure of that by including the markers we need to determine the length of each day.

But doesn’t the Bible contain statements that are at variance with science?

Science is not the last word on anything especially our origins. Science is not the authority on our past, the Bible is thus science has to come in line with God’s word or it is wrong. The Bible and God do not humble themselves and bow to science; it is science that has to humble itself and bow to God and his word.

World Religions      

What do you think about various alternatives to Christianity, such as agnosticism, atheism, and humanism?

They are false teachings and false religions designed to entice people away from the truth and to bring them to destruction.

Don’t all religions basically teach the same thing? 

No. Only Christianity teaches salvation by grace via faith through Jesus. Jesus said ‘I am the way the truth and the light no man cometh unto the father but by me.’ All other religions try to find an alternative to that fact and when they do, they have stopped teaching the same things as Christianity.

Is Islam compatible with Christianity?

No. it teaches false doctrines and does not teach what Christianity teaches. There is no fellowship being right and wrong.

Christianity      

What makes Christian conversion valid? Can’t it be explained psychologically?

Jesus does and no. Psychology has no authority when it comes to salvation. It is a tool to bring false ideas to the people and turn them away from the truth.

What hope does Christianity offer the world?

Eternal life with Jesus and God.

Is Christianity a crutch?

No. It is the way to receive eternal life. One cannot reach heaven by being macho or tough. They need the help of Jesus and that is not a crutch but accepting the fact that we cannot reach heaven on our own.

Believing Faith      

Why should I become a Christian? The worst hypocrites are in church.

No one is perfect and it is absurd to expect perfection from imperfect people. Christians are at different stages in their spiritual lives thus some may seem to be hypocritical when in reality they have not conquered all their problems yet.

I know people who are very religious and totally sincere, but not Christians. God will accept them, won’t He?

No. The way to salvation and acceptance by God is through believing in his son as their savior. There i no other way.

If Christianity is so great, why are there so few Christians?

People love darkness rather than light. Christianity is not just great but it is also tough and rocky as evil tries very hard to get believers to walk away from their faith. It is not easy to be a Christian though the rewards make up for the difficulty.

Is it sensible to believe in Christianity or is it just a matter of wishful thinking?

It is the most rational and logical decision a person can make. What is irrational and illogical is to accept the words of those unbelieving men and women who make up stories about our past etc.

Why take the word of a sinful, unholy, fallible person who does not know you , does not care about you, does not know the truth and so on over the words of the divine, sinless and holy God who does know you, does care about you and does know the truth?

To take the words of human authored explanations is hypocritical for that is the reason why so many people reject the Bible. They accuse the Bible of being a human authored work thus they do not believe it is from God.

Don’t my good works count for anything? Will not God accept me if I’ve lived a good life?

No. Salvation is by faith and not by works les anyone should boast. We do good works because of our salvation. We do not do them to obtain salvation.

Are Christians guilty of circular reasoning?

No. More information is needed to properly answer that question.

  Does it really matter what I believe?

Yes it does. Even believing Genesis 1 & 2 is important as well as Jonah and the ark, the long day and other biblical events. They are all part of the truth and disbelieving them means you do not believe God

Why does a good God allow evil to exist?

So man has a choice and is without an excuse come judgment day. Who we choose to follow will determine our eternal home. God does not want people to be forced to come to him thus he has provided them an alternative to choose between.

He wants people who desire him not arm twisted to worship him.

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We hope these answers help and have gone far enough in their explanations to help you in your Christian lives.

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Posted by on May 18, 2016 in academics, Bible, church, comparative religions, faith, family, leadership, theology

 

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