The Apologetic Task
We are living in a world which is in spiritual war. The battle around us seems to grow fiercer every day. As I sit down at my computer to write, I am baffled at what I see taking place. Massive redefinitions and cataclysmic shifts are occurring. Timeless truths are being replaced with a new ideology wrapped in a guise of “tolerance.” As I have sought to help seekers and even naysayers grasp the seriousness of the grave errors we are making, I am increasingly driven to seek out fresh ways to convey the truth of the old, old story. Of late, I have settled on a very old approach—using apologetics to confirm the gospel through philosophy, math, and science.
Though seemingly insipid, I have seen this approach work. I have watched it become effective time and time again. I have even seen it disable one of the boldest arraignments against Christianity in our time: “How can one religion claim another religion is false?”
This frequently touted complaint has rendered the Church almost completely feckless. It has mystified many who have once leaned on conventional methods of evangelism. That is why the Church now needs a more well considered approach. We need a new modus operandi for engaging in regular witnessing. We need a process which can be more effectively carried out. For while most skeptics today would reject the use of one religion to prove another religion as false, almost no skeptic would deny the use of math or science to do the same.
I first stumbled upon this method as I spoke with a group of teenagers. Their defensive walls against Christianity were imposing and strong. Their faces were hard; their gazes—deeply troubled. So leading with an illustration taken from classical western philosophy, I challenged them to engage with me in a bit of brooding.
Philosophy And God
“Imagine that my cell phone is a domino with your birthday written on it.” The group of teenagers who stood before me locked eyes on my device. “I want you to picture an infinite number of dominos set up in front of it. Imagine that an endless parade of dominos is collapsing and toppling down.” A noticeable hush fell upon the group. No one seemed to budge as I continued to paint the picture. “Each falling domino sets the next domino in motion,” I noted. “Each one advances the cascade of eternally tumbling tiles.” I then paused slightly for emphasis. “Now tell me: How long will it take before the domino representing your birthday collapses?”
At first there was an awkward silence which permeated the group. No one said a word. All were quiet. I began to wonder if I had entirely lost them. Then, to my profound relief, one of the young ladies looked up at me and said: “Forever…it will take forever for me to be born…” Relieved, I answered, “That’s right! You’re correct! The domino representing your birthday will never fall down. This means that you will never be born. Nor will your parents. Nor will anyone else in the world. Neither will the universe be brought into existence. Therefore any religion which claims that the past is eternal fails to explain the existence of all things.”
The group seemed mildly interested but unimpressed. So I expounded on my point. I went on to demonstrate why my argument was meaningful. For the Hindu religion would have us believe that the past is eternal. The reason why they teach this is because without it, their religion falls apart. It’s a sticky problem that arises due to a notable cause. So looking at the group, I proceeded to explain the problem.
“First of all—science teaches that the human race is the product of one man and one woman,” I said.  “Deep in our distant genetic past, we have now discovered our common ancestral parents. But that means, on Hinduism, only two human beings are eligible for reincarnation—a figure which would fail to account for a global population of 7.6 billion. So if you start with two persons, you never have more than two candidates for reincarnation. That’s why the Hindu religion has to resort to teaching an infinite past. They do it in order to claim that various life forms have perpetually existed and reincarnated into human beings from eternity over and over. But as we’ve already shown, an eternal past is incompatible with reality.”
I again paused for drama before dropping my final comment. “So math, combined with just a little bit of philosophy would seem to prove that at the very least, this one religion is wrong. Now if that is possible to do with one religion—how about with the others?”
Science And God
With that simple question, a seed of interest was planted. The minds of the young people in the group began to grow curious towards the truth. Therefore, I continued my evangelistic probing. Using science, I gave additional reasons for biblical creation.
“Next, let’s consider Albert Einstein,” I continued. “Einstein was the man who gave us the grand theory of relativity. His theory tells us that everything in the universe is relative. In other words, there is no fixed frame of reference for anything in our world. So, at present, we find ourselves in an environment in which space is relative to time. Even temporal ordering, some would argue, isn’t absolutely fixed. Instead, all that we see around us, is constantly, moving, warping and adjusting to adapt to the relative speeds of massive objects.
“However,” I continued, “Einstein, knew that his theory needed a definitive beginning. The reasons why are akin to the parade of cascading dominos. There simply cannot be an infinite number of temporal seconds which have elapsed since the beginning of our cosmic history. The only way to argue differently would be to throw out our astronomical observations. On the other hand, a bounded and finite past could conceivably allow for the existence of an observable universe in which there are finite spatial extents. For if the past were infinite, all cosmic distances would likewise have to be infinite, in which case our solar system would have drifted into oblivion by now. Does that make sense?”
Once again, the group of teenagers all nodded their assent. One of the young ladies now seemed thunderstruck and amazed. I thus continued, “So then what is it that holds our universe together? What brings unity out of the vast diversity we see around us? What is it that binds time, matter, and energy in the cradle of existence? It is fascinating to note that Einstein found only one way to ultimately answer that question: A constantly moving universe needs something that is fixed and constant to exist. Or as I like to say it, the universe needs God. For without a transcendent beginning, the universe simply could not exist. In other words, the universe cannot stand without a Divine causal agent.”
By the look in their eyes, I knew that they had followed my reasoning. For it is an argument that is virtually impossible to counter. Either the universe is uneternal or the cosmos is unobservable. Either the laws of motion operate constantly or the law of gravity stops working. Either the law of gravity keeps working or the universe stops spinning. Either the universe keeps spinning or the earth stands still. Either the earth keeps turning or all of life perishes. It would therefore appear that modern science needs God. For without God, the universe, as we observe it, might not exist.
For this reason, Christianity is, by far, the best option. For only a biblical worldview teaches a beginning to all of creation. As scripture emphatically declares, the universe had a beginning. The problem for so many world religions is that they paint a picture of a universe that is eternal. Without such a doctrine, most religions would be vastly different. Pantheism, in particular, would need to be drastically revised. For all pantheistic religions teach that the universe and God are one—a problem which would necessitate that God is non-eternal.
Christianity: The Testable Faith
“So what’s my point?” I concluded. “What is the bottom line to what I am saying? The bottom line is that only Christianity works. For only the God of Scripture fits so well with what we observe. And, as I’ve shown, observable science ineluctably points to a universe that is finite.”
Later that same week, I had the privilege of leading one of those teenagers in a prayer of surrender to Christ. She spoke—out loud to God—in the presence of two of her friends. With all the intellectual arguments out of the way, I was able to address the real blockage of the personal brokenness in her life. I later watched as she reiterated my teaching to her friends with a delightful smile on her face, laughing as she did. It was amazing to see the light turn on. May God use this message to do the same in the hearts of others.
Incidentally, before closing, let me pause in order to say that it is important for we as Christians to understand why we don’t theologically defend an infinite past. For it is all too easy for us to think that God has existed for endless ages past—a notion which would make the Hindu concept of eternity identical to that of Christianity. In fact, such statements deliver a false conception of Scripture’s God. In reality, there is a vast difference between the Christian notion of eternity versus the alternative Hindu concept. Therefore, a reasonable explanation is rightly warranted. So for the benefit of my Christian readers, here is the proper distinction:
Everything time bound is consecutive in nature. Without a proper sequence—time breaks down. An infinite God however is not sequential. There is ultimately nothing consecutive in God. So, theoretically, if we were to take all of God’s thoughts and bunch them into groups of five, we would never discover a chronological sequence among them. For every thought in God’s mind has always existed, eternally. He has been thinking about all things, forever—with no beginning.
Therefore, we as Christians theologically argue that it is God, and not time, which is infinite. For even time itself is part of our observable universe. Or as Einstein’s theory of relativity states—time is relative.
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. https://www.livescience.com/38613-genetic-adam-and-eve-uncovered.html (Last read on September 24th, 2018.)