Apologetics Answers

Lesson 1

Point 3 (1) Peter 3:15 (2) From the Greek word “apologia,” meaning to give a defense. (3) Do it with gentleness and respect.

Lesson 3

Point 1 (2) You can’t get someone to come to Christ only with reason and persuasion; God needs to do a work in them. And the Christian message is always going to seem foolish to some people. We need to focus mostly on Jesus, even more than our favorite arguments or evidences.

Lesson 5

Point 2: (1) Relativism, pluralism, naturalism (2) Relativism says there is no absolute truth; pluralism says there is no religious truth (all religions are equally valid); naturalism says there’s no supernatural truth (the only truth is what we can observe with our senses). (3) The Christian faith makes exclusive claims to being true and includes a supernatural worldview. (4) Apologetics helps us respond to questions prompted by the worldviews of the culture we live in and remove intellectual obstacles to the gospel.

Point 3: (1) Person A may have presupposed that toenail clippings had a “normal” explanation having to do with members of the family putting them there, and had nothing to do with the presence of Person A in the house. Person B had presuppositions about the existence of Eugene, and so was less likely to view the toenail clippings as an ordinary (albeit gross) thing. (2) There are tons of other areas relating to religion, science, politics, social issues, even literature and history, and lots more. Some areas where presuppositions do not play much of a role could include, for example, solving a math problem (it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Christian or an atheist…1+2=3) foreign language learning, computer science, auto mechanics, carpentry, and lots more.

Lesson 6

Point 1 (1): Presuppositions; a desire to believe or not to believe in God; and past experiences and relationships. Can you think of any others?

Point 2 (1): It’s not a fair analogy, since there is zero evidence for the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster but there are plenty of arguments, or evidences, that could be offered for the existence of God. (2) It’s not fair to say this, since as we mentioned there are plenty of arguments. Just because a person may not be convinced by the evidence, does not mean there is no evidence.

Lesson 7

Point 2 (1): The argument from design. (2) “…a designer must exist since the universe and living things exhibit marks of design in their order, consistency, unity, and pattern.” (3) This answer is up to you. (4) Complex systems like the eye have multiple convergent parts which individually would serve no purpose but as a whole system cause the system to function as it should. (5) Several include: the idea that the universe is designed is subjective; this idea or opinion might be different from person to person. Furthermore, this argument is built on an analogy; so continuing the analogy, if we find something in nature that seems chaotic, that might imply that there is no designer.

Point 3 (1) Necessity (the universe has to be this way, it can’t be any other way) and chance (it just happens to be this way). (2) The multiverse (a universe generator). (3) Design by a Creator.

Lesson 8

Point 2 (1) Saying that something could come from nothing resembles magic; and why don’t we see it happening all the time? (2) The second law of thermodynamics – the universe is slowly running out of usable energy. If it had no beginning, it would be used up by now. Others include the theory of relativity, the prediction that the universe is expanding, and the ability to measure the red shift in light from distant galaxies, which led to the conclusion that the universe is expanding and that it had a beginning point. (3) All five of these are characteristics of the God of the Bible: He is an omnipotent (all-powerful), eternal (has no cause or beginning) spirit being (above and beyond the boundaries of time and space and matter).

Lesson 9

Point 1 (1) No. It has to do rather with the origin of ideas of right and wrong in the world.

Lesson 11

Point 1 (1) That the more technologically advanced a society got, the more religion would die out. Some examples he mentions are from the USA, Africa, South Korea, and China. (2) He says we should let our doubts drive us to ask honest questions, and that process will make our faith stronger so that it can last through anything. (3) Intellectual reasons, personal reasons, and social reasons. (4) The first is realizing that it take just as much faith to not believe as it does to believe; the second is that it takes more of a leap of faith to disbelieve in God than to believe; and the third is realizing that your reason can bring you to a point of probability (that there is a God), but it takes personal commitment to reach the point of certainty (that there is a God).  (5) The argument from evil and suffering in the world. Look at the pointless evil and suffering; if there were an all-powerful, good God, He would stop it. (6) How do you know it’s pointless and that there is no good reason for it?

Lesson 12

Point 1 (1) If there really is a God, why have his believers done so much evil and violence in the world, oftentimes in the name of God?  (3) The story is told from the point of view of someone who is not blind; so to make this claim, you make yourself out to be one who can “see” the whole truth, while all religious people in the world are blind. You claim for yourself the very thing that you deny they can have. (4) Why would you assume that God is something inside the world, and that He is provable? You’re assuming something about the nature of God (that He is in the world and provable) in order to say He doesn’t exist. And that’s a big leap of faith.

Lesson 13

Point 1 (1) Believing in God makes more sense of what we see in the world than disbelieving does. He uses the fine-tuning of the universe and the idea of human rights to demonstrate his point. (2) By making a personal commitment (to Jesus Christ as your Savior).

Lesson 14

Point 1 (1) Free choice to obey God and accept His love, or to disobey and reject His love. (2) No; Adam and Eve, through their free choice, chose disobedience and brought evil into the world. (3) “The fall” refers to the disobedience of Adam and Eve and the subsequent entry of evil into the world. Because of the fall, nothing is in the state it should be. Nature and mankind are often against each other. There is conflict between people. (4) Evil is temporary; in the world that is coming for those who are His children, God will make everything right, evil will be finished, there will be no more tears or pain. (5) We don’t know exactly why; the Bible only tells us where it came from. God’s purposes are sometimes beyond our understanding. I would add that God gave us free will and doesn’t force Himself on anyone.

Lesson 15

Point 1 (1) We don’t know. (2) Because of free will (free choices); because of the existence of physical laws; to prepare our souls for eternity; as a consequence of sin; these reason may be correct in some cases, but no single one of them is enough to explain all suffering. (3) The book of Job; one main point is that we should not attempt to explain suffering using one simple answer. (4) Step 1: An all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing God would not permit suffering; Step 2: Suffering exists; Step 3: Therefore an all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing God does not exist. (5) It assumes that if there were a good reason for suffering, that we would know what it was. But if God is all-knowing and we are not, He might have reasons for allowing things that we can’t understand or see.

Lesson 16

Point 1 (1) A person can get angry and refuse to believe in a God Who would allow such things; or they can run to God and seek Him more, realizing that there’s no other source of comfort. (2) The answer is NOT that God doesn’t care about us or that He doesn’t love us. (3) God put Himself “on the hook” by sending Jesus to become like us and suffer and die as a man, and then rise again to overcome the power of evil and death.

Lesson 17

Point 2 (1) It’s begging the question to state that something never happens when you have not verified or disproved all the reports of it happening. Also, questions are not arguments. (2) It would simply show that God is not a puppet Whom we can control through prayer. It would not prove that God does not exist.

Point 3 (1) The fact that a person holds their beliefs due to influence from their culture or upbringing does not necessarily make the beliefs false. Also, it’s wrong to assume that a person who holds certain beliefs has never thought through the arguments for and against their beliefs.

Lesson 18

Point 1 (1) This is an example of circular reasoning because you begin with the assumption that there’s no God, and so He couldn’t do miracles, and so you make the prediction that all miracles will be figured out, explained, “debunked” eventually, and so conclude that there is no God. You begin right where you end.

Point 2 (1) As long as you don’t want to find Him, you won’t.

Lesson 19

Point 1 (1) Gravity, radiation, time (2) There is a lot of evidence that God has interacted with our world…he cites the inspiration of Scripture, the creation of the Universe out of nothing, the grounding for morals, the evidence of miracles. We have to observe Him indirectly because He is invisible.

Point 2 (1) The fact that a belief sounds crazy to someone else does not make it untrue. (2) Lack of shared assumptions or background information (3) If you try to explain to ancient people the rotation of the earth on its axis and around the sun, and the high speeds involved, they would likely think you sound crazy.

Lesson 20

Point 1 (1) This is another example of circular reasoning. You’re assuming God doesn’t exist, and so the world would look the same without belief in Him, and so therefore there is no God. (2) You have to assume atheism is true to even get to this argument, because if atheism is false and God did create everything, then nothing would exist if God didn’t exist. (3) His life would not have been radically changed; most of the hospitals and universities we’re familiar with wouldn’t exist; his marriage wouldn’t exist; the Bible, and Western civilization wouldn’t exist; many advancements in modern science wouldn’t exist; many of those who have stopped atrocities because of their faith wouldn’t have done so; literacy likely wouldn’t be as widespread as it is.

Point 2 (1) Just because God doesn’t do what you say when you say it does not mean He doesn’t exist; it just means He’s not your puppet. (2) If what they say cannot be reasonably followed by “…therefore, God does not exist” then it’s not a valid argument against God’s existence to be considered. This will also help you see through some of the logical fallacies that are very common in “popular atheism.”

Lesson 21

Point 1 (1) He realized that certain things were “unknowable”; he started to wonder about where life and the universe came from, where humanness and creativity came from; he met Christians who didn’t match his stereotypes; he read the New Testament and was attracted by what he read. (3) The purpose of science is to describe how thing ARE, not engage in misplaced speculation about why it’s that way.

Lesson 23

Point 2 (2) Hebrew (most of the Old Testament), Greek (the New Testament), and Aramaic (small parts of the Old Testament). (3) It’s a love story between God and the humans He created. We learn about God’s interaction with humans and His purposes and plans. The central message is God’s plan of salvation. (4) The “Canon” refers to the books that the early Church considered to be inspired by God, and therefore worthy of inclusion in the Bible.

Lesson 25

Point 1 (1) The Law, the Prophets, and the Writings (2) The Law – 1500 BC; The Prophets – 1000 BC; the Writings – 800 BC (3) Alexander the Great (4) The translation of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) into Greek, used by Jesus and the early church. (5) By the end of the 4th century AD. (6) Around 331 AD, by order of Emperor Constantine. (7) The Latin translation of the Bible, used as the main text for Western European Christianity for many centuries. (8) John Wycliffe; it was received eagerly by many of the common people, but violently opposed by the authorities.

Lesson 26

Point 2 (1) To reconstruct what the original text said for any document whose original text is lost. (2) Yes, it is, through the science of textual criticism. (3) First, because the originals of all 66 books of the Bible have been lost; and second, because there are some small differences between the various texts we do have. (4) No, the techniques are the same; and furthermore, believers and unbelievers use the same techniques to arrive at their conclusions.

Lesson 27

Point 2 (1) Qumran is an archaeological site which used to be inhabited by the Essenes, who were a communal (meaning they lived together) sect of Jews. They were destroyed by the Romans in 68 AD. (2) It had a larger community building and smaller rooms for various tasks. It also had an elaborate water collection system. (3) They were scribes who maintain a library of Jewish manuscripts. (4) From 250 BC to 100 BC. (5) That the same prophecies which we read in our Bibles of the coming of Jesus Christ were present in Scripture from ancient times, well BEFORE the birth of Christ. This is evidence that the prophecies were not made up by New Testament writers after the fact.

Lesson 28

Point 1 (1) They claim that the Pentateuch was not written until very late (around 800 or 500 BC), long after the events, and so none of the history is reliable. This is unfounded because the details found in the Pentateuch correspond precisely to archeological data, which would be impossible if they were written 1000 years after the fact. (2) The grain stores were still there. They had been burned, not taken by the invading army. Normally armies of the time would take stuff for themselves, but God had told them to burn the city and not take things for themselves. Also, the presence of grain shows that it was a short siege, since the grain had not been eaten by the inhabitants of the city. That would match up with the Biblical account. (3) A “curse tablet” was recently discovered which was dated from the time of Joshua, in which the God of Israel (Yahweh) was cursing those who worship other gods (corresponding with what we read in Deuteronomy 11:29). This shows that there was written language at the time.

Lesson 30

Point 1 (1) The Apocrypha is mainly about the Jewish nation overcoming their difficult times in captivity and arriving at a place of independence under a rebellion led by the “Maccabees.” This takes place in the period between the Old and New Testaments. (2) The Apocrypha was present in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Scriptures used by Jesus and the early Church, and, while it was debated at times, was basically affirmed and kept in there until the Protestant Reformation with Martin Luther in the 1500s, when the Protestants removed it. (3) There is no reference in the New Testament to the Apocrypha; the support for including the Apocrypha wanes over time; Jerome said it wasn’t Bible; it’s never publicly affirmed at a council of the entire church; the “narrative thrust” doesn’t point to Jesus like the rest of the Old Testament does. (4) Not very much at all. No major teaching of Christianity is affected by the issue. The important stuff is found in the 66 books of the Bible which everyone agrees on.

Lesson 31

Point 3 (1) Over 5,800 early Greek manuscripts, thousands in Latin and other languages, and the entire New Testament recorded additionally in quotes in the writings of the early Church Fathers (leaders of the Church in the first few centuries of its existence).  (2) It would be obvious because we have so many manuscripts in various languages from a variety of geographic locations in the ancient world.  (4) It dates from AD 330 – 360, which is within 300 years of the originals. (5) There is no reason to assume that the originals were copied once and then discarded, or that scribes only had one copy to pull from. Dr. Ehrman is envisioning the process as a game of “telephone,” but that is unreasonable and goes against evidence we see in the writings of the Church Fathers. (6) About 400,000. This number is so large because we have so many manuscripts to compare. About 75% of these variants are simply spelling errors or differences. 15% are minor differences in word use (synonyms). Less than 9% are obviously later changes that can be resolved by comparing manuscripts. Only less than 1% are from early manuscripts and affect the meaning, but none affect essential doctrines.

Lesson 32

Point 1 (1) About 99.5%. There are about 40 lines which contain issues unresolved by textual criticism. (2) This claim is self-refuting; how do you know you can never know? Do you have some special knowledge others lack? Also, historical or scientific investigation never yields 100% certainty, but we don’t stop trying to research and learn because of this. (3) That requires evidence; where’s your evidence? (4) The text spread to many areas of the ancient world, not under any central control, and all the resulting manuscripts we find from various areas have some slight variants but is basically the same New Testament. There were no doctrines added or taken out.

Lesson 33

Point 1 (1) This is judging the culture of that time and place by our own very different western culture. (3) Ancient Jews (and many other cultures) were used to retaining large amounts of information in their memories, unlike in our culture today. Also, things were repeated many times and openly, so everyone could memorize it. If someone skewed the message, the whole community could correct the error. (4) Controlled and uncontrolled. The teachings of Jesus would be of the controlled variety, because he was considered a “divine agent” of God whose words would be considered sacred and should be preserved, and because we find techniques for helping memorization included in the New Testament (such as parables and plays on words). (6) The point of the NT is to preserve the teaching of Christ and the events; it is the message of the Gospel that saves, not the exact words. Small differences in words don’t change the message. Also, Jesus most likely would have said the things he said many many times, with slight variation in wording each time.

Lesson 34

Point 1 (1) They assume Mark was the first Gospel to be written because it is shortest, and that it must have been written after AD 70 because in Mark Jesus describes in detail the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. (2) They are assuming Jesus was not the Son of God, but just a regular man, and therefore could not have prophesied in detail about the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. (3) Yes; there is plenty of external and internal evidence.

Lesson 36

Point 2 (1) Divisions in the early church; the fact that Jesus was buried in a tomb belonging to a member of the Sanhedrin, the enemy of the early church; the fact that so many women were followers of Jesus and were the first witnesses to the empty tomb; and others!

Lesson 37

Point 1 (1) The claim is being made by someone with a bias against the NT. It ignores the fact that every writer is biased in some way. Just being biased doesn’t make claims untrue. What if they are biased towards what actually happened? (2) First of all, the only NT writers who were fishermen were Peter, James, and Jude. The others would have been educated and literate. It is possible that Peter, James and Jude learned to read and write later on to prepare for leadership in the church. But even if they were all illiterate, they could have simply hired scribes to write for them. Dr. Ehrman himself admits that everyone who wrote an epistle at that time would hire a scribe. (3) Every other Graeco-Roman (“Graeco” means Greek) historical writer includes accounts of miraculous events as well, and we don’t discount their works. Also we should evaluate the account based on evidence, not just dismiss it because we have a presupposition against miracles. Additionally, it is an “association fallacy” (a big no-no) to dismiss everything reported just because we feel that one event reported has been disproven. (4) Most so-called contradictions can be resolved by looking at context or using common sense. Even in cases that are not easily resolved, when there are numerous eyewitness accounts, there will always be differences. We don’t just say the event didn’t happen because all the details don’t seem to agree. On the contrary, this shows that something did actually happen, and there wasn’t a conspiracy to have everyone get the story straight.

Lesson 38

Point 1 (1) The OT (Old Testament) Canon was completed around 430 BC when the last OT book, Malachi, was written. It took some time for the Jews to come to recognize the Canon (which they called the Tanakh, or the Hebrew Bible), and that it was closed (no more new books could be added). By the time of the New Testament, it was clearly established and Christians accept the OT Canon affirmed by Jesus and the apostles. (2) The 40s AD to about 90 AD. (3) First, we see within the NT writings themselves evidence that they were considered authoritative, or even considered to be Scripture. Second, we see a kind of implicit (meaning something understood but not formally expressed) Canon forming early among the early church leaders; they recognized for the most part which books were special. Third, in the early 300s when Christianity was accepted by the Roman Empire, open meetings could be held by church leaders, who over time came to an agreement over which books should be included. (4) 367 AD. No; as we said, there was a functional Canon already recognized very early after the NT books were written.

Lesson 39 

Point 1 (1) To give us a more complete picture of Christ. Each writer was from a different background and emphasized a different aspect of Christ’s work. (3) To enable us to objectively verify the truth of the accounts. We have multiple eyewitnesses of the events and can see things from different angles with different details. (4) To reward those who are diligent seekers. So much can be gained by comparing and contrasting the different accounts of Jesus’ ministry.

Lesson 41 

Point 3 (3) The fact that thousands of early Christians were willing to die as martyrs for Jesus Christ. People will not die for something made up.

Point 4 (1) Dr. Ehrman cites 15 independent sources for the crucifixion of Jesus, within 100 years of the event. If He died, He must have lived!  (2) Paul was “an eyewitness to the eyewitnesses.” He spent time talking with some of the key witnesses such as Peter, James and John.

Lesson 42

Point 1 (1) Multiple attestation means that if there are multiple witnesses or sources saying something happened, the likelihood that it actually happened is greater. Enemy attestation means that when a source which could be considered hostile says something positive about a person or event, it is more likely to be true than a similar statement coming from a “friendly” source. (2) Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, and Lucian of Samosata. They were against Christianity. (3) Celsus, Mara Bar Serapion, Tacitus. Yes, Jesus was perceived as a miracle worker by his followers and by others as well, including his enemies.

Lesson 43

Point 1 (1) Josephus. Historians believe that some details were added later by Christian scribes. In this case the evidence does seem to point to that, and so we cannot take everything he says without question. But his writings do point to the fact that Jesus undoubtedly existed. (2) In two different places. In the second He is mentioned in an explanation of who James, His brother, was. Historians do not doubt that this mention of Jesus belongs authentically to Josephus. (3) That He was crucified, and that He was known for doing miracles.

Lesson 44

Point 1 (1) Execution. Experts are in unanimous agreement that, based on evidence, the death of Jesus on the cross is a historical fact.

Lesson 45

Point 1 (1) Early. We have early accounts of the resurrection of Jesus, very quickly after His death. The resurrection legend doesn’t take a long time to develop, as some suppose. (2) Historians agree that this creed was quoted by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians about 22 years after the death of Jesus.  It represents a recognition of the resurrection as a fundamental of the new Christian faith which was already established and recognized 22 years after His death. This shows that teaching about the resurrection began very shortly after His death, when most of the eyewitnesses (including the 500+ people mentioned) would be around to verify it. (3) Within one to six years after Jesus’ death, when Paul was a new Christian, he spent time with those apostles hearing about Jesus and most likely receiving this creed from them. (4) Empty. We have a tomb, where we know Jesus was buried, which is now empty! (5) The “Jerusalem Factor,” meaning that it would have been unlikely that a movement which centered on Jesus’ resurrection could get started in the same city where he was buried, so quickly…His body could have been produced as evidence it wasn’t true. Also, the “Criterion of Embarrassment.” It was women who discovered the empty tomb, but the testimony of women was not considered credible. This shows that the account was not made up. The third is “Enemy Attestation.” Even their opponents admitted that there was no body.

Lesson 46

Point 1 (1) Eyewitnesses. (2) No; according to psychologists, hallucinations happen to individuals, not large groups of people. Also, some of those to whom Jesus appeared were not followers of Jesus (James, Paul) and would not be mentally prepared to have a hallucination of Jesus. Furthermore, they would not have been so willing to die for Jesus if they were not sure it was an actual reality.

Lesson 47

Point 2 (1) Jesus doesn’t leave that option open to us. He claimed deity, and no one who lied in that way could be a good, moral teacher. (2) John 10:30; John 14:9; John 8:58. (3) Forgive sins, among other things   (4) Yes, and in John 5:18 we’re told He was making Himself equal with God. (5) He’s either lying, crazy, or God Himself.

Lesson 48

Point 1 (1) He claimed to be the Messiah. He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (His “triumphal entry”), an event which is attested (mentioned) in multiple sources and which was a fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. (2) The unique Son of God. The parable of the tenants. (3) The Son of Man. He was referring to the vision recorded in the book of Daniel about one “like a Son of Man” who is obviously divine. (4) They immediately accused Jesus of blasphemy. They understood what He was saying.

Lesson 49

Point 1 (1) It states that the story of Jesus, especially his resurrection, developed over time, with each gospel writer building on the work of the previous one and adding to it. It assumes therefore that the later additions are all false. (2) It assumes that the creed mentioned in 1 Corinthians, which is assumed to be the “original” message about Jesus, is a “gospel,” but it is not intended to be an account of how Jesus was resurrected. It also assumes that Paul is saying in the creed that the appearances of Jesus were private visions. But this ignores the context of the whole chapter, where Paul discusses physical resurrection. (4) Scholars agree that the part of the Gospel of Mark which talks about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection (the “passion narrative”) predates (meaning comes before) the creed found in 1 Corinthians. So Mark’s account could not have built upon the creed. (6) The fallacy of neglect of negative instances. It means you pick out pieces of data to confirm your theory and ignore the data that works against it.

Lesson 51

Point 2 (1) Almost all scholars say Christians did not borrow from pagan myths. (2) Gods in ancient Near Eastern religions were almost always tied to agricultural cycles; but the story of Jesus has nothing to do with agricultural cycles. (3) The early Christians were pious (religious) Jews, who would not have accepted any pagan influence. (4) Many alleged parallels between Jesus and pagan myths are known to be TRUE of Jesus; in other words, they are established facts about Him accepted by historians. So how could they be just borrowed?

Lesson 52

Point 1 (1) Parallels are inevitable, given the huge number of events we’re talking about. In other words, there are so many events which have occurred throughout history, that there are bound to be similarities between some of the events if you look hard enough. This doesn’t mean that the later events didn’t happen, or were just created based on earlier events. (2) Skeptics must form a composite figure (taking characteristics from lots of different characters in mythology) in order to come up with anything impressive-sounding. Concluding that someone never existed because he or she possesses characteristics of many different people who came before, combined into one, is ridiculous. (3) Stories of others rising from the dead throughout history simply show that all people have a deep longing for immortality. It shouldn’t surprise us to find such stories, and the fact that they exist does nothing to prove that Jesus’ resurrection didn’t happen.

Lesson 53

Point 1 (1) Objective (the resurrection, which can be demonstrated historically that it actually happened) and subjective (personal experience of the risen Christ in our lives). (2) Make sure we regard them as infinitely valuable because they are made in the image of God. In other words, love them! (3) Muslims (followers of Islam) do not believe that Jesus died on the cross. Jews believe He died but did not rise, and Christians of course believe He died and rose. The example shows that all religions cannot be true. (4) It starts with the cross. Christ teaches that if we trust Him then we receive eternal life…we already have it. The acceptance by God comes at the beginning of the journey, rather than at the end. The secret of knowing that we are accepted already is knowing that it’s based on Christ’s merit, not our own. “I’m not living in order to gain acceptance. I’m living because I’ve got it.”

Lesson 55

Point 4 (1) God is one in being, and three in person. (2) Being describes what someone is, while person describes who they are. The two are not the same. (3) They are the same in essence (both God), but distinct in role (one can be greater than the other).

Lesson 57

Point 1 (1) The theory is generally accepted as fact in most studies. That means that when scientists do their research, they are generally assuming evolution is true. The theory has not been “fundamentally proven” though, and many scientists will admit this. (2) Natural selection is what drives evolution. Organisms that are “abnormal” survive climate changes and become the new normal, with organisms thus changing little by little into entirely different forms of life. It has only been observed on a small scale, but not with significant changes in species. (3) This is evolution, or changes, occurring within a kind, not evolving from one kind to another, or from simplicity to complexity. This has been actually observed by science and so Christians do not dispute micro-evolution. (4) Macro-evolution involves a transition from one kind of animal or plant to another. It is how the theory of evolution explains the life we see on earth today. It is, however, not observable and so has not been proven. One problem is that a series of genetic mutations would be required for such a transition, but all we see of genetic mutations is that they result in death or handicap.

Lesson 58

Point 1 (1) Basically there are no transitional forms; a single form appears in the record, and then later disappears without having been changed. (2) The theory is not derived from the data; rather the theory is being forced on the data.

Lesson 59

Point 1 (1) No, it does not. It says it’s “our best guess” as to how the universe began. It does mention that there are some who have other alternative theories…although it does not mention creationism. (2) The theory says that the universe started about 13.8 billion years ago with an infinitely hot and dense single point that suddenly began expanding, faster than the speed of light for the first instant, then later more slowly, somehow forming all that we see in the universe today.

Point 2 (1) He compares it to the Ptolmaic Theory, the main cosmology (understanding of how the universe was structured) of the Middle Ages. He compares the two because he says that like the Ptolmaic Theory, the Big Bang Theory is continually altered to account for new conflicting data. (2) Homogeneity of the universe, the idea that at its largest structural level, the universe is smooth. They have found that even at the highest structural levels, the universe is “clumpy,” not smooth.

Lesson 61

Point 2 (1) Consider context; Don’t assume that you know best; Sin is deadly; View everything through the lens of God’s love.

Lesson 62

Point 3 (1) Conquer and utterly destroy them. (2) They were not to make a covenant (treaty) with them, they were not to show them any mercy, and they were not to take any of them in marriage. (3) Because they would turn the Israelites’ hearts away from God to idols, and God would have to destroy them. (4) The Israelites were to destroy it all. (5) They are holy (meaning “set apart”); the Lord chose them to be a special treasure above all peoples; the Lord set His love on them.

Point 4 (1) They killed every living thing, including women and children, and burned the city. (2) They were obeying the Lord’s orders given in Deuteronomy 7.

Lesson 63

Point 1 (1) Explaining it away as something not really from God, as if the Bible were just a human book. (2) We have to remember that everything God does come from His heart of love, even the violence.

Lesson 66

Point 2 (1) Please give me your best example. (2) Matthew only mentions one angel, but never says there was ONLY one. John mentions two. He is giving additional information. Matthew and John each have a different focus, or emphasis. (3) Again, this is further information, not a contradiction. And at that time, in general people did what their parents did. He was both a carpenter and son of a carpenter. (4) Just check the passage(s) carefully and use your brain.

Lesson 67

Point 1(1) An archeologist in the 1800s discovered that in Jesus’ time there were two different places called Jericho, near each other; one was the ruins of the old Jericho, and another newly built by the Romans. It seems He was going into one and coming out of the other. The two passages tell the story from a different perspective. (2) No, because all the rest of it has been shown to be reliable. When faced with a supposed contradiction we can’t immediately explain, we trust God and His Word and just keep a “question mark” there. (3) Mark was telling time using the Jewish system, which started counting at 6am, whereas John was using the Roman system, which started at 12am like our modern system. So with that understanding, the timing of everything works out.  (5) The passages are complimentary. Genesis 1 is an overview of creation, while Genesis 2 specifically talks about Day 6 of creation in more detail.

Lesson 68

Point 1 (1) God’s character does not change. Part of His character is to forgive those who repent; and so if someone repents, God will “change” His mind about judging that person and forgive them. We often just need to look at the context to clear these things up. (2) God is good to all, and quick to forgive when someone turns from sin, but this is not intended to mean that there are no consequences for wrongdoing, that He only does nice things to everyone all the time. (3) Read the Bible carefully! If you read in Mark the events leading up to the crucifixion, Jesus repeatedly foretells His betrayal and death. It’s not a surprise. And His words on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” does not show despair, but He is quoting Psalm 22 and announcing that He is the Messiah who is suffering but will be triumphant.

Lesson 69

Point 1(1) There are two different senses of the word “see” in Greek and Hebrew. When it says that no one has “seen” God, it means in the sense of fully knowing. Jesus is the only One Who’s done that. Some people may have seen God in a sense with physical eyes. There’s a sense in which we can see God, and a sense in which we can’t.