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Questions and Answers | Wisdom from Above

Is biblical truth disputable or indisputable?

When we say “biblical truth” we mean everything that God has revealed in Scripture. Paul taught that “all Scripture is God breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16), meaning that God is the source of the affirmations of Scripture. We are also told that the affirmations of Scripture are “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness” (v. 16). The Bible says this because God, being perfectly good and all-knowing, can neither lie nor be mistaken.

We are able to understand biblical truth by the teaching of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:6–13). And we know other truths by other means. For example, we learn philosophical truths by rational reflection; scientific truths by empirical (or sense-based) investigation; and historical truths by testimony and artifact evidence.

In one sense, all truths are indisputable. It is foolish, even irrational or immoral, to deny something that one knows is true. After all, “facts don’t lie,” according to the old adage. The Holy Spirit has taught us to recognize truth, so we cannot deny it. Every Easter, Christians around the world proclaim, “He is risen indeed!” This affirmation, that God raised Jesus from the dead, is biblical truth. And among those to whom “God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Gal. 4:6) the resurrection of Jesus is indisputable. We say, “He is risen indeed!” because of the sure teaching of the Holy Spirit. Skeptics of the gospel will contend that Christians are deluded, but their simple doubts cannot dissuade us from knowing spiritual truths by spiritual means.

However, as thinking beings, we do have the ability to question (or dispute) everything. As Christians, we may find ourselves on the receiving end of these questions concerning our faith. Peter taught that the believer must “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).

Skeptics who doubt that we know spiritual truths are invited to question us, and we must respond “with gentleness and respect” (v. 15) because “the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace- loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17). We are not expected to know the answer to every question, but we can direct those asking difficult questions to biblical resources or experts who are able to answer their inquiries better than we can.

My grandson is a Jesus-skeptic but loves to have discussions with me about my beliefs. In our last conversation, I suggested that God and science weren't in opposition. but he remains unconvinced. He did agree to study the issue. I recently re-read The Case for Christ. Would you recommend this book or other resources?

The notion that Christianity and the empirical sciences are opposed is a well-worn assertion, and it is also untrue. While many people are trained to conduct scientific research, most are unable to provide a complete and unambiguous definition of “science.”

This is not a criticism of scientists. To do science is a scientific task. To define science is a philosophical task. And a notoriously difficult one at that. In any case, there is no definitive, universally recognized definition of “science.”

There are, no doubt, many scientific methods by which we gain information and knowledge and know truths about the natural world, but there is not one sole entity called “science.” That is why the claim that “Christianity and science are opposed” is rather a vague assertion.

I encourage you to share Lee Strobel’s excellent book, The Case for Christ, with your grandson. As you know, Strobel outlines the historical case for the resurrection of Jesus through interviews with leading Bible scholars, historians, and philosophers.

Regarding the relationship between the Christian faith and empirical study: he may appreciate Strobel’s follow-up book, The Case for a Creator, which outlines the case for the creation and design of the universe through interviews with scientists and philosophers.

A curious and open-minded individual like your grandson will find further references from the people Strobel’s interviews, including William Lane Craig, Robin Collins, and J. P. Moreland. These experts have written books on the topic from a Christian perspective. May the Lord help you and may He be glorified in your future conversations with your grandson.

BY Sanjay Merchant

Sanjay Merchant is Professor of Theology at Moody Bible Institute and a teaching pastor at Northshore Christian Church in Everett, Washington. He earned his Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University School of Religion, and Master’s degrees from Biola University. He enjoys helping his students wrestle with hard questions of the faith, teaching courses on philosophy, theology, and apologetics. Sanjay and his wife, Erin, have four children and reside in Roselle, Illinois.

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