Round 1: Proceed with Caution
In the 1982 movie, First Blood, a single man takes on practically an entire police force and prevails. Throughout almost the entire movie the main character, John Rambo, disassembles waves of trained, heavily armed men as if they were children armed with peashooters and water guns. How is that possible? Well, easy, considering that John Rambo was an ex-Green Beret and had drawn the policemen into his “home” territory, a mountainous labyrinth of forests, streams and all sorts of wild elements.
No one likes to give up “home court” advantage. In a battle its difficult to defend a fort if you’ve been drawn out away from the fort entirely. This truth is applicable to defending our faith: once we’ve been drawn into a defense of something other than faith in Christ and the foundations thereof, we’ve been drawn into dangerous and vulnerable territory.
Imagine you are having a discussion with a non-believer about the creation. You quickly point out that the first two chapters of Genesis speak of the seven days of creation. The non-believer replies by asking, “How do you know those are literal days and figurative?” You respond by pointing out other passages in the Old Testament that use the same Hebrew term ‘day’ as used in the creation account, emphasizing that in the other passages the term clearly refers to a literal 24-hour day.
So far so good, right? But the non-believer isn’t convinced, stating, “Well, according to the (you name it) law of physics and thermodynamics, and concrete scientific data, time is a (blah, blah, blah) construct on which molecular relativity is compounded by (yadda, yadda, yadda), demonstrating a day can actually be expanded to the time equivalent of over a billion years…” Uh, what? Perhaps you would be thinking at this point in your defense. Did the non-believer fail to mention he was a physicist? Maybe he did, but now you’ve got a potential dilemma.
Now, clearly these sorts of conversations can be much more convoluted, but consider what has just happened: you’ve been asked to leave the realm of faith and scriptural knowledge, a realm in which (hopefully) you feel at “home”, and invited to fight a battle in the realm of physics, astronomy and who knows what other forms of so-called “knowledge”. At this point the defender of the faith must proceed with caution! Don’t be drawn into a scientific debate that has little or nothing to do with faith, the revelation of the Spirit through God’s written Word, and REASON! The truth is that our faith is harbored in Christ, and once we’ve rowed too far from those shores of confidence and protection, we’re in the realm of the sharks and violent storms, a realm in which most of us have limited knowledge. Many of us have been blessed to have attended universities, achieved higher degrees of education, even reached the status of professors and experts in worldly academic disciplines. There are MANY Christians who could easily maintain a defense of the faith involving scientific arguments, but consider Hebrews 11:3, which states, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” This is the same faith that comes by hearing, that comes by the word of God (Rom. 10:17).
When defending our faith against scientific attacks such as the theory of evolution, we want to maintain our spiritual ground. Paul said to the Corinthians that his speech and preaching was not with “man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God,” (I Cor. 2:4,5) and continues in verse 13, “We speak not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” We are not required to ignore obvious fact and abandon reason altogether (consider the necessity of ‘evidence’ in Hebrews 11:1). In fact, the scriptures frequently call on us to exercise reason and deduction when discerning Truth from error. But if we look closely at the defenses of Christ and the apostles, we find the foundation of their reasoning was rooted in the scriptures (Matt. 11:10, 21:13, Acts 17:2, Acts 28:17-28) and that any use of natural arguments or scientific demonstrations were only marginal to the powerful arguments and demonstrations of the written word. Perhaps we would find safety and effectiveness in following the same method of spreading the Gospel.
In Psalm 91:2, the psalmist declares, “I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress: my God, in him will I trust.” Let’s not fall into the trap of saying in our hearts, “The word of the Lord is sufficient, BUT…” and feel like we need something other than the word of Truth to defend our faith just in case the word of Truth fails. All forms of evidences have their place and some may even be the key that unlocks the interest of the erring sinner, but let us never abandon the truth and authority of the word of God which truly is our home court advantage.
“Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproaches me: for I trust in thy word.” – Psalm 119:41,42