Tom: Thanks, Gary. You are listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him.
We’re going through Dave Hunt’s book, In Defense of the Faith, which, in my unbiased opinion, is one of the best books available on apologetics. Apologetics, by the way, simply means a defense for biblical truths. In other words, giving good answers or reasons for what the Bible teaches.
Dave: We’re not apologizing, in other words.
Tom: No, but that term . . .
Dave: That’s the term they use for this.
Tom: Right. The format of the book is largely questions and answers, and we’ve been going through a series of questions dealing with faith, reason, evidence, proofs, and so forth. Dave, a question: “If evidence and reason are essential parts of faith, I don’t see why God should demand faith at all. Why not give us the proof of everything? To have to take a step of faith, seems unreasonable to me.”
Now that seems like . . . it’s an interesting question. Not very logical, but . . .
Dave: Well, a lot of people feel that way. I remember having about a half-a-dozen people come after me after a meeting once, when I said I can prove God exists; I can prove the Bible is His Word; I can prove Jesus is the true and only Savior of sinners, and so forth, and about a half-a-dozen people came after me and said exactly that: “Well, if you can prove it, where is faith?”
I said, “Well, maybe your idea of faith is different from mine and from the Bible.” Faith is not a leap. You don’t just . . . a Buddhist can have that kind of faith. A Muslim: “Well, I just believe. I just believe the Qur’an is God’s Word.” And someone raised in a Christian home says, “Well, I just believe the Bible.”
No, we need proof. We need evidence. Now, that doesn’t mean that we can prove everything, because we have peanut brains—less than peanut brains—compared to God.
Tom: Let me just throw this out.
Dave: All right.
Tom: I shouldn’t have said that was illogical. It was—to me, I guess, the answer is so simple that it kind of throws you off. But there are people who wrestle with this, and they deserve a good answer. As you said, the answer is simply that we are finite beings and we’re dealing with an infinite God. Awesome, incomprehensible, way beyond our capacity—and yet He has revealed things that He wants us to understand, right?
Dave: Well, He has proven Himself in things that we can understand, and we can check up on Him. So, when he makes a statement, “ . . . By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God,” nobody—no scientist, I don’t care who he is—understands that. Somebody said, “Well, that was the first . . . ” [this is Hebrews:11:3]—someone said, “Well, that was the first statement of the atomic theory.” The Bible doesn’t state theories. The Bible is stating facts! This is a book written by God, who created the universe.
But it does sound like everything that we see wasn’t made out of any physical, visible matter. And we know that to be true. We talked about that in our last program. There had to be a time when nothing—no matter—nothing existed. And God created it all out of nothing.
So, but it says, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God so the things which were seen were not made of things that do appear.” That’s beyond my comprehension, but by faith I can accept it. Furthermore, as we said in the last program, all the evidence drives you to this conclusion. We don’t know anything, Tom. We don’t know what space is. Space seems to be curved. Most people think space is totally empty. How can emptiness be curved? Light, we don’t know what light is. Sometimes it acts like both like a particle and like a wave. And there seems to be . . . We don’t know what an electron is. There seems to be even some communications between electrons, synchronicity, and so forth, by some experiments that have been done. We don’t know what gravity is. We don’t know what thought is. We don’t know anything, and wasn’t it Sir James Jeans, or did we quote him a couple of weeks ago? who said the great advancement of the 20th century through science has been to show us that we are not in touch with reality. We don’t even know what it is that we’re studying.
But we can understand something. We can understand enough to know that God exists. I can’t understand God or that He always existed—that’s beyond my comprehension. So, I follow the evidence. And everything that I can verify in the Bible, I check it out, so that when the Bible tells me things, when God tells me things, that I cannot possibly verify with my own rational thinking—it’s too limited—then I accept that. Now that’s a step of faith, but it’s taken in the direction that all the evidence pointed.
The atheist, on the other hand, he sees the same evidence, and he chooses to take a step of faith. Wow! Is that faith? I mean, that’s not faith. It’s a step of irrationality. He takes a step of faith—it is a religion. He chooses to not believe in God. But his faith he takes in the opposite direction from what all the evidence is pointed.
Dave: Oh, yeah!
Tom: And if there weren’t facts of science, everything would be helter-skelter. You know, it would be que sera sera. There would be no way that we could develop or move in a direction that would be substantial with regard to inventions, with regard to our understanding—medicine, you know, whatever it might be.
Yet, as you’ve been saying, we can only go so far with it. We have the electron microscope. If Darwin had an electron microscope, I don’t believe we’d have the Darwinian theory of evolution, because he would have seen a complexity that just screamed design.
Dave: At the molecular level.
Tom: Exactly. Dave, but with the things like the electron microscope, it seems to open doors, but it doesn’t open all the doors. There are things beyond that that we can’t even comprehend.
Dave: My scientist friends tell me that every door science opens reveals ten unopened doors on the other side. It’s like receding images in a hall of mirrors, you know? It just goes on and on and on forever. So we are not even going to comprehend the physical universe by our analysis. We’ve talked about it before. I have my Bible in front of me here. I’m feeling the texture of the page, and I can see the print and the words, but that is not . . . I’m not in touch with that! That comes to me by a reflection of light waves that goes into the retina in my eye, through the rods and cones, through the nerves, and it’s interpreted in my brain. I can’t be sure that you see, and feel, and smell, and taste exactly the same thing that I taste. But furthermore, we’re not in touch with the thing itself. It is being mediated to us by our senses and so forth.
Tom: Now, but here’s the point I am trying to make. In science, for a long time, yet today, scientists would say, “Well, faith is different. Not that it’s irrational, but it’s not substantial, it’s not factual, it’s not built on evidence.” Yet their science, which claims to be built on logic and reason, evidence, and experiential, empirical evidence—all of these things really lead them to a point where they have to keep going, based on substantial evidence that they have. But it’s almost guesswork. It’s . . . I don’t want to call it faith, because I don’t want to confuse the two.
Dave: It’s a religion.
Tom: Now, with the Bible, we have factual information. We’ve been talking about this for a number of weeks now. We have factual information, we have evidence, we have things that can be checked out, but it only takes us so far. But because all of the evidences of Scripture, the proofs of Scripture, are absolutely true and we can depend on them, we can take that next step, move in that direction.
So, my point here is that there are parallels between what science does, although it falls down because they wouldn’t call their next step into the future “faith.” It speculation and . . .
Dave: Yes, science has validity. I am not opposed to science, but science can only verify what the Bible says. It can’t make new ground, and science is not going to bring me into a right relationship with God. You can have a PhD in every subject that the world’s great universities offer; you can’t get a PhD in love. I often wonder, why don’t they teach courses in love at seminaries? Because love, well, it comes from God, it’s by the Spirit of God. Why don’t the scientists explain to me why a sunset is beautiful? Beauty—in fact, who was it?— it was Erwin Schrödinger, you remember, a Nobel Prize winner, who said, “Science talks about a lot of things, but it can’t tell you what they really are.” And then he said, “When it comes to those things that are most important: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? Who is God? What is His will?— science is deathly silent,” he said.
So we’re not going to get it through science, but we do respect science. We respect science when it is factual. I don’t know—in fact I would love to know what has happened. You remember the lawsuit that this mother filed a few months ago—was it in Virginia or somewhere?—against the public school system, the school board, not to take evolution out of the schools but just teach what is factual. You’ve got these old schematic drawings by Ernst Haeckel of 150 years ago. He didn’t know what he was doing. You still have this thing about the dog that evolved into a horse in your books; you’ve still got Piltdown Man, who was a fraud and the Peking Man and so forth. And all she said was, “Look, if you’re going to teach evolution in the schools, teach it factually—give us facts.” And you remember what Colin Patterson said. He began to ask fellow . . .
Tom: This is the senior paleontologist at the British museum.
Dave: Right, right. Well he said, “After 20 years of studying this and teaching evolution, there wasn’t one thing I knew for sure.” So he began to ask his colleagues, and he asked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, he asked them. And then he asked some symposium of evolutionists—the top evolutionists in the country—at the University of Chicago. He said, “Tell me one thing you know for sure about evolution.”
He said there was a long silence, and finally, one person spoke up and said, “Well, I do know this for sure—it shouldn’t be taught in high school.”
So, science cannot deal with those things that are most important. They can’t even deal with the physical universe around us, but they’re trying. And every door science opens, ten unopened doors are on the other side.
Tom: Dave, before, you quoted Hebrews:11:3, “Through faith we understand the worlds were framed by the Word of God so that the things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” That verse always fascinates me, because it’s a claim of the Scriptures to have an understanding about facts of science, about reality, that no other sacred book has. Most of them are myths. Most of them, whether it be the Qur’an, the Bhagavad Gita, Greek mythologies, or any sacred books that talk about creation or origins. . . .
Dave: Yeah, they have some ridiculous ideas. The Qur’an, of course, contradicts itself a number of times, even as to the period of time that it took for creation, as well as contradicts the Bible. And we’ve talked about it. It comes up with such incredible, ridiculous ideas—that the sun gets tired every evening and settles down into a slimy pit to rest, where Alexander the Great found it.
Tom: Is that figurative language?
Dave: If it were figurative language, it wouldn’t fit, because the sun doesn’t get tired and it doesn’t settle down anywhere. It keeps going. I mean the sun is on, in fact, a vast journey through space, and it’s our world that goes around the sun, which causes the . . . well, it’s the rotation. Our world going around the sun causes the seasons, along with the tilt of the earth. And the rotation of the earth causes day and night. It’s not that the sun settles down anywhere.
So, even figuratively it wouldn’t work, Tom. It’s just plain error. It is unscientific and you would not tolerate it in the Bible!
Tom: You couldn’t tolerate it, because the Bible claims—more than 4,000 times we have phrases like: “Thus saith the Lord.” This is God’s Word, and if He is the Creator and this is His Word, it must be accurate perfectly in everything that it addresses.
Tom: And our challenge is to the other sacred books. See if you can apply that standard. I don’t think so!
Dave: And, Tom, at this point, I am probably getting off the subject—you’re trying to keep us on something here. But at this point I get a little upset with those who accept— Christians, Christian leaders—who accept theistic evolution and say, “Well, God used evolution,” you know . . .
Tom: Yeah, but give us one good reason why theistic evolution doesn’t work.
Dave: I could give you a whole lot of reasons!
Tom: I know, just one—I’ll take one.
Dave: Well, the Bible says, “By one man sin entered into the world” (Romans:5:12), “and death by sin.”
Dave: Death came by Adam’s sin. Well, you couldn’t have critters evolving and dying, evolving and dying, leading up to Adam. You would have death before Adam sinned. So the Bible wouldn’t be true.
Tom: Right, so you have in this perfect garden with Adam and Eve, and then supposedly, according to the theistic evolutionists, they have to be standing on—or, literally, underneath their feet are thousands upon thousands of fossils of evolved, dead creatures. It doesn’t work.
Dave: No, there are a lot of reasons why it doesn’t work. But anyway . . .
Tom: Well, I want to move on with faith here, Dave. The next question: Is faith a power of the mind? Is it positive or possibility thinking?
Now, there’s a view of faith that is incredibly popular today, but it’s really . . . now this time I can say, this is irrational, illogical.
Dave: Well, Tom, you could put it like this—in fact, many, maybe most Christians, at least they’ve experienced this—they think, “I’m praying for something [and] if I can just believe that what I’m praying for will come to pass, that is faith.” So they try to believe that what they are praying for will come to pass . . .
Tom: And it’s this trying and believing that then activates it.
Dave: That’s not faith. That’s mind power. If things happen because you believe they’ll happen, you don’t need God. Jesus said, “Have faith in God.” Now, that changes the whole thing. Maybe it’s not God’s will, it’s not God’s way, and it’s not God’s time. That introduces God into this thing.
But if it is the power of the mind and positive thinking, then I literally have the power to be God. Now, there are a lot of people who teach that, and they can come up with some little coincidences— “Oh yeah, I began to think positively, and this happened and that happened.” Wait a minute! There is so little that you could ever credit to that!
On the other hand, you are going to be led astray a great deal. But Norman Vincent Peale said, “Positive thinking is just another word for faith.” Well, you can be an atheist and teach positive thinking seminars, and many atheists do. Robert Schuller—he called Norman Vincent Peale his mentor—he said “possibility thinking” is just another word for faith. Robert Schuller said, “You don’t know the power you have within you!”
“You can turn wishes into reality!” says Norman Vincent Peale.
Come on! Then there is no objective reality out there. Then our scientists haven’t discovered a reality. They look through an electron microscope, and their imagination imagines that something is there, and we’re creating reality with our minds? This, of course, is Hinduism. It’s called maya, and it’s only what we imagine. Wait a minute! Two scientists halfway around the world from one another, looking in an electron microscope, make the same discovery—a new discovery that nobody has ever made before, and they are creating it? No!
We are laboriously trying to discover a reality within the atom, the electron, the subatomic particles, the neutron, and proton, and on and on it goes. We are trying to come to grips with a reality that is real! It was created by a God whose thoughts are so far beyond us, we can’t even begin to imagine! And the idea that we create it with our minds, through the Star Wars Force—this is the New Age! This is what people want.
If I could play god—not just play god—if I could be my own god, and if I could make things be what I want them to be, you don’t pray. So they talk about a positive confession—some of the followers of Hagin and Copeland and people like that. “Confess it, because you get what you speak! So speak something positive!” It’s is making man into God. This was the promise of the serpent to Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Tom: Dave, so it shouldn’t surprise you that this not only is popular, but it is just growing and growing in popularity. Dave, I’ve been thinking about its popularity. Let me just carry on with it just for a second. There are a lot of songs out there in the secular world, and a lot of the themes have to do with faith. I can’t think of the names of them, but they normally go “ . . . if you just believe . . . ” and “ . . . if you have faith . . . ”
Dave: Yes, visualize snow . . .
Tom: Well, not so much that . . .
Dave: Oh, oh, okay, just believing . . .
Tom: I’m just talking about romantic songs, whatever . . .
Dave: “Believe in peace,” “Give peace a chance, in your mind,” you know . . .
Tom: My point here is that it’s popular because Jesus said . . . He talked about the objective of faith: “Have faith in God.”
Dave: Tom, it’s popular because you make your own rules.
Tom: Exactly right. And, it’s kind of a sad thing, because what I’ve seen is that Christians now pick up on these songs, because they’re not offensive, they’re positive . . .
Dave: They’re talking about faith.
Tom: They’re talking about faith . . .
Dave: . . . but it’s not faith.
Tom: Now it confuses them in their understanding of what real faith is. That’s the tragedy.
Dave: Yes, it becomes the power of the mind again, thinking positively. Don’t say, “I’m getting a cold,” or you’ll get a cold. But if your nose is running, say, “I don’t have a cold, I don’t have a cold, I don’t have a cold,” and, what do you know? The cold goes away! So that proves it! It really works. If we think we can shuffle God’s universe around by our thoughts—we didn’t create the universe. Light has been coming to us for a long time from these stars out there. We created the stars in our minds?
Tom! And yet people think that they can somehow take control of their lives and they can create their own reality—now, wait a minute. If you have any sense at all, you recognize that God is a whole lot smarter than we are. If He really loves us, then wouldn’t I want God’s will? Wouldn’t I want Him to run my life?
Yonggi Cho—you remember, the pastor of the largest church in the world? He said, “You’ve got to visualize what you are praying for and you tell God what you want.”
Jesus said, “Your heavenly Father knows what you have need of before you ask.” So it’s the difference between getting what we want and letting God give us what He knows we need. But then I am going to have to trust God, and then I’m going to have to submit to Him, and then I can’t play God anymore, and that just goes against what human beings want.
Tom: Dave, we talked about this in earlier programs about the fact that we’re finite—about the fact that we need to trust God because there are things we can’t comprehend. And we’ve talked about how awesome God is with regard to creation.
Now, here we have an omnipotent, omniscient, powerful God . . .
Tom: All-powerful—versus our finite peanut brain. Is there a choice, really, here?
Dave: Tom you’ve got to be kidding. I mean it’s a Himalayan pride that would cause man even to imagine that he could create reality with his mind. I want to trust God and let Him have His way in my life.