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Apologetics 1 Lesson 9 Arguments for Christianity, The Resurrection and the Problem of Evil
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Apologetics 1 Lesson 9 Arguments for Christianity, The Resurrection and the Problem of Evil


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Lesson 9 of a multipart series. A case for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, a survey different approaches. A discussion of The Problem of Evil

Lesson 9 of a multipart series. A case for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, a survey different approaches. A discussion of The Problem of Evil

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  • 1. Third Column Ministries | Twitter: @LApologetics This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License..
  • 2. “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.” - 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 (ESV) “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” - 1 Corinthians 15:14 (NIV)
  • 3. Objections • Stolen body theory (Matthew 28:12-15). • The wrong tomb theory. • The reburial theory. • The hallucination theory (D. William McNeil). • Jesus never died (Swoon theory). • The substitution theory (Islam, Sura 4:157). • Jesus body was eaten by dogs (John Dominic Crossan). • Jesus had a twin. • Jesus was an alien theory.
  • 4. Medical Information • Hematidrosis: blood and sweat (Luke 22:44). • Flogging with flagrum that cut deep into the subcutaneous tissues. • Abandoned & Betrayed. • Crown of thorns. • Carry the cross. • Nailed to the cross.
  • 5. Slow Suffocation • Shallowness of breathing causes small areas of lung collapse. • Decreased oxygen and increased carbon dioxide causes acidic conditions in the tissues. • Fluid builds up in the lungs. Makes situation in step 2 worse. • Heart is stressed and eventually fails.
  • 6. The stated order of "blood and water" may not necessarily indicate the order of appearance, but rather the relative prominence of each fluid. In this case, a spear through the right side of the heart would allow the pleural fluid (fluid built up in the lungs) to escape first, followed by a flow of blood from the wall of the right ventricle. Edwards, W.D., Gabel, W.J and Hosmer, F.E. "On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ." JAMA. 255 (11), pp. 1455-1463, 1986.
  • 7. Resurrection • Jesus' resurrection was an early belief in Christianity. • 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 – Contains creedal form statement of the resurrection of Jesus. – Most likely taken directly from Aramaic oral tradition. – Creed was widespread within 2-3 years of Christ death. (Jerusalem & Damascus)
  • 8. Hankronym: F E A T • The F-E-A-T that Demonstrates the FACT of Resurrection. – Fatal torment – Empty tomb – Appearances – Transformation
  • 9. Lee Strobel • The Case for the Resurrection – Lee Strobel • Written at a popular level.
  • 10. Habermas/Licona • The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus – Gary R. Habermas – Michael Licona • Tough-Minded Christianity – The Core Resurrection Data: The Minimal Facts Approach • Gary R. Habermas
  • 11. The Minimal Facts Approach 1. Jesus death by crucifixion. 2. The earliest disciples’ experience of appearances of the risen Jesus 3. Their subsequent transformations to the point of even being willing to die for their faith. 4. The resurrection as the very center of early apostolic preaching. 5. The conversion and resulting transformation of Paul and James.
  • 12. N. T. Wright • The Resurrection of the Son of God – N. T. Wright • Six Essential Details
  • 13. Six Essential Details 1. Jews and Greeks understood that resurrection entailed physical embodiment. 2. Paul believed in a physical embodied resurrection both in the case of Jesus and eschatologically for believers. 3. Jesus was executed and did not lapse into unconsciousness. After burial Jesus’s corpse subsequently came back to life and exited the tomb that was guarded by soldiers. 4. The earliest Christians believed in Jesus’s bodily resurrection and an empty tomb. 5. The resurrection narratives are credible early sources deriving from witnesses who narrate events and claim tactile contact with the risen Jesus. 6. The Gospel narratives do not support hallucinations or reductionist reinterpretations of the witnesses’ experiences of the risen Jesus as mere spiritual visions.
  • 14. The Problem • “Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?” – Epicurus (341-270 BC), as quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief
  • 15. “Many philosophers believe that the existence of evil constitutes a difficulty for the theist, and many believe that the existence of evil (or at least the amount and kinds of evil we actually find) makes belief in God unreasonable or rationally unacceptable.” “The fact that the theist doesn't know why God permits evil is, perhaps, an interesting fact about the theist, but by itself it shows little or nothing relevant to the rationality of belief in God.” - Alvin Plantinga. God, Freedom, and Evil
  • 16. The Argument 1. God exists. 2. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good. 3. A perfectly good being would want to prevent all evils. 4. An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence. 5. An omnipotent being, who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence. 6. A being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, who is able to prevent that evil from coming into existence, and who wants to do so, would prevent the existence of that evil. 7. If there exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being, then no evil exists. 8. Evil exists (logical contradiction).
  • 17. Definition of Evil • Augustine, in Confessions, defined evil as “a privation of good, even to the point of complete non-entity.” – Dark is the absence of light. – Cold is the absence of heat. – Evil is the absence of good. • With this definition evil is not a created thing
  • 18. Definition of Evil • Another definition of evil, given by Doug Geivett, is that it is “a departure from the way things ought to be.” • Kreeft & Tacelli maintain that “evil does not just exist, it happens” and that “evil is real, but not a real thing.”
  • 19. Types of Evil • Moral Evil – Moral evil stems from human action (or inaction in some cases). – Evil committed by free moral agents and includes crime, cruelty, class struggles, discrimination, slavery, genocide, and other injustices. • Natural Evil – Natural evil occurs as a consequence of nature— earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, diseases, etc…
  • 20. Free Will • God in His sovereign will created us with choice. • In order to have love for God we must have the choice to not love God. Love cannot be forced. • We “choose poorly.” • Sin (evil) then entered the world.
  • 21. “We can, perhaps, conceive of a world in which God corrected the results of this abuse of free will by His creatures at every moment: so that a wooden beam became soft as grass when it was used as a weapon, and the air refused to obey me if I attempted to set up in it the sound waves that carry lies or insults. But such a world would be one in which wrong actions were impossible, and in which, therefore, freedom of the will would be void; nay, if the principle were carried out to its logical conclusion, evil thoughts would be impossible, for the cerebral matter which we use in thinking would refuse its task when we attempted to frame them.” - C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
  • 22. Determinism • Some forms of determinism deny free will. • Devine determinism is in some but not all forms of Calvinism. • Calvin explained evil as a consequence of the fall of man and the original sin. • Due to the belief in predestination and omnipotence, the fall is part of God's plan. • Ultimately humans may not be able to understand and explain this plan.
  • 23. Soul-making (Theodicy) • Evil and suffering are necessary for spiritual growth. – Irenaeus of Lyons (d. 202 AD) • We cannot learn forgiveness if we have not been wronged. • This life is not all there is. This life is preparation for the life to come.
  • 24. “Without this eternal perspective, we assume that people who die young, who have handicaps, who suffer poor health, who don't get married or have children, or who don't do this or that will miss out on the best life has to offer. But the theology underlying these assumptions have a fatal flaw. It presumes that our present Earth, bodies, culture, relationships and lives are all there is.” - Randy Alcorn (If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil, published by Random House of Canada, 2009, page 294)
  • 25. For example, there are people who display a sort of creative moral heroism in the face of suffering and adversity-a heroism that inspires others and creates a good situation out of a bad one. Alvin Plantinga. God, Freedom, and Evil
  • 26. Evil Suggests Objective Morals • To be evil there must be something that is good. – Like hot/cold or light/dark • Evil seems to be universal. • Where did we all get the idea of evil? • If evil, then there must be good or a standard. • This standard must be transcendent. • Law comes from a law giver.
  • 27. “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?... Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too—for the argument depended on saying the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies.” - C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
  • 28. Euthyphro’s Dilemma • The dilemma Euthyphro faced is this: • Is a thing good simply because the gods say it is? • Or do the gods say a thing is good because of some other quality it has? • If so, what is that quality? The problem stumped Euthyphro.
  • 29. Bertrand Russell's version • Bertrand Russell's version is an attempt to show an internal flaw in the Christian's notion of God and goodness. • Is a thing right simply because God declares it so, or does God say it is good because He recognizes a moral code superior even to Him? • On the one hand, God reigns and His Law is supreme. As the ultimate Sovereign, He establishes the moral rules of the universe. His commands are absolute. We must obey.
  • 30. Gregory Koukl’s solution • The Christian rejects the first option, that morality is an arbitrary function of God's power. And he rejects the second option, that God is responsible to a higher law. There is no Law over God. • The third option is that an objective standard exists (this avoids the first horn of the dilemma). However, the standard is not external to God, but internal (avoiding the second horn). Morality is grounded in the immutable character of God, who is perfectly good. His commands are not whims, but rooted in His holiness.