Thursday, February 5, 2009

Science Apologetics

Let’s more carefully define apologetics as a sequel to our recent post on Evidential Apologetics. Our Christian faith needs a rational foundation. Apologetics is the process whereby we justify, support, and defend our belief system, which could fortify our own beliefs and help us convince a seeker. A large share of our discussions with others relating to matters of faith is connected with apologetics. The John Ankerberg Show discussions on science, past and current, uses science to aid us in supporting our belief that God exists and is the Creator of everything.

The science-minded person’s faith may be particularly strengthened by evidential apologetics. That person seeks answers to questions like “What happened?” “How did it happen?” and “When did it happen?” He is interested in demonstrating that certain causes have resulting effects. Classical apologetics relies upon reason and rationality to evaluate what we observe. This encompasses cosmological (first causes) and teleological (design) arguments. Finally, there is presuppositional apologetics. Presuppositionalists hold that the Bible’s revelation is pre-eminent. This apologetic method accepts God’s existence and written revelation of Himself as a “given,” a starting point for all other discussion. Other apologetics methods exist and there is some overlap in apologetic methodology.

There is a spirited discussion among Christians about whether the earth and universe is old or young and whether God created a fully-formed universe in the last 10,000 years within just six days, as opposed to a Big Bang 13.73 billion years distant. This discussion relates more closely to which apologetic method one embraces than to any other differences within the creationist faith community. If divergent views of creation events and timeframes were understood to be differences in apologetics methods, perhaps some of the heat generated by the discussion would abate.

No professional scientist would minimize the importance of evidence-gathering and analysis. The past and current John Ankerberg Show programs on scientific evidence for the Big Bang, design in the universe, and sudden and supernatural creation of life forms have a distinct flavor of evidential apologetics. As we study these various methods, however, we must recognize value in each and every one. Even champions of one method or another would agree that favoring one method merely indicates a difference in emphasis.