In this five-part series on apologetics, Dr. Dick Jones provides a number of useful insights via a letter to Clare, a real person. Beyond its hoped-for impact on her life, this offering from the Truth of God’s word was written so as to be equally useful for today’s Christian adults, the majority of whom have been philosophically enslaved to a faulty belief system. (This is part two of a five part series.)
Review of 1: All of us are influenced by many people including those whose anger against God makes them want you to reject Him too. Knowing about the relationship between God’s rules and epistemology will be part of your protective mind insurance against this threat.
Like having solid cement blocks under a house, epistemology is a necessary foundation for thought. What rungs are to a ladder is what epistemology is to your thinking process. People behave poorly or are unhappy mainly because they don’t obey God’s rules, but, not knowing epistemology runs a close second. Christians often encourage others to follow God by using examples from history and archeology to show that the Bible is true. They also use personal stories about how God, through Jesus, changed their lives for the better. These are good things, but sometimes an even better way is to share with others that the only reason they can even do and explain something as basic to everyday life as knowing and thinking is because of God.
Even so, a lot of the new people you’ll meet, including the many atheists and angry-at-God people, insist that they have the ability, even without God, to know all there is to know about thinking and knowing and about right and wrong. If one of them says that “people think and know just because they do,” or that “right and wrong depend on the situation,” or that “everyone knows it’s good to help others and that it’s bad to steal or murder,” then they also have the duty to prove to you why these statements are true or their opinion doesn’t count for much. If they stumble around as they try to prove these things then you know there’s a problem.
What’s not good is that even by age 12, too many American kids are already victims of the bad ideas coming from people who’ve never even heard of the word, epistemology. You especially have to be on guard against them telling you that how you act is up to you and nobody else. This is also called “doing your own thing,” or that “there is no truth and no absolutes,” or “if it feels good do it.” The people spreading this stuff, especially those who weren’t taught God’s standards at home, always want you to be asking, “Hey. Why can’t I do my own thing?” The answer you know best – because mom and dad say you can’t – is always being made fun of at work, school, at parties and everywhere else. But, even so, the question of how we can know for sure if we should or shouldn’t do something is a good question and needs a good answer. Sadly, even many officials in government, in business or in the schools say we don’t need the transcendent moral measuring stick I mentioned in paragraph 2 of Part One.
Much of this confusion by people who will be influencing you in the future can be traced back to two things: Their misguided beliefs about evolution plus their total lack of awareness about epistemology. That’s why these two e-subjects must always be explained together. But, before I go any further I need to give you a key point of all this in advance.
The only way that evolutionists, skeptics and the “no-God” people are able to have an opinion about the true source of knowing, thinking, right and wrong is to borrow the Bible’s explanation even though they don’t admit it or even know they’re borrowing. I’ll explain as we go.
There are three “automatic” beliefs (assumptions or presuppositions) that you and I already both agree on. 1. We have brains that let us think. 2. Thinking makes sense. 3. People use reason and logic when they think. But, beginning roughly about 300 years ago, many angry-at-God people, atheists, certain teachers and some science people in Europe and the United States began to not want to “waste time” talking about those three common sense assumptions. Here’s why:
They don’t like God and want Him “not to be,” so they began teaching that evolution, not God, is why we exist. But, since evolution (by their own definition) creates life by accident and chance, it also forces them to say that brains are accidents too; just a glob of chemicals and mini electric signals that never know from second to second what they might do next. But, such un-designed brains would never be able to account for logical thinking or to make those three assumptions or any assumptions at all would they? That’s why in the classroom they skip by the fact that man’s “primitive, accidental” brains actually are able to have very complicated thought-ideas like assumptions. They’d rather not discuss it. It’s too embarrassing plus it ruins their entire story.
So, is evolution true or not? First of all – and, just like a high-tech computer – it makes sense that creation is not an accident. The beauty and complex design of the universe is shown by the Hubble telescope and by our planet’s very reliable laws of physics and chemistry. And, science regularly demonstrates the incredible design and functioning of the human body. So, when the angry-at-God folks say God didn’t create us, they need to tell us, in fairness, where we did come from. Evolution, which they insist on calling science, says that living things popped up for the first time on earth in a swampy pond millions of years ago, not just a few thousand as the Bible says. This theory is all guesswork and there’s zero proof, but, here’s how their story goes:
The pond was a watery soup of carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia and other lifeless chemicals. (But, no oxygen. Oxygen is bad for their theory.) Once upon a time, sunlight or lightning hit the pond so that the chemicals miraculously became the micro building-blocks (amino acids) for what would become tiny living creatures like germs or bacteria. (Life from non-life – a miracle!) Over millions of more years, slightly more complicated creatures came along with slightly larger “babies.” These slowly turned into tiny minnows, bugs and worms, all of which were cousins because they were all related to the very first pond creatures. In time these little critters changed from small minnows into larger fish, then into birds, and then into new, former-bird creatures with arms, legs and stomachs like cows and monkeys. But, here’s an engineering problem for you: How does a fish gradually transform itself into a bird in little tiny steps over millions of years so that each step produces a slightly better but still workable form of life and not a useless, crippled mess? You’ll be told that fossils show how. But, after desperately searching for these “in between” fossils for over 150 years they still haven’t found any nor will they ever. And, that’s even though the earth is covered with tons of fossils, like Petoskey stones, for example.
After a few million more years (the story goes) one of the monkeys turned into a human man; another, into a human woman, thus becoming our great-grandparents according to Charles Darwin, one of the early rebels to dream up the evolution story. If evolution is true then we “animals” would never know it because our “accidental” glob-brains wouldn’t give us the power of reason or to care either way. Animals don’t care if they evolved or if God made them; they’re just animals. But, we’re not so if evolution is true and there’s no God then we might just as well be dead. The unplanned accident of evolution not only provides no foundation for epistemology, it makes it impossible for us to explain anything at all! Fortunately, the Bible does.