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The Burden of Evidence

by Dr. Jason Lisle on September 18, 2009
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Should Christians use a variety of apologetic methods? What does the Bible teach? Dr. Jason Lisle, AiG–U.S., provides insight.

I mostly love the work of AIG, but am troubled by your narrow approach! In the July 09 Answers Update, Dr. Jason Lisle writes, “A lot of creationists are under the mistaken impression that evolutionists would believe in creation if they simply had more ‘evidence.’ But the Bible tells us that poeple already have enough evidence of the God of creation.” While it is certainly true that there are many who cannot be swayed by evidence and can only be converted by the Holy Spirit, there are others who give their informal assent to evolution because of how they’ve been educated. When these lies are brushed aside by evidence, as I have found from personal experience, they are able to see more clearly the Truth that has always been there. Please don’t give your readers the impression that there is only one valid way to approach all the people God has made and their variety of thought processes! Yes, the Word must always be there, sometimes before the evidence, but sometimes after. Thank you.
—T.L., U.S.

I mostly love the work of AIG, but am troubled by your narrow approach!

True, we are very narrow and “intolerant” of non-biblical views—even non-biblical approaches to apologetics. But God demands nothing less. We are to have all of our thoughts “taken captive” into obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), not just some or most of our thoughts. Everything we say and do should reflect the glory of our Lord and Savior; straight and narrow is the way, even in our apologetic approach.

In the July 09 Answers Update, Dr. Jason Lisle writes, “A lot of creationists are under the mistaken impression that evolutionists would believe in creation if they simply had more ‘evidence.’ But the Bible tells us that poeple already have enough evidence of the God of creation.” While it is certainly true that there are many who cannot be swayed by evidence and can only be converted by the Holy Spirit,

Actually, we know there is absolutely no one who can be swayed apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). Nonetheless, God calls us to contend for the faith (Jude 3). So we are to make a defense—to give a logical answer when people ask us of the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15), and then God blesses our efforts and uses them as part of the process by which He draws people unto Himself (John 6:44).

there are others who give their informal assent to evolution because of how they've been educated.

People do appeal to what they’ve been taught in the secular world as an excuse for denying creation—that’s certainly true. But they still know in their “heart-of-hearts” the biblical God (Romans 1:20): they suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18) and are self-deceived (James 1:22).

When these lies are brushed aside by evidence,

But the difficulty lies in the fact that evidence is always interpreted in light of a worldview. And evolutionists have a faulty worldview, which causes them to misinterpret the evidence that is presented. They may (by virtue of the fact that they also inconsistently rely upon the Christian worldview) occasionally interpret evidence correctly. However, they do not consistently interpret evidence correctly.

as I have found from personal experience, they are able to see more clearly the Truth that has always been there.

Even more important than personal experience is what God has said in His Word, and God tells us that we are never to abandon the authority of his Word, even when we are refuting those who contradict (Titus 1:9). You may certainly use scientific and historical evidence as part of your apologetic (for example, to show inconsistency and arbitrariness in the evolutionary worldview). However, Christians should not try to approach evidence from a “neutral” perspective, rather than from a biblical worldview: neutrality is unbiblical (Matthew 12:30) and logically impossible (because it is a non-neutral claim).

Please don't give your readers the impression that there is only one valid way to approach all the people God has made

The Bible certainly allows us some freedom in the specific illustrations we wish to use; God expects us to use our specific interests and gifts when defending the faith. However, whatever we say, and whatever lines of evidence we use, we must all do apologetics in a way that is honoring and faithful to God and never abandon the authority of His Word. Just as there is only one way to be reconciled with God, there is ultimately only one way to do apologetics—the way the Bible tells us to!

and their variety of thought processes!

Remember that there is also only one correct way of thinking—God’s. Even though we are finite, we are to think in a way that is consistent with God and reflects His nature. God tells the wicked to forsake their thoughts precisely for the reason that their thoughts do not line up with His (Isaiah 55:7–8). If we are to think correctly, logically, rationally, then necessarily we are to think biblically and show others how to do the same.

Yes, the Word must always be there, sometimes before the evidence, but sometimes after.

Although the Bible need not be explicitly quoted in every argument with an unbeliever, it must always be presupposed. We are never to abandon the authority of the Word to embrace the critic’s worldview; otherwise we would be like him (Proverbs 26:4). We should, however, do an internal critique of the critic’s worldview, showing that it is internally defective and thus could not be true even if it hypothetically were true (Proverbs 26:5). Scientific evidence can be used to accomplish this, providing it is used properly.

Thank you.

Take a look at my book The Ultimate Proof of Creation for more information on this topic. In particular, see Chapter 6, which shows several biblically appropriate uses of scientific evidence in an origins debate. I hope you now see that we are not against using evidence; we’re just against misusing evidence.

God Bless
—Dr. Jason Lisle

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