Gospel Centred Apologetics: What’s the Point? (Part 1)
by Graham Veale
One objection to apologetics runs as follows: “Only God can effectively call someone to faith”. Well, amen and hallelujah. But how does God call us? Typically, through his word; and it is astonishing how often God’s word reasons with unbelief. For example Paul opens his chief theological statement, the book of Romans, with a critique of idolatry and polytheism. The creator’s eternal power is revealed through the natural world; the author of this creation must be far greater than anything in the created realm. Yet, even though everyone instinctively searches for God, pagans worship with pieces of wood and stone. This is foolishness, for they should know that something even more beautiful lies behind the beauty of nature. .
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Paul makes a similar argument to the Athenians in Acts 17. The ‘world and everything in it’ reflects the power of one creator. If everything in this world depends on a creator, then it follows that the creator cannot depend on anything in nature. It is madness, then, to bring food to idols as a means of honouring the divine. Furthermore, it is absurd to suggest that anything fashioned by human hand could contain or convey the majesty of the creator. These arguments would have been familiar to the Stoic and Epicurean philosophers of Athens. They might even have been sympathetic to Paul’s argument that because all men searched for the same thing, it was more reasonable to believe in one creator. Creation, after all, testified to one designer and one providential plan…
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