Apologetics – Worlds in Collision – II Corinthians 4:3-4

 
The best military leaders make it a point to know their enemies as well as they can. If they can think the way that their opponent thinks, then they may be able to anticipate his next move and beat him to the punch. Is this a good military tactic? What could be wrong with this when we apply it to fighting the Lord’s battles? First, we might forget that in dealing with souls, tactics are entire different, because the war is different. Secondly, it might tend to make us rely upon our logic or our learning rather than on the Lord. Third, when unsanctified and weak Christians study the things of Satan too closely, they make themselves vulnerable to his attacks. Nevertheless, a general understanding of the way that lost people think can be a good thing in trying to bring them out of it and to the Lord.

II Corinthians 4 reminds us that even though Jehovah is the Creator and Sovereign owner of the world, some of the actual management of the world has been usurped by Satan. And that influence can be recognized as we look about us. When a Spirit-filled saint looks at current events, the physical creation, and even the hearts of men he should be able to see the hand of God. But at the same time can’t he also see the handiwork of the Wicked One?

Someone coined the phrase: “worlds in collision.” That is precisely the universe in which we live.

One of them is the POSTMODERN World.
In 1930 an Algerian named Jacques Derrida created a philosophy which he called “Deconstructionism.” He taught his theory all over the world, including the U.S., and it eventually became known as “Postmodernism.” I suppose that if it kept its first name, the idea might have died on the vine, because it was very appropriate. Derrida taught people to look at philosophies, religions, sciences or whatever as if they were made up of many layers of fact, fable, fiction and fraud. Everything should be handled like a mummy covered in yards and yards of linen and chemicals and encased in a gold sarcophagus. When all those wrappings are carefully removed, we eventually get down to the real thing. And in the mean time, what we are actually looking at is not really the truth.

“Postmodernism” is a term which has constantly come up in philosophy and theology over the last 40 years. And unfortunately it seems to be a ruling philosophy of modern man, whether he uses the name or not. Postmodernism stresses the relatively of all meaning and truth, and it denies all first principles. It boils down to the idea that there are no absolute truths, only truths which are relevant to each individual. For example, “Christianity maybe true for you, but it’s not true for me.” Or Christianity was important in bringing morality to the Roman world, but it is no longer relevant today. Christianity helped bring our grandparents through the Depression and the Dust Bowl, but today we no longer need it. For some people, parts of Christianity are relevant to the 21st Century, but other parts aren’t. And it varies for every individual. It makes just about everything from science to religion just a smorgasbord of ideas from which to pick and choose.

What do you suppose Postmodernism succeeded? (Modernism.) What was the basic premise of Modernism? It was the goal of Modernism to liberate humanity from those truths which Postmodernism denies. For Modernism, it wasn’t about the existence of God and the authority of the Bible, the only thing that mattered was dumping them. How was science the flagship of Modernism? (Science was used to explain away God and revelation.) What was the replacement for God in the Modern world? (Humanism and Human reasoning.) Postmodernism has replaced even human reasoning, but what has it used? (Relativism.) These are two different philosophies, but what is their ultimate purpose? (Elimination of God.) Modernism puts man at the center of the universe. What is put at the center of the Postmodern universe? (The individual.)

What is truth to the Christian? (The Lord.) What is truth to the Modernist? (Whatever science declares it to be.) What is truth to the Postmodernist? (Whatever the individual wants it to be.) So in a Postmodern world, how are important national or social directions (such as homosexual marriage and abortion rights) to be determined? (We must get the majority to agree.) If truth is relative, then how can we determine when someone is wrong? If no one is intrinsically wrong, what need is there of a Saviour? What sort of words would you use to describe the vision of the Postmodernist? (Fuzzy.) Would you say that Bible Christianity is fuzzy or clear? If, to the Postmodernist, all truth is true, how does it contradict itself when it comes to Christianity?

The NEW AGE World.
The modern New Age movement is really nothing more than ancient Eastern mystic religion. Unfortunately, Eastern mysticism has crept into a great many areas of our society, including Christendom. One of the results has been the rejection or neglect of the scriptures.

What is mysticism? Mysticism is the belief that knowledge about God is attainable through special intuition or insight. Zen Buddhism for example, teaches that through self-discipline and meditation, people get to know themselves and God. This is possible because the root of this philosophy is pantheism. What does pantheism teach about God? A result of this pantheism is a denial the principles of dualism. What is dualism? (That there are opposites such as good and bad or truth and error.) Since the Bible teaches right and wrong, sin and righteousness, a Holy God and a Devil, most mystics and the New Age movement rejects our evidence for truth as unimportant. And generally speaking mystics shun the use of logic in their search for God. And that further enforces their rejection of the Bible. One of our greatest challenges in our evangelism is to create an interest in people for the Word of God.

The ATHEISTIC World.
What does an atheist believe about God? How can someone prove that there is no God? How can anyone know for sure that there is no God? What attribute of deity would someone have to possess in order to boldly declare that there is no God? (Omniscience.)

It is startling to see the average atheist as he approaches death. It is surprising to see the above average atheist as he approaches death. Jean Paul Sartre, was one of the leading existentialists of the last century, dying in 1980. Existentialism tries to explain the existence of man apart from God. Not long before his death, Sartre declared: “I do not feel that I am the product of chance, a speck of dust in the universe, but someone who was expected, prepared, prefigured. In short, a being whom only a Creator could put here; and this idea of a creating hand refers to God.” Sartre, an atheist until late in life, eventually declared that atheism was a cruel philosophy. Why? Nietzsche eventually called atheism “maddening.” Why? Many people who are strong atheists throughout their lives commit suicide when they see death approaching. Why?

But most atheists are not totally committed to their philosophy. They make the claim, but they live in the hope that they are wrong. They live in the shadow of Christian truth, while they deny the Reality which cast the shadow.

The AGNOSTIC World.
There is simply too much order and design in the universe to sustain genuine atheism, so most atheistic-wannabes turn to agnosticism. “Atheism” is made up of what two Greek words? What are the words that make up “agnosticism”? So what does an agnostic believe about God? (That He is unknown.)

There are two kinds of agnostics: the theoretical and the practical. The theoretical agnostic, like Immanuel Kant, believed that God was unknowable. However, most people who claim to be agnostics, simply don’t know God. Many of these people are waiting for you to come along and teach them about the Lord.

The SCIENTIFIC World
Agnostics and atheists, who claim to be scientists, try to tell the world that science and Christianity are mutually exclusive. They try to say that the facts of science prove that the claims of Christianity are unfounded. Actually what is unfounded are those atheistic statements of those pseudo-scientists. I call them pseudo-scientists because if they were true scientists they would know something of the queen of all science – theology.

There are several of these opposing worlds, which actually support Biblical Christianity, and science is one. Since the days of Darwin himself, science has offered evidence that his theories could not be true (heredity, spontaneous generation, etc.). And the more sophisticated and complex the science the more evidence is amassed which proves the existence of God and the accuracy of the Bible. DNA for example is not a random collection of items or facts. DNA is a language, a code, a message which demands the existence of an author. It doesn’t matter what branch of science a person studies – geology, biology, physics, whatever – the complexity and structure of that subject demands an intelligent source or cause.

It is assumed that the majority of scientists in the world reject the notion of the existence of God. But that is not the case, the vast majority of scientists from every field, believe in God. Unfortunately, because many of them are so immersed in their scientific field that they don’t study the science of theology as they should, they come out with a wide variety of opinions about the Lord. But the fact that they believe in God needs to be recognized.

A man named Stanley Jaki, speaking for a great many other scientists, has gone on record as saying that science not only proves intelligent design, but intelligent purpose. He says that in the discovery of a certain kind of radiation, cosmologists were forced to see that the universe is on a very narrow track, laid down in such a way as to make the existence of man possible. All the elements and the way that they work together; the various laws of physics; biology and cosmology, all contribute to make man the pinnacle of the universe. This is precisely what the Bible teaches.

Hugh Ross has written: “Astronomers have discovered that the characteristics of our universe, of our galaxy and of our solar system are so finely tuned to support life that the only reasonable explanation for this is the forethought of a personal, intelligent Creator whose involvement explains the degree of finetunedness. It requires power and purpose.”

Stephen Hawking, considered to be one of the most powerful minds in the world, has written: “The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life. It seems clear that there are relatively few ranges of values for the numbers that would allow the development of any form of intelligent life.”

Scientists like Carl Sagan, and Frank Dake in the early 1960s attempted to estimate the number of planets in the universe with environments favorable for the support of life. They determined that only a certain kind of star with a planet just the right distance from that star would provide the necessary conditions for life. And eminent scientists such as Robert Rood and James Trefil, believe that intelligent physical life exists on only one planet in all the universe. That is considerable since there are estimated to be more than a trillion galaxies, each averaging a hundred billion stars. That makes a hundred trillion solar systems, and perhaps a thousand trillion planets on which to find life. And yet the scientific likelihood for that is next to nothing – if that much. Science, whether it likes to admit it or not, shows us that there must have been a Creator.

And then lastly there is one other force opposing the truth – the world of SIN.
Without doubt the greatest hindrance to the acknowledgment of, and submission to God is sin. “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” It is sin which drives each of the other things that we’ve mentioned this morning.

So basically, the work of the apologist is to prove to people that they are sinners before God, but that there is a solution to their sin. If we can do that, then all of the isms and philosophies will crumble before the Truth of the Lord.