Resources for the members of the United Church of God

Apologetics 101

You are here

Apologetics 101

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×

I am someone who likes proof. I like evidence. I don’t want someone to say, “This is true” without showing me proof. Are you like that? I think it’s a good trait to have. It is very important to be able to use evidence, facts and reason to defend what we say and what we believe. There’s a growing belief that the Bible cannot coexist with science, reason and facts. Because of this thinking, many people have stopped believing the Bible.

I studied chemistry in college, and went on to teach high school chemistry and physical science. One of the topics I was asked to teach in my physical science class was the universe. Talk about a big subject! The curriculum included the beginning of the universe and the Big Bang Theory. As I was explaining the current understanding and theory that the universe began over 13 billion years ago with a “big bang,” one of the students got upset, said he was a Christian and didn’t want to hear any of this. I wasn’t using the word evolution or saying there wasn’t a God, but many God-believers have been programmed to become defensive about science because of the idea that science and religion do not agree.

So, after class I talked with the student and explained that nothing I was teaching disproved the Bible, but instead fits well within the biblical narrative. The Bible begins, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1 Genesis 1:1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
American King James Version×
). I explained that there is a lot of scientific evidence to support the theory of the Big Bang, but the theory doesn’t contradict the Bible or disprove the existence of God. The Bible never states the earth was created 6,000 years ago.

It does, however, give us a glimpse into how God created the universe, and it is pretty awesome. What’s even more awesome is that scientists agree they have no idea what caused the Big Bang.

Notice this quote from Mike Wall at Space.com: “So the very beginning of the universe remains pretty murky. Scientists think they can pick the story up at about 10 to the minus 36 seconds—one trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second—after the Big Bang.”

So they can use science to trace back to just after the “bang” started but not the actual event, what caused the event or what was going on before the event. To me, it’s a pretty simple answer as to what caused it—God.

Why have I shared all of this? Because we have to be careful not to let ideas that science and religion don’t mix affect our faith or belief that the Bible is truly the inspired Word of God. These two categories coexist. They don’t contradict one another.

I admit there are aspects of science that people try to use to disprove the Bible or God, including evolution. But most of science is in agreement with the Bible. (Search “Is the Bible True?: Science and the Bible” at ucg.org). The aspects that aren’t in agreement, like the theory of evolution, have holes in the evidence or reasoning and should not shake our faith.

Let’s get back to my title, Apologetics 101. What is apologetics, and what does it have to do with this topic?

The word apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia, which means “to speak in defense of.” It’s like in a courtroom when someone makes an accusation, and you have to defend or reply to the charges. In terms of our faith and religion, it is a Christian’s attempt to defend his or her beliefs and actions against criticism of the Bible to those who refuse to believe in God. Apologetics can be boiled down to a statement or argument based on reason and facts to defend our beliefs.

If we are going to be able to defend our faith, it won’t only be about teaching the Bible; it will also be about defending the Bible as true and God as real. 

Have you ever had to defend your beliefs? Maybe someone asked you about why you don’t go to games on Friday nights, why you miss two weeks of school every fall or why you don’t celebrate Christmas. I received those questions a lot while in school.

When we answer those questions, we are using apologetics to defend our actions according to our biblical beliefs. We have to be able to give an answer about how we live and what we believe.

People question the validity of believing in God or the Bible. Many people say the Bible isn’t true, science disproves it, it doesn’t make sense, there isn’t a God and Jesus Christ wasn’t real. Have you heard that? Over one third of “Generation Z” claims to be agnostic or atheist, meaning they either don’t know or don’t believe in God and don’t really care if God exists.

If we are going to be able to defend our faith, it won’t only be about teaching the Bible; it will also be about defending the Bible as true and God as real.

Can you do that? That’s a big challenge, but I believe you are up to being an apologist for God, a defender of God.

In 1 Peter, the word apologia is used. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense [apologia] to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15 1 Peter 3:15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
American King James Version×
). Peter said we have to always be ready to give a defense for our hope.

How do we do that? To defend something, we have to know what we are defending and what we are defending against. Have you ever seen a basketball team defend the wrong hoop during a game while the other team easily makes a basket? We must begin by knowing what we are defending—God and His Word. We must study it and seek to understand it. Then we have to know what we need to defend against. It’s similar to making a game plan in basketball. As a team, you need to know how you are going to defend—man-to-man, zone or switch on pick-and-rolls. How are you going to defend their best scorer? A good team comes up with a defensive game plan. They study the other team and are prepared to defend their hoop when the other team runs their plays.

If we want to defend God and His Word, we must know what we are defending, what arguments may come up and how to answer them. If you wait until they are coming at you, then you will be caught off guard, and they may get an easy basket.

In addition to reading and learning God’s Word, how do we prepare our defense?

Pray and ask God to give us the answer and defense when needed.

Read the United Church of God’s articles and booklets on creation versus evolution and other apologetic topics. There is a whole booklet dedicated to helping us defend against the idea that macro-evolution is true (Search “Creation or Evolution” on ucg.org).

Continue reading this magazine. There will be more articles with specific topics on apologetics in the future.

Remember what Proverbs 18:17 Proverbs 18:17He that is first in his own cause seems just; but his neighbor comes and searches him.
American King James Version×
says: “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him.” So be sure to ask questions, don’t just believe what someone tells you to be fact.

You might also be interested in...

God doesn't want blind faith. He wants you to have faith based on solid...