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Reformed Protestants contend that there must be a specifically Protestant defense of all Christian doctrines. In Reformed theology the argument is that all our doctrines are interdependent. The major doctrines imply other doctrines. For example our doctrine of the atonement, will to some extent, influence our doctrine of God. Cornelius Van Til, describing the difference between a Protestant and Romanist doctrine of God, rightly says in his book A Christian Theory of Knowledge,
”The answer given is that the Protestant doctrine of God stresses his self-sufficiency and therefore his ultimate control over all that comes to pass in the course of the history of the world. The Romanist doctrine of God, while also speaking of God’s self-sufficiency, none-the-less compromises it to some extent. It does this by virtually ascribing to man a measure of self-sufficiency. And by ascribing a measure of self-sufficiency or ultimacy to man, God is in a measure made dependent upon man.”
A friend gave a scenario.
This shouldn’t be confused with the accusation that we don’t want to be bold in our faith but it ought to be seen as our confidence in Scripture. That it is able to defend itself and doesn’t need us but we need it.
Moving on to the other question of some skeptics or non-believers who would try to invalidate the bible by trying to have the Christian validate it first. Perhaps a tactic can be shown that I have found quite helpful.
Keep in mind: whoever is asking the questions is in control. When we are in a dialog with (JWs, mormons, atheist, or uncle Jim the skeptic) and the questions begin to come at us we freak out. Our initial response is to bring out proofs, (i.e. science, archeology, prophecies, etc) However, the control of the conversation can be brought back to the believer with a simple question. Thus forcing the skeptic to establish and validate their own ground or premise. Remember this phrase
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?”
I have found this phrase quite handy particularly in a situation such as the one described previously. The person says the bible has errors. Fine, question their question. “What do you mean by that?”. Now they have to demonstrate a place the bible has err’d and how they know it is an error and not simply a misunderstanding on their part. Generally you will find they have severely failed to do any research and are simply spouting out unintelligible regurgitation. Plus the Christian is in the “driver’s seat” and they have control of the conversation again.
Instead of rattling off tons of responses and being on the defensive end, we reply with “What do you mean by that?” It gives you control of the conversation and even better it allows the Christian to really aim their response at the concern of the unconverted.
Still we ought to study the Scripture but at least now our response can be more focussed instead of irrelevant to the issue.
This is a tactic taught by Greg Koukl at Stand to Reason. I would encourage any believer (or even skeptic) to browse through his website for well thought out discussion in the areas of Ethics, Values and Religion. www.str.org
Global Flood of course has to mean that all animals have been wiped off the earth. Sea animals for the most part would be eradicated as well, fresh water creatures, plants, cold weather animals, and even animals found only in isolated areas. Thus we would have to say that from a global Flood account all the animals we see today, would have descended from the pairs of animals brought aboard Noah’s ark. I want to point out in this blog that it is unlikely that God wiped out all of creation on the globe and secondly that all the animals we see today have arrived from the pairs of animals from Noah’s ark.
Size of the Ark
In the account itself we get a very good idea of the dimensions of the ark. Additionally, if you’ve ever visited the young earth creationist websites (A.I.G. or I.R.C) you can see how they have attempted to reconstruct actual models of what the ark must have looked like. I think this is fine and good but it ends up leading the observer to some obvious problems. The first of which is space.
1. If every animal we have today (including the ones that have gone extinct) came from the pairs on the ark that would put too many animals on the ark. Even using generous measurements for the word “cubit”.
2. Eight people could never had been able to care and tend for this many animals, even if they were hibernating (as is proposed). (more…)
“All the high mountains were covered by water” How this text takes away from a global Flood event and points towards a regional Flood
There is a reference in Genesis 7 that can be a hurdle when looking into the extent of the Flood. Those who would hold to a global Flood look to this passage and have concluded the Flood was global in scale. Yet with a clear look at the account allowing the account to speak for itself, one can see in the end a global Flood perspective has to be forced into the account/text rather than pulled from it. With a close look at the text we can arrive at 4 objective facts:
1- the word for “covered” has four different literal definitions
2- the word for “high mountains” has three different literal definitions.
3- the dove returns to Noah with an olive branch, olive trees don’t grow at elevations of 16,000 feet.
4- how the waters receded points to a regional flood that was universal in scope rather than a flood that was global in its extent which wouldn’t allow waters to go anywhere.