In October 2015 a Christian apologetics conference on the subject of “Origins” was held at the Gospel Hall in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Over seven sessions, a wide range of fundamental issues were taken up by Michael Penfold, all relating to the question of origins.
Session 1 dealt with The Origin of Truth. What is truth? Is truth knowable? Is truth absolute or relative, subjective or objective? How does the Bible counter the approaches of rationalism, empiricism, pragmatism and relativism? Is the Bible true and is there any evidence for its divine inspiration? What is the relationship between reason and faith?
Session 2 on The Origin of the Universe looked at the four options. 1. The universe is not really here – it’s an illusion. 2. The universe has always been here. 3. The universe created itself from nothing. 4. The universe was created by God. Referencing Romans Ch 1, the case is made that the existence of God is patently obvious to all but the deliberate unbeliever. This leads to the conclusion that atheism is a moral and volitional choice, not an intellectual one. The question “Who made God?” is also addressed.
Session 3 on The Origin of Life addresses the vital and fundamental issue that all serious worldviews have to answer. Between a living cell and the most highly ordered non-biological system, such as a crystal or snowflake, there is a chasm as vast and absolute as it is possible to conceive – so how did life arise from non-life? What came first, proteins, DNA or RNA? How was the universe fine-tuned to allow for life to exist in the first place? Isn’t intelligence needed to account for the complexity in all living things?
Session 4 takes its title from Darwin’s famous book “On the Origin of Species“. How did thousands of species of animals, plants, fungi, bacteria and algae come to be? What caused the eye, ear, hand, knee, liver, kidney, heart and brain (with its 100 billion neurons connected by 100 trillion synapses, the most complicated object in the universe)? From whence came photosynthesis, pollination, metamorphosis and migration? How did human reproduction arise, a process in which “a fertilised egg makes a journey as complex as the path of a golf ball that rolls 30 miles and lands precisely in the 18th hole of a course it has never seen”? Can genetic mutation and natural selection account for all of nature? No. A designer is required.
Session 5 takes up The Origin of the Gospel. Isn’t Christianity just another human construct? Isn’t a person’s religion just a matter of geography? Evidence is given in this session for the Divine origin of Christianity. Tracing the message of “the gospel” back through Saul of Tarsus – who wrote much of the New Testament – to the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, this session argues for the reality of the Christian faith, its grounding in the eye-witnessed facts of history and in the Messiah, the Son of God.
Session 6 looks at The Origin of Meaning and Morality. Without God, what is the ultimate objective meaning of life, and how can we tell the difference between right and wrong? Atheistic professor William Provine rightly observed that Darwinism means, “No life after death; no ultimate foundation for ethics; no ultimate meaning for life; no free will.” This session looks in detail at the effect the advent of Darwinism has had on theology, history, philosophy and morality. The staggeringly deleterious influence that Darwin’s erroneous ideas have had on the likes of Neitzsche, Stalin, Lenin, Marx, Mao Tse Tung, Hitler, Freud and others, and all that has flowed from that influence in the 20th century and beyond, beggars belief.
Session 7 looks at the The Origin of Evil. Time Magazine’s cover on June 10th 1991 asked “Evil – Does it exist or do bad things just happen?” In a Darwinian world there is no evil. There’s just DNA. Nature red in tooth and claw. But if there is a God, isn’t evil even more of a problem? How can God and evil co-exist? This session tackles this question, looking at man’s free will and the origin of sin, evil and death, and the remedy for all of these catastrophes in the person of Jesus Christ.