By Seraphina Chong
I’ll admit that before I entered the mind-blowing world of apologetics, I thought that it was reasonable for people to believe in evolution. I knew it was wrong, but still, why couldn’t it take billions of years for an ape to change into a human? However, after the authors of the apologetic book Bringing Your Faith to Work pointed out that I needed to evolve from other small life forms, like a fly or tomato, to become a human, and my “ultimate life-form” (after evolving for millions of years) would be a fern, I changed my mind. The thought of me once being an annoying fly and a juicy tomato freaked me out! Nevertheless, this piece of information opened my eyes to the absurdity of evolution and caused me to realize how incredibly thankful I am to God for making me unique. But this also encouraged me to develop a firm foundation for my faith. I still had many questions about the world and God, and I knew that learning to answer them would enable me to properly defend my faith whenever I needed to. I wanted non-Christians to understand the logic behind Christianity. Rather than simply stating, “because of faith,” I wanted to find logical explanations for God and the Bible—Why are Christians so sure that God is real, and the Bible is true? Thus, I dived into a world of evidence and explanations for God, evil, and the Bible, embarking on an exciting journey that strengthened my trust in Him and built my understanding of Him.
The first apologetic book I ever read was Randy Douglass and Norman L. Geisler’s Bringing Your Faith to Work: Answers for Break-Room Skeptics. The first chapter elaborated, extremely clearly, on the teaching that Christians should be the salt and light of this earth. Douglass explained that as salt is a preservative, it will fight against today’s decaying (immoral) world. Hence, our job is to “keep the world from…becoming more morally corrupt” by refusing to participate in any sinful works and inspiring others to do the same. Before reading their book, I always asked my mom, “Why salt? Why not pepper?” (Although it sounded silly, I thought it was a good question). However, by using the word “decay” and defining what salt is, Douglass showed me “why salt”. This hyped me up; I felt like I was slowly beginning to understand God’s Word and His expectations for us.
Reading further brought me to the Big Bang theory. There, the authors used what scientists thought to be evidence for the Big Bang to reveal the existence of God. Although the scientists used the discovery of radiation in space to establish the fact that the universe had a beginning because of the Big Bang, the authors used it instead to indicate a creator. “The big bang theory,” they write, “will be seen to support the Genesis account for the beginning of the world rather than the evolutionary account.” But when I saw that this radiation was discovered, I grew suspicious– How could this happen? As I wasn’t sure now whether the Big Bang occurred, I resorted to my home’s best Wikipedia, my dad. The conversation was simply mind-blowing:
ME: Doesn’t this mean [we believe] the Big Bang is real?
DAD: What did God say in the beginning? “Let there be light.” Light is radiation, so [it would make sense that] there is radiation in space.
I was so amazed at how God’s Word can be used to explain these sorts of findings. What seemed like evidence for the Big Bang became evidence for God and the validity of the Bible instead! Of course, the coolness didn’t end there because the topic of morality blew my mind once again.
When I was young, I always remember complaining to my parents, “Why does Jie Jie (my older sister) get to do this?! It’s not fair! Hmph!” For as long as I can remember, this was such a natural thing for me to do, yet I never paused to wonder why I felt this way or how I even knew that my parents were being unfair. I was just a kid! However, when Douglass pointed out that being made in the likeness of a just God would naturally give us the desire to do what is right, everything made sense. To strengthen the argument, he further explains how God has embedded a moral code on our hearts (Romans 2:14). And since “we can’t say something is unjust unless we know what is just,” morality is another piece of evidence for the existence of God, who is the ultimate standard of good (Douglass 91). Once again, I was awe-stricken and shaking with excitement; this was fascinating and powerful information that finally allowed me to understand my feelings of not just unfairness, but guilt!
Yet there was another equally interesting point from Douglass’ book that revolutionized my perspective of the world, and it dealt with the existence of evil. As I journeyed through life, I experienced pain, sorrow, and fear. Not surprisingly, then, I have asked why God, who is surely good, couldn’t make evil non-existent. I thought it was a good idea to simply destroy evil in the beginning, but Douglass proved me wrong when he reasoned that to do that, we would all die. He says that to begin removing all evil in the world, “God could start with Hitler, Hussein, and bin Laden, the really bad sinners… He could then move down the line to the “medium sinners” until eventually, we would be next. Although shocked, I now had a glimpse of how merciful God is. I am a sinner, too; thus, I contribute to the evil in this world. God’s decision of not immediately eliminating all evil touched my heart; He certainly is a good and merciful God, and I can perceive that in the way He handles evil. Ultimately, I grew determined to use this time to not only set things right with God but share this heartfelt message to those doubting His goodness because of the horrors in life.
Last but not least was the topic of sin and suffering, something I always was interested in being a rather emotional person myself. For years I have never understood why people suffer. When my allergy broke out for the first time at the age of 10 or 11, every day was torture: I was unable to eat, sleep, and play without my lips and/or hands being swollen and dotted with blisters. Often, I couldn’t even carry my newborn sister, which was particularly heartbreaking! Worst of all, my allergy would last for a week, and come back only 2-3 days later. Consequently, I usually cried to God and in my heart asked Him, “Why is this happening to me?” While I did understand that I was in anguish because of sin, I was convinced there was a deeper and more satisfying answer (I mean, why would sin even exist if God is good?)—I just needed to find it. With Randy Rhodes’ Why Do Bad Things Happen If God Is Good, I found it. In it, I discovered that when God created us, He gave us one important thing—free-will, which automatically allows us to choose whether to obey Him or not. God did this to make us humans because He wanted us to love and follow Him willingly. The lack of free will would turn us into robots, following and loving Him only because we were hardwired to do so. I recall feeling so relieved after reading this. I thought to myself that if I were a robot, all these moments of warmth and excitement I get whenever I remember that God never gives up on us would’ve never happened! Most importantly, though, I could’ve never experienced how it feels to love God and to be loved back by Him. In conclusion, free-will is a gift from God when used in a godly manner.
The best take-away from Rhodes was the idea of an eternal perspective of life. He asked us to remember that, citing Paul, our suffering here on earth is worth NOTHING compared to the glory we will receive in Heaven (Romans 8:18). Rhodes elaborates with:
God, I believe, wants us to know that this life is not all there is. Our short years on this planet are preparing us for all eternity. This earth is not our true home. As Christians, we are simply “pilgrims” and “sojourners” passing through (see 1 Peter 2:11 NKJV). We are on our way to another country—a heavenly country. (Rhodes 58)
This motivated me for the future. I suddenly felt eager to grow up, preach the gospel, and reunite with God once I have “finished the race.” (2 Timothy 4:7) Yet, probably two of the best effects for me, were that it put death in a healthy perspective, and served as a reminder to focus on heaven and God whenever I struggled through temptations.
Frankly, I never thought I would love apologetics. Looking at my dad read all those books with confusing titles bored me and scared me when I was a child. I was never a reader, but I noted that to effectively share the gospel with others and secure my faith in God, I first needed to properly understand why someone should believe in God, especially with all the dreadful things that happen. Apologetics has drastically transformed my life. It taught me how to reason, what certain Biblical passages mean, and how to develop a positive outlook of the world and everything in it. Thanks to it, I found answers to common questions people pose to challenge Christianity. The overwhelming evidence for the God of the Bible assured me that He is real! Honestly, I believe that writing this article was an answer to my prayer. After finishing the two books mentioned above, I prayed to God for an opportunity to share all this awesome information with others, and interestingly, my friend asked me to write an article a few weeks later. Overall, I pray that the information given will cause you to leap for joy as I did when I realized that our God is alive and filled with unconditional love for us. Remember, God is waiting for us to come home!