A Prologue to Apologetics: A Layman’s Introduction to Presuppositionalism, Part II
In my first post on this Prologue to Apologetics series, I spoke about of the “big picture” of redemption. Now, admittedly, I left a number of things out. There’s only so much one can say in one sitting. Here I’ll expand on what I covered there: a biblical understanding of humans. First, it is of utmost important to note that humankind was created in the image of God. What does the image mean? Well, for one thing, it means we’re finite reflections of God. Of course, one could always ask, what does that mean? The biblical account highlights (among other things) two important notions that define the image of God. First, like God, we are to rule over creation, under God’s authority, and secondly, we are to fill the earth with more images of the creator. In theological terms, this is called Dominion and Dynasty. Much like the earthly rulers at the time of Moses who erected statues, or images, of themselves to represent their rule in their respective domains, God also placed images of Himself on the earth, to represent His rule.
The Tragedy of the Fall
Those who were to represent the divine King of the universe, the ones that were to fill the earth with godly offspring, were the very ones that cast off this honor and responsibility. The entire design of God’s creation is flipped on its head. The authority structure of God –> Adam –> Eve –> animal world is reversed. The serpent deceives Eve, Adam follows his wife, and then blames God! The entrance of sin into God’s good world is likewise described as the reversal of His design in Rom. 1:18-32. Scripture pulls no punches in describing the radical corruption of sin in the hearts of fallen humanity: mankind is evil from its youth (Gen. 8:21), has a heart that is deceitful above all things (Jer. 17:9), and loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19). We also find that their minds and consciences are corrupted (Titus 1:15), that they are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3), of their father the devil (1 John 3:10), and sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:1).
Now we see the clarity of Jesus’ words in John 3, “That which is born of flesh is flesh” (v. 6). The natural, unregenerate, rebel sinner absolutely cannot, nor wills to become a regenerate, spiritual, servant of a holy God. We aggressively try to escape our design. Without a doubt, not one likes to hear this. But, we shouldn’t obscure what God has made clear. The instrumental reason that any person has ever had saving faith in, and love for, Christ is because of the gracious work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of God’s people. To state it in biblical terms, God’s removes the unrepentant sinner’s heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh (Ezek. 36:26).
Why mention this in a prologue to apologetics? I’m convinced that unless the Christian has a biblically defined understanding of the unbeliever that he will ultimately develop an apologetic method that is not pleasing to our Lord. If you don’t know who you’re talking to, you won’t know how to address them.
Now, let’s review what we’ve discussed. First, I covered the meaning, goal, and tactics of apologetics. Second, we talked about the grand story that apologetics seeks to present and defend. And lastly, we sketched out who are the recipients of apologetics. For easier processing, I’ll break it down like this:
What is Apologetics?
a) Meaning- The rational presentation and defense of the Christian faith
b) Goal- Faith in God, according to the His revelation given in Scripture
c) Tactics- Positive: The presentation of reasons why someone should believe the message of the Bible; Negative: The removal of obstacles to faith, such as objections.
The Big Picture
a) Creation- God is the Triune Creator of all things, and all things get their ultimate meaning from Him. Humans were created as God’s image to reign over creation.
b) Fall- Adam and Eve rebelled from their duties and God’s loyal children, and as a result a curse was placed on both humanity (physical and spiritual death and decay), and the created order (turning creation against us)
c) Redemption- God, in His mercy, did not abandon His creation, but decided to redeem it through the “seed of the woman” promised in Gen. 3:15. Ultimately this seed is Jesus Christ, whose life, death, resurrection, and ascension have defeated the forces of darkness and guaranteed the final destruction of all evil.
The Recipients of Apologetics
a) Mankind is created as the image of God. This means that we has been given the privilege of dominion and dynasty over the earth, as God’s royal vice-regents
b) Mankind is a distorted image. Because of our ethical hostility to God, we twist God’s truth and suppress it in a multitude of ways that ultimately aim to squeeze God out of our lives.