Clearing the Smoke Screens
Effective Answers for Hang-up Questions
You are a fireman rushing into a house that is engulfed in flames. You know that there is a person trapped upstairs, so you bust the front door down, and rush up the stairs to the aid of the person. You find him crouched in a corner, incapable of saving himself. You pick the person up, put his arm over your shoulder, and begin to walk towards your escape.
Rapidly, a smoke screen rushes in your path with a gust of wind from outdoors. You can’t see the clear path for a safe exit. You are safe in your fireproof suit, but if you can’t clear the smoke, and bring the man to the safe exit, he is going to get burned. You crouch low with the man, and pull out your extinguisher. One powerful blast clears the smoke, and reveals the safe exit for you and the person you’re helping.
Sometimes when you are sharing your faith you will come across smoke screens. These are questions and issues that cloud a sinner’s vision and keep him from accepting the gospel for the saving of his soul. These smoke screens keep the unbeliever from seeing why he needs Jesus to save him. This chapter will help you clear the smoke for three major questions asked by unbelievers.
1. How do you know that God exists?
2. How do you know that the Bible is true?
3. What about evolution? It disproves the Bible.
If you would like to further explore answers to these questions and many more, I recommend www.markcahill.org. On this website you can order his fantastic book. I also recommend, “How Now Shall We Live?” by Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcy. Some of the ideas in this chapter are adapted from ideas in these 2 books.
Proving God’s existence - Heb 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (NIV). Obviously, in order for God to save someone from his sins, the person must first believe that God exists. Some people have been so bombarded with the lies of the world that they are struggling with a basic belief in the existence of God. You can help these people with some simple reasoning.
Point to your shirt and tell the person that it has no creator. Tell them that one morning, you woke up, and sometime overnight the shirt formed itself on your body. Ask them if they believe you. They will say no. Then, point to some art nearby (maybe on the back of someone’s T-shirt) and tell the person that it has no artist. Tell them that one bright day in the sun some colors materialized and formed themselves together into a picture. Ask them if they believe you. They will say no.
Point to your shoes and tell the person that they have no designer. Tell them that as you were walking barefoot, thinking how nice it would be for your feet to have shoes, they suddenly constructed themselves on your feet. Ask them if they believe you. They will say no.
Tell them that if we look around the universe we can see creation, design, and art. Where there is creation, design, and art there must be a creator, a designer, and an artist. A painting is proof that there is a painter, a building is proof that there is a builder. The detailed design of the universe is proof that an intelligent designer exists.
You can use the Earth as an example of design to illustrate your point. There are a ton of factors that just happen to be set in perfect order for life to be possible on the planet Earth (view in-debth video on this topic). For example, the Earth is set in orbit the perfect distance from the sun (93 million miles). If it were just a little closer to the sun, heat would evaporate all of our seas making life impossible. If the Earth were just a little further away from the sun, all of our water would freeze, again making life impossible. Not only that, but in order for the Earth to remain within the proper distance from the Sun so life can exist, it has to have an almost circular orbit. Guess what? It does, even though most other planets have elliptical orbits.
The Earth’s water is essential to life. Water is the only known substance that becomes less dense as a solid, than it is as a liquid. This is the reason why ice floats. If it did not float, no fish or sea animal could survive, and the entire food chain would be a wreck. Why are all these factors and so many more set up perfectly for life to exist on Earth? The logical answer is that an intelligent being designed everything to be that way.
Proving that the Bible is true and that it is the Word of God – I like to mention three proofs for the Bible’s authenticity when speaking with an unbeliever: archaeology, history, and prophecy. The first two simply prove that the Bible is telling the truth about history, and the last proves that it is the very Word of God.
Archaeology – Archaeologists have dug up over 25,000 different finds that are related to people, places, and events in the Bible. All of the finds agree with what the Bible says about the past. Archaeology confirms the Bible. As a matter of fact, archaeology has been known to stop the mouth of skeptics.
History – The Bible speaks the truth about history. Nobody has ever uncovered even one single historical mistake in the Bible. As a matter of fact, certain events, like the resurrection of Jesus, are so well attested to by the historical facts that people who investigate them end up getting saved. Some skeptics have sought to prove the resurrection false, investigated the historical evidence for the resurrection, and ended up becoming believers in Christ.
Prophecy – If the Bible foretells detailed future events accurately, it must be the Word of God. Only the author of history could foretell history before it happens. Bible prophecy proves that the Bible is in fact God’s Word. You can use the examples of prophecies listed in chapter 3 when you are talking with an unbeliever about the truth of the Bible. Here’s another one my favorite biblical prophecies:
Ezekiel 26:1-5 prophesied against the city of Tyre. God said that He would cause many nations to come up against Tyre, that the walls and towers of Tyre would be broken down and destroyed, that the dust would be scraped from Tyre, and she would be flat like “the top of a rock.” (NKJV) God said that it would be a place for the spreading of nets.
Fulfillment - Tyre was besieged many times. Nebuchadnezzar (we’ll call him King Neb) besieged the city for 13 years unsuccessfully. While King Neb had Tyre besieged, the people of Tyre moved all they could load and themselves to a rock island 300 yards from the shore. King Neb gave up. The people of Tyre ended up building a fortified city on that rock offshore.
Years later Alexander the Great attacked. He had his men scrape the dust and rubble from the ruins of the old city that was attacked many times, and used the rubble to build a land bridge for his men to attack the rock from, and Tyre fell. The site of the old city became a flat rock where fishermen cast their nets. God said this would happen 350 years before Alexander the Great.
Proving evolution to be false – Many people claim that evolution proves the Bible to be false. Well, evolution would prove the Bible to be false, if evolution were true. But, evolution is not a proven fact, as many people would like us to believe. Evolution is an un provable theory, and there is much evidence available to us that proves this theory to be false.
Evolution claims that single celled living organisms arose spontaneously, through natural reactions, from chemicals in the primitive seas. It claims that these organisms changed again and again by chance mutations, until complex organisms were formed. It claims that over the course of billions of years, humans evolved from single celled organisms. In other words, evolution claims we are nothing more than a bag of chemicals. However, the fantastic claims of evolution are not supported by observable facts. Here are some simple ways to show a person the evidence against evolution.
1. DNA as proof that God created humans – If you were walking along the beach, near the seashore, and you saw a curvy, unorganized line of deposited sand, you might reasonably guess that the line was formed by the wind, the waves, and the tide. However, if you were walking near the shore on the same beach and saw several lines that formed the words, “I Love Michael Jackson,” you would never guess that the wind, waves, or tide formed those words. You would guess that an intelligent person wrote those words (intelligent does not refer to the person’s taste in music or men).
Inside the center of one human cell, we find a message far greater than, “I Love Michael Jackson.” DNA is like a language in the heart of a cell that gives specific instructions. It tells the cells how to build proteins that build the body. One human cell has as much DNA information as three or four complete sets of all 30 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britanicca. The discovery of DNA in the cell is like walking along the beach and finding 120 full length novels written in the sand near the shore line. You would never assume that kind of complex information came from blind natural forces.
Here’s an even better illustration. Finding DNA within a cell is like walking into the basement of an enormous, complex structured building, and finding 120 books, which have every detailed instruction for constructing the building. You just found the builder’s plans for the building! DNA is like God’s building plans for living things!
2. Evidence from computer science – Starting in the 1960’s, computer mathematicians began to write programs to mimic every natural process on planet Earth. Then they used their programs to simulate evolution by chance processes over the imagined time frame of billions of years. The computers showed that the probability of evolution by chance processes is essentially zero, no matter how many billions of years you assume. (because of this data, secular scientists now say that there must be a force within matter that caused life to emerge spontaneously, instead of assuming that an intelligent being created life)
3. Fossil Evidence – If evolution were true, we would see many transitional forms in the fossil record. We would see fossils of animals that are half one thing and half another. Perhaps we would see a creature that was half mouse half bat. Instead we see no transitional forms whatsoever. Every different type of animal appears fully formed at its earliest appearance in the fossil record.
4. Missing Links turn out to be false – Fossils of supposedly half ape, half human creatures have turned out to be false. Lucy was one of these famous fossil finds. Almost all the experts now agree that she was actually a three foot tall chimpanzee. Nebraska man was a skeleton that scientists formed from one tooth. First of all, how could these people figure out the entire skeletal structure of this creature from one tooth? Secondly, the tooth turned out to be from an extinct pig. Neanderthal man, he was a popular one for sure. I remember learning about him in school. This skeleton found in France turned out to be from an old man who suffered from arthritis. Many other supposed “missing links” have turned out to be a bunch of bologna.
5. Living things are irreducible complex – That may sound complicated, but it just means that a living thing is an entire system of interacting parts working together, and if even one of those interacting parts is not present from the beginning, the living thing would not be able to survive. Think about it. Let’s imagine that a fish evolves lungs through evolution. What happens to it? Does it keep changing and eventually become a frog? Nope, it just drowns. A frog needs every organ in its body to survive. It is irreducibly complex, so it could not have slowly changed from a fish into a frog. If you can’t remember any of the other points in this evolution section, just remember this short story of a fish evolving lungs and drowning. Francis Schaeffer used that argument, and it is simple but powerful.
Now you are equipped with an extinguisher for clearing the smokescreens. Now you can help to clear the vision of those who are clouded and can’t see Jesus as the safeguard of their souls. You know the message you need to deliver, and now you have the proper equipment for the delivery. Now you are ready to be a hero for the gospel. The next chapter will focus on having the heart of a hero.