This past semester I taught a worldviews and apologetics curriculum at my church that required a lot of supplementation and additional research. As I prepared, I found myself swimming in a sea of endless philosophical, theological and scientific statistics, facts, and arguments. This was a whole new world to me. My head was spinning! Who knew that the world of Christian apologetics was so extensive?!
For more than a decade, my brother has followed theologian, Christian apologist and philosopher, Dr. William Lane Craig. Since I started watching debates several months ago, however, I have gained a great deal of respect for him.
Aside from the fact that Dr. Craig is brilliant and intellectually WAY over my head, his heart and his faith make him a compelling evangelist as well. It isn’t often that you see someone who has a healthy balance between the intellectual and the emotional side of their faith.
In his debates, he speaks of five arguments for the existence of God.
- God is the best explanation for the origin of the universe
- God is the best explanation for the fine tuning of the universe
- God is the best explanation for the existence of objective moral values in the world
- God is the best explanation for the historical facts pertaining to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth
- God can be immediately known and experienced
The first four deal in the realms of science, philosophy, theology, history, and are basically facts and proofs. Then you get to the fifth argument, and it is purely personal and experiential.
A statement about knowing and experiencing God is emotional and quite bold for such a scholarly environment. It takes tenacity, and a humble heart to make such claims in the presence of highly esteemed intellectuals. Often, the world of academia has divorced the heart from the mind.
“Arguments for God could actually distract our attention from God himself”
~ William Lane Craig
I greatly admire him for not putting all of his eggs in one intellectual basket. Believing in God purely based on Kalam’s Cosmological argument, the teleological argument, or Leibniz’s contingency argument, as interesting and intellectually stimulating as they are, can only get you so far. At some point, one has to go beyond the intellectual realm to the heart and soul. For that is the realm of faith.
God is personal. And, The most wonderful part of this life is to know and experience Him.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8
I do believe that we can experience God intellectually as well as emotionally. My brother has said this for years. After all, He is the source of all knowledge.
For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6
I would encourage the more emotional believers to not neglect the intellectual side of God’s character. It’s sad when people assume that apologetics is dry and boring. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It is like saying God is boring. How absurd!
When I started exploring apologetics, I was like a kid in a candy store! I found so much joy from gaining more awareness of this awesome God I serve. It added to my awe of Him. Discovering new aspects of God’s character is absolutely thrilling!
Similarly, intellectual and scholarly Christians should seek to know God on an experiential and emotional level. Things like singing praise songs or raising hands to God in worship may seem trivial to a scholarly person. However, exploring the different aspects of God’s character can only enrich your faith.
God is so immensely . . . . well, immense!! There are so many aspects of His character that it would take an infinite number of lifetimes to explore them all.