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Coffeehouse Questions

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July 2018

Listener Questions and the Question Behind Marriage

I decided to do things a bit different this week and get my topics from Instagram. I posted on my story for people to send in any question that they would like to have answered on the show, and four questions quickly came in. They were:

  1. How was Satan able to be in God’s presence in the book of Job?
  2. Who’s the cute girl in the pic??
  3. What has God taught you this past week?
  4. Would you live internationally again given the chance?

I then finished up the episode talking about the main question behind abortion and marriage. Check it out!

Do you still have questions? Comment below!

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. If you don’t have iTunes, find the podcast and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player. Finally, if you’d rather stick to the radio, you can listen to the show on 100.1 KGBA every Saturday night from 9-9:30 PT.

Like the Facebook page or follow on Instagram to interact with Ryan and his guests on future shows. Your questions and comments help to make the show more interactive. So, send in those questions at contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitterInstagram, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

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Was there Death Before the Fall? Interview with Krista Bontrager

When teaching on the age of the universe, I usually take a neutral approach. In my opinion, the profound reality that God created the universe is more important than when God created it. And when I start presenting evidence for an ancient universe, I almost always receive the exact same questions.

If the earth is old, then wouldn’t that mean there was death before the fall? How does this idea reconcile with Genesis 1:31 which says, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” How can millions of years of animal death be called very good? It also seems to contradict with Romans 8:12 where Paul writes, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”

These are great questions that warrant a response from anyone holding to an old earth. Helping us to think about the topic this week is Krista Bontrager. This is her second week on the show. Last week, she discussed whether the biblical flood was local or global. Krista is a theologian, the Director of the Scholar Community at Reasons to Believe, and an instructor at the Reasons Institute. Krista is also the author of the small-group study The Bigger Picture on Creation and coauthor of the booklet Psalm 104: In Wisdom You Made Them All.

Do you still have questions? Comment below!

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. If you don’t have iTunes, find the podcast and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player. Finally, if you’d rather stick to the radio, you can listen to the show on 100.1 KGBA every Saturday night from 9-9:30 PT.

Like the Facebook page or follow on Instagram to interact with Ryan and his guests on future shows. Your questions and comments help to make the show more interactive. So, send in those questions at contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitterInstagram, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

Does it take more faith to be an atheist?

This blog first appeared at SeanMcDowell.org.

According to Ask An Atheist with Sam Mulvey, this question makes no sense whatsoever. In a podcast recorded on May 27th, 2018, the hosts were discussing common tactics that Christians use when talking to atheists. The second tactic they mentioned was that Christians say, “It takes more faith to be an atheist.”

The show hosts explained that this statement makes no sense because atheism doesn’t fall under the definition of faith. The “religious” definition of faith that they cited was, “A strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.” This, according to them, “does not leave any room for atheism to be considered a religion.”

The second definition they mentioned for faith is having trust in a person. It is how you have faith in your wife, children, parents, or teachers. One host explained that having trust in a person isn’t faith by explaining her trust in her husband. She said, “No, I have nearly two decades of evidence to support this. Once that stops being true then I would reevaluate my perspective or perception of my spouse. That’s not faith, that’s evidence.”

What is Biblical faith?

Biblical faith isn’t what was described above as “religious” faith. As Alan Shlemon wrote, “Biblical faith, then, is not blind, but functions the same way as trust. You don’t blindly trust people. They have to earn it. You put your trust in people you have good reason to trust.” As Alan describes, biblical faith seems to more closely match the second definition from above.

Christians should understand this because of verses like John 20:30-31 which says, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Jesus also seemed to have this view of faith from verses like Mark 2:1-12 and Matthew 11:2-5.

Jesus did many signs right in front of people, including his resurrection from the dead. These things were done so that we believe and have life in him. Belief in Christianity is not the result of spiritual apprehension against the proof. Rather, it is trusting in the evidence.

Does it take more faith to be an atheist?

Using their definition of faith, I can see why the hosts of Ask An Atheist take exception to this. In fact, when we have the correct definition of biblical faith, then you understand that we all have faith. Christian faith is similar to the faith described by the one host who talked about having two decades of evidence to support her trust in her husband. We all have to put our trust in the evidence, and I’m convinced that Christians have a far greater amount of evidence to put our trust in compared to atheism. That is why it takes more faith to be an atheist.

As Greg Koukl wrote in Faith Is Not Wishing, “Faith is not about wishing, but about confidence, and the facts make the difference. You get a hold of the facts, you study, you learn—even a little—and you’ll realize that you’re not just wishing on a star about eternal things. You’ll realize Christianity really is true.”

As a Christian, I want to encourage you to be a seeker of truth and to study the facts with an open mind. I cannot list all of the evidence here, but I encourage you to look for it. Evidence That Demands a Verdict and I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist are two great resources. I hope that you will understand what biblical faith is and go see how much evidence there is for your position.

Was the Biblical Flood Local or Global? Interview with Krista Bontrager

It seems that believing in a global flood is one of the most agreed upon beliefs in Christianity. This makes sense because the Bible seems to be clear that the flood was global in Genesis 7:17–24.

[17] The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. [18] The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. [19] And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. [20] The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. [21] And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. [22] Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. [23] He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. [24] And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days. (ESV)

Even though this verse seems clear, there are some really smart Christians who think the flood was local. They believe that the waters were universal in destruction but not global in scope. This is the view that is presented in the podcast. My goal is not to convince you all of one position or another but to help you see that there are two possible interpretations.

Joining me to discuss this issue is Krista Bontrager. She is a theologian, the Director of the Scholar Community at Reasons to Believe, and an instructor at the Reasons Institute. Krista is also the author of the small-group study The Bigger Picture on Creation and coauthor of the booklet Psalm 104: In Wisdom You Made Them All.

I hope you enjoy our discussion and come away with a fresh perspective on this topic.

Do you still have questions? Comment below!

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. If you don’t have iTunes, find the podcast and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player. Finally, if you’d rather stick to the radio, you can listen to the show on 100.1 KGBA every Saturday night from 9-9:30 PT.

Like the Facebook page or follow on Instagram to interact with Ryan and his guests on future shows. Your questions and comments help to make the show more interactive. So, send in those questions at contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitterInstagram, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

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