Apologetics Final Exam
This page is a reproduction of my final exam in my Apologetics class. Apologetics means “the proof that the Word of God (the bible or Tanakh) is true and inerrant.” This is only a very small part of the proof that God did in fact tell man what to write in the bible. It’s not a myth or fable. God’s Word has been proven correct and without error. No one has ever disproved the bible. This proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that God is alive, and still loves and cares for us, enough to work with us and save us from our sins, so we can someday enter His eternal home, Heaven.
This is my final:
Apologetics Final Exam.
In bold, below, you will find the “questions” that were on the test. The answers follow in normal font.
- I think that Nietzsche or one of those interesting men who said, “if there is a god he must be a devil.” If God created everything, then He must have created evil also.
Response: I’m glad you believe in God. So do I. Do you think that God is evil and if so, how has He manifested this evil to you? How do you perceive God yourself? (Try to understand where this person is coming from.)
In the first chapters of Genesis, the bible says that God created everything good, …God spoke it into being and then He said that “It was good.” The Holy Scriptures say this time after time. God said this time after time, even when He created man, Adam being the first.
The Devil or Satan (in Hebrew the Holy Scriptures say that Satan’s name El-Satan means the adversary, liar, deceiver, and the accuser) comes on the scene in the beginning of Genesis and talks to Eve, Adams wife, taken from a rib in his side (by the way, did you know that a man has one less rib than a woman. Very interesting, isn’t it. Our very own body attests to the fact that God brought woman from man’s side.) The snake in the Garden of Eden talked Eve into eating that apple from the Tree of Good and Evil,so she ate of it. God told Adam and Eve not to eat from that tree. By Eve’s own free will she ate of it, knowing that God told her not to. God only wanted god for mankind. Satan wants us to turn away from God and do evil. God despises evil. He cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden because they sinned or failed to do that which God told them not to. The bible says that the wages of sin is death. We have been paying that price since. God will come and destroy all evil in the end times. He will cast Satan into Hell into the lake of fire, found in the book of Revelation. God would not cast what He created into Hell. We have free will. It is up to us to choose God’s way of forgiveness or not. God is all good, and won’t tolerate sin from us. That’s why we die. We all sin and fall short of the Glory of God. That’s why we need a Savior. Isaiah 53:12 says that Yeshua/Jesus is the way that God gave us to be saved from all our sin. Jesus said that He was the only way to the Father.
God can’t be that which He hates. God allowed evil so we would turn to Him for help and forgiveness and so we would gather together to fight our foe, Satan, together with God. Whenever two or more are gathered in His name, He/God is in our midst. What great promises these are.
- “If God is all powerful and all loving, and this is the best He can do, then I don’t see any ‘reason’ why I should believe in Him. Can you convince me otherwise?”
Response: Sure. Let me tell you a personal story that happened to me just this week. Actually this has been unfolding over the past 2 years. I am a band teacher in school and I had a wonderful job 3 years ago. The budget got cut and the great situation I was in came to a sudden halt. It took 3 years to build a very successful program and now I had to start all over. I have had some wonderful moments, mind you, with the wonderful kids that I teach and with parents who have been wonderfully supportive! I was told at the end of the year that I was going to lose my 4 schools and be moved out. This was very hard to take, but I turned it over to the Lord. He always brings me to a higher place. I know that He always works for me, especially in these hard times. I prayed a lot and met with my department head. She tried to get a middle school and 2 elementary school job for me with the outside chance of a full time middle school job that was right up my alley. Well, a week ago, my boss called, very excited and told me that I had the job. What a miracle. Not only that, but it gave me time to reevaluate my teaching style and methods. It’s a witness to show how the Lord works for me, and he can for you too. I would love to hear from you. Do you feel that the Lord is active in your life and cares for you too? Because I know He does. He wants the best for all of us!
Please let me tell you another short story. My wife and I lost our first child 18 years ago, at birth. It was an umbilical chord accident. We wept bitterly as we held Adam in our arms in the delivery room. My wife, in particular, lost it. She couldn’t sleep or eat and she thought that she was losing her mind. She prayed to the Lord, (she didn’t have a personal relationship with Him at the time) and she says that a wave of peace came over her. It was immediate and profound. She tells that story to other women now. We call it a witness to others so they can see how God works and how much He loves us. What we call evil happens. God never wants it or creates it, but He knows what it will take to depend on Him so we can live the best life possible here and in Heaven with Him. Satan thought that he won when Jesus was crucified on the cross. God turned this into His greatest victory by having Jesus come back alive after 3 days and conquering both sin and death for us all! AWESOME! Praise God!
- The bible is simply a very old book. In order to believe that it is supernatural or inspired, you have to have some evidence of such a claim.
Response: I am very glad that you brought this up. Have you ever read the bible before, even part or parts of it? Great. Most people have. What did you learn from it? Please let me tell you a little about this awesome book. If I may, I would like to explain this to you in 3 different ways; historical proof, archaeological proof and scriptural proof. Which would you like to talk about first? You say that you would like to know about the Word of God first? Great. So let’s start with the bible or the Word of God.
The word of God is called the Holy Scriptures. I see by your next question (question 4) that you are Jewish. That’s great. So am I! What kind of bagels do you like? Do you know of any good bagel shops around? You were very right when you said that the bible is a very old book. As a matter of fact, I have my Tanakh right here. Let’s take a look at it. Do you know what the word Tanakh means? Torah ( do you know how many books there are? 5…right! Great. I’m glad to see that you know so much about your faith, and Niviim (do you know what that means? Prophets…right again…awesome.) and then there is the Kethuvim (you are right there…right again…the other writings! Wow, I’m impressed. This is going to be a great talk. I’m so glad we met. Did you know that the Tanakh dates back over 3000 years and that our faith is well over 5000 years old now, going all the way back to Abraham. That was my dad’s name by the way. So you were looking forward to some supernatural claims or explanations in the Tanakh. Great, and so have I been looking for some. May I share some with you? Ok…I know that the Torah is very important to our people so let’s look at Exodus. Did you celebrate Pesach/Passover just a couple of months ago? Yeah! Me too. How did you like that part about the Red Sea? I love that part. I was just watching a documentary on that this past month on archaeological proof of the bible and they actually found wagon wheels and skeletons at the bottom of the Red Sea where they say Moses and our people crossed. Awesome, huh?! How about that part where God makes Pharoah’s heart hardened so He can show His might and power? God did 10 plagues so we wouldn’t think that it was just a fluke or something. Can you imagine God being there, protecting our people against Pharoah’s mighty army? Fire at night and a pillar of clouds by day, leading our people across the desert! And God even spoke to Moses in Exodus 20 and gave us the 10 Mitzvoth/Commandments. We are so blessed, aren’t we!
Is it ok to go with historical proof next? Ok. Did you ever think that the bible was the only proof we have about God and Yeshua? Do you know who that is by the way? Great, and you say that you even know that His name in Hebrew means DELIVERER AND SAVIOR. You took Hebrew, too. Wow! I read some historical documents written by a Jewish historian named Josephus. He actually lived at the time of Yeshua and he documented the fact that Yeshua actually performed the miracles that the bible says He performed. You say that you read in Isaiah 53:2 that Yeshua was going to be rejected by His people, us, the Jews. Right. You say that you read in that the Messiah is going to die for our sins. Right again. Have you ever read that Herod and Caiphas lived at the time that the bible says they did? Yeah?! You saw that documentary on T.V. too called In Search of Jesus and they found proof that these leaders actually lived at that time, the same time as Yeshua. Interesting isn’t it!
And you say you would like some archaeological proof. Have you ever heard of the caves at Qumran. You have! Do you know what they found there? Right again…the Dead Sea Scrolls. They actually found that these scrolls supported the Tanakh that we have today passed down from the Masoretic Text. The Hebrew was identical and proved that our Tanakh is very accurate.
So we don’t’ forget a very important part of this story, let’s look at the supernatural part. You know what turned me onto believing that this was the Word of God?! Prophecy!!! Do you know what prophecy is? Right! God’s speaking to the prophets. Do you know of any prophets? Isaiah is your favorite! Me too. So you know that prophecy is true because it came to pass. Do you know how we know that it is given by God and not just dreamt up by man? No…well let’s open to Isaiah, or any prophet for that matter, but since you like Isaiah, could you read the first few verses in chapter one and tell me what it says about who told the story found in Isaiah. Right. …”and God said” tells it all, doesn’t it. The bible actually says and God said or thus saith the Lord 1814 times. Can you imagine that?! Do you know who God spoke directly to in the Torah? Right, Moses, and how we got the 10 Mitzvoth.
Do you mind if I go into the B’rit Chadasha just for a minute? Right, the New Testament. Do you have any problem with that? No…you say you heard of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31. Cool! Yeshua said that He was going to come back to life in 3 days, when He knew that He was going to be crucified. And He actually came back from the dead. Is this making any sense to you? Yes! Good. Please feel free to ask me a question at any time or stop me to explain more. I am so impressed with your knowledge of the Tanakh and the Holy Scriptures. I am really enjoying this talk with you! So you have a question. Ok, what is that?
- I know you just celebrated Easter. I enjoyed Passover. Why do you Christians think the resurrection of Jesus is so important and where is it taught in the bible? Also could you define and refute the other explanations of the resurrection account?
Response: Wow, that’s an awful lot all at one time! Can I Jew you down to just one part of that? No. Well, I tried. Are you sure you didn’t take an Apologetics course at the synagogue lately?! You did! No wonder you know so much!
You know that’s funny that you say Easter, because I celebrate both. Did you know that I am a Messianic Jew? You had a funny idea that I was? Good. I celebrated Passover with the Hebrew class that I taught at church this Spring. It was cool. We actually read the blessings in Hebrew. My Christian friends loved it and they said that it made the Exodus account of the Passover come to life for them. I also had a Seder with my bible study group at our home. Isn’t that a great festival, Chag Ha Pesach.
Getting back to your question about the resurrection…first let’s take a look at the first part where He is crucified. As you mentioned before in Isaiah 53:12, you told me that the Messiah was going to die for the forgiveness of all our sins. This is a major fulfillment of prophecy, proving God to be right and His Word to be inerrant. It also says in Isaiah 9:5 (in the Tanakh) that this child will be born of a young girl. That’s right, Almah means young girl in Hebrew and not virgin. Do you know how to say virgin in Hebrew? Right…bethulah. But God wanted to impress upon Isaiah that this was a special sign. Do you think a young girl giving birth to a baby is special? Me neither. That’s why we interpret that as virgin, which is spelled out in the Gospels or the first 4 books of the B’rit Chadasha or New Covenant. The resurrection was so special, because this special sign and child was our Messiah, Yeshua. He is the most special person who ever lived. He actually said that He would come back to life in 3 days and did. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the truth and the Life, and that the only way to the Father is through Him.” God also promised something very special in John 3:16. “For God so loved the World, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Can you see why the resurrection is so special? Do you remember that part in Isaiah 53:12 where it says that He will die for the forgiveness of our sins, all of them, for ever? When Jesus rose from the dead, He showed Himself to over 500 people, over 40 days at 11 different times. He conquered death so you and I might live. He even said that I am going ahead of you to prepare a mansion for you, a very special place in Heaven for you and me, and all we have to do is put our faith and trust in Him. You say that’s pretty easy to do with all this evidence. God sure is great and there is so much more. I have more of this test to do, so let’s see what else you would like to know. The Gospels or the first 4 books of the New Testament or Covenant tell of the resurrection of Jesus and the events which lead up to it. So you would like to have me define and refute the other explanations of the resurrection account! Good because we have been studying that in class.
Well, there is the theory that Yeshua was stolen from the tomb. You know that would have been really hard. They say that someone came in at night and stole Yeshua right out from under the Roman guards’ noses. Do you know what penalty the guards would have to face if they failed their task of guarding the tomb? It was death and a horrible one at that. I was told that they actually peeled their skin off while they were still alive. Do you think that they would have fallen asleep or something? No…me neither. What a way to go! It would have been even harder because they knew that Jesus was the King of the Jews, and that He was going to come back to life in 3 days, as He said He was going to, so they must have really been on guard!
Another theory was that Joseph of Aramathea, the guy who gave the tomb so Jesus could be buried, snuck in and stole Jesus. Oh, by the way, does the name Jesus offend you, because it’s only Greek for Savior. For that matter, Christ is Greek for Moshiach or Messiah, which means the anointed one. You say that’s ok. Good. You say that you call Him that too. This seems to be unlikely also, because he wasn’t even a follower of Jesus. And we’re right back to those guards again, aren’t we. Getting skinned alive is not cool. It might even ruin your day!
Another theory says that He vaporized and seeped out of the tomb. This sounds possible, since the wrappings of Jesus looked like that’s what happened. The wrappings were not unraveled, but still in place. I heard that this wasn’t possible though because of every time that anyone saw Jesus, they recognized Him by His voice, what He said, the nail prints in His hands and feet…you know that doubting Thomas story in John 10, and even by sight. I guess they didn’t recognize Him at first because they really didn’t expect Him to come back from the dead. This was a first for mankind. It might be, even, that He was in a slightly altered state, but definitely physical, because Jesus actually ate with them and they touched Him and He touched them.
Another theory is what’s called the SWOON THEORY. They say that Jesus didn’t really die but only passed out for a time. That’s really unlikely. Did you see the movie The Passion of the Christ recently? Can you believe going through the beating and then carrying a cross to His crucifixion and then being nailed to a cross and then…stuck in the side with a spear, going into His heart and lungs. No…Dead! I can’t image how He even made it to the cross! Gross!
- Naturalistic explanation for the origin of the universe (brief). Name and define the means and the mechanisms for evolution to work, according to evolutionary theory. If there are any problems, what are they, with the means and mechanisms from a creationist viewpoint?
Response: Naturalistic explanation: This theory’s means that things just were and are. They always have been. There is no God or Creator. This is totally impossible because every scientist in the world knows that something can’t be created out of nothing. Scientists calculate that the world is possibly between 12 and 20 billion years old. That means that there was nothing before that time. The explanation or means is the Big Bang theory. Einstein and other prominent scientists noted that the universe was expanding at a constant rate. This is how they can predict its age and that the universe originated from one place.
The mechanisms for evolution to work is that out of this supposed primordial goop (mud, a mixture of chemicals or the such) life began, first from amino acids due to electrical forces combining with chemical matter, eventually producing life. The problem with this is that a bang usually or always produces chaos. The universe and life as we know it, especially the fact that conditions have to be just perfect to sustain life on earth, is far from chaotic. We can mathematically understand the physical laws. They are constant. Life cannot come from non-life. DNA has to come from DNA. It can’t just appear and come from nothing. The blueprint of life is very complex and has to reproduce itself. Something had to produce this blueprint in the first place, some very wise and powerful being, God. You can’t take a lump of goop and bring forth life. You can’t make a cell from mud. There is no explanation of how things evolved or changed from one specie to another. Darwin said that things evolved and that we, some day , would find the links between species. We haven’t found any (not one) yet and we will never, because there are none. God created. It’s the only answer that makes sense. Species can evolve within themselves (called microevolution), but God had to make the major changes such as in the Cambrian Explosion where new species, that had never before existed, came into being. This is where Theistic Evolution comes into being. New species came but they can’t by natural cause. DNA won’t allow one specie to produce another specie. One specie can only change slightly within itself (called microevolution).
- Why is Jesus the only way?
Response: John 14:6 says that Jesus is the only way to God. God said it. I believe it. And that’s that. Nobody has ever come back from the dead and proved that He was God in the flesh except Jesus or Yeshua, just like it said He would be (Isaiah 9:5). Jesus fulfilled well over 200 prophecies in the Tanakh. That’s what did it for me 33 years ago. Jesus and His precious Word have changed my life very much for the good. Just ask my wife. Jesus has worked many miracles in my life. One major one is that He healed 4 ruptured disks in my back. The doctor couldn’t believe it. He saw the MRI and couldn’t understand it! I did prison ministry for 20 years. I believe because what I saw Him do miracles for others. Short story: I always prayed with the guys who wanted to after a talk. During my 20 years in this ministry I led several hundreds of men and boys to accept the Lord as their Savior. One such prayer was with an African American. He hadn’t had a visit from His wife or little girl for over 3 years. He asked for prayer for a visit. The next week they came to visit. He was so grateful. I have so many stories and miracles that Jesus has worked with me and those around me. It’s far from a blind faith. I was brought up as a Jew, and have always been very faithful to Elohim. It took 8 years and lots of reading and questioning to believe in Yeshua as Messiah. Prophecy was the key. I saw God working in my life and He is still very active! The key is the resurrection. Without this miracle from God, which defies all natural laws, our faith would be pointless. He came as was prophesied and died and rose from the dead conquering all sin and promising us eternal life just like He did for the thief on the cross next to Him.
Why don’t others believe?
Response: I can relate specifically to my fellow Jews, most of them anyway. They don’t know their scripture. They don’t care about God’s word. Even rabbis I have spoken to don’t believe that it is the Word of God, but only a myth and man made stories. Very few Jews I have spoken to and hundreds of others for that matter don’t read. If they don’t read, they don’t know. If they don’t know they have no basis for faith. Faith leads us to a belief in Jesus. Know Jesus …know forgiveness. No Jesus…no forgiveness. A lot of people are just plain happy with what they have and their so called faith that they have. Another reason is, like the Jews throughout history, they don’t want to hear about sin or the fact that they have a sinful nature or that they need forgiveness for that matter. They say that the Mitzvoth are sufficient even though they can’t keep all 613, since the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. No blood sacrifice, no forgiveness of sin. When I ask them how they forgive their sins, they say …just be good. Or they say that forgiveness is only necessary for unintentional sin. So I ask them if they ever sinned, knowing they did so intentionally…no answer ever.
Well, that’s it. God bless you and thanks for an excellent course. Y’vorech’cha Adonai V’yishm’recha. May the Lord (continue to ) bless you and keep you and yours. Yours in Yeshua Hamoshiach! David ben Avraham.