WHAT IS APOLOGETICS AND WHY DO YOU NEED TO STUDY THIS SUBJECT?
Peter said, "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15). In this verse the word defense comes from the Greek word "apologia" which means to verbally give a reasoned argument or statement. Therefore, the study of apologetics is learning how to answer the tough questions that people ask. If you have set your hope in God you must learn to explain to others why you have made this decision. This study will enable you to give intelligent and well thought out reasons for why you have hope in Christ, why you believe that God exists, and why the Bible can be trusted. Solomon declared, "The heart of the righteous studies how to answer" (Prov. 15:28). Therefore, give yourself now to diligently studying these issues that you may give a reasoned answer for the hope that is in you.
How can you be sure that God exists?
The question of the existence of God usually comes up at many different times and many different ways within a conversation. Sometimes a person will directly say, "I don’t believe in God" as you begin to share the Gospel. Other times you will find that it only surfaces when you explain what God requires of man. You must answer this question directly from the fact of evidence, not your opinion.
What is the Evidence?
A. The physical creation
David explained why he believed in God when he said, "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalms 19:1-4). The heavens utter this message every day and every night to every creature around the world. In Romans 1:18-22, Paul also teaches us that the creation clearly reveals the existence of God and the greatness of His wisdom and power. The creation is such an obvious and powerful proof, Paul declares that in light of this evidence, all men are "without excuse" (v 20). Therefore, ask people how do they account for the incredible testimony of the creation. Who made all that we see?
B. Our physical body
David also realized that his physical body was a masterpiece of creative ability far beyond man’s ability. He explained in Psalms 139:14, "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Thy works, and that my soul knows very well." Therefore, explain to the one you are witnessing to that man cannot successfully duplicate even one major organ within the human body and have it work as efficiently as God originally made it. To believe that the human body came into existence through time and chance is to defy logic, and require more faith than it does to believe that God created us.
Cause and effect
Logic demands that when you see the heavens and the biological wonder of the human body, you naturally ask the question, "who has created this?" When you look at a work of art, don’t you naturally realize that there must be an artist? When you see a great building, you know there must be a wise master-builder. When you observe great craftsmanship, you are absolutely sure there is a craftsman. Likewise, our incredible creation logically demands a creator!
Order and design
In addition, the observable design of all that we see around us in our creation speaks of an intelligent designer. The only alternative we have to account for this design is that all things have come about by chance originating from disorder and chaos. However, again, simple logic requires us to believe that order and design must come from intelligence. Order cannot come from disorder. Ask the question, "What happens when you put a stick of dynamite in a lumberyard?" Then respond with, "You have a big bang, but that doesn't build a home. You logically need a skilled and intelligent master-builder to create the beauty and design of a home.
D. Prophetic proof
Another excellent proof of the existence of God is Bible prophecy. The ability of God to speak of the future reveals the fact that there is someone outside of our time domain. Only God knows the future, because He is God (Isaiah 46:9-10) (James 4:14). God challenged the idols of the nation Israel to a test. He asked the false prophets and the idols to reveal the things to come that all may see exactly who the true God was (Isaiah 41:21-23). If God used prophecy to prove His existence then we should too. One of the best prophecies to use as proof of God’s ability is the reestablishment of the nation of Israel (Joel 3:1-2). A person must only compare these predictions with history to see the proof that God has spoken.
E. Visible proof
The greatest proof that God exists was given to man by Jesus Christ coming to live in our midst. God came in human flesh to give a clear picture of who God is and what He is like (John 1:1,14). Jesus was an historic person spoken about by Jewish historian Josephus (A.D. 37), and Roman historian Tacitus (A.D. 52). Jesus revealed His deity by the claims that He made, the miracles that He did, and ultimately by His resurrection.
F. Personal proof
You can have the personal proof that God exists by simply obeying His Word. If you believe and obey Him, He will change your life. Jesus said in effect, if you will do My will, you will know if I speak of myself, or if My words are, in fact, the Word of God (John 7:17). As you obey God’s Word He promises that He will give you the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32). The Holy Spirit is proof that you abide in God, and that He abides in you (1 John 3:24).