[official] Christianity and the Tooth Fairy – John Lennox at The Veritas Forum at UCLA, 2011

[official] Christianity and the Tooth Fairy – John Lennox at The Veritas Forum at UCLA, 2011


Announcer: Welcome to the Veritas Forum, engaging
university students and faculty about life’s hardest questions, and the relevance of Jesus
Christ to all of life. Daniel Lowenstein. As a member of the faculty
here, I’d like to welcome all of you to the UCLA campus, and to thank Dr. Lennox for being
our guest tonight, and to thank the Veritas Forum for inviting the two of us. I hope that
those of you who are in the overflow room can see us well, because I think anybody who
looks at the two of us will conclude that this will be a very weighty conversation.
So, with that, I’d like to make two, brief preliminary comments and then we’ll get into
putting some questions to Dr. Lennox. First of all, as to the topic for tonight, I think
that there are many questions that one can ask about Christianity and that have been
prominent in recent debates on the subject, especially perhaps those prompted by the so-called
“New Atheists,” such as: Is Christianity good? What has been its role in Western history?
And so on. Many questions, and they’re all important, but tonight will be limited to
one question, which is a big enough question, and that is: Is Christianity true? I guess
in terms of the title that was given to this evening, is it less true, equally true, or
more true than stories about the Tooth Fairy. And the second point I want to make is that
this is not a debate. I’m neither qualified nor desirous of debating with Dr. Lennox on
this subject. As I see it, at least, the purpose of this evening is to give him, who has written
and thought a great deal about this subject, to give him an opportunity to expound his
views, and my role is to facilitate that. If I think I can do that best by probing him
on certain points, I will try to do that to the best of my ability, but I’m not trying
to score points. That’s not our purpose here. I’m as interested in thinking about this with
his help and the help of others as I assume all of you are.
So, with that preliminary, let’s get right to it, and I want to start with what I think
is the main subject of perhaps Dr. Lennox’s best known book on the subject called God’s
Undertaker, and that is the relation between Christianity and science. I think many people
would think that ideas about Christianity developed in a pre-scientific era in which
there weren’t the explanations that we now have for many natural phenomena, and they
may think really that those kinds of ideas aren’t as necessary now to explain the universe,
and the human situation in the universe, and they may feel that science has made religion
more or less irrelevant. Do you want to respond to that viewpoint? John Lennox. I’d be delighted to respond to
it, but first, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to say how delighted I am to have such
a companion to discuss with tonight. I have enjoyed the company of lawyers all my life,
admired their capacity for logical analysis, and to meet a lawyer like Professor Lowenstein,
who’s interested in the humanities is sheer delight. But my intellectual education has
taken a massive leap forward today, sir, because, as a boy, I used to like Bruin the Bear, and
now I’ve discovered where he lives. But let’s get down to this question about
the very common notion that science has made religion obsolete. I find it almost ironical
that it’s actually a very false notion to history. I think it’s worth concentrating
for the sake of compression of time and argument on the fact that modern science as we know
it exploded in the 16th and 17th centuries in Western Europe, and historians and philosophers
of science have constantly asked the question, “Why did it happen there, and why did it happen
then?” and I’ve given a great deal of thought to this and worked with colleagues at Oxford
who have contributed seminal works to it, but the general consensus appears to be, and
I put it in the words of C.S. Lewis summing up the work of Alfred North Whitehead on the
topic when he said: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature, and they
expected law in nature because they believed in the lawgiver.”
In other words, if we think of Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Clerk Maxwell and so on, what drove
their science was the belief that science could be done. Now, why did they believe it
could be done? Because they believed that the universe was rationally intelligible,
at least in part, and why did they believe that? Because they believed there was a creative
mind behind it. So, it seems to me that the history of science is on the side of those
that think that there is no conflict essentially between them, so that’s where I’d start on
that one. Lowenstein. I think probably many — perhaps
most — people would concede that Christianity was very intimately tied with the development
of science and with the scientific culture that we’re still living in, but that doesn’t
really go to the question of whether science, even if we regard it as the creature of Christianity,
has made Christianity obsolete. In other words, does science give us the explanations that
Christianity was previously thought to be necessary for? Lennox. I think here there’s a basic and very
common confusion about the nature of explanation, because very often today — and I find it
especially in Stephen Hawking’s recent book but also with Richard Dawkins — the idea
that explanation is either God or science, and that the more science advances the less
space there is for God. Now, that seems to me to be extremely wrongheaded for the following
simple reason, that it’s not either/or. God and science are not in the same categories.
God, the claim is from where I sit, is a personal creator who created and maintained the universe.
That is, he is the agent responsible for its existence. Science is a set of disciplines
that investigate how it works and what it is made of, and so on.
If I might illustrate it by one particular instance, that Hawking, for example, offers
us to choose between God and science or God and the law of gravity. That, to my mind,
is like, say, “Here’s a Ford Galaxy motorcar. You’ve got two possible explanations for it.
One is the laws of physics and internal combustion, and the other is Henry Ford. Please choose.”
Well, that is nonsense because they’re in different categories. You need both.
Now, what I’m saying here is this, that the God explanation is not the same kind of explanation
as the science explanation, so they’re not in competition. Henry Ford does not compete
as an explanation of the motorcar with the laws of internal combustion and engineering.
You need both, and I think that is the important thing to stress. It’s not a question of one
making the other obsolete. You need both. And I would dare to say that if there wasn’t
a god who created the universe, there would be nothing for the scientists to study anyway. Lowenstein. Well, some scientists say, I think,
and some who are not scientists say that science teaches us that before we regard something
as knowledge, it should be something that we can test empirically, and that we may have
great theories about whether it’s quantum mechanics or Newtonian mechanics, or any kind
of engineering, whatever field, but the reason that we have confidence in them is because
they have been tested and they work, and that the questions that religion, and Christianity
in particular, addresses have not been and perhaps cannot be tested in that way. I mean
even as a Christian, would you want to say that we can actually have knowledge of the
existence of God, of all the various doctrines and parts of the Christian religion, can we
call that knowledge, or should we call it something different? Lennox. Well, I certainly think we can call
it knowledge. It depends what we’re talking about. You see, if we take the Bible, for
instance, because we’re concentrating on Christianity, as you said, as to whether it’s true, Christianity
makes statements and the Bible makes statements about a whole range of things. It makes statements,
not very many actually, about the physical universe. It’s not a textbook of science,
but we needn’t go away with the idea that says nothing about the universe. Now, for
instance, it says there was a beginning. Can we test that? Well, apparently so. Arno Penzias
and the rest of them came up with their theory of the hot Big Bang, so there is a testable
hypothesis. It’s been sitting in the Bible for centuries: there was a beginning. We’ve
now come, after a lot of struggle, actually, and I remember when it was done in the ’60s,
so those are testable kind of things. But I suspect what you may be referring to
is the idea that God is not a theory simply, he’s a person, and that raises the whole question
of whether we can have a relationship with God that can reasonably be described in terms
of knowledge, and I believe that is possible. And can we test it? Yes, I believe we can,
because, specifically coming to Christianity, the fact is that Christ made certain claims.
He claimed that if people trusted him, they would know an experience of forgiveness; they
would know an experience of what he called the eternal life, that their lives would be
changed. I’ve seen it happen hundreds of times, and I would say at the empirical level, this
is very important to me: that not only does the intellectual side of it, if you like,
the objective side, the descriptors that match reality in terms of what the Bible actually
says about the universe and so on, but the bottom line for me is does it actually work,
is it testable, and I think it is. Lowenstein. Before we leave the subject of
science, let me ask you a question that was in my mind. I had a chance to read your book,
God’s Undertaker, within the last month or two. Lennox. You’re a brave man. Thank you. Lowenstein. No, no! I enjoyed it. Lennox: I haven’t read his books, you see,
and I’m embarrassed! Lowenstein: Well, you see, that shows how
rational both of us are. But no, it’s a very enjoyable book and I recommend it to anybody
who’s interested in the subject. I’ll just say in passing that in my own thinking about
Christianity, such as it is, the question of science has not been a major barrier or
a major issue for me, but I do think that it is for many people, and I think it was
sensible for you to write that book. The reason I started with that subject is I think that
it probably is important to many of the people who are listening to us. But it seemed to
me that there are two ideas, or let’s say two hypotheses in the book, and I’ll call
one a weak hypothesis and the other strong. Weak is not a pejorative; in fact, in this
kind of academic jargon, it’s a good thing, because a weak hypothesis is one that doesn’t
take as much to prove it, it’s easier to accept, and a strong one is one that’s harder to prove.
The weak hypothesis seemed to me to be, let’s say, defensive — defending Christianity against
various reasons why science might be thought to disprove Christianity — and the strong
hypothesis is perhaps more positive and saying that the findings of science actually tend
to confirm Christianity. It seemed to me that you’re clearly making both of those arguments
in the book, but it wasn’t always obvious to me how strongly you are asserting the strong
hypothesis, so I’d be interested in your talking about how much does science really — the
findings of science, as you understand them, or as properly understood, really further,
would you say, in a positive way the case for Christianity, or if you were trying to
get somebody to accept Christianity, to become a Christian, would you want to focus that
person’s attention a lot on science, or really have the person look at other questions?
Dr. Lennox: Not if they were a lawyer, no. [Laughter]
Moderator: You know, I thought I’d not comment on the judgment of somebody who starts out
by saying he enjoys the company of lawyers, but —
Dr. Lennox: Yeah, yeah. Moderator: − but I think in the British
we expect eccentricities, and we tolerate _________. [Laughter]
Dr. Lennox: Well, let’s try and unpack this, because I think there are a number of things
that are worth unpacking. We’ve used the word Christianity, but actually in the world in
which I live, initially I’m up against a worldview that dominates the academy that denies the
existence of God. It’s not really remotely interested in Christianity. So, the first
level seems to me to tackle that, and there I think science has got quite a lot to say.
It’s not neutral, and for me, one of the major arguments is, as I’ve said, the rational intelligibility
of the universe points toward a rational creator. That sits comfortably with the rise of science,
so pointers towards God, but I would not claim that Christianity in the narrower sense is
derivable from science. Let me put it this way: the early Christian apostle, Paul, who
wrote half of the New Testament, comments very carefully on what can be, in his view,
deduced from the natural world, and he says from the beginning of the creation, the invisible
things of God are clearly perceived — not proved, perceived — in the things that are
made, and then he names them, namely God’s everlasting power and Godhead. Now, that second word, theotokos, I take to
mean that there is a God. There’s a bit of controversy about what it means but, for the
moment, we don’t want to get into that. What I would say is that Paul is being very careful.
First of all, it appeals to me as a mathematician because it’s only in pure mathematics that
you get rigorous proof in that sense, but it’s perception, it’s an informed perception,
and he says, “As you look at the natural world, you can perceive that there is a God and that
he’s powerful.” He certainly claims nowhere that you can deduce the specific doctrines
of Christianity from an observation of the world, but it seems to me this is an incremental
type of argument because in Oxford and elsewhere, I’m confronted not with people who start talking
about Christianity, they start off by denying the existence of God in the name of science.
So, I want to clear that ground away, first of all, in the hope that it will then be plausible
for them, at least, to take the next step, and that is the step towards considering the
more specific claims of the Christian faith. So, I think your question is very important.
Moderator: Let’s start with just the question of the existence of God. How important in
your belief in the existence of God is your understanding of the findings of science?
Dr. Lennox: It’s only part of the deal, and for the reasons that I’ve just given, because
it doesn’t take us all that far but, of course, it takes us to the difference between Atheism
and Theism, and I think how important it is is shown by the number of people in these
two rooms tonight in the sense that what is happening in our world, as I understand it,
is we’re being offered a story, and every person is interested in a story into which
they can fit their lives, and the story of, so to speak, the origins of the universe way
back, why does that fascinate us? Because, of course, our past determines our identity.
A person without a past who has amnesia doesn’t know who they are, and so our bookshops are
filled with books attempting to explain who we are in terms only of the basic material
of the universe. That’s materialism, and there’s a great fascination
with this because people are interested in whether it’s true or not. Against that, there’s
the other story that says that the matter and energy is not all that exists, there is
transcendence, there is a God who created it, and I tend to believe with Augustine,
you know, that, granted, there is a God-shaped space in our hearts, and we have that sense
of longing that there must be something more, and it’s there, I think, that many contemporary
people and many university students are at: is there something more than pure materialistic
explanation of the universe? Moderator: Well, let’s suppose that we assume
for the sake of argument that the materialists explanation of the universe is inadequate,
and, therefore, that we reject what I think you call the scientistic —
Dr. Lennox: Yes. Moderator: − explanation. But there are,
I suppose, an infinite number of possible ideas that we could have of the universe as
something that’s more than just materialism. My not-very-well-informed believe is that
the great majority of cultures past and present have not believed in a materialistic universe,
but most of them also have not believed in the monotheistic god in which Judaism, Christianity,
and Islam believe. What reason is there to accept the idea of a monotheistic god?
Dr. Lennox: Well, the first thing I’d want to state there is you are absolutely right,
and there are, apparently, loads and loads of ideas, but let me go back to your notion
of testability. The only way I know about dealing with these things, and you being a
lawyer will know it even better than me, is where’s the evidence? They make claims, all
these different philosophies and religions, and here I am faced with a whole series of
claims, and, in the end, it’s a personal question in the sense that ultimately I have to decide
between the claimants. So, first of all, I have to decide between if materialism is right
or if there’s something more; that’s stage one. So, suppose when I pass that stage, why
should I select a monotheistic god? Well, I would say, “Now, what is the evidence that
God exists?” because another great myth that’s flying around the place is that if you believe
in God, that’s faith, so it’s believing where there is no evidence, but that’s nonsense.
Faith, in the ordinary use of the word, it comes from the Latin fides, fidelity, it means
trust, and our normal experience of faith in everyday life is a commitment based on
evidence, and certainly I want my commitment to whatever is there to be based on evidence. So, what is the evidence coming closer up
that there is a personal god, and, secondly, that he is the god I believe in as a Christian?
Now, I’ve given one or two indicators that it would seem to be that the idea of there
being two equal gods is almost logically self-contradictory, but the big thing that now comes into the
equation for me is this: on the hypothesis that there might be a god − we’re open to
that now it seems in our conversation, that there might be a god — who created the universe,
the next question is is it possible that he might have communicated to us in any way?
Has God spoken? And that raises the question, of course, of revelation, and you mentioned
the three great monotheistic religions. Each of them claims that there is such a thing
as revelation and, indeed, part of that revelation is common to all three. So, there is somewhere that we can begin to
start, because let’s take Christianity for a moment, Judaism, neither of them claim to
be simply a philosophy. They’re geared into the story of history. They have a historical
dimension. So, immediately, that shifts the focus from science to another very respectable
discipline, and that is the discipline of history. You are quite right, by the way,
and I think it’s important to flag it up to mention scientism, the idea that science is
the only way to truth. Well, that’s logical nonsense because if I say science is the only
way to truth, that is not a scientific statement, and so if science is the only way to truth,
then it isn’t true, so science isn’t the only way to truth. It’s a bit too late at night,
I think, for logic like that, but — [Laughter] − coming rapidly back down to earth, it’s
quite clear that science, a lot of its success is due to the fact that it asks a limited
number of questions, but history is a very important discipline, so I want to look into
the claims historically that God has revealed himself. Now, that makes sense to me. Now,
I’ve just met you today, and meeting you has been a sheer delight, but it’s been very interesting,
you see, if I had simply come to Professor Lowenstein and put him in a scanner in Berkeley
Medical School, the biggest — Moderator: Hey, we have a medical school here.
We don’t have to go to Berkeley for that. [Laughter]
Dr. Lennox: What time is it − [Laughter] − ___________? Right, UCLA Medical School,
they’ve got a better tunneling microscope here. I was just giving Berkeley a chance.
They could tell a lot about the activity of your brain, but I could never get to know
you as a person, but I’m beginning to get to know you as a person; why is that? Because
you have started — Moderator: Because you haven’t had to look
at my brain, that’s why. [Laughter]
Dr. Lennox: − no, no! No, but you have spoken, you have started to reveal yourself to me.
Now, I think this is very important because very often people say, “Oh no, we’re not gonna
start in holy books and revelation now, are we?” because revelation is opposed to reason.
What absurdity. When Professor Lowenstein began to reveal himself to me today, did I
shut off my reason? That’s nonsense. I have to use my reason to understand what you say.
Now, the central biblical claim is that God has spoken, he has revealed himself. Now,
we can assume a priori if we like, that that cannot and doesn’t occur, and of course many
people say, “Well, of course it can’t occur because miracles are impossible; the supernatural
doesn’t exist because science has proved it.” I don’t believe anything of the sort but,
leaving that aside, I would want them to say, “Right, let’s investigate this claim that
God has spoken. Does it make sense? Does it cohere?” and here I find that the literary
people have helped me, C.S. Lewis in particular. You remember that wonderful statement he made,
“I believe in the sun, not so much because I see it,” — it’s dangerous to look straight
at the sun, especially in Los Angeles − [Laughter]
Moderator: Well, it’s gotten better — Dr. Lennox: − but because —
Moderator: − since I moved here, because now —
Dr. Lennox: − yes, yeah. Moderator: − we don’t have as much smog
covering up the sun — Dr. Lennox: Yes, right.
Moderator: − as we did when I moved here. Dr. Lennox: “I believe in the sun, not so
much because I see it, but because in its light I see everything else,” and now I would
want to bring one of the truth tests. You mentioned truth at the outset of our discussion.
I’m glad you did. One of the truth tests is coherence and consistency, and what I have
done, really, in my life, you’ve asked me how do I know, and it’s a bit personal. Do
you mind if I answer it personally? I was brought up in a Christian background, so the
first worldview I met was from my parents. I was impressed by my parents, particularly
because in the sectarian country of Northern Ireland, where everybody was fighting about
religion, or so it appeared, they didn’t, but they loved me enough to give me space
to think. So, the first worldview I met was Christian, and I get to Cambridge and, in
my first week at Cambridge, somebody comes to me and asks me the question, “Do you believe
in God?” and then they said, “Sorry, I forgot you’re Irish. You people all believe in God,
and you fight about it,” − [Laughter] − you see? In other words, they were giving
a causal explanation in terms of my Irishness that was invalidating the claim, which is
a very interesting phenomenon, you see? So, what did I do? I decided that, like you, I’m
interested in knowing whether it’s the truth. Now, my influence up to that point, from my
parents and many friends and Ireland, had been almost exclusively Christian, except
that I had read hundreds of books, but that wasn’t enough because I wanted to meet persons
and ask them how they had come to their worldview. So, I decided in week one in Cambridge in
1962 to befriend someone who didn’t have my worldview, and I met an Agnostic and we dialogued
for two years, and I’ve been doing that for my whole life for the simple reason that I
want to know whether it’s true or not, and, therefore, one of the tests I’ve got is the
coherence, “Does what?” is claimed in the Bible, for instance, what is claimed for the
revelation of God in the whole Judeo-Christian tradition, does it make sense and does it
work, and that is where I think I would place most of the emphasis, actually, and not on
science. Moderator: Well, let me go back —
Dr. Lennox: Yes, please. Moderator: − a minute, and I take your point
that there may be deficiencies in trying to look at this question too abstractly —
Dr. Lennox: Yes, there are. Moderator: − and you’re saying that your
thinking has been shaped very much concretely by your own experiences, and particularly
your own dialogues with many, many other people, and I don’t mean to — I mean that makes sense
to me. But, nevertheless, I’d like to step back for just a moment because I mean I think
it would be silly to say as an a priori matter that it’s impossible for God to have revealed
himself through the Bible or in any other manner. I mean that seems to me to be pretty
clearly a contingent question that can’t be resolved a priori in one way —
Dr. Lennox: Yes, exactly. Moderator: − or the other. But there are
other questions about revelation, especially how do we know that this really is a revelation,
and not something that a lot of people have believed falsely to be a revelation, and I
don’t mean to belittle that — Dr. Lennox: No, no, not at all.
Moderator: − but I would just like to ask the question first, how far can you get in
a belief in God prior to revelation? Is that a clear question?
Dr. Lennox: Oh, a very clear question. Well, in one sense, not at all, because I believe
that the universe is part of God’s revelation. We often call it a general revelation, but
I think you mean it more specifically. Moderator: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Dr. Lennox: So, I think you can get quite a long way, and a lot of that would be science
or literature, the sense of longing, and so on and so forth. But to come to the heart
of this actual question, because this bothered me, you see, “You believe it because you’re
Irish. They’re great storytellers in Ireland, and how do you know it’s not all made up?”
and so on and so forth. I would want now to zero in on some of the actual specific claims
that are made by the Christian faith. Now, you know as well as I do that the central
thing that burst on the world in the 1st century was the startling notion that Jesus Christ
had risen from the dead. Now, of course, that will send Richard Dawkins into orbit, but
− [Laughter]
Moderator: _________ kind or miracle in itself. Dr. Lennox: − well — [Laughter] − that’s why I stopped. I thought I was
in danger of going in the wrong direction, but never mind. It seems to me that here is
something enormously important because the central claim of Christianity is that God
became human. It’s not simply that he revealed himself in terms of the profits, like Jeremiah
and Isaiah, and he spoke to various people, and so on, but that God coded himself, if
I use the modern terminology, that God coded himself into humanity, and because we are
humans made in the image of God, we can understand a human. So, this incredible claim — well,
it’s not incredible for me but you know what I mean by incredible — this staggering claim
that God became human, the biblical claim is that the evidence for that par excellence
is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and, therefore, we now have a concrete,
historical instance that we can investigate, not in the strict scientific sense of, “Oh,
let’s repeat history and see what happened,” because we can’t do that, but we can do something
near to that. We can conduct a forensic examination. I mean
the detective cannot repeat the crime to see who the murderer was, but he conducts a forensic
investigation of the evidence to try to get _______ what’s going on, and very, very early
on in Cambridge, I remember listening to a very distinguished professor of Islamic law,
Professor Sir Norman Anderson, who was a Christian, and he came to lecture to us in Cambridge.
I remember a very gracious, brilliant man, and, as a lawyer — I’m now explaining to
you why I rather like lawyers, you see, but I’ll have to do this. “As a lawyer,” he said,
“Let’s have a look at the way in which I would handle the case for the resurrection.” Now,
we sat spellbound as this man, who was one of the most distinguished lawyers in Great
Britain, Sir Norman Anderson, took this case apart and started saying, “Okay, let’s assume
it didn’t happen.” Christianity explodes from Judaism. That has
got to be explained. How are we going to explain it? I haven’t time to go through the details
tonight, many people have done it, but I remember as an undergraduate being massively impressed
by this because he was bringing intellectual rigor to an event that was the pole event
for the Christian faith, and claiming that after a lifetime study of law, he felt this
event was one of the best attested events he’d come across in history. So, that to my
mind makes it even more concrete, and so I would go there. I go there, of course, because
when the apostle Paul faced the Greek world, the intellectual world of the New Testament
in Athens, they of course asked him about his belief, and he talked about creation and
so on, but the climax was when he said that God has appointed a day in which he is going
to judge the world, and he is shown by the man whom he has demonstrated by raising him
from the dead, and what interested me was the fact that many of the audience laughed
at that point, as Luke records. They laughed because Paul was saying, “Anastasis,” resurrection,
standing up again. Now, many Greeks believed in a survival of
the soul, that was a respectable doctrine, but none of them believed that a dead body
could stand up again. So, that teaches us that right at the heart of Paul’s message
to, if you like, the intellectual world was his unashamed claim that Jesus Christ had
risen from the dead, and I think that’s the heart of the business. I know, of course,
what happens immediately, and I see the shadow of Richard Dawkins almost in the room coming
to say, “But that is absurd because David Hume showed long ago that miracles are impossible.”
Well, that’s why I revised my book to write a chapter at the end to show that David Hume
was wrong, but that’s another story. So, that’s what I’d come to.
Moderator: I don’t know how you would show that miracles are impossible, but I can certainly
imagine people believing that they are highly improbable.
Dr. Lennox: Oh yes, they are, otherwise they wouldn’t be miracles.
Moderator: Yeah − [Laughter] − so let me —
Dr. Lennox: But that’s actually an important point. That’s an important point, because
you were saying Christianity arose in a pre-scientific age. Do you remember? This is one of the arguments,
that it arose in an age when people didn’t understand the laws of nature, and of course
they could believe in miracles all over the place. That’s nonsense. People knew then as
much as they know now, that dead bodies don’t rise up. That’s why they recognized it as
a miracle. But David Hume, if I might say a word − it’ll only take a few seconds − was
wrong, and, before he died, I had a long chat with Antony Flew, the world’s Hume expert,
who changed his mind, and told me after a lifetime of writing books on Hume that Hume
was wrong on this. Hume was wrong for a very simple reason. He claimed that miracles were
violations of the laws of nature. That’s nonsense, and C.S. Lewis illustrates this beautifully.
Could you imagine me going to my hotel tonight, and I put $100.00 in one drawer and I put
$100.00 in another drawer. That’s $200.00, by the laws of arithmetic, yes? I wake up
in the morning and I find $50.00. What do I say, “The laws of arithmetic have been broken”?
No, I say, “The laws of California have been broken.” [Laughter]
Moderator: You’re not familiar with our system of taxation here, apparently. [Laughter]
Dr. Lennox: Oh yes, I am. I’m still trying to get a TIN number. But the interesting thing
about that point is this, that it’s my knowledge of the laws of arithmetic that tells me that
the laws of California have been broken. That is a hand that’s been put into the system.
If I didn’t know the laws of arithmetic, I’d say, “Okay, $100.00 plus $100.00 is $200.00
today, it’s $50.00 tomorrow. Fine.” In other words, in order to recognize the supernatural,
like the resurrection of Jesus, you have to live in a world that’s mostly governed by
regularities, and you have to know them in order to recognize the exception. But, you
see, the miracles aren’t violating any law. When Jesus rose from the dead, it wasn’t a
result of natural processes, it was God injecting energy in from the outside, just like in my
simple analogy, the thief put his hands in and takes the money out, but that’s another
story. But I think it’s important because it shoves out of the way this whole notion
that science has showed that miracles are impossible. It hasn’t, it can’t, but of course
it’s shown they’re improbably, which we always knew they were.
Moderator: As you say, that’s the point in a way, but no, I mean although I asked the
question earlier, the idea of the pre-scientific world has never been an impressive issue to
me because — Dr. Lennox: Nor to me.
Moderator: − even people with vastly less sophistication than, say, the Greeks and the
Romans, or the other people living at that time, you can go to people living at the most
basic level, they still know that when you’re holding something and you let go of it, it’s
gonna fall, and when you do this, it’s gonna go up in the air, and they know you rub sticks
together and it’s gonna start a fire, and they know the sun is gonna rise and they know
it’s gonna set. The regularities of the universe —
Dr. Lennox: Were perceived. Moderator: − yeah, and nobody can function
from day to day without entirely understanding that.
Dr. Lennox: That’s correct. Moderator: But let me ask you something different,
and this is something that I think, in some ways, may be a strength of Christianity, but
there’s at least an obvious sense in which it might be regarded as a weakness. On a lot
of points, the central issues of Christianity seem to be incomprehensible. So, for example,
one of the most basic difficulties for those who hold the view of the materialistic universe
is the question of a beginning, and, as you pointed out before, Christianity has long
claimed that the universe was created, and now we have the Big Bang theory that suggests
at least that it started at a certain time, and yet then there’s always the issue, “Yes,
but if there can’t be an uncaused cause, then what created God?” and —
Dr. Lennox: Yeah, sure. Moderator: − I guess Christianity perhaps
gives different answers to that. As I understand it, Augustine’s answer was that God is outside
time, and, in a way, that’s a good answer but it seems to me that that’s a way of saying,
“We don’t know what the explanation is,” because none of us has the slightest idea of what
it means to be outside time, or Christianity says that the Father and the Son and the Holy
Spirit are three but they are one, and from those statements, many wonderful things follow,
and yet it seems to be a way of saying, “We don’t know what it is,” because we have no
idea of what it means to be three and to be one, and how a god as powerful and as amazing,
let’s say, as the god of Job could appear in the form as a human being and be the Holy
Spirit. So, my point is this, and as I say, I think this may be a strength or a weakness,
but it does seem as if many of the difficult questions are just explained by mysteries,
which is a Christian word, that in a way are saying, “We don’t know.” So, I don’t know
whether that’s a challenge or a suggestion or a help, but −
Dr. Lennox: It’s a wonderful challenge. Moderator: − but I’d be interested in your
response − Dr. Lennox: Absolute ________.
Moderator: − to it. Dr. Lennox: Yes, yes. I love this particular
thing, and I’ve had to think about it a great deal because, of course, it’s absolutely obvious
that replacing one mystery by another is not always a helpful way forward, but −
Moderator: Sometimes it might be. Dr. Lennox: − yeah. Well, if it’s a more
sensible mystery. Let’s unpack this, because there are three or four questions, which is
why I wrote them down because, with my dying brains, I can’t remember everything. But let’s
come to that first question, which has interested me because it’s become a great focus recently,
both in North America and Britain and in Europe, everybody’s talking about it − I thought
I’d left it behind in Russia − and that’s the question, “Who created God?” and Dawkins
has made it the heart of his book, The God Delusion. I was staggered when I found it
there. What I mean about Russia, ladies and gentlemen, is I used to get this all the time
at the Academy of Sciences when I was traveling out to Russia in the late 1980s and the early
1990s, you see _______ it was almost the first question, “If you believe that God created
the universe, then, logically, you’ve got to ask the question, ‘Who created God?’ and
then you have to ask, ‘Who created the God that created the God that created the God
that created the God that created the God,'” and so on, ad infinitum, and that was the
end of God, of course, and that’s exactly what Dawkins says in The God Delusion. Well, let’s analyze that for a moment. Who
created God? If you ask that question, it shows you’ve immediately categorized God as
created, so you’re talking about a created God. Now, you imagine if Richard Dawkins had
written a book called The Created God’s Delusion, I don’t think many people would have bought
it, because I don’t need him to tell me that created gods are a delusion. We usually call
them idols, incidentally. But, you see, this question − [Laughter] − this question is extremely interesting
because it’s an illustration of a question that already rules out the explanation that’s
most likely to be true, because the Christian claim is that God wasn’t created, so if God
was un-created, in the beginning was the word — and I’m coming to your three-in-one now,
and I’m bringing it in obliquely — in the beginning was the word, the word was with
God, and the word was God, he already was, so the central Christian claim is, and in
Judaism and Islam of course equally, is that God is eternal. So, the question by definition
doesn’t even apply to him. That’s immensely the important. The only way you can get anything
out of it then in the negative sense is to assume that everything is in the category
of the created, but that’s just begging the original question, and the Greeks were interested
in it, and that’s why John’s gospel starts with those words, “In the beginning, the word
already was,” and then it says, “All things came to be through him.” The Greeks were interested
in the question of two categories: the things that came to be, the created things, and the
things that already were, and the question resolves down to this: is there a thing or
a being that never came to be, and that is the Christian claim and he’s called God. But
there’s a little codicil to this, you see? Richard Dawkins, and I had a debate with him
on this very topic in Oxford, and I said to him, “Richard, you say that, ‘Who created
God?’ is a legitimate question. I don’t think it is, but let me assume now that it is. You
believe that the universe created you, so I beg leave now to ask you, using your own
question, who created your creator?'” I’m waiting still for the answer. [Laughter] So, that’s the first part; very briefly to
the second point. God is three in one. Is it a mystery? Yes, it is. Am I allowed to
tell a little story — Moderator: Yeah, although I think we should
− Dr. Lennox: − a very, very —
Moderator: − we want to get ________ − Dr. Lennox: − yeah, yeah, move it on.
Moderator: − yeah. Dr. Lennox: Okay.
Moderator: But do tell the story because I’d like to hear it.
Dr. Lennox: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was talking to about 1,000 scientists, and a man came
up to me afterwards, a physicist, and he said, “That was very interesting, all that talk
about God,” but he said, “You know, I detect you’re a Christian,” and I said, “You’re − [Laughter]
Moderator: A very astute gentleman. Dr. Lennox: − yes. Well, that’s what I said.
I said, “You’re pretty sharp.” [Laughter] He said, “Come off it.” He said, “As a Christian,
you’re obliged to believe that God is a tri-unity, that Jesus was God and man,” and he said,
“Now, c’mon, you’re a mathematician at Oxford. This is absurd. Can you explain it to me?”
Well, I said, “Can I ask you a question first?” He said, “Sure.” So, I said, “Tell me, what
is consciousness?” and he thought for a second and then he said, “I don’t know.” I said,
“That’s okay, let me try an easier one. What is energy?” Well, he said, “I’m a physicist,
I can measure energy, I can use it.” I said, “You know that’s not my question. What is
it?” He said, “I don’t know.” ________ that’s very interesting. You don’t know? Tell me,”
I said, “Do you believe in consciousness?” “Yes,” he said. “Do you believe in energy?”
“Yes,” he said. So, I said, “You believe in these two things and you don’t know what they
are.” I said, “Should I write you off as an intellectual?” − [Laughter] − and he said, “Please don’t,” and I said,
“But that’s exactly what you were going to do with me five minutes ago.” Now I said,
“If you don’t know what energy is,” and nobody does, and if you don’t believe that, you physicists,
read Richard Feynman. “If you don’t know what energy is, don’t be surprised if energy, light,
gravity and consciousness are a mystery. Don’t be surprised if you’re going to get an element
of this in God. You’re bound to get it.” But now I pushed him a bit further, you see, and
I said, “Why do you believe in these things if you don’t know what they are?” Now, that
was a bit difficult, so being ________ chap, I tried to help him out, and I said, “You
believe in these things because of their explanatory power as concepts,” and he said, “That’s exactly
right.” I said, “Look, of course I can’t explain to you how God became human but,” I said,
“It’s the only explanation that makes sense of the evidence as I see it.” I said, “I’ve
got a simple analogy that might help you. It’s a very low-level analogy, but at least
it’s biblical. I’m married. I’ve been married for 42 ½ years, to the same person.” [Applause] “My wife and I are, in a sense, one. We’re
two persons in one flesh, the Bible would say, but in one unit, and it seems to me that
at the very least,” — don’t misunderstand me when I say this — “That this mystery is
telling us something magnificent about God. God is not a monolith who, to put it crudely,
was lonely, so he made a few people so that he could have somebody to talk to. God is
himself a fellowship.” Now, that’s un-dimensioned and we can’t grasp it, but there is a sense
in which I feel it’s got to be something like that, that God is big enough as a being and
complex enough to have relationships within his own being that then reveal themselves.
So, although I entirely agree there’s mystery here, I think it’s wonderful mystery because
it begins to illuminate other things, and of course Christ himself, just to finish the
point, began to give us some insight __________ when he was on Earth. He made claims like,
“I and the Father are one,” and yet he said, “The Father judges no man. He’s given old
judgment into the hands of the Son.” So, they’re one, and yet there are differentiations of
things that they do. Well, would you expect that in God? Of course. If God was some trivial
being, easy to understand, I wouldn’t tend to believe in him for a moment. So, it seems
to me that there is an approach that makes sense of these things, begins to.
Moderator: Well, we’re gonna want to go to the — I mean I’d love to follow up on some
of these things _______ − Dr. Lennox: So would I.
Moderator: − we’ll go to questions, but I do want to say that of all the Christian
writers, or Christian apologists that I’ve read, and they’re not the hundreds that Dr.
Lennox has read, but the one who has spoken the most to me and come closest to persuading
me that I ought to become a Christian has been G.K. Chesterton, and in his book, Orthodoxy
− after you read Dr. Lennox’s book, I would recommend Chesterton. In his book, Orthodoxy,
he talks about the symbol of the cross, and he says that he thinks it’s a good symbol
of Christianity because at its center, there’s this clash that makes it somewhat contradictory
or incomprehensible, but that because of that, the arms go infinitely out in all directions,
and that they sort of provide a straight way that gives good resolutions to all the problems
that we need to deal with as humans, despite this clash at the center. It’s a typical,
I think, wonderful Chesterton ________. Dr. Lennox: Well, I would want to subscribe
that, too. You know, I’m so glad you ended with a cross, because we haven’t mentioned
it yet, and if I were to say what is the biggest thing in my Christian faith, it’s precisely
that. It might be strange for you to hear an Oxford professor say it, but the biggest
thing in my life, ladies and gentlemen, is that God loves me, and that God has done something
through Christ on the cross that brings forgiveness and peace with God and gives me a certainty
and a meaning for the future, and I like your image very much from Chesterton, of the things
stretched out wide. The cross only makes sense if Jesus is God. It makes no sense if he isn’t.
So, hence, the resurrection is so important to direct our minds to ask the big question,
“If that is God on the cross, what’s he doing there?”
Moderator: Now, the procedure that Dr. Lennox — this the avant-garde, fresh-over-from-Europe
that he would like to follow, is that we’re gonna get all the questions, including the
six from in here, and we’re also gonna get some questions in writing that are gonna be
brought in from the people in the overflow room, and Dr. — John. We said we were gonna
do first names — Dr. Lennox: Yeah, we did —
Moderator: − and I completely forgot about that.
Dr. Lennox: − ___________. [Laughter]
Moderator: Now that we’ve gotten to know each other, John is going to take all the questions,
write them down and assimilate them, and then he’s going to answer them in total in the
order that he thinks will work best. Audience: You state that your main evidence
for the truth of Christianity as opposed to other religions is on the basis of personal
experience and the questions, “Does it make sense, and does it work?” How is it that these
lead you to believe in Christianity when followers of other religions have the same experiences?
Audience: One of my questions was that one of the things that I’ve also talked about
with also my believer friends and also my Atheist friends if the idea of a deterministic
system. What I mean by that is that if God already knows a priori that who’s going to
accept him, is there an idea of choice, basically, involved in believing in him? So, _________
_________ the idea is that is it God who predetermines who is going to choose him, or, as us, do
we choose God, and that’s kind of been on both sides of the argument that I’ve been
thinking about. Audience: I was just a little lost. I was
wondering if you say there’s proof for God, or if — you mentioned a lot of different
things, but could you maybe make one argument, like say if you were going to convert someone,
say, “This is the proof, absolute proof for God,” or if you can even do that.
Audience: ___________ and you were speaking about Paul talking about the resurrection
and what an astounding claim this would have been, and using this as sort of one of your
central arguments for the proof of Christianity, and this is part of the widespread belief
in it. But we have multiple instances in the Gospels of the gospel writers seeking to identify
Jesus as a fulfillment of the prophecies that came before, and there is large bodies of
Jewish theology before Jesus that deal with this issue of the raising of the dead, and
isn’t it more plausible that perhaps Jesus’ message spread the way it did because of its
concerns with social justice and not so much because of this issue of the resurrection?
Audience: Dr. Lennox, it’s an honor to have you here. Thank you very much for coming.
Dr. Lennox: A pleasure. Audience: One thought I had when you brought
up the example of Henry Ford is that because we as human beings give laws and govern ourselves
and we design things, we know no other mind than our own and we know no other consciousness
than that which we experience, is it possible that as a human fallacy that we implant a
mind similar to ours on a supernatural entity? Moderator: I was told to limit it to five.
I’m gonna go to six and take the next person after you, because I’d like to have at least
one question asked by somebody who looks like he might be more than half of my age − [Laughter] − but I think we should hold it there because
I think we’re gonna have some questions coming in from the overflow room, too. So, thank
you, but I think we just need to cut it off. Audience: Hello. My name is Elliot. You’ve
alluded both to the nature of explanations and solving one mystery with another. In what
sense, if you’re going to posit God as the creator of the universe, that raises the additional
question of what it means for an atemporal being to create something ex nihilo, in what
sense is saying, “God created the universe, but I don’t know what that means,” a better
explanation than saying, “Coo coo ca choo, but I don’t know what that means”?
Dr. Lennox: Sorry? Could you repeat that last phrase? [Laughter]
Moderator: How do you spell coo coo ca choo? Yes?
Audience: My name is Douglas. I wonder if you could say a little bit more about Hawking’s
claim that the universe — Dr. Lennox: Hang on just a second.
Moderator: He’s still writing coo coo ca choo. [Laughter]
Dr. Lennox: I’ve tried six alternative spellings. Moderator: We’re gonna set it —
Dr. Lennox: __________. Moderator: − to music and that’ll make it
easier to remember. Dr. Lennox: Yeah. Okay.
Audience: I wonder if you could say a little bit more about Hawking’s claim that the universe
began itself. Moderator: I’m not sure. Is a duck gonna come
down with the questions from the overflow room, or are they gonna come in? Is there
anybody who knows? You have to be more than half my age to know what that’s a reference
to. That’s the old Groucho Marx program. Well, do you want to start with these and, if we
get some others, we’ll take a look at those, as well?
Dr. Lennox: Yeah, sure. Well, let’s have a start, and of course this is a Q&A, and you
rapidly fathom my ignorance, if you haven’t fathomed it already, but we’ll have a little
go at these things. Resurrection I’ve used as a central argument, but of course there
are other arguments, such as the fulfillment of the prophecies, and that’s absolutely right,
but that would be a separate discussion. I myself do believe that some very powerful
evidence for the truth of Christianity proceeds from the ________, or what we call the Old
Testament, and particularly the whole prophetic tradition of Judaism, and some of those prophecies
that were stated centuries before Christ, particularly by Isaiah, for example, and then
earlier Abraham, I do believe they have very powerful evidential value in supporting the
truth of Christianity, in particular they were already there to explain the significance
of the crucifixion and the meaning of the death of Christ. But your question was, “Isn’t it more plausible
that Christianity spread because of social justice than resurrection?” I would say that’s
equivalent to the question, “Which of the two wings of an eagle is necessary for flight?”
In other words, it seems to me that Christianity spread because __________ powerful base and
that its leader had risen from the dead, and that relationship with him — this is the
claim, and I’ve experienced it and thousands of other Christians, as well — meant that
they received a new kind of life that gave them moral power, and, therefore, alerted
them internally to social justice and questions of justice, and I’m glad you mentioned it.
I think one of the very impressive things in history is — I was just thinking and reading
about William Wilberforce recently and saying, “Of course, that is a phenomenal thing.” But
one of the questions I have that’s related to this is where does the power come from
to live morally? So, for me, there’s no contradiction in what you say, it’s both and rather than
either/or. Moderator: Just might want to explain, William
Wilberforce was a Christian — I don’t think he was a minister, but —
Dr. Lennox: No, no, he was a minister in the government.
Moderator: − well, okay, a minister in the government, but a deeply believing Christian
in the 18th century who almost singlehandedly, I mean that’s an exaggeration, but was the
driving force behind the movement against slavery that ultimately ended the slave trade
in the world and to the extent that it has been ended, ended slavery in the world. Sorry.
Dr. Lennox: Well, let me come just to the nature of explanation one, the more scientific
ones, and then we’ll get to the one that came from the Skeptics Society, which interests
me greatly. In what sense is saying, “God created the universe but I don’t know what
it means,” any better than saying, “Coo coo ca chuc,” which clearly is a language spoken
only on the UCLA campus. [Laughter] Well, I never said that God created the universe
and I don’t know what it means. I don’t know all that it means, but I’ve certainly got
a lot of ideas on what it means, and so have you. Notions of creation are not unfamiliar
to us, and although we cannot necessarily extrapolate upwards to God and understand
all of the aspects of it, to say that I didn’t know what it means in any sense whatsoever
would simply be false. So, I think that the question in that sense is invalid, it is much
more than coo coo ca chuc, unless coo coo ca chuc actually means, when you translate
it, that God created the universe. [Laughter]
Moderator: I think he’s actually probably from Berkeley. That’s their language. [Laughter] Here are the other questions if you want to
take a look − Dr. Lennox: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Moderator: − at them. Dr. Lennox: Okay.
Moderator: Should I read them out loud so that people — maybe we should do that.
Dr. Lennox: Yeah, we can do that. “What type,” — you read it.
Moderator: You want — okay. Dr. Lennox: No, you read them −
Moderator: All right. One of them says — Dr. Lennox: − and then set them down here
so as I can read them. Moderator: − yeah, “Evolution from a scientific
standpoint is a fact. There are virtually no dissenters,” I think he means, “In the
scientific community. If Genesis did not happen literally, then original sin did not happen,
making Jesus useless. How do you rectify this?” I think maybe it means how do you reconcile
your beliefs — Dr. Lennox: I know exactly —
Moderator: − __________ − Dr. Lennox: − what it means. [Laughter]
Moderator: − and the other questions are shorter than that. The next one is, “What
type of evidence would convince Dr. Lennox that God isn’t real?” I think that’s a good
question. Dr. Lennox: It is.
Moderator: I don’t mean — I think all the questions have been good questions. [Laughter] I’m very judgmental, but not in this setting.
It’s not my role tonight. “If there is a God, why are there bad things happening in this
world?” and the last question is, “We believe in energy because there is physical evidence
for it. Is there physical evidence for the existence of God?”
Dr. Lennox: Okay. Well, let’s have a look quickly. How long have we got, midnight? These
are very interesting, but I must be true to the skeptics up here because we did promise
them, and I’ve got so many friends that are skeptics, actually skeptics. I’m a skeptic.
I’ve spent my life being a skeptic, but I’m very skeptical about some skepticism, but
that’s another matter. One of the questions, I think two of you asked questions, and one
of them had to do with the truth of Christianity, vis-à-vis other religions, when they have
the same experiences. I think I understand what you mean, but I would very much question
having the same experiences, because I meet some religions where the notion of knowing
that you were forgiven would be almost a blasphemy and being certain of it so that they would
not claim to have those same experiences. But I think, really, behind this question
is a very important question, is that we’re in a world with different religions, and how
can I possibly advance the truth of one? Well, it seems to me in the end, skeptic as
I am, I have to ask for evidence. Now, I constantly am talking particularly to my Jewish and my
Muslim friends, of whom I have many, and I was talking to a Muslim friend just the other
day, and he said, “Of course,” he said, “We disagree about some matters of history,” and
I said, “We do, indeed,” and it is the fact, ladies and gentlemen, it is simply the fact
that Judaism believes that Jesus died and did not rise, Islam believes he didn’t die,
and Christianity believes he both died and rose again. They cannot all three be true,
and they are matters of history, and what I would say is we have to decide, and it’s
our personal decision in the end, on the basis of the evidence as we understand it which
one we believe to be true. So, I think there are ways of dealing with
these things, but one thing I would want to say is this: we must be very careful to distinguish
two things, because you will find that religions around the world have got many major elements
in common, as well as many differences, and it seems to me that in our society we need
to recall some of the common elements, and those elements are to be found in our basic
morality. You will find the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as they would that you do to them,”
in every religion and philosophy, including Roman pagan religion, and I think it’s very
important to show mutual respect to one another on that basis. I am making no moral critique
of what my Muslim and Jewish and so on friends about their morality, but they agree with
me that there are these fundamental differences. We can’t resolve the differences, that would
be absurd, we’ve got to live in a society with people free, I hope, to believe and articulate
what they do believe, but I must make my personal decision on the way in which the evidence
leads. Now, the other skeptic question, I think it
was a skeptic question, was if God knows in advance what I’m going to do, is there any
choice in freedom, and this question, of course, has been debated for centuries, and I’m not
about to give a lecture lasting one and a half centuries. No, I’m not, because there
are immense problems in understanding God’s relationship to time, and I think that we
have two easily naïve ideas about it. Why should we assume that God’s knowledge of something
causes it? I see no reason for doing that. Now, we can debate this from now to midnight,
until tomorrow, and we’ll still discover there are differences of opinion, so what do I do?
Well, as a Christian, I try to say what the biblical claim is, and it seems to me it is
two halves. First of all, there is a real sense in which God knows. Secondly, there’s
a real sense in which I have real choice. Indeed, I do not see it is possible to have
such a thing as love in a universe which is deterministic, and that seems to me to be
immensely important. The big thing about my marriage is that I chose my wife, I know why
I did it; she chose me, I wonder why. But − [Laughter] − that freedom of choice is what makes love
possible. In a deterministic world, love wouldn’t be possible. So, I might be very naïve; I
discover a world in which there is love. So, I conclude absolutely, directly that whatever
it is, it is not a deterministic world in the fullest sense. The next question was,
“Is there absolute proof for God?” Well, I did try to say that you only get proof in
my field of mathematics in the rigorous sense. In all other disciplines of science and elsewhere,
we can only give evidence, pointers, and so on. I said only, but I came here on a Boeing
747, I trusted my life to it. I hadn’t absolute proof it would get me to San Francisco. I
can’t prove to you that my wife loves me, but I’d stake my life on it because I feel
there is enough evidence. So, it seems to me that there is evidence. Now, you say, “What is the proof that you
would use? Is there one proof above all others?” No, there isn’t, because we’re all different,
and we all come to this in different ways. So, arguments, you heard Professor Lowenstein
say that earlier, that it’s not the science that would appeal to him so much as something
else. So, I have no sort of, “Here’s the argument,” so to speak. Everybody is different, and that
is one actually of the evidences in itself, that I find the simplest people, the brightest
people, the most humble people, people from all over the world, they can come to a certainty
of knowledge of peace with God through Jesus Christ. That is one of the evidences that
weighs with me. Now, there was a Hume question. I’ll come
to that in a minute. We design things, and so on. Are we in dancer of imposing design
on the universe? Well, we could be, and Hume made this point. But, quite frankly, I would
prefer an explanation that makes sense than one that doesn’t make sense. What I mean by
that is this: there is evidence of designing intelligence in the universe. Now, in my book,
I write about. One of the evidences, to me, is the longest word. We talked about coo coo
ca chuc, but there’s a much longer word than that. It’s the DNA code of the human genome.
Now, whatever natural processes were involved in that, it is a text, and the moment we see
a text that has meaning — four-letter alphabet, 3.5 billion letters long, all in the right
order — the moment we see a text, we infer immediately upwards to intelligence. Three
letters of your name written on the sand on the beach in California here will indicate
to you that a mind has been behind it. Now, if you say, “Ah, but that’s imposing something
on the universe to look at the universe like that,” I say, “Well, half a minute. It makes
sense to ascribe such a text ultimately to a mind. It makes nonsense not to, because
the idea that an unguided, mindless process could produce a text flies contrary to everything
we know. Now, that’s not an up/down argument, but, as I say, I would prefer an explanation
that makes sense to one that doesn’t. Okay, what will I say about Stephen Hawking
and the universe created itself? I’ve written a book on it in the last two months. It’s
called God and Stephen Hawking, and I gave a lecture on it at lunch time, and I can’t
really say anymore about it except that to claim, and here is the central claim of his
book, because there is a law of gravity the universe can and will create itself from nothing.
I think that sentence, that statement contradicts itself at three distinct levels. I’ll just
give you one of them, the one that’s focused by the question. If I say X creates Y, the
words mean that I need to presuppose X to explain Y. If say X creates X, it means I’m
presupposing X to explain the existence of X, and that’s nonsense, even if you set X
equal to the whole universe. So, I think Hawking is actually talking nonsense, and it just
goes to show that nonsense remains nonsense, even if somebody very highly intelligent speaks
it. Now, let’s see how we’re doing. We’re nearly
done, I think. “Evolution is a fact.” Well, now I’m going to be really controversial.
I would want to say, “What do you mean by evolution?” What Darwin observed is one thing,
but that ________-guided processes are responsible for everything is another thing. You can have
a look at my book, but the question is really geared to this: if Genesis is to be taken
literally, and now we come to it — now, I’d love to be able to spend a long time on this
— this notion of literal is a very misleading notion. It has two meanings, actually. When
the ancient thinkers, like Augustine, talked about — well, he wrote a book on the literal
interpretation of Genesis, but he didn’t mean literalistic. By literal, he of the ________
reformers meant that you take a statement in its natural meaning, so if it’s base-level
literalistic, let it be, “Israel was a land.” Okay. But go the next bet, “Flowing with milk
and honey.” What, when the Israelites came into the land, they met a great sticky mess
of honey flowing down the main street?” [Laughter] Well, of course not. It’s a metaphor. It’s
a metaphor, though, for something real, and C.S. Lewis, I do wish they’d teach English
grammar these days in schools. C.S. Lewis taught me a great deal, and the big thing
he taught me about this is that just because a sentence has a metaphor in it, it doesn’t
mean that something real isn’t meant, and people say to me, “Do you take the Bible literally?”
That’s a meaningless statement. Let me put it this way. Jesus said, “I am the door.” [Laughter] Do you take it literally? Well, clearly not.
Ah, but just a moment. Is he a real door? Oh yes, he is. At the higher level, the first
level of metaphor up from the base, he is a real door into a spiritual experience of
God that’s more real than that door over there. You see, we make a mistake when we think that
metaphors mean that it’s not real, but that’s foolishness. We use metaphors. Scientists
do it all the time. Listen to the next time you hear a scientist describing an electron,
and things that buzz around in little orbits. They do no such thing, and so on. But, anyway,
I leave that. But I have actually written a book of this because I got very concerned
about it, and it will appear at some stage later this year. It’s called Seven Days That
Divide the World, and you probably understand what that means. But now, let me come rapidly to the end. Is
there physical evidence for the existence of God? Well, I think I’ve said enough about
that. By physical evidence, I suppose you mean the kind of thing we do in science. I
think there is. I think there’s physical evidence at the level of the change that God can effect
in people’s lives as observable. When an experience of God converts a person from drug addiction
to being a happy, loving husband, that’s physical evidence in a way, isn’t it, and I could spend
a long time talking about that, but I won’t because there are a couple of questions left. “What type of evidence would convince Dr.
Lennox that God isn’t real?” Evidence that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, for instance,
I would take seriously. Christianity is falsifiable, that’s what this question really implies,
in the popperian sense. Of course it’s falsifiable, because it’s testable. Mind you, having lived
for all the great number of years I have to constantly testing my faith, it would take
an enormous amount of evidence, and that’s natural, of course. Just as having lived for
42 years with the same wife, it would take an enormous amount of evidence for you to
convince me that she was being unfaithful, and that’s natural. There’s nothing wrong
with that. But the final question here is the hardest question that’s been asked tonight,
and it’s this: “If there is a God, why do bad things happen to good people?” The problem
of evil and pain. I’ve just come back from New Zealand, sitting,
talking to a woman who was in her office, the earthquake happened, the walls collapsed,
killing instantly the girl at the far side of the table, and she’s left alive, and I
had to give a lecture on this very thing over there. Now, I’m going to suggest two things
to you. If you’re really interested in this question, Google my name in New Zealand and
you’ll find a whole web page dedicated to the lectures packed with students which I
gave on this topic, but I am gonna say something about it. Many of my colleagues _________
open with you. This is the hardest question I face. The badness of people − now, there
are two questions. There’s the question of moral evil. That’s what humans do to other
humans, and I’ve thought of it often as I’ve stood in Auschwitz. Then, there’s the problem
of pain, natural disasters, disease, where there’s no immediate human agency involved.
They’re separate questions, but they’re actually related in a way that I cannot begin to talk
about tonight. Many of my friends, I tell you straight, say,
“Look, all this God talk from science is very interesting and all the rest, but please don’t
talk to me about a personal god. Just look at the evil in the world.” What do I say to
them? Well, often, I say something like this: “Okay, then, there isn’t a God. You’ve solved
the problem. The universe just is as it is. Some people are lucky, and most people are
not, and that’s how it is, and we’ve got to face it and move on.” So, they solved the
problem, but wait a minute. Have they? Have they? Richard Dawkins commenting on the universe
says, “The universe is just as we’d expect to find it if, at bottom, there is no good,
no evil, no justice, ___________ and we dance to its music.” Well, of course, if that is
true, as I pointed out to him, that’s the end of all morality, and I don’t understand
then how he’s criticizing and talking about things that are evil if there isn’t such a
thing, and I think that’s a major problem, for Atheism, actually. But, leaving that aside, coming down to the
sheer practicality of it, Atheism claims to remove the problem, “That’s just how the world
is and we’ve got to face it,” but I notice what it doesn’t remove, and that’s the pain
and the suffering. It’s still there, and we have to face it. So, the Atheist doesn’t have
the problem in one sense; I do, because I still believe in God. So, how do I face it?
Well, I’ll tell you straight, I have no easy answer to it. I haven’t. This world is full
of ragged and jagged and difficult edges, but I don’t despair, and I’ll tell you why
not. I can’t solve the problem of evil. I can’t. So, I ask myself another question.
Granted, there are jagged and ragged and raw questions, particularly for people who are
suffering from earthquakes and disease, and there are inner earthquakes as well as outer
earthquakes, you know. Get a brain tumor, and that will affect you as much as an earthquake
that shifts the tectonic plates on earth. I ask myself this question, ladies and gentlemen,
and very seriously: Is there sufficient ground to trust God, granted that the universe is
as it is? And that brings me back to where Professor
Lowenstein ended the first part of our time together tonight. If that was God on the cross,
ladies and gentlemen, what does it tell me? It tells me many things, but it tells me one
in particular, and that’s this, that God has not remained distant from the problem of human
suffering, but has become part of it. It’s there I see a window into hope, because the
cross was not the end, it led to the resurrection, but there we’ve got to leave it. What a wonderful
audience you’ve been, and, secondly, I want to say that this for me has been one of the
most enjoyable public discussions I have ever had, and it’s thanks to our moderator, Professor
Lowenstein, and I want you to show your appreciation for what he’s done. [Applause]
Moderator: Now I hope we’ll get a round of applause that will put that to shame in a
moment, but I would like to say one word about my experience here tonight, because I’ve been
on the UCLA faculty for more than 30 years now and I’ve made many, many academic presentations,
and I think probably in every single instance, it was because I had or somebody was foolish
enough to believe that I had some expert knowledge of the field, and that’s the way we generally
operate in higher education, and of course it’s very valuable to do that, to take a group
of people who have been studying some question with great diligence, and who have a lot of
knowledge and a lot of understanding, and to get them to exchange ideas, and that’s
one way in which knowledge moves forward. But I think there is an older tradition in
higher education that had a place for a certain kind of amateurism, and I think that’s important,
also, because the questions that we’ve been talking about tonight are too important for
all of us to be left exclusively to the theologians and the philosophers and others who do have
expert knowledge, valuable though their input is. The questions, for example, that I and my
colleagues deal with in the law school, of human society and human justice are also too
important for everybody to be left to a group of specialists. The problems dealt with in
this building, the questions of business, should not be left only to the executives
and to the economists and others with expert knowledge. So, this has been an unusual experience
for me to have an opportunity to engage with somebody who is very knowledgeable on a subject
that is of interest to me but in which I don’t claim to be an expert, and I think that I’ve
enjoyed it a great deal; each of you has to decide for yourself if this was a good format,
but I think there is something good in this. I think this has been a delightful evening
for all of us to have the chance to hear from Dr. Lennox. Obviously, he brings to this not
only very strong convictions of his own and great erudition, but also, I think, a delightful
verve and eloquence, and now, let’s have some real enthusiasm. [Applause]
Announcer: For more information about the Veritas Forum, including additional recordings
and a calendar of upcoming events, please visit our website at veritas.org. [End of Audio]

Danny Hutson

94 thoughts on “[official] Christianity and the Tooth Fairy – John Lennox at The Veritas Forum at UCLA, 2011

  1. You tell him not to assume God and other supernatural things as fact, yet you call them false. I cannot help but point out the hypocrisy in that statement, in that you are assuming God's nonexistence is a fact.

  2. Fulfilled prophecies? You mean self-fulfilling? Nothing impressing with that.

    The bible makes claim about the earth can been seen frop the top of a tree. Thats only possible if the earth is flat.

    Provide evidence for the bible.

  3. This is foolish, Reality proves we are Animals that figured out how to tame fire for better brain food. Deities don't exist & here is evidence proving exactly that.
    TTA Podcast 128: Religion and the Placebo Effect (with Dr. Andy Thomson) The doctor will explain how gods are man made not the other way around 

  4. The rules of God… Worship me or else, sing songs about me or else! ask me to be forgiven for things you have done in your life… or burn for ever… gee what a loving god.

  5. Lennox publically humiliated Dawkins (his own words) , and tore Hitch to shreds…

    Anyone else????

    Kraus perhaps??

  6. OK, So if god does exist, what is the point of him / her hiding (up in the clouds?) for so long, NEVER intervening or interacting with his supposed creation?  I mean, If a rich and limitless parent (god) saw a child starving to death would that parent not be inclined, nay OBLIGED to feed it?

  7. 04:50 to 05:45, what an arrogant man Lennox is – he has just completely guessed the reasons for why the great minds of the enlightenment wanted to explore the truth; and hijacked their great scientific efforts to support his own non-scientific cause.

    Tawdry!

  8. Everything was created through The Word..i.e The Light…….. everything.that is made is. made out of dust. Every created thing in their finite manifest is dust Therefore ALL is dust.  All came from the dust and ALL shall return to the dust t. The Word is the final judge.

  9. evidence…… is key to understanding……..

    knowledge is an sprouted seed
    wisdom is insight unto the unknowable
    understanding is spiritual symbiosis

    SUFFER FOR THE TRUTH, IN THIS WAY SUFFERING BECOMES A VIRTUE AND LIKE TRUTH CAN NO LONGER OFFEND YOU.

    my wife Elizabeth and i would always celebrate our birthdays with lobster as was my preference always as a child growing up. my wife died of cancer and a few years later i was living in a homeless shelter. i had befriended a young kid who has just gotten out of prison. he wanted to have a little party at a friends house on a sat which just happened to be my wife Elizabeth's birthday. i went along with the plan not expecting much to happen and had virtually nothing to do. his party was cancelled at the last moment and i ended up back in the city at the shelter right at lunch time which was very unusual for me to be there at that time. i went in to get something from my room with absolutely no intention of staying as the food was never any good and i had many other places better to eat. when i walked into the common area they had pots of the best lobster stew that you would have a hard time finding in any 5 star restaurant. i believe she sent me a birthday wish from beyond space and time. now this was in a salvation army homeless shelter.  In My Fathers House

  10. just as the air we breath and the sun that sustains life are free,so is the truth. as soon as you try to sell the truth it becomes cancerous. eternal life is a gift that cannot be bought or sold. it was paid in full on a tree for all to see and received by all who choose to be free.

  11. Lennox believes in Christianity because he was raised a Christian.  His parents were Christian, they told him they loved him and god loved him etc.  He maintained his belief after he developed his intellect because he likes the idea of a Christian world with a loving Christian god, not because it makes sense.  Sad to see such a man succumb to wishful thinking.

  12. Lennox says that God and science are not in the same category. Maybe not in his opinion, but it's not true for most of religious people. They ask God for health, for safety, for well being and a lot more in this world. Of course, no one can confirm that God gives them anything like this. On the other hand, science gives them nourishment, medicines for the body and for the mind and also a lot more.

  13. I have notice that a lot of athiest use the slander of insult to justify the emptiness of their destatution . The reason i suspects that they use the slander of insult to justify themselves is because they are an empty vessel for they are forsaken of the genius of logic and the intelligence of reason . If they were truly intelligent then they should be able to articulate themselves with the glory of logic and the wisdom of reason but instead they use the slander of insult which is a clear indication that they are an empty vessel for only emptiness exists between their ears yours sincerly sue me .      

  14. The bibles says that God reveals the mysteries of the kingdom to his friends. The main problem scientist have is that they want to force God to speak to them and show himself when they have no intention of truly knowing him, they just want to prove a point. The point is God will not reveal himself to you because you don't want him. The Holy Spirit is awesome and I wouldn't give him up for nothing. He is the one who confirms God in my life. Again the Holy Spirit comes to those who believe not to those who have disbelieve and need to physically see to believe.

  15. God is going to be God whether you believe in Him or not. In the end we will all stand before him, and it will be too late.

  16. The whole lawyer-investigating-christianity how it emerged from Judaism is basically no argument at all. He says how eloquently he was convinced by this "great man". A big ad hominem+verecundiam nothing. It's not even wrong.

  17. … and again, to refute Hume, he brings up an "expert on Hume" (?) (a Hume's Biographer? So what? The argument stands on it's own!) to say Hume was wrong. IN WHAT WAY? Prove that miracles happen, darn it. It's all an anthology of Ad Verecundiam Fallacies. 

  18. He says people back then understood miracles are improbable, and that is what it makes it a miracle… so let's believe on the Zombie Jesus just because someone said it happened. That's all the evidence we need. Yeah, sure.

  19. Mark lorzada. "Thank you Jesus for your mercy" mark give yourself a break. You do not require the mercy of a fictional person. Escaping from punishment is a disgusting myth. Live your live before its over

  20. People always argue about God vs Science. First of all, there wouldn't have been science if God didn't make anything. If there is a creation then there's a "Creator" and I believe that it's God. And I believe it coz it's in His word.

  21. Prof Lennox is very confident when arguing against the straw men. He claims the idea of (10:40) "There must have been a beginning" was sitting in the Bible for ages and has now been proven by scientists, ergo God is true.
    Does he apply the same logic to Aboriginal Dreamtime stories? Or Hindu beginnings? Or my own made-up idea of a beginning?

  22. Imagine we sent two colonies from Earth to two different planets. Colony A took the Bible with them along with some Christians. Colony B didn't. We checked back on the colonies in 2000 years from now. Would Colony B know anything at all about the 'truth' of Jesus and the universe's creator? Clearly not.

  23. Christians are afraid to accept the truth because they want wealth, entertainment, worldly pleasures and believe their sins erased with just believe jesus is god. Atheist not believe at all. Let those who are hard-hearted with superstition because they had actually booked a ticket to hell. Only people who like to think rationally, study of nature and the wonders of science will find the truth … Allah claimed to be a god who should be worshiped and the Quran is the word of God. Too many warnings from Allah but you all think of jokes, funny stories and fairy tales. Make a thorough study of Islam's from most sacred heart before the reaper invites you. Do not die before you embrace Islam or your place in hell for sure. That's the promise of Allah the god of the universe. The door of repentance is always open to his servants who believe. Make a study before bouncy aimlessly, berate or prejudice. Remember! seek the truth before its too late !!! As Muslim,  i just tell the truth, either accept or reject it is up to you. If you believe in your heart, please be honest to find the correct path… May Allah reward you with hidayah…. 

  24. If Lennox was raised in Iran, he would be Muslim, in India, Muslim or Hindu or perhaps Buddhist , in South Africa, Protestant Christian. He happens to come from Ireland so is a Catholic. Do you see the global problem and underlying obvious link here?

  25. god here. dere is suffering because i separated myself from my omnipotence-omniscience en first became a dinsosaur, den became an ape which i turned into a youman. as a dinosaur i broke my leg, became psychotic, killed de dinosaurs, tried to kill myself by flying into a black hole en came out doubel. dere was me en another space being which had been part of me. perhaps he is truly de pure original. i dont know. i gave it a mind so it would stop chasing me. he is de pain. he became youman as well, after becoming an ape before me. my mind had been corrupted by de dinosaur experience en de black hole en my doubel could control me or perhaps it were my own suspicions dat became reality. i didnt know. we became competitors. it was a game without rules. i wanted to create de illusion of free will through complexity, diversity en help de natural process through competition. i send him back in time with a pack of youmans en he created civilization. i didnt like de outcome so i sabotaged him in de past wid draught. he came en took part of my brain. i had to be reborn as a youman. i had to forget i was god. i had to remain closed. i was not in control of myself. i could not be open for long or dey would find me again en further corrupt my mind. find out more at guacamolski.

  26. If a person in front of me asked to explain the existence of God I would raise my bottle of juice, take a sip and ask him, what did this drink taste like? he wouldn't have an answer. It is exactly the same way with God. In order to understand him you need to experience him.   – But the helper, the holy spirit, whom the father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and to your remembrance all that i have said to you. This is why the bible seems like nonsense to nonbelievers, I know this because I was one of them. There is nothing you can say to an atheist to make him believe in God, for we believe because of faith something they don't understand. Most of them try to hard to make believers become atheists like they are not fully convinced on what they believe. God bless you all!

  27. I've just looked over the replies. The so-called rationalmind appeared to be looking for proof. I can't prove I was dead. Oct 1,2009 around 7pm they tell me I had a Cardiac Arrest. Sat. afternoon I was surprised to see I was in a hospital bed. My short term memory was affected, so I find N.D.E. tales to be questionable. I can tell you something unusual has become a sporadic occurence. Elvis and I were born 33 days apart, so you'll know I'm no spring chicken. I can warn you that you are under a god's control who doesn't want you to know he exists. You are digging a hole he wont't let you get out of. You can't say you were not warned about him because the real Creator told us about him. Satan wanted to replace God, and God agreed he could have the mental giants whom are certain they know best. Think of who will be hurt the most.

  28. The sun ( The star we refer to as ours ) does not even appear to rise or set when viewed from space. A new atheist is an atheist that feels free ( without fear of imprisonment or execution) to openly mock supernatural claims. Most proud Christians don't even understand the meaning  or definition of the word secular. The so called good-old-days were full of very bad outdated ideas that obviously don't belong in the modern world. No child is born believing they are poisoned by original sin. I consider no book from long ago to be divine or sacred especially if the book says you must always call this book letter perfect truth.

  29. I watched but found no arguments for God other than presupposition. The way I understand it, he was supposed to be good at arguing a logical framework for the belief of the christian god.

  30. I'm still waiting for atheists to prove atheism is logical. Instead, i get long-winded gas attacks from them about it. Intelligent atheists have good reasons for being atheists, but then, atheism is dying because most atheists lack reason. Nietzsche warned that this would happen, and that's why atheism is dying.

  31. nope, none of the things that john lennox has said so far is convincing in any way. i am here, i am listening so i would like to think i am open-minded but nothing tickles me so far, other than the point he made about rational beings coming out of an apparently irrational evolutionary process i.e. random. THAT, i can understand.

  32. It seems to me that Lennox sure loves strawman fallacies. He's constantly bringing up inherently flawed analogies and then calling them "nonsense" or "utterly absurd". He has yet to give a single legitimate reason as to why the supernatural aspects of Jesus and the Christian god are any more credible than Thor and Odin, or Hercules and Zeus. He also tends to say "it seems to me" quite often. This isn't necessarily a problem on its own, unless such a discussion is meant to be anything more than sheer armchair speculation – in which case, there isn't really any reason for me to watch this video or care in the slightest about anything Lennox says that isn't about mathematics.

  33. I do not know are much Atheist read the Bible? their talking always like this
    Jeremiah 17:15 ( Prophet that was 500 BC)
    15 Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the Lord? let it come now.

  34. Just curious why an apparently Christian organization named itself after a Roman god? No ill will intended.

  35. It's said that believing in something you can't see is “Blind Faith"
    And I say that Love is blind and yet, it's felt. The love of God is felt.

  36. The Bible (words of God) approves eating meat and it even suggests what animals to slaughter and eat. Are you saying the almighty intelligent designer God could not come up with an intelligent design that does not require slaughter of other animals for survival?

    Do you agree only the hypocrite, narcissist, and egocentric people thank God for creating precious life and also thank God for creating cows, chickens, and lambs to be slaughtered and eaten?

  37. Do we desiring happiness or meaning? I agree the material world of things can not give meaning or happiness of itself. Experiences are nice but need to be shared to give meaning. There is always destruction and death. Sometimes some have to die for others to live.

    The Western world has allowed many cultures and ideas to die as it has taken on new culture and ideas. We should all follow what is good and let the old die.

    We should be like the Phoenix.
    That is my take. Is that a self-deception?

  38. Why is there suffering?
    First off I will answer directly, the Christian God does not want people to suffer or any other creature to suffer. But that does not mean that God does not allow suffering to happen. Now a omnipotent, omniscient, judgmental, loving, long suffering God seems like an oxymoron. If God is who He is claimed to be couldn't He decide to design a world without suffering. I have to say NO He couldn't do that, it must not be possible even for God or He would of. From before the creation of the Universe God considered what it would take and suffering was one of those things considered. But His fellowship said as long as we are together in this we can bare the suffering. The Universe was created in suffering, suffering is part of the "good" in the declaration of building the Universe. We all suffer and God more than any other, and I am not just talking of Christ's suffering on the cross, though that has particulate significance to us. But suffering can be endured if there is family and fellowship. Christ is also a witness that God allows suffering. Christ considered the price in the garden and decided it was a price worth for making a family fellowship. He decided to allow our sin to flail His body and torment His Spirit to the cross if that would change our spirit and bring us into His family. There is suffering but life is not so much of where you are but who you are with.

  39. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam believe there's one god who speaks to humanity via revelation. Nevermind that the big 3 religions grew up in the same neighborhood and during practically the same time period to attribute their similarities to each other; Yet every geographically separate human population over history came up with differing religions ranging from animistic, to naturalistic, to polytheistic and monotheistic, to atheistic. So, does John Lenox's position on the Christian worldview in regards "revelation" pass the "coherence test" based on an objective view of natural history, world religions, and anthropology? I'd say, no.

    Further, have biblical revelations on the nature and evolution of the cosmos been scientifically correct? Not even. Conflicting accounts of creation, plants put on earth before the sun, the craziness that is the entire book of Revelations….

    I disagree with the Christian assertion God operates outside of time and space. It's special pleading at best. The Christian assertion is that life cannot arise from non-life, so God does not escape the reasoning if "he" is in fact conscious and living. If life arises from chemistry, god still requires an origin into complexity and consciousness ex nihilo. Further, if you cannot, or do not, act in space, or upon matter in time, nothing happened.

    Mysteries are seemingly just a code word for "we don't know." I agree with Lennox on that notion.

    It's always suspect to me that people believe that an all-powerful, ever-present deity (who supposedly operates outside of time and space (uhem, contradiction!) reveals itself through ancient books or even other humans versus being identifiable to basic observation by a child. My daughter is 6. If she's asking "are gods are real" and she doesn't have an answer without me leading her, I'm pretty sure 6 years of data, and not having an observable answer is an interesting data set to the contrary assertion.

  40. it's so interesting that John Lennox spent time with Antony Flew from whose book "There IS A God! How The World's Most Famous Atheist Changed His Mind" (and heat) I have quoted extensively as required reading. May the Most High bless you, John! With great love, from America.

  41. good try, professor lennox. starting out with the argument @ 11:20 that "the idea that god is not a theory simply, he's a person and that raises the whole question whether we can have a relationship with god that can reasonably be described in terms of knowledge". you're starting in the wrong place sir. why should we believe that there is a god in the first place? if you have personal knowledge, put it on the table sir, we would all love to see.

  42. The Christian faith is like a long rope pulled tight. In one direction the rope stretches out behind us, disappearing into the distance past. The rope is anchored in that direction at a point at which the God who created all things, including time, became a human being in our time, lived, suffered, died ans was raised again from the dead. The rope runs straight and true from that distant anchor planted long ago in our history, into the dim future, our future, which we are told is ultimately gathered into God’s eternal present, the “eternal now,” to borrow Paul Tillich’s phrase….
    “ is there any meaning to it [our transient and insignificant existence] all?” we ask.
    Many voices answer, “No”. There is no meaning except perhaps the meaning we wish to assign to life.”
    But Brunner reminds us,” The Word of God, the Creator of all these suns and races” say, “Yes! You mean something ! You mean something to God!”
    We have meaning, Brunner says, because we belong to God, who created us and because the God who created us loves what he made. Beyond this life of contingency and transience “ is another life that longs to break forth” on us. “It has broken forth once in Jesus Christ, The Risen Lord, and it will break forth” for us all in the Resurrection.
    This other life is Eternal life. It is the quality of this eternal life, which has broken in upon our existence in Jesus Christ, that both judges our shattered existence and gives it meaning, that both reveals our human frailties and points beyond our frailties to God’s purpose to make us like Christ.
    (p.251)
    Invitation to Theology , Michael Jinkins

  43. look up dawkins gets owned, you'll find it everywhere. same with dicarlo, schermer and Krauss but lennox NEVER gets owned. we have our answer, ignorant atheist do not

  44. Concerning the issue of suffering if there is a God, I'd like to add that God created the world perfect until sin entered and it became a broken world. But Christianity gives hope where atheism does not. As the Bible says, "If only in this world we (Christians) have our hope, we are of all men most miserable."It also says "In this world you will have tribulations, but be of good cheer, because I have overcome the world."

  45. Any Social Entity such as UCLA as University ,almost all the churches and countries and communist based on illuminati (Political Engine) is not trust worthy to even engage for killing some time. Univercitse are the center of creating illuminati zombies all over the world, so I will leave the comment to speak out about the face of our corrupt world that will end by recent AI-Robotic evolution that is total Demonic.

  46. I’ve listened to enough John Lennox to have developed a rather poor opinion of his style of reasoning on the questions of reality, God, and Christianity. He begins with what seems an objective statement, then typically alludes to some scientific or metaphysical criteria, theory, or notion, and then, before really applying analysis and logic to his loosely formulated thesis, dodges to an anecdote or some version of reasoning from ignorance. (He does it repeatedly. You don’t know, I don’t know, and therefore one, two, skip a few Jesus.) Intellectually, this is extremely unsatisfying and avoids the really hard work of a good answer. I say this as a theist. We have to be able to do better than this Deepak Chopra nonsense. St. Paul laid the challenge in 1 Corinthians 11-15, that if Christ is not risen, then we have but hope for this life and are all most pitiable. Dodging the difficult question with babble-speak isn’t going to win the day. Not at all.

  47. What a truly awful performance this was from Lennox. I'd heard that he was quite good, but here, particularly during the last 20-30 minutes, he was just spouting out a mixture if evasions, stalling tactics and irrelevant anecdotes.

  48. Starting on 6:07 is one awesome part: It is unintelligent to assume “the nature of explanation…. either God or science…. extremely wrongheaded…. God and science is not in the same categories…”

  49. Speaking of Jesus and the tooth fairy, did Jesus have all his teeth? Most primitive people without modern dental care lose many of their teeth by age 30. Did Christ look like a gap-toothed hillbilly?

  50. …Christian God, Jesus(God) in the flesh invites believers in Him, to enter the Kingdom (of -His), Heaven. It does appear Heaven is not overly crowded…which suggest all religions but the Catholic faith will not go to Jesus's Heaven. One can suppose because He is forgiving, it will take only one magic word: I believe in Jesus!…to get a free pass to heaven. At this point the population of Jews and Muslims in Christ's heaven is next to none.

  51. I can explain it to you, but I cannot understand it for you:
    —– Birds in a cage think flying is a mental illness.

  52. Placing tooth fairy in the same plain with the Judeo-Christian God is grossly unreasonable; it's a complete mockery of the argument. Is there any serious evidence of any kind for the tooth fairy?

  53. Nothing always produces nothing; something always produces something! Bang goes the Big Bang myth!

    Many people overlook Creation, Medical Science, Marriage between Male and Female and procreation. Genesis chapter 2 does just that.

    In addition, the Holy Bible hints at the fact that the RIB has the ability to regrow just like our baby (milk) TEETH; a revelation from our Creator which Medical Science is making use of in a very good way.

    Has science proved the Big Bang? Absolutely not. Has Darwinism been proven scientifically? Absolutely not! It is a belief! Get use to it.

    The Christian God (YAHweh) is UNCREATED. He is outside time and the universe just as builders live outside the buildings the build. The SUN is TWO in ONE – light and heat, and yet are One just as our Creator is Three in One!

  54. Can anyone imagine if another religion was to emerge and claim the central tenet of Islam was not true? Islam does not believe in "do unto others as you would want them to do unto you" Allah and Muhammad love Muslims but hate all Infidels which is a commandment. Check it up. This is the reason why some Muslims behead non-Muslims as their service to what they believe in.

  55. Everyone– look into global climate change. Now. I once ignored it. Not so, anymore.– The earth IS grossly overpopulated ( we are far past Genesis in history) and it matters. Build up of even a little CO2 gases in the atmosphere matters a lot. If fine-tuning of the earth's atmosphere is disrupted only slightly (and it has been), polar caps melting, solar flares, cataclysmic storms and floods… the point is that the oceans are rising and absorbing the intense heat, but that cannot continue. Forests cannot absorb the excess CO2 because they are dwindling. The earth is getting hotter by the decade. This is a major, rapid change since 1900 and the industrial revolution. This causes unstable low swings in winter as well. What does this mean? Basically, human extinction by 2050 or nuclear war becomes mandatory in order to take most of us out so a few can live.
    NASA isn't concerned about the moon. They are watching the earth's atmospheric and topographical changes by satellite. All these satellites cost a fortune, but are necessary to measure the rapid changes taking place in every area of the world. Check it out and please be open-minded. God help us. Understand that birth control was practiced by Jews and other peoples throughout history for good reasons. Now– the population is totally out of control.

  56. "Science exploded in the 16th century"
    ….thus demonstrating that it had no correlation to Christianity, established 1,600 years before.
    In fact, the rise of science correlates with the Enlightenment and the Reformation, which diminished the influence of religion and the church.
    Furthermore, nothing in the Bible or the Christian faith demands that the universe be explainable. In fact, they claim exactly the opposite.
    Religion is, and always has been, a retardation on the progress of knowledge.

    To sum things up: Lennox is full of crap.

  57. The "God explanation" is not an explanation at all. It is not even a hypothesis. It is merely a conjection.
    Poor John Lennox needs to learn some epistemology and some philosophy of science.

  58. "There was a beginning".
    Silly John seems to think that was a testable hypothesis. It was not. It was not based upon any form of observation. As Dawkin's shrewdly points out, there either was a beginning or there wasn't a beginning, so the Bible had a 50/50 chance of being correct.
    Furthermore, the claim was not merely "There was a beginning". It was "There was a beginning, and the universe was created in seven days, and these items were created in this order, and man was made from mud, and woman was made from man's rib…"
    By any scientific standard, Genesis fails miserable.

    Every video Lennox makes is further proof the he is a mental lightweight.

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