Month: May 2011

The Theology of “Love Wins”: The Gospel

In the first article of this review, I touched upon the nature of God and His attributes. Rob Bell’s vision of God’s attributes, as described in his controversial new book Love Wins, was compared and contrasted with the scriptures. In his writing, Bell seems very comfortable with the Love of God, but shows little interest in interacting with attributes of God he is not personally comfortable with.

The Bible teaches that God manifests all of his attributes all the time. They exist in perfect harmony with one another. There are no contradictions within the nature of God (e.g. love vs justice). As I wrote in the previous article, on this issue Rob Bell does not rightly divide the Word of truth.

Pastor Rob BellError usually enters a church or denomination when the whole counsel of God is not seriously considered. Often, blinded by pet doctrines or new theological fads, the leadership will pick and choose from the scriptures to feed certain doctrines while ignoring those scriptures which refute or qualify them. In effect, they create a god in their own image; One they can be personally comfortable with.  Before long,  this new theology becomes church doctrine. I believe that this is the case with Rob Bell. It seems as if Bell wants to scold the God of the universe for manifesting any attributes not conforming with his personal theology.

In this article, the second in the series, the version of salvation presented in Love Wins will be contrasted with Biblical salvation. My contention is that if a person attempts to come to God on their own terms, that person will end up eternally separated from God; God has the right to set down the terms for a person’s salvation. He has done so clearly in His word.

Let’s start by looking at specific statements from Rob Bell’s book concerning how a person is saved.

If the message of Jesus is that God is offering the free gift of eternal life through him – a gift that we cannot earn by our own efforts, works or good deeds – and all we have to do is accept and confess and believe, aren’t those verbs? And aren’t verbs actions? Accepting, confessing, believing — those are things we do. Does that mean then, that going to heaven is dependent on something I do? How is any of that Grace? How is that a gift? How is that Good News? Isn’t what Christians have always claimed set their religion apart – that it wasn’t in the end a religion at all – that you don’t have to do anything because God has already done it through Jesus.” (Love Wins – 11)

It is here that we encounter one of the most serious errors in Rob Bell’s book: a radically distorted understanding of the Gospel. For Bell, as stated in this passage and in many other passages throughout his book, salvation is a universal fact. When Jesus died on the Cross, salvation wasn’t just available to everyone who believes, but everyone, regardless of whether they actually believe the Gospel or not, is saved. According to Bell, the “Good News” really isn’t “good” if one has to place their faith in Jesus to be saved. Bell believes that the mainstream view of salvation is just plain wrong; It is anything but Good News. As far as he’s concerned, Jesus died and as a result, everyone is saved . Personal Trust in Jesus is not required.

However, according to the Bible, neither Jesus nor his Apostles taught anything like Bell’s universal salvation. It must be remembered that Jesus of Nazareth presented clear and undeniable credentials to show that he had authority to speak for God the Father on earth. Moreover, he claimed to be God. He backed up this claim by fulfilling Old Testament prophesy, performing miracles and then rising from the dead.

So then, if we claim to believe the Bible, we must also believe that Jesus has the right and the authority to spell out the terms of salvation. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead alone validates everything he taught during his 3 ½ year ministry. I would hope and pray that Rob Bell would not disagree with this as being the foundation for why we as Christians accept the authority of Jesus.

What this all boils down to is this question: “What is the Message of the Gospel?” Rob Bell asks this same question in many different ways throughout the first chapter of his book. The content of the Gospel involves the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Consider the following passages:

“Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. – Luke 24:44-48

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve – 1 Corinthians 15:1-8

Jesus Teaching his ApostlesThus, the Gospel involves what Jesus did for us, on our behalf. We could not save ourselves. We did nothing to earn God’s sending of his Son. Yet, contrary to many statements that Rob Bell makes throughout the book, Jesus’ death and Resurrection for our salvation does not mean that everyone in the world is automatically saved. A person needs to believe that what Jesus did, He did for him or her individually. Consider the words of Jesus:

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lift0ed up; 15so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” – John 3:14-18

I would suppose that Bell could easily go along with John 3:16,17, because Jesus talks about how God sent him into the world to redeem it and not to judge it. But I wonder what Bell would say concerning verse 18. Would Bell tell Jesus that he was not presenting Nicodemus with Good News because those who do not believe in Him already stand condemned for not believing in Him? Would Bell find fault with Jesus for spelling out the consequences of rejecting his specific gift of salvation? Is Jesus, in verse 18, being too narrow minded and unloving for Rob Bell? Is Rob Bell more loving than the Son of God himself?

“What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” – John 6:27-29

“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” – John 6:40

Based on these passages ALONE, we can get a very clear understanding of what Jesus deemed to be necessary for salvation. Jesus said that personal trust and belief in Him was absolutely necessary for a person to be saved.

Bell would say that there is nothing gracious in God instructing people to believe in Jesus for salvation. Bell would say this is too narrow. For Bell., God would have been much more loving if, at the moment that Jesus died , He had automatically forgiven everyone and not put a burden on people by declaring, through the preaching of the Apostles, that one must individually believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. That sounds narrow and not grace filled for Rob Bell.

The Apostles also stated that personal trust in Jesus and what did is necessary for salvation. Peter stated twice that personal trust in Jesus and the turning away from sin are necessary for salvation.

“Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” – Acts 2:38

“And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” – ACTS 10:42-43

Paul the ApostleThe Apostle Paul, the Apostle of Grace, also stated many times that while there was nothing that we could have done to motivate God in the sending of his Son for our salvation, there is something that we need to do to receive that salvation personally. That one thing is believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and in what He did in his death and resurrection for our salvation. Consider the following four passages below from God’s Word.

”……suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” – Acts 16:26-31

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where then is boasting? It is excluded By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” – Romans 3:21-24

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” – Romans 5:1-2

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” -Ephesians 2:8

Peter the ApostleNow if Peter, Paul and the rest of the Apostles stated that one needs to put his or her personal trust in Jesus for salvation, how can Rob Bell come along and state that the Apostles were not really full of grace, did not understand that salvation is a gift and did not have a correct understanding of what the Good News is? Peter traveled with Jesus during his 3 ½ year ministry. Peter saw Jesus’ mighty miracles and heard his powerful sermons? Peter was an eyewitness of the Resurrected Jesus. Jesus vested Peter with Apostolic authority and power to proclaim the Gospel.

Does Rob Bell know something more than what Peter experienced? Has Rob Bell seen the physically resurrected Jesus like Peter and Paul did, which officially made them Apostles? Does Bell know more about the Grace of God than Peter, Paul and the rest of the Apostles? People’s souls are at stake when they read Rob Bell’s book “Love Wins” and come away with a false sense of security thinking it’s okay if they reject what Jesus did for them on the cross,……because they are already automatically saved by the cross anyway regardless of what they do with The cross. False security is the worse kind of security!

The Theology of “Love Wins”: The Attributes of God

Guest Post by IBD contributor Kyle Larson

Let’s face it, controversy sells. In today’s media-driven, instant-access society, we are prone to skip the facts and report the controversy. The endgame being, of course, to sell more books, gain more viewers or entice readers to frequent your awesome blog. When we hear about Rob Bell’s latest book and the very controversial nature of its content, one wonders if this is what he had in mind. Rather than a treatise on the nature of salvation, one wonders if this a response to the shrinking bottom line. This would explain why someone so well respected as Rob Bell would create a book like Love Wins.

Love WinsIn this book, Rob Bell lays out his philosophy concerning both the nature of God and the extent of His salvation. When reading it, the first thing that came to mind, at least for me, were the controversies that plagued the early church regarding the nature of Christ. From the beginning of Christianity, the apostles taught that Jesus was both God and Man at the same time. For this reason, their writings in the New Testament speak about both the deity and humanity of Jesus. In the early church, neither aspect of Christ’s nature was overemphasized or under emphasized at the expense of the other. Yet during the first three centuries, each new heresy regarding the nature of Christ either overemphasized his deity at the expense of his humanity or overemphasized his humanity at the expense of his deity; Both extremes are simply different forms of the same heresy which denies that Jesus is fully God and fully man.

When reading Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins, one sees the overemphasis of one of God’s attributes at the expense of others. Bell is absolutely correct in emphasizing that God is Love. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible describes the Christian God as a God of Love. There are many passages in the New Testament that state that God sent his Son into the world out of pure and perfect love for humanity.

When we look at the book of Psalms in the Old Testament for example, we see a great emphasis on the love of God. It’s hard to miss. Yet, the book of Psalms clearly speaks of other attributes of God. The book of Psalms, as well as the rest of Scripture, maintains an emphasis on God as a being with many attributes, each an equal part of the whole. If one overemphasizes God’s holiness at the expense of his love or goodness, we come up with an inaccurate picture of who God is. This is true regardless of what attribute of God is being overemphasized. If one attends a church where the wrath of God is always preached on and the love of God is hardly mentioned, that church has lost balance. In the same way, if God’s love is overemphasized at the expense of his holiness or wrath, then that church too is off balanced.

Rob BellThis off balanced understanding of God’s attributes begins in chapter 1 of Love Wins, which is entitled “What About The Flat Tire?” In it, Bell asks a series of questions regarding the nature of God when it comes to the eternal punishment of the unsaved. Bell asks if God can still be loving if He allows people to be lost in Hell.

Does God punish people for thousands of years with infinite eternal torment for things they did in their few finite years of life?”

What kind of faith is that? Or more important, What kind of God is that?”

The ONLY way that we can discover what God is like is by reading what He has revealed about himself in his Word, the Bible. We don’t have to guess what God is like; He has told us. While there are some specific attributes of God that will be explored in this article, there are some very fundamental basics concerning the attributes of God that need to be made clear at the very beginning.

God has no beginning and end; He is eternal. (Exodus 3:14) No other being can say this. God is the creator who created all other things (Genesis 1:1). God is Omnipotent. This means that God has all power and is unlimited. (Jeremiah 32:17, Jeremiah 43:13, Jeremiah 49:`19) God is also Omniscient; He knows all things. (Job 37:16, Psalms 139:2-4, Matthew 6:8) God is also Omnipresent; He is fully present everywhere at the same time all the time. (I Kings 8:27, Psalms 93:3-5, Psalms 139:7-10)

With these basic attributes of God in place, we can now deal some other specific attributes of God as they relate to Rob Bell’s latest book Love Wins.

GOD IS HOLY

God is holy in that He is separate from all creation. The primary reason for this is that God is not a creature. He has no beginning and no end. All creatures have a beginning at some point in time. Not so with God. Being therefore holy, God cannot stand in the presence of evil or sin

Several passages in the Old Testament speak of the Holiness of God:

“Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders?” – Exodus 15:11

‘For I am the LORD your God Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth. For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.'” – Leviticus 11:44-45

“There is no one holy like the LORD. Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God” – 1 Samuel 2:2

 

GOD IS RIGHTEOUS AND JUST

Painting of God from the Sistine ChapelThe Greek word for “righteous” means “to be just”. God, being the God revealed in scripture, cannot be anything other than totally just and righteous. If we believe the scriptures, and Rob Bell claims this, God will forever be righteous and can do nothing wrong; That would be against His nature.

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether” – Psalm 19:9

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Loving kindness and truth go before You.” – Psalm 89:14

In the second passage particularly, we see several attributes of God together, all in perfect harmony with each other.

God is absolutely holy and righteous along with being absolutely and perfectly loving. All of God’s attributes are in perfect harmony with each other because of who God is. For Rob Bell to elevate only one attribute of God, his love, while deemphasizing other attributes of God he may not be comfortable with is not accurately handling the word of truth. Only after balancing all of his attributes, each perfectly working together, are we offered an accurate and complete and accurate picture of who God is.

GOD IS MERCIFUL

The Mercy of God is emphasized throughout the Bible:

The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations.’ 19“Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness, just as You also have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” – Numbers 14:18-19

O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His loving kindness is everlasting.” – Chronicles 16:34

The priests stood at their posts, and the Levites also, with the instruments of music to the LORD, which King David had made for giving praise to the LORD–‘for His loving kindness is everlasting'” – 2 Chronicles 7:6

Rob Bell does a good job giving many other passages throughout the book that speak of God’s love and mercy. We have no argument with Rob Bell here.

THE WRATH OF GOD

Yet the Bible also solemnly speaks about the Wrath of God. Some of these passages include the following:

… and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.” – Exodus 22:24

“Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.” – Exodus 32:10

“When he fills his belly, God will send His fierce anger on him and will rain it on him while he is eating” – Job 20:23

These are just a few of the many passages that speak of the Wrath of God

God’s mercy and God’s wrath are not contradictions , rather, as Dr. Norman Geisler explains in his Systematic Theology series, God’s Wrath acts upon one person and his mercy on another person. It would be contradictory to say a person is both a Christian and a non Christian at the same time and therefore also a contradiction for this person to end up both in Heaven and Hell at the same time. Rob Bell would be correct if he reached this conclusion, but he never follows his own reasoning to this conclusion. In fact, he peppers the book with statements on how terrible God would be if He sent a person to Hell for rejecting Jesus.

In writing about a situation in which a person hears the Gospel, rejects it and later on that same day dies in a car accident, for God to send that person to Hell, Rob Bell writes:

God would, in essence, become a fundamentally different being to them in that moment of death, a different being to them forever. A loving heavenly Father who will go to extraordinary lengths to have a relationship with them would, in the blink of an eye, become a cruel, mean, vicious tormenter who would ensure that they had escape from an endless future of agony. If there was an earthly Father who was like that, we would call the authorities. If there was an actual human dad who was that volatile, we would contact child protection services immediately. If God can switch gears like that, switch entire modes of being that quickly, that raises a thousand questions about whether a being like this could ever be trusted, let alone be good.” (Love Wins, pg 174)

This statement reveals a serious misunderstanding of the immutability of God. God is unchanging in his nature and in all of his attributes. He retains all of his attributes at all times. He doesn’t discard one attribute in order to display another of his attributes. Again, all of God’s attributes work together in perfect harmony, but they are also eternally constant and unchanging in nature.

GOD IS UNCHANGING IN HIS NATURE

“Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” – 1 Samuel 15:29

“Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.” – Psalm 102:26-27

“For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” – Malachi 3:6

Bell uses certain words to describe God’s right to exercise his attributes of justice and righteousness. Some of these words include: “vicious”, “cruel” and “relentless”. It’s almost as if Bell is saying to God, “You can display only your attribute of Love. If you manifest any of your other attributes, such as justice, righteousness or Your wrath, then you are cruel and mean and vicious.” But if that were the case, then is Bell appealing to some greater being than the God of the Bible? He must if he is going to use some other standard or a measuring line to judge the God of the Bible. Of course, this simply cannot be the case if Rob Bell truly believes there is only one eternal being, the God of scripture.

In a related extended passage from the Book, Bell writes:

… if your God is loving one second and cruel the next, if your God will punish people for all eternity for sins committed in a few short years, then no amount of clever marketing, or compelling language or good music or great coffee will be able to disguise that one true, glaring, unacceptable, awful reality.” (Love Wins 175)

Bell also says that this kind of God has something “wrong” with Him. (Love Wins 175)

Again, what is Bell’s standard of measurement? Does he know a God greater than the God of the Bible to whose greater moral standard he can appeal? Bell, who cannot stand a God of judgment, ends up judging God himself. Words such as “cruel”, “mean”, “vicious” and “wrong” are all words that imply a judgment. The two previous extended quotations from Love Wins remind us of the long series of questions that God asked of Job, who was questioning the way that God does things.

Then the LORD said to Job, ‘Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it.’ Then Job answered the LORD and said, Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth. Once I have spoken, and I will not answer; Even twice, and I will add nothing more.’

Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm and said,Now gird up your loins like a man; I will ask you, and you instruct Me. Will you really annul My judgment? Will you condemn Me that you may be justified? Or do you have an arm like God, And can you thunder with a voice like His?’” – Job 40:1-3,6-9

Is Rob Bell a fault finder of God? Is Rob Bell reproving God for being who is He in his very essence, nature and attributes? Is Rob Bell trying to instruct the eternal God who has all power, knows all things and is everywhere present at the same time? Is Rob Bell trying to annul the righteous judgments of God? Is Rob Bell condemning God so that he can be justified in his understanding of who God is? These are serious questions that Rob Bell needs to answer

GOD IS THE CREATOR

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk or who laid its cornerstone … “ – Job 38:4-6

GOD IS ALL POWERFUL (OMNIPOTENT)

“Have you entered into the springs of the sea Or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? Have you understood the expanse of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this.

Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth a constellation in its season and guide the Bear with her satellites? Do you know the (ordinances of the heavens, Or fix their rule over the earth?” – Job 38:16-18,22

As we conclude this first article, we can only hope that Bell’s response will be the same as that of Job

Then Job answered the LORD and said, I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.'” – Job 42:1-6

Question: Why Jesus and not Thor?

As you know, the Institute receives its fair share of email. Often it’s questions about the Institute, our educational programs or feedback on an article. Every so often, however, we receive a question about theology. Here, for example, is one we received recently:

I was hit with this one while talking about the historical and archaeological evidence for the Bible. The atheist said … “There are tons of evidence for THOR, but you chose not to believe in him … you’re just being a picker and a chooser with whom you worship.”

What do you say to that? Why is the historical THOR ~ thunder god a myth and ours isn’t. Just curious what you thought.

Classic Depitction of ThorIn response, yours truly, webmaster for the Institute is offering a reply:

This is actually a rather common fill-in-the-blank question. You could just as easily insert other mythical characters like: Oden, Zeus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It originates from a giant chum bucket of atheist talking points circulating on the internet. All of these types of questions have the same response.

First of all, everyone chooses whom to worship; Whether it is yourself, a deity or  the universe, the need to worship is human nature. Second, if we claim that a deity (or deities, impersonal forces, etc) exist,  evidence of their existence should be available to support that claim. Without any real evidence, our claim is very weak and our faith most likely misplaced. Since, without faith from God, people naturally choose a deity based on whatever purely selfish criteria they wish, the evidence portion of their faith can often left behind in favor or personal preference or pragmatism.

Let’s face it, everyone is a “picker and chooser” of whom to worship; After all, we could just as easily choose to worship Satan, the earth or ourselves. For Christians, we believe that it is God who gives faith. Each believer is chosen by God to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. All others, atheists included, then either choose the god that makes the most practical sense or one that fits into the mold of their personal desires.

For example, in Muslim countries, people choose to be “culturally” Muslim to avoid persecution. In India, many choose Hinduism to assuage their innate guilt for ignoring the countless poor while giving their lives some meaning. In Europe, guilt over blatant hedonism has lead to a surge of Atheism; The government takes the place of God (deciding right and wrong) while the converts get to do whatever they please, guilt free; Like a gay pride parade, these hedonistic atheists revel in their shame like a pig wallows in its own muddy filth.

So then, why would anyone not a Christian find worshiping Jesus more valid than worshiping Thor? For the practical purpose of removing stumbling blocks to the faith, the answer must come down to evidence. If someone makes a positive claim (e.g. God exists), we should expect to see some evidence that it’s true. It would be foolish for us to claim that God exists without providing reasons why.

However, we can’t absolutely prove or disprove anything existing purely in the supernatural realm. We can only have confidence based on the probability of something being true. For example, if you used the evidence available, would you say there’s a higher probability of there being no supernatural realm (atheist position) or that one exists (everyone else’s position). You would need to take into account: near death experiences, death and revival experiences (memories of real events while dead), miracles (resurrection of Jesus), visions of the future seen in dreams, the powers of darkness (as seen in the occult) and your own experiences with God (which are not to be discounted). As you can see, we have a strong line of evidence for the existence of a supernatural realm.

In the same way, stating that there “are tons of evidence for Thor” is certainly not the same as presenting that evidence. It also doesn’t bring the probability of his existence up to the level that we have for the God of the Bible. For the Bible, we can visit the places it references, see the results of the miracles, test the validity of the prophesies and examine philosophy to see if this God really exists.

Let’s be honest. You can’t say the same for Thor. The .0005% chance that Thor and the pantheon of Norse gods exists (based on available evidence) is not equivalent to the 99% chance that the God of the Bible does. That’s comparing apples with oranges; Only someone who is clueless about the available evidence would make such a baseless claim.

Did Thor rise from the dead or part the Red Sea? Did Thor cause a virgin to conceive or raise Lazarus after rotting in the tomb? Did Thor deliver prophesy concerning specific events and people hundreds of years in advance? The clear answer is no. Christians are ready to defend the God of the Bible with real evidence.

On the other hand, the atheists are rarely ready to defend their position. Stating that “God exists” is a religious statement. Equally religious is the statement, “God does not exist”. Both state a theory about the supernatural realm that people “believe” to be true. Don’t let an atheist fool you into believing that they don’t have to defend their position.

“Feeling” that the supernatural realm is all nonsense or “believing” that there’s no evidence for it certainly does not make it true; The Mormon has “feelings” and “beliefs” as well about a 19th century book of fiction. It is up to atheists to show that “matter is all there is”. Watch them start appealing to made-up, imaginary things (multiverses, inflation theory, etc) … and they call Christians deluded.

In short, the evidence for the God of the Bible is much greater than the evidence against Him. The same can not be said of Thor.