Cosmology, Apologetics and the Will To Believe

Cosmology, Apologetics and the Will To Believe
Presented by James Garth at the ISCAST Vic Intensive 2010


James Garth, BEng (Aero) (Hons), MAIAA, AMRAeS, is a practicing aerospace engineer and a Fellow of ISCAST. He has worked in the aerospace industry for over ten years in the disciplines of design engineering, structural analysis and project management, on a range of aircraft and rotorcraft projects. 

Aim: To explore how insights from modern cosmology can be responsibly incorporated into the contemporary Christian apologetic discourse, and examine what, if any, scriptural, philosophical or theological limitations exist on this process.


In the past few decades popular Christian apologetics has undergone something of a resurgence, with a significant re-evaluation and return to prominence of several classical arguments for the existence of God. Various discoveries from modern cosmology are claimed to support – or at least be consistent with – philosophical arguments such as the kalaam cosmological argument and the ‘fine-tuning’ of life-friendly universal laws. Certain scriptural passages are sometimes invoked to support the contention that the universe had a beginning in space-time, is governed by consistent natural laws, is expanding, and so on. However, the practice of using these very same scriptures, with apologetic intent, to support positions that are pseudoscientific – or even ‘urban myths’ – remains widespread. Why is this so? To what degree is ‘wish-fulfilment’ at play here? And could the more sophisticated and ‘reputable’ arguments currently in vogue also be vulnerable to these same psychological impulses? How much consonance with modern cosmology can be honestly and legitimately derived from ancient biblical texts? Can the sacred texts of other religions also successfully appropriate modern science, or are the biblical insights unique? And how much time should biblical theists even invest in championing these arguments, if there is a risk that the underlying science could conceivably change or be overturned in the future?

This discussion will consider these questions using examples that are both positive and negative; serious and light-hearted, to derive an apologetic that is robust, scriptural, authentic and intellectually honest.

Additional Information: This discussion will be of particular interest to students who have engaged in, or wish to engage in, these sorts of discussions on campus.

Download mp3 - Talk [44 Mb]  [Full quality]


 Download mp3 - Talk [14 Mb]   [Lo-res version]

Download ppt - Notes [3Mb]




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