Unanswerable Arguments

The Sadducees denied the resurrection and had an argument that seemed irrefutable. It involved a woman married to seven brothers in succession. If there is a resurrection, they argued, which of these men will be her husband? This argument appeared to be so powerful that the Sadducees tried to pin Jesus with it. The Lord easily dismantled their reasoning when He stated that there will be no marriage in the resurrection (Matt. 22:29-32).

Anthony Flew was a well known atheist for most of his life. In a 1950 article against believing in God he used what he called the “parable of a gardener.” In this story he challenged believers to explain how believing in God is any different from believing in an imaginary gardener who can’t be seen, heard, or touched. This short argument became famous among atheists. They loved it. Over fifty years later Flew changed his mind and said he was no longer an atheist. The parable he wrote to discourage believers no longer carried weight with him. In the end he said this and all the complex arguments he had used to disprove God were wrong.

Hall L. Calhoun was a very educated man. He was the first preacher in churches of Christ to earn the Ph.D. degree which he received from Harvard. Calhoun, however, sympathized with the Christian church’s use of instrumental music in worship. He set forth an “unanswerable argument” to justify using an organ during the singing of hymns. The simple fact that a man of Calhoun’s intelligence produced the argument may have been intimidating to some. However, several years before he died Calhoun rejected his reasoning and said that instrumental music in worship is a sin. He answered his own unanswerable argument.

There are highly educated, very intelligent men who pose questions about God and the Bible that are hard to answer. Be patient. You will not always have a quick answer. You may even wonder how there can be an answer to some of those arguments. Give yourself time. Sometimes it takes weeks, months, or even years to figure out these difficult problems. Just because you are unable to answer a question doesn’t mean it is unanswerable.

Job thought he had an air-tight case against God and said he would prove it if God would discuss the issue with him (Job 23:3-5). When he got his chance to debate God, he was put to silence and repented after only a few questions from the Creator. The real unanswerable arguments are not those the devil’s agents use to discourage us. They are the ones God’s Word poses to men who are in the wrong.

-Kerry Duke

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