As I was reviewing the debate between Frank Turek and the late Christopher Hitchens the other day, I realized that there were two questions that Hitchens had raised that I had not answered in any previous post. I thought I might take a few minutes to answer these questions as part of one of my last posts cleaning up loose ends.
The first and I thought frankly the most egregious was this. I find it extraordinary that it can be said on a university campus that without God humans are capable of doing anything.
–Christopher Hitchens in his debate with Frank Turek at 44:40 expressing his incredulity at the idea that human beings fall into depravity without God.
Suppose we have only been around for 75,000 years. Monotheism . . . shows up 4000 or 5000 years ago at the most. So if you give me my most microscopically small assumption of human existence, for at least 70,000 years heaven watches as the human species is born, dies, usually of its teeth, usually at about 20, usually its infants having about a 9-10 or 2% (chance of survival) . . . (heaven) watches this with indifference . . . thousands and thousands of generations miserable, illiterate, starving, hungry, to say nothing of the wars they will fight with each other, to say nothing of the cruelties they will inflict, as well as the ones they will suffer just from existence and only 3000-5000 years ago heaven decides that is enough of that it is time for an intervention. And the best way to do it would be in the most primitive part of the Middle East not in China where people can read and have looked at telescopes. No. In the most primitive part of the Middle East basically by offering human sacrifice.
–Christopher Hitchens in his debate with Frank Turek at 1:04:40 asking questions about why God has allowed human history to unfold as it has.
So in these two clips we first have Christopher Hitchens extolling the virtues of human beings and expressing his certainty that human beings do not need God in order to be moral and that to believe otherwise is an infantile and servile fantasy. In the second of these two clips, we have Christopher Hitchens outlining the actual brutal and barbaric lives that human beings actually lived over the course of our history. How do we answer these two points raised by Mr. Hitchens? By realizing that the one answers the other using the power of a Biblical narrative.
The Bible tells us that God is at war with His creation. The primary issue in question? Do created beings need their creator’s guidance and love? Or do we not? The faction that is against God argues that both the angels and humanity do not need God in order to live and love. God says, and those who submit to His superior wisdom and love agree, that created beings are incapable of love without His guidance and love. One of the primary reasons for this creation, therefore, is to demonstrate the truth regarding this question. Do created beings need God to be good or not? Hitchens argues that we do not need God to do good or to know good, but human history, as he himself outlines it, demonstrates that he is wrong.
God created human beings perfect and in a perfect environment from “the clay” of inhuman ancestors. After demonstrating that even in such idyllic conditions human love is imperfect by allowing us to fall after we failed to obey the simplest possible command, God allows humanity to sink into unfathomable barbarism. For thousands of generations, humanity demonstrates that we are without any redeeming qualities at all. As archaeology tells us, there was not one “Bronze Age” but many as even the most basic technology was discovered and lost over and over again by a human race innately incapable of sustained progress because of our self-centered and unloving natures. At long last, one human being responded to the visions and dreams given to him by God and decided to pursue the divine. Because the man Abram pursued a greater knowledge of God through faith, God blessed the entire world to demonstrate the transforming power of His love. After only a few thousand years of God’s influence, humanity has made enormous progress morally, artistically, technologically and spiritually.
This is a plausible overview of human history from a Biblical perspective and it answers the two questions raised by Christopher Hitchens as an argument against Christian faith.