Norman Geisler

Norman Geisler
Born Norman Leo Geisler
(1932-07-21) July 21, 1932
Warren, Michigan, USA
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School non-denominational Evangelical Christian, Moderate Calvinism, Neo-Thomistic Philosophy, Premillennial-Dispensational
Main interests
Philosophy of religion, Christian Apologetics, Systematic Theology, Philosophy, Thomism/Neo-Thomism, biblical inerrancy, Bible difficulties, Creationism versus Evolution, Calvinism-Arminianism, Roman Catholicism and Evangelicalism (differences and agreements), Christian Ethics
Notable ideas
12 point apologetic argument, Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics

Norman Leo Geisler (born July 21, 1932) is a Christian systematic theologian, philosopher, and apologist. He is the co-founder of two non-denominational Evangelical seminaries (Veritas Evangelical Seminary[1] and Southern Evangelical Seminary[2]). He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Loyola University and is well known for his scholarly contributions to the subjects of classical Christian apologetics, systematic theology, the history of philosophy, philosophy of religion, the creationism and evolution debate, Calvinism, Roman Catholicism, biblical inerrancy, Bible difficulties, ethics, and more. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of over 90 books[3] and hundreds of articles.[4]


Geisler's education includes a Th.B. (1964) from William Tyndale College, B.A. in philosophy (1958) and M.A. in theology (1960) from Wheaton College, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Loyola University. He had additional graduate work at Wayne State University, the University of Detroit, and Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.[5]


Norman Leo Geisler was born on July 21, 1932 in Warren, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. He attended a nondenominational Evangelical church from age nine to age seventeen before he committed his life to Jesus Christ. He immediately began attempting to share his faith with others in various evangelistic endeavors—door-to-door, street meetings, and jail service, rescue missions, and Youth for Christ venues. Some of his conversations with forced him to realize that he needed to find better answers to the objections he was hearing. This was the start of earning two Bachelor's degrees, two Master's degrees, and a Doctorate.[6]

In 1981, Geisler testified in "the Scopes II trial" (McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education). Duane Gish, a creationist, remarked: "Geisler was. . . the lead witness for the creationist side and one of its most brilliant witnesses. His testimony, in my view (I was present during the entire trial), effectively demolished the most important thrust of the case by the ACLU. Unfortunately, in my opinion, no testimony, and no effort by any team of lawyers, no matter how brilliant, could have won the case for the creationist side."[7]

Geisler was formerly a president of the Evangelical Theological Society but left the ETS in 2003, after it did not expel Clark Pinnock, who advocated open theism.[8] Geisler also founded and was first president of The Evangelical Philosophical Society. Additionally he was the founder and first president of the International Society of Christian Apologetics.

In 1997, Geisler co-authored When Cultists Ask: A Popular Handbook on Cultic Misinterpretation.[9] He contributed to The Counterfeit Gospel of Mormonism.[10]

In 2008, Geisler co-founded Veritas Evangelical Seminary located in Santa Ana, California. The seminary offers master's degrees in theological studies, apologetics, biblical studies, and Divinity. Geisler currently serves as Chancellor, Distinguished Professor of Apologetics and Theology and occupant of the Norman L. Geisler Chair of Christian Apologetics.[11]

Geisler is married to Barbara Jean and together they have six children, fifteen grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.[12][13]

Outline of Geisler's apologetic system

Geisler is known first and foremost as a classical Christian apologist. Between 1970 and 1990 he participated in dozens of public debates and gained a reputation as a defender of theism, biblical miracles, the resurrection of Jesus, and the reliability of the Bible. The first attempt to publish an outline of his apologetic method showed up in an appendix of his 1990 book When Skeptics Ask. The appendix is titled "Reasoning to Christianity from Ground Zero" and in it we see a high-level view the holistic system of classical apologetics he had been developing over the years. The first outline contained fourteen points of argument:[14]

  1. There are self-evident truths (e.g., “I exist," “Logic applies to reality").
  2. Truth corresponds to reality.
  3. Truth is knowable (all other views are self-defeating).
  4. One can proceed from self-evident truths to the existence of God.
    1. The argument from Creation (proceeds from “I exist")
    2. The argument from morals (proceeds from “Values are undeniable")
    3. The argument from design (proceeds from “Design implies a designer")
  5. God is a necessary Being (argument from being).
  6. My existence is not necessary (evident from the definition of a necessary Being).
  7. Therefore, theism is true (there is a necessary Being beyond the world who has created the contingent things in the world and intervenes in the world [chap. 3]).
    1. The objection from the problem of evil can be solved.
    2. The objection to miracles can be solved.
  8. The Bible is a historically reliable document.
    1. History is an objective study of the past.
    2. There is great historical, archaeological, and scientific evidence to confirm the reliability of the Bible.(Corollary: The Bible gives a reliable record of the teaching of Jesus Christ.)
  9. Jesus claimed to be both fully human and fully God.
  10. He gave evidence to support this claim.
    1. The fulfillment of prophecy
    2. His miraculous and sinless life
    3. His resurrection
  11. Therefore, Jesus is both fully human and fully God.
  12. Whatever God teaches is true.
  13. Jesus (God) taught that the Old Testament was the inspired Word of God and He promised the New Testament.
  14. Therefore, both the Old and New Testaments are the inspired Word of God.

The overview of his system was later streamlined slightly into a 12-point schema. As of 1999 it could be summarized as follows:[15]

  1. Truth about reality is knowable.
  2. Opposites cannot both be true.
  3. The theistic God exists.
  4. Miracles are possible.
  5. Miracles performed in connection with a truth claim are acts of God to confirm the truth of God through a messenger of God.
  6. The New Testament documents are reliable.
  7. As witnessed in the New Testament, Jesus claimed to be God.
  8. Jesus’ claim to divinity was proven by a unique convergence of miracles.
  9. Therefore, Jesus was God in human flesh.
  10. Whatever Jesus affirmed as true, is true.
  11. Jesus affirmed that the Bible is the Word of God.
  12. Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God and whatever is opposed to any biblical truth is false.

These same twelve steps served as the framework for the chapters of the highly popular book I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist[16] in 2004 and for Geisler's 2012 e-book Twelve Points that Show Christianity is True.[17]


Geisler is a conservative evangelical scholar who has written a four-volume systematic theology.[18]

He is a strong defender of the full inerrancy of the Bible, being one of the co-founders and framers of the “Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy" (1978) and editor of the book Inerrancy (Zondervan, 1978). More recently co-authored Defending Inerrancy with William Roach (Baker, 2013). He also co-authored (with William Nix) General Introduction to the Bible (Moody Press, 1986)[19] and From God to Us, revised (Moody, 2012).

Geisler considers himself a “moderate Calvinist," as expressed in his book Chosen but Free (Harvest House, 2001) and Systematic Theology, in One Volume (Harvest House, 2012). On the Five Points of Calvinism, he believes:

  1. Total depravity extends to the whole person but does not destroy the image of God in fallen human beings;
  2. Election is unconditional from the standpoint of God’s giving it and only one condition for human’s receiving it—faith;
  3. The atonement is unlimited in its scope—Christ died for all mankind—but limited in its application to only the elect;
  4. Grace is irresistible on the willing but does not force the unwilling;
  5. All those who are regenerate will, by God’s grace, persevere to the end and be saved.[20]


Geisler has written two significant books on ethics: Christian Ethics[21] and The Christian Love Ethic.[22] He provides his perspective on ethical options, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, biomedical issues, capital punishment, war, civil disobedience, sexual issues, homosexuality, marriage and divorce, ecology, animal rights, drugs, gambling, pornography, birth control, and more.

Of the six major ethical systems (antinomianism, situationalism, generalism, unqualified absolutism, conflicting absolutism, and graded absolutism), Geisler advocates graded absolutism, which is a theory of moral absolutism which affirms that in moral conflicts we are obligated to perform the higher moral duty.[23] Moral absolutism is the ethical view that certain actions are absolutely right or wrong regardless of other contexts such as their consequences or the intentions behind them. Graded absolutism is moral absolutism but clarifies that a moral absolute, like "Do not kill," can be greater or lesser than another moral absolute, like "Do not lie". Graded absolutism is also called 'contextual absolutism' but is not to be confused with situational ethics. The conflict is resolved in acting according to the greater absolute. That is why graded absolutism is also called the 'greater good view', but is not to be confused with utilitarianism[24] (see also prima facie right.)

Geisler believes the American Revolution was not justified by the standards of either the Bible or Just war theory. However, he is not a pacifist, believing that defensive wars are justified but revolutions are not.[25]


  1. "Welcome to Veritas Evangelical Seminary - Veritas Evangelical Seminary". Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  2. "Home - Southern Evangelical Seminary". Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-08-22. Retrieved 2014-09-04.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-08-22. Retrieved 2014-09-04.
  5. Geisler, Norman L. "About". Official Web page.
  6. "Christian Book Previews - Interview with Dr. Norman Geisler". Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  7. Geisler, Norman. Creation & the Courts: Eighty Years of Conflict in the Classroom and the Courtroom. (Crossway Books:2007)
  8. Geisler, Norman (2003), Why I Resigned from The Evangelical Theological Society.
  9. Geisler & Rhodes 1997.
  10. Geisler 1998.
  11. Veritas Evangelical Seminary.
  12. "About Dr. Geisler". Homepage. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  13. "Author Detail". Moody Publishers. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  14. Geisler, N. L., & Brooks, R. M. (1990). When skeptics ask (p. 289). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  15. Geisler, N. L. "Apologetics, Argument of", in The Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics . Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 1999
  16. Geisler, N. L., & Turek, F. I Don’t have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books. 2004
  17. "12 Points that Show Christianity is True – Bastion Books". Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  18. Kreider, Glenn. "Review: Systematic Theology by Normal Geisler". Dallas Theological Seminary. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  19. "A General Introduction to the Bible". Christian Book. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  20. Allen, Bob. "Traditional Southern Baptists counter Calvinism". Baptist News Global. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  21. Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issues and Options, 2nd Edition. Baker Academic. 1989, 2010.
  22. "The Christian Love Ethic – Bastion Books". Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  23. Geisler 2009.
  24. Christian Ethics, Chapter 4
  25. Geisler 1989.


  • Geisler, Norman L (1971), Ethics: Alternatives and Issues, Zondervan .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1973), The Christian Ethic of Love, Zondervan .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1974), From God to Us, Moody .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1975), To Understand the Bible—Look for Jesus, Moody .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1976), Christian Apologetics, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1977), A Popular Survey of the Old Testament, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1978), The Roots of Evil, Zondervan .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1979), Inerrancy, Zondervan .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1980), Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1981), Options in Contemporary Christian Ethics, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1981), Biblical Errancy: Its Philosophical Roots, Zondervan .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1982), Decide for Yourself: How History Views the Bible, Zondervan .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1982), The Creator in the Courtroom—Scopes II, et al, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1981), What Augustine Says, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1983), Is Man the Measure?, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1983), Cosmos: Carl Sagan's Religion for the Scientific Mind, Quest .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1983), Religion of the Force, Quest .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1984), To Drink or Not to Drink: A Sober Look at the Problem, Quest .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1984), Perspectives: Understanding and Evaluating Today's World Views, Here's Life .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1985), Christianity Under Attack (book, video series), Quest .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1985), False Gods of Our Time, Harvest .
  • Geisler, Normal L (1986) [1968], General Introduction to the Bible (revised & expanded ed.), Moody .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1986), Reincarnation Sensation, Tyndale .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1987), Origin Science, Baker .

  • Geisler, Norman L (1988) [1974], Philosophy of Religion, Zondervan .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1988), Signs and Wonders, Tyndale .
  • Geisler, Norman L (September 1, 1989), Christian Ethics: Options and Issues (8 impr ed.), Baker, ISBN 978-0-80103832-7 .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1989), World's Apart, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1989), Knowing The Truth About Creation, Servant .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1989), The Infiltration of the New Age, Tyndale .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1989), The Battle for the Resurrection, Thomas Nelson .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1990), Apologetics in the New Age, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1990), Come Let Us Reason: An Introduction to Logical Thinking, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1990), Gambling: A Bad Bet, Fleming H Revell .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1990), The Life and Death Debate, Greenwood .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1991), In Defense of the Resurrection, Quest .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1991), Thomas Aquinas: An Evangelical Appraisal .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1991), Matters of Life and Death: Calm Answers to Tough Questions about Abortion and Euthanasia, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1991), Miracles and the Modern Mind: A Defense of Biblical Miracles, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1992), When Critics Ask: A Handbook on Bible Difficulties, Victor .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1992), Miracles and the Modern Mind: A Defense of Biblical Miracles, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1993), Answering Islam, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1995), Roman Catholics and Evangelicals .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1996), Love Is Always Right, Word .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1997), Creating God in the Image of Man?, Bethany .

  • Geisler, Norman L; Rhodes, Ron (1997), When Cultists Ask: A Popular Handbook on Cultic Misinterpretation, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1998), The Counterfeit Gospel of Mormonism, Eugene, OR: Harvest House .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1998), Legislating Morality, Bethany House .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1999), Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (1999b), Chosen But Free, Bethany .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2001), Unshakable Foundations, Bethany .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2001), Why I Am a Christian, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2001), Battle for God, Kregel .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2002), Living Loud: Defending Your Faith, Broadman & Holman .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2002), Systematic Theology, 1. Introduction – Bible, Bethany .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2003), Systematic Theology, 2. God – Creation, Bethany .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2003), Is Your Church Ready?, Zondervan .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2003), Who Made God?, Zondervan .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2004), Systematic Theology, 3. Sin – Salvation, Bethany .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2004), I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, Crossway .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2005), Systematic Theology, 4. Church – Last Things, Bethany .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2005), Bringing Your Faith To Work, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2005), Correcting The Cults, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2007), Love Your Neighbor, Crossway .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2007), Essential Doctrine Made Easy, Rose .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2008), A Popular Survey of the Old Testament, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2008), A Popular Survey of the New Testament, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2008), Conviction Without Compromise (Harvest House .

  • Geisler, Norman L (2008), Is Rome the True Church?: A Consideration of the Roman Catholic Claim, Crossway .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2008), When Skeptics Ask, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2008), The Big Book of Bible Difficulties, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (April 17, 2009), "Any Absolutes? Absolutely!", Equip, Christian Research Institute, DE198, retrieved 18 Oct 2013 .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2009), The Apologetics of Jesus, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2009), Making Sense of Bible Difficulties, Baker .
  • Geisler, Norman L (January 1, 2010) [1989], Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issues and Options [Christian Ethics: Options and Issues] (2 ed.), Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, ISBN 978-0-80103879-2 .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2011), If God, Why Evil?, Bethany .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2011), Systematic Theology: In One Volume, Bethany, ISBN 978-0-76420603-0 .
  • Geisler, Norman L; Roach, William C (2012), Defending Inerrancy: Affirming the Accuracy of Scripture for a New Generation, Packer, JI foreword, Baker, ISBN 978-0-80101434-5 .
  • Geisler, Norman L; Nix, William E (2012), From God To Us Revised and Expanded: How We Got Our Bible, Moody, ISBN 978-0-80242882-0 .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2012), Big Book of Christian Apologetics, The: An A to Z Guide, A to Z Guides, Baker, ISBN 978-0-80101417-8 .
  • Geisler, Norman L; Tunnicliffe, Patty (2013), Reasons for Belief: Easy-to-Understand Answers to 10 Essential Questions, Bethany, ISBN 978-0-76421057-0 .
  • Geisler, Norman L; Brooks, Norman L (2013), When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook on Christian Evidences, Baker, ISBN 978-0-80101498-7 .
  • Geisler, Norman L (2013) [1976], Christian Apologetics (revised & expanded ed.), Baker, ISBN 978-0-80104854-8 .

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