Norman (Norm) L. Geisler (1932—2019) was a Christian apologist, theologian, philosopher, author, international speaker, and professor. He authored or co-authored over 100 books and hundreds of articles on a wide variety of subjects, but much of his efforts were spent on the authority of Scripture and the historicity of the resurrection. Geisler was one of the primary architects of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.
Norm Geisler was born in Warren, Michigan. He began attending church as a youngster and finally came to faith as a teenager. As he began to share his faith, he found that the people he witnessed to raised objections that he did not have good answers for. He began studying to find answers, and this is what led him into the field of apologetics. He was one of the first in the field of many “street level” apologists today, who may be philosophically trained but address the concerns of the “man on the street.” Some have called him a cross between Thomas Aquinas and Billy Graham.
Geisler received a B.A. in philosophy from Wheaton College and an M.A. in theology from Wheaton Graduate School. He also studied at several other institutions before receiving a Ph.D. in philosophy from Loyola University. He taught theology, philosophy, and classical Christian apologetics on the undergraduate and graduate level for over 50 years, and he was on the faculty at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Dallas Theological Seminary, and Liberty University. Geisler also helped to found two seminaries, Southern Evangelical Seminary and Veritas Evangelical Seminary (now Veritas International University). Geisler also founded the Evangelical Philosophical Society and the International Society of Christian Apologetics.
Dr. Geisler was a classical Christian apologist, and he summed up his apologetic this way:
1) Truth about reality is knowable
2) The opposite of true is false
3) It is true that a theistic God exists
4) If God exists then miracles are possible
5) A miracle confirms a message from God
6) The New Testament is historically reliable
7) The New Testament says Jesus claimed to be God
8) Jesus’ claim to be God was miraculously confirmed
9) Jesus is God
10) Whatever Jesus teaches is true
11) Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God
12) Therefore, the Bible is the Word of God
Dr. Geisler gained national attention in 1981 as an expert witness in the “Scopes II” trial in Arkansas. In the first Scopes trial (1925), John Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution in Tennessee. In this second trial, at issue was a state law that required that both evolution and creation be given “balanced treatment.” Even though Dr. Geisler’s testimony was described as “eloquent,” the social structures had shifted, and the Arkansas law was stuck down as an unconstitutional entanglement of state and religion.
Dr. Geisler died at the age of 87 and was survived by his wife, Barbara Jean (married 64 years as of 2019), their six children, fifteen grandchildren, and (at the time) 7 great-grandchildren.
Dr. Geisler’s books include the following:
Christian Apologetics (2013)
Twelve Points That Show Christianity Is True: A Handbook on Defending the Christian Faith (2012)
Who Made God?: And Answers to over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith (2009)
I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist (2004, with Frank Turek)
The Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (1999)