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September 27, 2021 12:01 am
When it comes to discussions on the origin of the universe, many people today pose fictional ideas and pass them off as science. Today, R.C. Sproul and Keith Mathison explain why they wrote a book to expose these irrational alternatives to the biblical account of creation.
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In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Have you ever wondered why there's such vehement opposition to that opening declaration of the Bible. There's a reason why the guns of materialists and naturalists are aimed at Genesis 1.
If you can get rid of Genesis 1, the whole of the Christian faith falls and that's where the point of attack has been against the idea of creation and how are they trying to get rid of Genesis one by telling us that the universe came about purely by chance event raises the question is chance have any power to create anything. The simple answer is not a chance that by the way is the title of the book Dr. RC Sproul wrote in 1994 the revised version was released 20 years later in that provided me the opportunity to sit down and talk to RC about why this book is so important in countering those who aim their guns at Genesis doctors prologue to the studio's isolates to be with you before we get into the why of the book I like for you to share with our listeners. The howl of the book how this book came to be, well actually what happened was that I had just finished a three book contract for a particular publishing company and I experienced a gigantic sense of relief that have that pressure gone for my life as so I thought I would be able to take a brief vacation from the arduous task of writing books but as I was enjoying my free time I was reading voraciously on this particular subject of the role of chance and scientific inquiry and I just was constrained to have the opportunity to write on the subject that I wanted to write on rather than one that a publisher had assigned it to me and so a lot of my enthusiasm and my study on that particular subject. I decided to write this book without a contract in advance and just have a little fun with it eventually got picked up and ready as well since the title of the book is not a chance. Think would be wise for us to have a good understanding of what chance is and is likely to define it before you do that let me do a little experiment here in the in the studio since your big football fan, you can play the captain of your team which I assume is the Steelers right on the referee and I got 1/4 my hand I'm gonna flip and have you call it in the year had some right foot on the back of my hand. It's tales have those for so is that chance.
Well before I answer that specific question that may put a context to Atlee.
One of the things. Also that provokes my wanting to write this book wherever several things from a couple of the more these one. I had a conversation with a professor from Harvard University who was teaching in graduate degree programs there in the field of philosophy of science, and we were having a discussion of the origin of the universe and he said to me that the universe in his opinion came into existence through space plus time.
Plus, chance, and then he went on to say that he believed that the universe came into being by chance and at that point I did the same thing you did to me right here. I took a coin hot and I flipped it in the Aaron I said one of the odds that this coin will come up heads or tails. If it doesn't stand on its ends and he said 50-50.
And I said okay. How much influence on the outcome of the coin toss was caused by chance any kind of looked at me puzzled and I said, for example, if we knew exactly where I started this process of flipping the coin and whether I started with the heads up, or tails up how much pressure exerted with my thumb. What was the density of the atmosphere through which it turned how many revolutions it made in the air and that I catch it here, here or here and then I turn it over after I catching all those variable factors that go into whether it comes out heads or tails. I said enough. I knew precisely all of those variables in advance.
Could I be able to predict the outcome of the coin toss with a greater percentage than 50-50 in a civil yes of course I said, but because we don't normally have a scientific examination of the atmospheric pressure.
How many times the coin flips and all that stuff we simplify, we cut the Gordian knot which it's got to come up in their answers so we saved 5057 how much influence that chance have on this actual event and I said to him, absolutely none. I said because chance has no power to do anything because chance is not a thing. Chance is a perfectly good word in our vocabulary to describes mathematical possibilities and we use it in a reasonable way in that degree. I said, but we can't slip into this subtle change of meaning of the term and use the word chance as if it were some thing that could influence or exert power over anything else because chance is not a thing. And I say it this way snow thing say it faster snow thing, this nothing. It has no being. And if it has no being. It has no power and has no power. It can't influence anything and when I said that to this professor. He took the palm of his right hand and smacked himself and afforded course it didn't have any power so I changed his view right there right there many real arm and he just realized that he had gone to sleep for a couple of seconds by attributing power to chance as if it were something that could influence real events. David Hume says. Chance is a word we use to describe our ignorance over what actually produces certain effects in the world and the other thing that caused me to want to write this lady was the one I was teaching seminary in Philadelphia. I taught a course in atheism and in that particular course.
I made the students read the primary sources of some the most formidable atheists in the history of Western civilization and we saw a common pattern for those who deny the existence of God and came up with an alternative to God's existence and virtually all of them came up with the idea that the universe somehow had created itself out of nothing and that's the popular view that we year today and where the word chance is imported into the discussion and assigned this not only ability to determine the outcome of a coin toss, but have the ability to bring the whole universe into being because you're just joining us this is Renewing Your Mind with Dr. RC Sproul were talking about the book that he wrote in 1994 called, not a chance. The subtitle is God. Science in the revolt against reason, this book is being rereleased and expanded version and also joining us here in the studio is Dr. Keith Matheson Prof. of systematic theology at Reformation Bible college and he collaborated with Dr. Sproul on this revised and expanded version. Dr. Matheson, welcome to the studio were glad you're with us today as well. Thank you lady tell us your interest in this and you jokingly said that you write about nothing in this book, absolutely because I was asked a lot back to help with the revision of this book and decided what I wanted to talk about something I'd been running across a number of times in the writings of several science popularizers. This idea of how the universe, creating itself from nothing. Stephen Hawking famous scientists talks about that in his book the book came out in 2012 by Lawrence Krauss universe from nothing whether something rather than nothing and so I've been reading on this quite a bit so I was asked to help with revision and expansion of this book, I thought that's the topic I really want to address because Dr. Sproul who touched on that somewhat, I just wanted to expand on that.
See what direction that would take us when you mentioned the book by Krause, would you read a couple things in there that really drive home the point that you're making here that a lot of this is just nonsense well crosses book.
The cover copy is why there something rather than nothing on the back cover. Krause describes the staggeringly beautiful experimental observations and mindbending new theories that demonstrate not only can something arise from nothing, something will always arise from nothing in the book has an afterword by Richard Dawkins, who, in his typical understated manner rights.
If, on the origin of species was biology's deadliest blow to supernaturalism.
We may come to see the universe from nothing is the equivalent from cosmology. The title means exactly what it says and what it says is devastating. So when I saw this book and thinking okay let's see what he has to offer and started reading this book and the first thing I noticed was in the table of contents I'm scanning through their chapter 9. Nothing is something that's what every one of these guys ins up doing with Stephen Hawking or Peter Atkins or Lawrence M.
Krause. Everyone of them solves this problem with this grandiose idea we can get something for nothing. By redefining nothing is something I can do that I can forget that 2+2 = 5 if I'm allowed to redefine five is for so that's what I wanted to touch on what I wrote about this great what Dr. Sproul's folks listen to this interview you want to point out that you're not a scientist, and you're not writing this as a science book per se is that correct. Yes that's right after the first edition came out. I did get some complaints from certain people saying I didn't understand that quantum physics and the indeterminacy principle, and that sort of thing and I had labored in the book telling the people that I'm not qualified to call myself a physicist, quantum or otherwise. I said, but what I am trained in this in philosophy and philosophy of science, and particularly with respect to linguistic analysis and if you have a PhD in physics. That doesn't necessarily qualify you to speak in meaningful language what Keith just talked about where people say the universe came from nothing, but all of a sudden that nothing becomes a little something and what we can critique at that point is the nonsense quotient of their linguistic affirmations and that's what my analysis was designed to do when you people say I don't understand quantum physics. I so I can understand it when I hear you describe it in meaningless terms.
If you understand it and can articulate it to me in a logical way than I think I'll be able to grasp it, but don't Tom tell me that something is nothing and nothing is something you expect me to be impressed by that we sing. Romans one played out in these attempts by these supposedly learned scientists to explain the existence of of things is this just their foolishness and in their attempt to suppress the truth. Well, once you rejected the idea of God is the creator and you have to come up with some explanation for what's here, and this seems to be the best I can do the moment defining nothing is a little something and claiming more than it is.
But I also like to comment on what you asked about.
I'm not a scientist either and I don't claim to understand quantum physics, I read a quote this morning that encourage me a little bit. Richard Feynman, the famous physicist once said that he didn't think anybody interested quantum physics, I don't feel terribly bad about that but I do think it is Dr. scroll said we do.
But even as Lehman scientifically if they're going to write popular science books for Lehman. They need to write in language that makes some sense and not define words and contradictory ways. This fella does address the oldest question never was there something rather than nothing and if there is an axiom in science assist section a colonial fit out of nothing. Nothing comes in. That's what these men are trying to challenge their trying to say.
Not only does out of nothing, something comes that out of nothing, everything comes ultimately and I try to reduce this to logical formulae and I say, for example, if there is nothing, and out of nothing, something comes that which comes can be called self-created and that is a formally invalid affirmation because for something to create itself. It must be before it is it would have to preexist its own existence. It would have to be and not be at the same time and in the same relationship and even Hamlet understood the impossibility of the Kuwaiti that and so, at what it reduces to is magic you have something coming out of nothing without, only without a magician, you have the rabbit out of the hat, but there's no rabbit. There's no hat. There's no magician.
There's nothing just something common in one's Nobel prize-winning scientist and the West Coast wrote an essay a few years ago in which he said we must abandon the idea of spontaneous generation that is something coming out of nothing, because for something to come out of nothing.
It may take eons of time billions of years.
It doesn't happen quickly or immediately.
So if you want to get something out of nothing. You have to be patient if you Don't wait for this is madness and the point is, people are impressed by this kind of thinking when we should really be laughing. You mentioned the scientist did said that we've got a reshape our thinking are you are you are you encourage that some people and some scientist are finally getting it. Lacey got part of it. He understood the impossibility of what was called spontaneous generation and you know back in the Enlightenment. The big conclusion of the atheists during the 18th century was that the God hypothesis is no longer necessary because now we know scientifically that things come into being through spontaneous generation that was the big discovery. It's the same thing that we're hearing now with these scientific popularizers than what I call the journalistic phase of science and philosophy.
These people are just substituting different language for spontaneous generation until the man from the West Coast but we can't have spontaneous generation anymore. A sense and out the front door. A sense of packing the dummy goes around the back door and the elves of the factories while you can have generation from nothing. If you wait for it to get up and takes a long time. Which explains why so many of the evolutionist want to claim that the earth is billions and billions of years old that that the only way they can you name the time you need to time. Voltaire wrote that what we call chance can only be the unknown cause of unknown effects. Voltaire was not a believer but you giving credit in this book Dr. scroll for recognizing some certain truths right now certainly understood that again, these were people who were trying with the new science of that time to be rational, not irrational. The Hocking's needs other people. They don't shrink from being utterly and completely irrational.
It's okay for them to be irrational, but Voltaire said can't do that.
It's just like in in analytical philosophy when they talk about the existence of blue gems and what is Abuja and Buddhism is a word that signifies nothing.
There is no such thing is Abuja but there we have blue gems all over the place in this kind of this court document this and you make a point in the chapter that you write in this expanded version of not a chance about how easy it is to point out the fallacy in the nonsense of what the scientist are proclaiming.
Would you give us an example of that. Yes, it doesn't even take a Voltaire or somebody with that level of intellect.
I had different Stephen Hawking's work with Leonard Martin now and was driving to Jacksonville to take my son to statewide violin competition and he was eight or nine years old at the time he sitting in the backseat and I had just rented Hawking's book, so it was fresh on my mind and I asked him whether he can spot the error in a particular sentence and I reread the sentence from Hocking tumor. Hocking says because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing without missing a beat, he said gravity something gravity is not nothing and just illustrated to me. Stephen Hawking is recognized as one of the most brilliant scientists in the world but my nine-year-old son, who has not been trained in logic or philosophy or science can spot this self-contradiction without even blinking. And that's one of the things I hope this book will encourage people to do this not just accept these statements because they come from somebody of the stature of a Hocking but to think about it. Dr. scroll we we talked about science. We talked about philosophy. What do you want Christians to pull from this book. I want them to see the bankruptcy and the vacuous lack of significant content of those who were speaking with such great opposition against the biblical doctrine of creation. There's a reason why the guns of materialists and naturalists are aimed at Genesis 1.
If you can get rid of Genesis 1, the whole of the Christian faith falls and that's where the point of attack has been against the idea of creation and that you know going back to cosmos with pro se guy I had discussions with him about this and he started out his book and is the TV series with the statement that the universe is not chaos it's cosmos and then he goes back to the Big Bang theory and everything and he goes for the nanosecond before hand and he gets off the train and I asked him I said how can you explain it for for all eternity. All of matter and energy work, reducing to a point of singularity and in a state of as I say, organization and inertia and all of a sudden one Thursday afternoon at 5 o'clock and exploded. You got to answer the question, what is it that produced that affect you say that the law of inertia is the things at rest and remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force is… Outside forces. I do want to go there. I said you can't stop where your stomping without going there. If you're a scientist you have to get a sufficient reason and explanation for your theory to be credible, but you want to just posit this magical moment in space and time where everything was reduced to a state of singularity for eternity suddenly was altered without any outside force introducing the change and so then you retreat the words like chance and words like that which again are words that are just merely expressive of ignorance and so this is a critical point. We have to stand here and say no.
From a Christian perspective. If anything exists now, there was never a time when there was nothing which means there's always been something something is eternal.
Something is not dependent on a predecessor that which is eternal must have the power of being within itself, it does not receive it from something antecedent to it. And so, that which is self existent and eternal is what the Scriptures call God and say we go back to things like urchin Russell saying why I'm not a Christian, righteously book a wise Christian and the biggest argument give is it when he was 16 years old, he believed in God.
By the time he was 18 he was an atheist and what made the difference. He read John start now and he read in mill were Mills said if the law of causality is true if everything requires a cause, then God requires a cause and so the law of causality gets rid of God, and this was an aha moment for Bertrand Russell that kept them in its grip for his whole life. He said again everything has a cause and God is a Carson Enders. You can listen to your nine-year-old son on his violin trip to and respond to these geniuses. At that point because the law of causality did never said that everything requires a cause, what the law of causality says is that every effect requires an antecedent cause that doesn't mean that everything out there is an effect. In fact, if there is not something that is not an effect if there's not something that is an uncaused cause, not something that is self existent and eternal. Nothing could possibly be.
And so what melded in and Bertrand Russell did was turned aloft causality upside down and completely misrepresented and misquoted because the law of causality is what we call a formal truth. It's simply an extension of the law of non-contradiction of formal truth is a truth that is true by definition, a bachelor is an unmarried man I've said nothing in the predicate.
That's not already in the subject because a bachelor by definition is an unmarried man and so it is with the law of causality to say that every effect must have a cause or every cause must have an effect is tautological. You're not saying anything new. It's true by definition is just the same as the law of non-contradiction, but again this fundamental principle of logic and of knowledge was tripped over by menace brilliant is mill and Bertrand Russell. Peter tells us to be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within us and our hope is that this book not a chance will help you be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within you, Dr. scroll Dr. Matheson thank you for being with us in sharing this great insight into a book that you know it, it might make your head hurt a little bit because he is talking about things of eternal significance in philosophical ideas and scientific ideas, but it is important hope that many people will read this book so that they are prepared to give a reason for the hope that you for being with us. Thank you Dr. scroll and Dr. Matheson's arguments against chance creating the universe are powerful.
Everything in the information we share today is just the tip of the iceberg. Dr. scroll's book, not a chance is 256 pages and exposes the undercurrent of your rationalism in modern science, we likely to have a copy of this book for your own library. If you're the parent of teenagers or college students is critical reading for them as well as many of them are bombarded with faulty thinking in their science classrooms so request the paperback edition of not a chance with your donation of any amount to look at your ministries you can give your gift and make your request firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call us. Our phone number is 800-435-4343 building a biblical worldview requires diligent study we need to understand what God says in his word. If we are to understand the world around us. With that in mind, let me also recommend table talk magazine every month you will read articles by leading reformed theologians and looking ahead to next month's issue. It focuses on the doctrine of justification if you're not a subscriber. I hope you'll check it out. Just go to table talk magazine.com will tomorrow.
Dr. scroll picks up where we left off today as we error message from his series creation or chaos crisis today between theology and science is not so much a crisis between faith and theology, and reason and science. I'm convinced that the crisis has to do with the relationship between faith and reason.
I hope you'll join us tomorrow for Renewing Your Mind