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I AM: The Aseity of God

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
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August 20, 2020 12:01 am

I AM: The Aseity of God

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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August 20, 2020 12:01 am

There is only one being whose existence is necessary: the One who calls Himself "I AM." Today, R.C. Sproul contemplates the glorious doctrine of the aseity of God.

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This concept of soft creation gets a lot of credibility in our modern society. But five minutes of careful examination will reveal to any Sencion creature that the idea itself is a logical absurdity and a logical impossibility.

Yes. Think about that for just a moment. If something created itself, it would have to exist before it existed. But what about God? Did he create himself? Welcome to Renewing Your Mind with our Sprawl. In the Book of Exodus, God refers to himself as I am who I am. It's a declaration not meant to confuse us. On the contrary, it tells us everything we need to know about God's self existence.

We continue now with our study of the significance of God's name, by which he revealed himself to Moses and called this name. His memorial name for all generations.

The name your way, which being translated means I am who I am now in the age in which we live. We say that the Christian faith is constantly under attack in the secular world, and the guns of criticism are aimed chiefly at one target. And that target is the idea of creation, because every secularist understands that if you can repudiate and refute the biblical concept of creation, you have dealt the mortal blow against Christianity and against all religion. And we hear in the criticisms a cynical statement that the idea that the universe is created by God, a personal, transcendent, immutable being, is unscientific. It is illogical, and it is basically a myth. And that's the critique that we hear all the time.

Of course, in recent years we've seen the tremendous conversion of Anthony flew from atheists to theism in England, the man who once invented a parable that was called by his name Flooz Parable, where he tried to discount any real evidence for the existence of God. And in his later years, he came to theism for this reason.

He understood that apart from the God hypothesis, science itself would be impossible.

Now we go back to the 18th century enlightenment to understand the seeds of this skepticism that we encounter every day. The principal thesis of the outflow wrong or the Enlightenment was the thesis that declared this that the God hypothesis is no longer necessary for modern science to account for the origin of human life or for the origin of the universe. Now, prior to the Enlightenment, the meat evil synthesis was such that the philosophers, even if they were not believers, had to give obeisance and genuflect at the feet of Christian philosophy because they couldn't account for this universe, apart from some idea of a transcendent being. And then with the advent of the Enlightenment. All of this fell away because now the scholars came along and said, we can explain the universe. We can explain life in its origins without an appeal to some transcendent deity.

And some of those among the French encyclopedias publicly declared themselves the personal enemies of God. And they said, we know now how the universe came into being and how life originated. It came to pass through what they called spontaneous.

Generation.

They would look at mud puddles. There were no frogs in a mud puddle. And all of a sudden they would see tadpoles swimming around the mud puddle. And I say, oh, oh, Wollar, where did they come from? They didn't think about birds flying over and dropping eggs into the water. But the way it was is that these things just poof came into being through their own power. That is, they were self created. That's the idea of spontaneous generation. Now, let me just back up for a second and say this. If anything exists now. There are only three possible generic explanations for something existing rather than nothing. Either that which exists is eternal or it is self created or it is created by something that is eternal.

I notice in those three options and I don't have the time to go into every subset of them. But I can tell you this, in all candor. I gave this presentation at Yale several years ago with the opportunity to have philosophers there to interact and and they were mute for the most part. They had to agree that it had to be one of these three. And I said, you realize that two out of the three involve something eternal.

So if we can eliminate the third one, then we have already proven the thesis that something has already always been cautious, shouldn't have and have to go into a debate. As I said earlier, if anything exists now, something has always existed or nothing could be unless it comes through the option of spontaneous generation, which is another word for self creation. I want to say to you that this concept of self creation gets a lot of credibility and credence in our modern society. But five minutes of careful examination of the concept will reveal to any sanctioned creature that the idea itself is a logical absurdity and a logical impossibility.

Why is that? Well, for something to create itself. Quite simply, they would have to be. Before it was said to you for something to create itself, it would have to be before it was. It would have to being and not be at the same time.

And in the same relationship, which violates the most fundamental principle of truth and of science, the formal principle of the law of non contradiction. Nevertheless, we keep finding this over and over and over again by otherwise reputable scholars and scientists who talk this way.

When the Hubble telescope was sent out into space to give us more information of the expanding universe. One of the most famous astrophysicists in America was being interviewed on the radio that day. And I was driving my car down the road and the man almost caused me to wreck because he said fifteen to 17 billion years ago, the universe exploded into being.

That's heavy stuff.

Now, what was it before it exploded into being. Fifteen to seven. You know, the option was non being. There was nothing. That boom exploded into something.

And the most fundamental scientific precept was violated, actually. Hello, Neal. Fit out of nothing. Nothing comes. And whenever an otherwise distinguished astrophysicist declares that you get something out of nothing at that moment, he stops being a reputable astro physicist. I reference in the past and I say I read by Nobel Prize winning physicist from the West Coast who wrote this essay saying The time has come where we must discard the concept of spontaneous generation as being illogical and unscientific. Well, I have to say to you, dear friends, I think the time for that was the very first time it was uttered and the 18th century. But anyway, this particular Nobel winner said we can no longer speak scientifically about spontaneous generation.

Now we have to speak in terms of gradual, spontaneous generation. I'm not making this up. I promise you, I read it. I said gradual, spontaneous generation is another is a good one.

Now, we can't get something out of nothing quickly. We have to be patient and wait long enough for nothing to give us something.

The extremes to which people will go to do away with the God hypothesis and fallen human beings will go to every extreme they know to banish God as their judge from the universe. The big flap now about intelligent design is about the same thing. If it's design, it has to be intelligent. But we want to have unintelligible designed an intentional intentionality.

And the absurdities mount up forever.

Really, the idea of self creation is an attempt to explain the universe like a rabbit out of the hat. Where there is no rabbit in the hat. Until the magician waves his magic wand and Wollar outcomes the bunny out of the hat. I know how that's done, but I'm not going to ruin it for you now. But in any case, what they want is a rabbit out of the hat. Without the rabbit, without the hat and without the magician.

They want to push the rabbit to create itself. Mean, why don't people laugh at this? This is ridiculous. It really is ridiculous. And instead of being defensive about that, we need to start laughing at people who talk like this.

Because I'm making no sense whatsoever.

Now, in contrast to soft creation, which is a logical impossibility. We have the idea of self.

Existence.

Or what we call in theology, the concept of a C, a T.

When I see that word on a blackboard, when I see it in a textbook, I know that the vast majority of people in the pew have never heard of the word, and it's so obscure and esoteric. They don't care about hearing about the word. But I have to tell you, honestly and personally, I see that word and I get chills up my spine because in that one little word is captured all of the glory of the perfection of God's being. That's what makes God different from you and different for me and different from the stars.

The earthquakes and any creature, Lee saying, is that God and God alone has a CFT. God and God alone exists by his own power.

Nobody made him. Nobody caused him.

His existence is in and of himself, which differs again from every creature you had, mothers and fathers. You are not self existent. I am not self existent. Cars are not self existent. Stars are not self existent. Only God has the concept of self existence. Preachers say, wait a minute, here's where people stumble all over the place. Even somebody like Bertrand Russell when he wrote his book, Why He's Not a Christian. He said that when he was 18 years old, he was reading an essay from the philosopher John Stuart Mill. And before that time, Bertrand Russell affirmed the existence of God, he says.

But as a young man, he said, I read this essay and Mel said, well, if the law of causality is true, then the Christian God can't be true because of everything has a cause.

Then God would have had to have had a clause and whoever caused or whatever caused God to be would have been superior to him. And so the whole law causality destroys the idea of God. And this is Bertrand Russell, one the most brilliant minds of the 20th century, being influenced by another brilliant philosopher, George Thorpe, now making a first grade elementary A, B, C, Premer error.

The law of causality does not say that everything has to have a concept. The law of Khazali says that every AFACT must have an antecedent cause, and that's what we call a formal truth.

That's true by definition, just like saying a triangle history side, because in effect, by definition is something that is caused by something else.

And a cause can only be a cause if it produces an effect. But we're not talking about God as an effect. That has been caused by something before him. He is self existant. He owes his being to nothing outside of himself.

He has the power of being with in himself. Think about.

And your ardor to worship him? Well, I believe. Be intensified.

We said, well, what's the difference between self creation and soft existence? Aren't they both a challenge to logic? No self creation. That's illogical.

Absurd as of our saying, just take the idea of something eternally existing in its own heart. Having the power of being within itself, what principle of logic does that violate? Is there anything irrational but. No, and I understand.

I'm not a conceptual has to say that I have a concept that can pass the tests of rationality. Therefore, it must be true. I'm not saying that. I'm simply saying that the idea of self existence violates no law of reason. It's a perfectly, eminently rational concept.

Now, I want to take it further.

Not only is the idea of self existent being possible, but I think that Thomas Aquinas had it exactly right. Centuries ago, he said God's being. Unlike any other thing that exists is what Thomas called necessary be. This is a tough idea. I'll help you wrap your arms around it, your head around it. What a quietist meant by necessary being. Two things. One, unnecessary being is a being.

Who can not? Not be.

It is by the sheer necessity of its eternal being. Of its ACMD self existant being, is that sort of being that is not hypothetical or again, dependent on some other concept but is necessary?

It's being. Cannot not be. God can't not be. He is. I am eternally and forever.

And not only is God's being necessary, the kind of being that cannot not be so that it's ontologically necessary, but it's also logically necessary.

Going back to what I've been saying all along, that if anything exists now, something somewhere somehow must have a city must have the power of being within himself that is not derived from something outside himself. This is being.

It is supreme being. This is transcendent.

Bay. Let me be very quick with this last word. Transcendence. When we talk about God's transcendence, we're talking about that way in which God is greater and superior to anything in the finite, created world. He's above and beyond. And even philosophers who wrestle with the stuff I've been saying this night, they will agree that, yes, somewhere, somehow something must have the power of being or nothing could be. Something has to be terminal. And if it is eternal, it's eternal because it can't stop being. And they say, but why, with all of this stuff in the universe that is created and undergoes change and mutation? Why can't there be some pulsating core within the universe from which everything else derives? Why do we have to say that we need a transcendent being?

Now, here's where I want to think carefully when we use the word transcendent. With respect to God, we're not talking about geography. We're not talking about where God lives. And when people say they recognize that there has to be some self exist, that eternal being.

But they don't not wanted to be transcendent. Don't you realize that if it is self exists and if it is eternal and it is pure being, that is by definition transcendent?

It's a higher order of being, not that it lives in a higher part of the universe.

I don't care whether it's in California or east of the sun, west of the moon.

If you have anything that is self existent, eternal has the power of being within itself, then by that very definition it transcends everything else in the universe. It is that about which God calls himself.

And there is no other. You're listening to Renewing Your Mind. This Thursday, as we continue our AC Sproles series, Moses and the Burning Bush. When I and so many of you appreciate about our CS teaching style, is that he was able to express really big ideas like this and make them understandable. And what we just heard is a big idea that transcended nature of God. We have spent the past few days going over this profound theological lesson that God taught Moses. And we read about it in this brief passage in Exodus Chapter three. And we want to help you continue your study request, the series Moses and the Burning Bush, when you contact us today with a donation of any amount. We'll send you a two DVD set of the series. You can reach is online at Renewing Your Mind dot org. Or you can call us with your gift at 800 four three five 43 forty three. God's word shines a bright light on issues like this and reveals truth is our see today, for example, uncovered the absurd reasoning that's required to believe that the universe springs spontaneously out of nothing. So again, we invite you to request this to DVD set. The title of the series is Moses and the Burning Bush. Our number again is 800 four, three, five, four, three, four, three. And our Web address is Renewing Your Mind, dot org. And let me thank you for your generous donation of any amount. Before we go today, let me remind you of another valuable resource that Ligonier Ministries produces its Table Talk magazine. Every month you'll find articles on specific topics. Plus daily Bible studies and subscribers have access to a growing library of back issues online. And I encourage you to visit. Table Talk magazine dot com for additional articles that are not featured in the print edition. Learn more and subscribe at Table Talk magazine. Dot.com.

Well, tomorrow, Arcy will point out an important detail in the story of Moses and the burning bush. Many times we romanticize the achievements of the great figures we find in the Bible, but they were fallible men. With one exception, tomorrow, Dr Sparrow will explain the vast superiority of our savior Jesus Christ. We hope you'll join us Friday for Renewing Your Mind.


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