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Chance: The Modern Myth

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
September 29, 2021 12:01 am

Chance: The Modern Myth

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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September 29, 2021 12:01 am

Did the universe emerge randomly out of chaos? Today, R.C. Sproul uncovers the faulty logic of appealing to chance to account for life as we know it.

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If there is such a thing as chance that is become a scientific law, then we do have an on bridge or bowl chasm between science and theology and something is going to have to give chances to become the main ingredient in modern sciences prescription for the origin of the earth, but this chance really have that kind of power so often our own attempts to explain these things from a biblical perspective.

So today Dr. RC Sproul will give us some tools to understand the folly of this modern myth: trance.

Sometimes I think that it's a Herculean task requires nothing less than the sort of Damocles to cut off my legs to fit me into my prayer across the bed what that I just I just use those words to put them together in the sentence to indicate how we still borrow images from ancient mythology that still inform our speech patterns today. I noticed in the classical school where I'm involved, the children still study ancient mythology. It's important because the themes of the Smiths reoccur in the literature of Western civilization down through the ages, but from our vantage point near the end of the 20th century, we have a tendency to look down our nose at mythology. We think of Rudolph Bultmann won the most important theologians of the 20th century who said the task of the modern Christian is to demythologized the Bible because he said the Bible is basically a collection of myths interspersed with real history and the modern person to get significant answers for the world in which we live must cut through the husk of mythology in order to find the kernel of truth that lies underneath it. He was persuaded of that view. Incidentally and ironically because he was convinced that the cosmology of the Bible, the worldview of the Bible could not be squared with modern cosmology, which view of cosmology. Bultmann was using has since become completely discarded. That's one of the hot piece of history. But my point is this in every age, not just in the ancient world, but in every age there is an evidence of abundance of mythology and mythology is not all that awful of a thing.

It has value as limited as it may be, we read the myths. For example, of ancient people we are reading on many occasions. Ancient man's science that is man's attempt to explain his environment in the arena of mystery, so that ancient people who didn't understand why certain things took place tried to account for. They tried to save the phenomena, and they would come up with some of these myths in order to do so, but then later discoveries dispelled the mythological content and we have a tendency not to laugh at them for their naďveté and their lack of sophistication, but I often wonder where the myths hidden in our own views today. What will the 21st or the 20's second century, scientists laugh about in terms of what we hold to be true today. Let us not be so arrogant to assume that ours is the first generation to be free of mythology is valuable is mythology may be particularly in terms of historical reference in literary reference.

The problem with mythology is that it tends to obscure reality, and we make the distinction between myth and reality. Precisely because we believe that myths do not describe real states of affairs. Now, if there's any glaring myth that has wormed its way into modern life and worldview thinking even penetrating some of the finest institutions of academia and of scientific investigation, it is the grand myth of chance.

I believe a chance is the great myth of 20th century thought back in 1913, a French scientist by the name of Pierre Beltway and the work translated on the English title science and reality made this comment, quote chance appears today as a law the most general of all law's. It is become for me a soft pillow like the one which in Montaigne's words only ignorance and dis-interest can provide. But this is a scientific pillow chance bilberry called a law a scientific law which is a soft pillow for modern thought. I like to think the pillows are most often used for sleep. For purposes of comfortable slumber. I think of the old expression.

Homer nodded, the idea being that a great and wise person on that particular occasion, slipped into an egregious error and just want to sleep for a second and we say when a great man. Ours Homer nods. I think of Immanuel Kant before he wrote his revolutionary work on the critique of pure reason when he said that he was motivated to write this work. After reading the skepticism of David Hume and he said that David Hume aroused him or wakened him from his quote dogmatic slumber on convinced that the myth of chance is the soft pillow of our day that is become a soporific. It is caused geniuses to fall asleep at the switch in science Stanley Yockey, the Roman Catholic cosmologists remarks about Bill based viewpoint. He said the chance has become the softness pillow in all scientific history. It serves as a magic tool for making shabby philosophizing, a most respectable attitude. This is a sharp critique that Yockey is making here he is saying that this concept of chance not only serves as myth in modern cosmology, but it also serves as magic, undercutting the science of science and my concern which I'm going to elaborate upon is not only for the danger of this concept in provoking problems for theology, but even more deeply in my concern about what this does for science I'm saying if there ever was a time were scientists and theologians need to join hands and stand shoulder to shoulder against a common enemy of truth, and a common enemy of reality, it's against the function of this concept in modern cosmology Arthur Kessler made this comment, quote as long as chance rules God is an anachronism, reset again as long as chance rules God is an anachronism I have to fault Kessler little bit for this comments that he's made because I think it's a bit timid. I think that it's an understatement, and I wish that he would've been a little bit more bold in his statement. He says that it is long as chance rules. God is an anachronism. I think we understand what he means by what he means, fundamentally, is that the idea of chance coexisting in a universe ruled by a sovereign God is an idea or two ideas that are mutually exclusive.

If God is sovereign, there can be no such thing as chance if chance rules really cannot be a sovereign God in the name or the word of God becomes an anachronism that has no place in modern vocabulary. But here's where I think he's been a bit timid. He saying if chance rules. God is an anachronism same interest is not the rule for God to be an anachronism. All chance has to do to make God irrelevant to banish God from serious thought. All it has to do is exist doesn't have the rule that another very strong. All it takes is an ounce of it were a milligram of all it has to do is exist at all and God is not only an anachronism, God is finished. I why do I say that I'm saying that if chance exists. God is finished.

If there is such a thing as chance that is become a scientific law, then we do have an un-bridge or bowl chasm between science and theology and something is going to have to give melt where this idea of chance become so central to the conflict between science and faith is principally at the point of the doctrine of creation.

I think were all aware of the media reports of constant battles that are going on in local communities over what textbooks are going to be used in the public schools and the debate between creation science and natural science and all that sort of thing that we've heard about and the debate over whether this world is of recent origin is the earth 6000 years older. Is the universe 15 to 18 billion years old was the universe created in 624 hour periods. These are the points that are sharply in dispute and I'm not frankly going to be discussing those to any great length in this series. What I want us to see. However, that the principal target in the debate is this idea.

The very idea of creation. The very first assertion that is made in the Old Testament on page 1 in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. We may argue for decades about how the creation took place when it took place, and so on. But even more fundamental question of all is that the place is there such a thing as creation because every atheist understands this. If you can gainsay this concept Christianity's finished Judaism's finished his lawn is finished as the three greatest religions of the world today at least agree that the God who is sovereign is the creator we differ about the character of God, we differ about the purposes of God, and so on. But one thing stands in agreement is that there is a God who ultimately is the sufficient and efficient cause for the entire universe and where chance functions methodologically is chiefly with respect as a substitute or alternative for creation. It is a concept that is appeal to relentlessly to save the phenomena of the universe without an appeal to theology. That's why some people welcome the entrance of chance into the world of scientific thought I heard a sermon several years ago where a minister was trying to defend the truth claims of Christianity against these people who were saying that the universe was created by chance, and he had read somewhere the odds against a universe beginning.

By chance, and he read these figures and I don't remember what the numbers were they were astronomical. He said there's one over 10 but Julian Google Plex possibilities for the world to be created by chance, and then he went on to say how ludicrous it would be to assume such a long shot as an opposition to the idea of creation and he was trying to comfort his congregation and he came to the conclusion at the end of his sermon. So we see the end but it's mathematically impossible for the universe to a been created by chance, and as I was walking out of the church. He stopped me and he asked me with a kind of enthusiasm he said what did you think and to know what to say because I wanted to say nice sermon and go out. I didn't want to be engaged in a debate with them, but I said well I think it is there where the store is supporting me. I said well, three things the first place. If there's one chance intended.

Julian Google perplexes that the universe took place by chance and if the time frame for this to happen was infinite and eternal.

It would seem to me that one out of all of these possibilities is going to come up sooner or later. In eternity is not like there's only one shot for these things to happen. I said second problem is little detail. He said that it's mathematically impossible when you've just given a mathematical possibility as remote as it may be, in terms of one out of all of these zeros is still mathematically possible. You have to agree and he said yes I said. And the third question I have is the biggest one. What are the chances that anything can happen by chance set on what you mean the answer is not a chance. I said nothing can happen by chance is, why not and I said because chance cannot do anything once had a discussion with a professor at Harvard who said to me the universe was created by chance and I pushed him a little bit on this used according to illustrate the problem.

I said by the $0.50 piece and flip it up near one of the chances that it comes up heads nieces 50-50.

I said okay, how much influence does chance exert on the flip of the coin is unwittingly nice and well the way it comes up heads or tails is determined by how much pressure is exerted on it what the density of the atmosphere is on the revolutions it takes. You know, and so on, where they catch you near your ear and whether after catching a turnover daughter notice that those are all the variable how much influence is chance and he extolled and get us a bullet if you're using the term chance to talk about mathematical possibilities. It's a perfectly useful term, and I'll be talking about that in our next session about the sense in which the term chance is a meaningful word, but when we ascribe to chance a power to do something we are saying that chance is something know what is it what is this mysterious X factor that causes the coin to come up tails warheads and he still looked at me and I said wait a minute, I said. Chance cannot do anything because chance is not anything for something to it must first what be an chance is not a thing. It's no thing. It's nothing, and when you say to me that the universe was created by chance you are saying the same thing as saying the universe was created by nothing and you taken a perfectly good word to describe mathematical possibilities and now informed it with magical power, giving it ontological status, giving it power to do something when it is not anything. This is what Yockey was getting at when he says the soft pillow of chance is the softest pillow and all of history that has become a magic tool for making shabby philosophy respectable. I like his selection of words there where he talks about a magic tool. One of the basic axioms of science and philosophy is the axiom asked me hello me to know that out of nothing. Nothing comes in simple language folks. It means you can't get something from nothing I say to my students in theology. If there ever was a time when there was nothing, absolutely nothing.

What would there be no nothing. If it's true that out of nothing.

Nothing. The soft pillows.

This out of chance everything dumps which is saying out of nothing. Something comes out of nothing and everything, it's and that is the principal idea that is used as a substitute for creation. Though I know there are some who argue that the universe is eternal and always has been here that's another question, but the vast majority of his critics today who deny the creation of this world by a self existent eternal God appeal to some kind of beginning to all of reality that comes from nothing. It's the rabbit out of the hat without a hat without a rabbit without a magician.

It's worse than magic. It's pure mythology. If this mythology were not taken so seriously today. We could be abused by what's at stake. Again, I repeat, is not just theology, but science itself is I hope we will see in our next that's not Jersey's parole with a message from his series, creation or chaos. RC exposes the faulty thinking behind attempts to explain the origins of the earth, as he said if the myth of chance were taken seriously. Today we find it humorous, but our society does take it seriously and we need to be equipped to counter their false claims you're listening to Renewing Your Mind on this Wednesday by Lee Webb and if you like to expand your study of the relationship between modern science and the existence of God. Let me commend this full series to you. You'll receive the six lessons on one DVD when you give a donation of any amount to look at your ministries give securely online when you visit Renewing Your or when you call us at 800-435-4343 if you've heard Dr. scroll teach for any length of time. If you've read his books, you know that he was knowledgeable about many things, not just theology but philosophy and language that breadth of knowledge, combined with his teaching style made difficult subjects easy to understand.

And that's on full display in the series so request, creation or chaos by Dr. RC Sproul, you can make a request and give your financial gift of any or you can reach us by phone at 800-435-4343 today RC showed us that the modern concept of chance is really just a modern myth tomorrow will continue the flight of thought when viewed through the lens of logic.

The claim that the universe was formed out of nothing to be nonsense and we hope you'll join us Thursday for Renewing Your Mind

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