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The Necessity of God’s Existence

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
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October 1, 2021 12:01 am

The Necessity of God’s Existence

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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October 1, 2021 12:01 am

The cosmos requires a cause that is self-existent, independent, and ontologically necessary. In short, the cosmos requires God Himself. Today, R.C. Sproul defends the logical necessity of God's existence.

Get R.C. Sproul's 'Creation or Chaos' DVD Series for Your Gift of Any Amount: https://gift.renewingyourmind.org/1870/creation-or-chaos

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Today on Renewing Your Mind. So creation is a logical impossibility. Self existence isn't and what Christianity asserts is that God is an eternal being who exists in and of himself.

He is not an effect.

He didn't have a beginning, nothing produced him. He is eternal good hypothesis for the word Europe requires that a combination of time and transfer everything we see those who embrace this hypothesis claim that we don't need to worry about God's existence because God in their view, was a logical fallacy, but there's a built-in flaw in that argument in here to expose it is Dr. RC Sproul a few years ago I co-authored a book on apologetics with Arthur Lindsley, and chiefly with Dr. John Gerstner entitled classical apologetics and part of my responsibility in that volume was to write the opening sections on Christian epistemology trying to deal with the question, how do we know what we know. How can we learn what we learn and I isolated certain nonnegotiable said that there certain principles that Christians or anybody else ought never to negotiate if they are earnestly concerned about discovering truth and I said that those basic premises were basic assumptions of epistemology include four things. The first one is the law of non-contradiction which we talked about logic one half of the scientific method. The second one is the law of causality were going to be concerned with the day third is worth the basic reliability of sense perception. The fourth is the analogical use of language which were going to skip altogether here, but that is a necessary prerequisite for people to be able to talk to one another to have some common ground in some common frame of reference only looked at the role of logic so far in this whole debate of cosmology and when I talk about the basic reliability sense perception I understand is you all do that our senses can deceive us that our eyesight can fail our hearing is not perfect, and so on them that we are prone to error with the perceptions that we have of the external world. Unfortunately were stuck with it because the only transition I have from my mind to the world in which I live is my body doing what I can get in touch with reality external to myself and that's true for all of us but the big concern I have today is with the second one. The law of causality because I said most critics of the idea of the origin of the universe is an act of divine creation retreat either into indeterminacy quantum physics or into a philosophical critique of causality and the argument usually begins with an appeal to the prodigious philosopher David Hume who lived in 18th-century Scotland, and who basically took British empiricism to what's been called the graveyard of skepticism that rales can't from his dogmatic slumber into constructing a new approach to philosophy but that which was so provocative in David Hume's work was hidden is critical analysis of causality and we don't have time to go into all of the intricacies of it, but I want us to be able to at least grasp the basic idea of what David Hume was saying his basic thesis was this that we never have a direct immediate perception of causality that we think we do, and were constantly looking for the causes of thing and we observe what's going around us. For example, we see a common experience where the rain falls and the grass gets wet and what's the assumption we make.

What's the inference we draw, we draw the conclusion that the cause of the grass is becoming wet was the falling of the rain because before it rained.

The grass wasn't wet.

Retained, it was wet and the rain itself is what it doesn't take a rocket scientist to come to the conclusion that there is a causal relationship here but Hume says wait a minute, that may be the way it seems to the naked eye, but there may be all kinds of invisible things going on that we cannot perceive he was of course playing off of some theories that had been developed earlier in the 17th century by the rationalist people like Descartes than Leibniz and Spinoza, Morgan and those people for now, but Hume was saying all we see here is a relationship of contiguity for what he called a customary relationship, a customary relationship is a relationship that we seem to see repeated again and again and again and we are accustomed to assume will continue, even as it has in the past is our custom to assume when we go to bed at night that the sun which is set will rise again in the morning. We don't know that the sun will rise tomorrow, but we assume it rather safely on the basis of astronomical number of experiences of this customary relationship in the past but what Hume is saying is we don't know it for sure. And we don't know really what causes it. All we see is a relationship of contiguity now could relationship contiguity indicates a relationship where one event follows in sequence after another, or one action follows after another. In many cases with a high degree of predictability and Hume illustrated this business with his famous illustration of the pool balls on a pool table. So let's look for a moment at this game of pool and see what transpires.

You have the table you have the pockets and on and the object is to strike the object ball hit the object ball that you've called into one of the pockets so you start with a cue stick. That's the instrument, the Organon here for the game of pool. I don't stand there and throw the balls around the table or blow on them. I use the cue stick and so I engage in a certain action.

My arm moves the cue stick and I strike the cue stick against the cue ball and when I hit the cue ball.

What happens, it begins to roll across the top of the table and then the cue ball hits the object ball and after the cue ball hits the object ball.

What happens the object ball. It starts to move and we hope it moves in the direction of the pocket and then disappears in the pocket and we scored the point that were trying to score. Not all of this involves actions and interactions that we assume to be related in some kind of causal way. What Hume is saying is what you see is a person grab a stick and you see the person in the stick moving you see the stick hit the ball. You see the ball start moving you see the ball hit the object ball. Then you see the object ball start moving and roll into the pocket and what's the assumption we assume that we have all caused these things.

How do we know, for example from all eternity. God didn't decree that at the same moment in history that I would swing the stick he would start the cue ball moving. I would not know that this invisible demon under the table isn't causing the ball to start moving after the cue ball hits the object ball. How do we know that it's the action of the cue ball that causes the action of the object ball to move know this may sound absolutely ridiculous, and sometimes philosophy does seem absolutely ridiculous, but Hume is making a serious analysis here of something fundamental to knowledge and fundamental to science because what were very much concerned about in science is the question of causes and were talking about the ultimate cause of all of reality and of all of the universe were talking about causality in a very serious way, not human say we don't perceive the immediate cause. We see relationships of contiguity that is contiguous events, namely events that follow one another. We don't perceive the connection. All we see are the series of events. We understand that what he saying is that were supplying the assumption of causality and that's something that science has been applying since they lay soon, even before Thales in ancient Greece that we have this idea of causality. Now some people have come to the conclusion that Hume's close analysis of causality and skepticism with respect to perception demolishes the principal or the law of cause and effect to such a degree that we can now say in our sophisticated approach to science that anything can come from anything that anything can happen and things can occur without a cause that's material objects can appear without a cost because here, David Hume has proven that in the field of philosophy and they will appeal to Hume to undergird their appeals to nothing or to chance for someone to remember what Hume said about chance aridity were Hume said that chance is simply a word for our ignorance of real causes that should be a tip to something about Hume that is often overlooked. Hume did not destroy causality. Hume did not destroy the law of cause and effect. Hume did not deny that there are causes for things all he was saying was, we don't know what is the particular cause in a particular moment.

That's one kind of skepticism. It's quite another to go to the next level, which is a quantum leap to say that there can be effects without causes, not to mention a few moments ago the earlier publication of my book classical apologetics, which was reviewed and one academic journal, and a philosopher wrote me and was very complementary of the book but he said he had one criticism EV sent me a copy of his review in the review that was published made one criticism and one criticism only of the work he made the statement. He said the problem with scroll, that's me set the problem with this parole is in scroll will not allow for an un-caused effect. I looked that thought about the universe exploding into behaving five kinds of nothing and so I wrote a nice letter thanked him for his compliments. In a similar I have to confessing a may accomplish scroll really doesn't allow for an un-caused effect. You're absolutely right about that. I said but you mentioned that is some kind of a criticism where I thought it was a virtue, not to allow for an uncaused effect and I will certainly repent of this device if you will just take the time to give me one example in all of reality are in all of history of an uncaused effect on never got a reply and I don't suspect I ever will because there's a case where this very knowledgeable, erudite, brilliant philosopher went to sleep as he knows there can be an uncaused effect. Why can't there possibly be an uncaused effect because the word of fact, by definition, is that which is produced by an antecedent cause so that the law of causality for every effect there must be cause or for every cause. There must be a corresponding fact that definition is what we call analytically true. There's really nothing more in the predicate that is already contained in the subject. It's like saying all triangles have three sides were like saying bachelors are unmarried men. There's nothing new at it all. It is the law of causality is a formal principle of simply one application of the law of non-contradiction, because if an effect is in effect, that means that it as a cause and if something really is a cause that means it is produced in effect it hasn't produced an effect it can rightly be called a cause and if something is uncaused it can rightly be called an effect is a clear him and that simple, but it's not so simple because confusion of language occurs at this point. Again, in some of the most distinguished thinkers of the ages, I'm thinking. For example, of a man who was really a Titan in the realm of mathematics and philosophy in 20th century England. Bertrand Russell. Russell wrote a little book entitled why I am not a Christian. An interesting book fascinating book raises some significant objections against the Christian faith, but early on in the book he tells of an experience he had as a young man said he grew up assuming the existence of God. Looking at nature coming to the conclusion there couldn't not be an eternal cause for all of this. So far so good when he was 18 years old. He read an essay by John Stuart Mill in which Mill challenged the cosmological argument for the existence of God. That is the idea that God is the first cause of all that is and the challenge that John Stuart Mill expressed in this essay was this, if everything must have a cause, then God himself must have a cause and whatever cause God must have a cause and you get lost in an infinite regress, which is the problem of self creation or infinite being with a vengeance. If everything has to have a cause, then God must have a cause and later on Russell makes this comment is that if everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause and if there can be anything without a cause. It may just as well be the world as God no, I think of this reason, he will think this kind of logic that the Russell is using member.

We talked about arguments not being true or false, but arguments are either valid or in valid is Russell's argument a valid argument, yes, have I told you before hand yes was the answer that was thyroid for the question you remembered. I is a valid argument because if it's true that everything must have a cause then manifestly God would have to have a cause right and ears on to say if there can be anything without a cause may just as well be the world as God. Now the second premise there is little suspect. But the first part of the argument by if everything must have a cause than God must have a cough.

No problem is the law of causality does not say that everything must have a cause. There is no law that says everything must have a because the law is every effect must have a cause because for something to be in effect to come into being or the said another way, every contingent being must have a cause that's the meaning of contingency that doesn't mean that everything that is is contingent or is in the fact self creation is a logical impossibility. Self existence isn't and what Christianity asserts is that God is an eternal being who exists in and of himself. He is not an effect is not contingent. He's not created, he didn't have a beginning, nothing produced him. He is eternal know what law of logic does that concept violate none. There's nothing inherently irrational about the idea of an eternal un-caused BA in fact is Aquinas, I believe, rightly demonstrated not only is it possible that there be such a being is logically necessary that there be such a being, if anything exists at all. Something must have the power of being independent from some antecedent causal agent. Nothing can exist. Unless gets me to the same see what has happened here is a John Stuart Mill change the definition of the law of causality and said if everything has to because God would have to select the little boy who said he asked him the question who cause God who made God a little boy said God made himself known. Even God could not create himself, even God cannot be and not be at the same time simulation. If ever there was nothing you can't have the spontaneous generation of university can have the spontaneous generation of a God even time does not have the miraculous power to bring a God out of nothing.

Anything that exists either exists in and of itself, or is produced by something else.

The only auctions, but Mill was saying that everything which is has to have a cause, not that's not true. And unfortunately, when Bertrand Russell was a young impressionable man 18 he was persuaded by an erroneous argument from a very excellent philosopher John Stuart Mill and he held this position. All his life. The second part of the statement is that there can be anything without a cause may just as well be the world as God said, I wouldn't talk about the other alternative to explaining creation mainly in eternal world. Now I quarrel with what Bertrand Russell says if there's anything without a cause.

It may just as well be the world as God is the true will be stated this way if there has to be something that is uncaused and we're agreeing with Bertrand Russell. There must be something that is uncle Mays will just be scroll as God which wrongs that scroll has beginning scroll is finite scrolls derive scrolls dependent scroll is contingent scroll undergoes mutations scroll lacks the power of necessary being just as every physical thing lacks the power of necessary being and so it is not true that is just as well be the world as God. But we need is an eternal self existent in the dependent being who himself itself is not in effect, nothing less.

Friends save phenomena in the universe we see the order of the universe we can come to no other conclusion. God is the creator and he is the superintendent of all that he spoke into existence.

Our teacher this week has been Dr. RC Sproul as we brought you portions of his series creation or chaos. The relationship between science and faith is controversial even among Christians series addresses the most fundamental issue in the dispute in six messages. RC exposes the logical absurdity of the chaos theory of the universe and the supreme rationality of creation. When you give a donation of any amount to look at your ministries today. We will send you the DVD containing the entire series you can request it online and Renewing Your Mind.org work. You can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343. Isaac Newton said the most beautiful system of son planets and comets could only proceed from the Council of the dominion of an intelligent and powerful being God's existence is logically necessary. Once we agree that the anything existed all we hope you'll contact us soon and request a series by Dr. scroll.

This is the last they were offering it.

It is a six message series, perfect for high school or college students were Sunday school class at your church. As believers we need to know what we believe and why we believe it. Give your contact information. Again, our phone number is 800-435-4343 or web address is Renewing Your Mind.org and as always we are grateful for your donation of any amount you find even more resources covering this topic on our free link in your app. Thousands of articles, videos, and audio recordings cover theology, biblical studies, philosophy and worldview.

You can find the app by searching for linear in your app store. People are deeply concerned about the current state of the church, plagued by scandal fractured by schism men threatened by heresy and the bride of Christ often appears irrelevant in anything but pure next week we will feature a series by Dr. scroll that will increase our understanding of what's wrong in the church and what we can do about. We hope you'll join us.

Beginning Monday for Renewing Your Mind


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