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November 25, 2021 12:01 am
Many people today claim that the universe exploded into existence. But there's a fundamental problem with this idea. Today, R.C. Sproul demonstrates that the existence of the world requires a self-existent, eternal Creator.
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It's absolutely logically necessary that we come to the conclusion that something is self eternal and exists in and of itself. Now the question only use what is of the universe is my shoe is of God is to come and hear the universe just exploded being but there's a fundamental problem with the hypothesis this week on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul was answering common objections to the Christian faith and today he provides a logical and reasonable response to those who assume that there is no God.
As we continue now with our study of the most frequent questions and objections that people raise against the truth claims of Christianity. You will recall that we have been busily engaged with the most fundamental question of all. And that is can we have any reason to believe that God really exists, and we've looked at some of the alternatives along the way and before we get into the material for today. Let me clarify a couple of things in our last session, I said one of the most fundamental rules of reason and rules of science is the law ask me hello knee he'll fit out of nothing. Nothing, and you recall I said that if there ever was a time when there was silently nothing at all. No God, no universe, nothing that there couldn't possibly be anything now because you can't get something out of nothing. One of the problems that races with many of you I'm sure those of you who are familiar with church history, and have done some studying in this arena know that one of the most important ideas that St. Augustine set forth centuries ago, is the doctrine of the creation of the universe acts knee hello acts knee hello. Which means how of nothing to say wait a minute. RC you said in the last session that the fundamental laws asked me hello may help it out of nothing. Nothing comes in here St. Augustine sign out of nothing the whole, as I sense the pain and anxiety. You may be going through here trying to reconcile these but let me see if I can help the law ask Niccolo Nico fit out of nothing, nothing comes means absolutely nothing when Augustine says that the universe was created. X knee hello. He doesn't mean never did suggest that there was nothing in the universe that God was there eternally existing and it is out of the power of God that the universe is brought into being and what Augustine meant when he said that the universe is created out of nothing. He means by that that there was not some eternal mass of on distinguished and un-shaped matter that coexisted for eternity with God.
And then one afternoon God decided to reform and reshape that preexistent matter and make a world out of that blob of substance, much the way a sculptor would take an uninformed massive clay figure it into a beautiful statute when he says that God created X knee hello he means that God by the sheer power of divine creativity brought into being something that before that did not exist and that brings us to the other point that is absolutely essential to Christianity and that is that our belief in God carries with it.
Not only that he is a creator or the creator, but the God in his very being is self existent. On our last session we talked about the idea. The concept of self creation and I explained I labored the point that the idea the very idea the concept of self creation is a nonsense concept. Nothing can create itself because the create itself would have to be before it was but there are miles of differences between the idea of self creation and the idea of self existence. Let's see if I can make that clear. I'm reminded of the story of the two little boys that got into a discussion. One boy said to the other boy where did that tree come from, and the second boy said God made that tree. The first boy looked the dog and he swear that dog come from second boy said God made it dog and first foreskin little tired of these theological answers and he finds it okay smarty-pants. Where did God come from, and the boy said God made him self.
Now, beloved, that's cute.
That's false theology, because even God can make himself God is no more able to create himself out of nothing than my shoe is able to make itself because what is true of the universe will also be true of God. At this point that if God didn't exist. He couldn't make himself because for God to create himself God would have to be before he was and so the idea of Christian truth that we have with respect to God is not the God and God alone is self-created.
None. The idea is not that he self-created that he made himself the idea is that he is not made he is created that he is eternal. There was never a second when he didn't exist. There was lots of time when my shoe didn't exist. There was a time when you didn't exist, but there was never a time when God didn't exist because he is eternal and not only is he eternal, but when we say that God is self existent.
We mean by that that he's not a creature. He's not made that he exists eternally and he exists. Here's the key point in his own power. The stars that shine in the sky have power. They're not eternal, they didn't have the power to be in and of themselves, their existence is creaturely, that means it's dependent. It's derived its contingent.
It comes from somewhere or somebody else you are here because you had parents if there weren't any parents for you. There wouldn't be any you. You're a creature you're a product of somebody else or something else we can take that back only so far until finally you have to run up against something that has the power of being within itself and that's what we say about God, the idea of self existence is so different from anything that we ever encounter in this world because you never met anything in this world that has the power being in and of itself. You can trace its history. Whether it's my shoe where the universe itself is significant that when the astronomer speak today and the cosmologists speculate about the beginning of our universe and they go back to this point of singularity. They still put a date on the universe 16 billion years. 18 billion years whatever it is because they understand that even that is dependent upon something other than itself. The produce it.
But when we talk about the God we worship. One of the reasons we worship God is that God alone has the power of being within himself and everything that is is dependent upon him for its existence. Now you recall that in our last session, I said we got rid of the option of self creation because it's rationally impossible.
It's a logical impossibility its philosophical nonsense. We see that the idea of something existing in and of itself by its own power and existing eternally. For those of you who were students of logic you analyze that concept and you will find that there is nothing irrational about that. There's no law of rationality that is violated by the concept of self existence.
The most basic laws of reason are violated. By the idea of self creation that is the idea of self existence is perfectly rational. The idea of self creation is manifestly irrational. Keep that in mind that we still only reduce the matter to two I said if something exists now they can't be self-created so it's either self existent or its created by something that ultimately is self exist not want you to notice that in both of those remaining options.
If you're following this carefully you will see it that though these options differ radically is a big difference between whether my shoe is eternal and exists in and of itself, whether ultimately my shoe is a result of the work of a being who exists by his own power, eternally, namely God's big difference with my shoe in God I grant you that. But in our discourse. We've seen that whatever exist must be either self existent or created ultimately by something that is self existent.
Notice that in both of those. It's absolutely logically necessary that we come to the conclusion that something is self eternal and exists in and of itself. Now the question only is what is of the universe. Is it my shoe is God. But one thing is absolutely certain rationally, not just probable absolutely certain and that is this that something has self existent be. That is a logical necessity, and even old St. Thomas Aquinas whose unwelcome in many circles today theme song of the modern Christian's should old Aquinas be forgotten and never brought to my St. Thomas talked about God as a man was necessary and that is a necessary being and what Aquinas was getting at is that God is necessary in the sense that it is logically necessary that he be an anomaly that, but God's being is such a being is eternal and self existent.
It cannot not be that not only may be, it has to be, if it has the power being eternally inherent and that is a deep philosophical concept.
I understand that, and it may make you annoyed. Even have to contemplate it but were talking about God here and were talking about the most fundamental dimension by which God differs from his creation and that is that God alone has the power being eternally within himself.
Everything else is dependent upon. That being that power supply to exist will some people say but RC you've established that something has to be self existent and eternal would grant that lot.
Why don't we just look to the universe. When we say the universe is self existent and eternal, and there are many philosophers and scientists who are doing just that they're saying matter is eternal. The universe is eternal and then I asked this question and it gets really tricky so you talking about the whole universe are you talking about part of the universe. No inevitably we get into this discussion they grant that this discrete object that I wear around my foot.
This shoe as an entity organized in this particular fashion is finite and temporal and is not self existent and eternal. But the sites made up of stuff that is self existent and eternal molecules in whatever is okay so not every part of the visible universe that we talk about is self existent and eternal just some part of the universal self existent turn. If they say yes, and they'll say we don't have to go outside the universe to some transcendent heavenly supernatural God to explain nature because there may be some little look and cranny some little corner with in the universe that is the pulsating power supply being for everything else in the universe. Think about that for sick instead of a God who stands outside of the universe above and beyond the universe who supplies the power being to the universe that were saying we don't have to go up in the clouds up in the heavens to find this transcendent God we can find it in some as yet undiscovered corner of the universe itself that generates the power of being that you have to think that purchasing is right lose people all the time. Part of it's a problem of theological vocabulary. Let me say to simply as I can. I don't care where God lives. I care that he lives his addresses totally unimportant to me if you want to say that the God of heaven and earth, who makes all things. Who is self existent and eternal who lives in supernatural glory lives east of the sun and west of the moon and from his location creates everything else. You have no quarrel with me because what I want you to understand. And here's where people get confused and get lost is that when we as Christians say that God is transcendent, which means above and beyond the universe. He's higher than universe that he is supra natural not just natural. We're not using that term transcendence in spatial terms, or as a geographic reference were saying that God is above and beyond the universe.
In this sense that God is a different sort of being from creaturely being, and that which makes him different from everything else is that he alone has self existence so people who say I don't believe a transcendent God.
I believe that there's this pulsating core of the universe they're saying in so many words honorably with a transcendent God but I believe the transcendent God trust that little cooler than that nook and cranny that is the power supply house that is alone eternal lives alone self existent alone has the power to bring with himself is what we customarily call God seems that the idea of the self existent eternal being who is the power supply for everything that is is a fundamental assertion of sacred Scripture and what the Bible teaches on every page is not in opposition to reason but that reason itself carefully apply to the question demands that there be a self existent eternal being, and it is not anything that manifests change or that has a birthday. I remember once listening to Dr. John Gerstner in a dispute over these things were somebody was having a debate between these questions and and they wanted to know the seductive cursor. What's the difference between matter and mind and he said, for example Dr. Koester what is mind Gerstner said no matter. This is what's matter he said never mind the near and understand what he's getting at. There he was playing a little game with them and he said the problem with matter. He carried the pond. Further, he said the problem with matter. As we know it is that matter always has a mock tear which is the Latin word for mother.
That is every matter that we observe and perceive manifests all of the signs of mutability of change of generation of the K and these changes of matter indicate that it does not have in parent being the power being within itself that can only be found in a beating who is Spirit and eternal and pure in his being and that we call God's only conclude this portion of our discussion. As I said, this is only skating over the surface. This is a thumbnail sketch. This is the shorthand version and I commend to those of you who are struggling with these questions to read deeply in this matter because we've been call and in the 20th century really people intimidated by the powerful influence of existentialism that teaches the truth can be contradictory and all the rest and you can hide behind all kinds of irrational statements and you've been told a thousand times.
If you have faith you have to rested on a sheer gratuitous irrational leap and not on anything cogent though. I believe that through the power of reason, we cannot learn many of the things that God gives to us in the pages of Scripture, we can just induce them out of thin air, but what God has revealed is not absurd, it is not irrational and it is not nonsense people might call it irrational and may call it nonsense because they don't like it but the idea of a divine self existent eternal being is not just a rational possibility. It is a rational process. As Dr. RC Sproul from his series objections answered will feature another message from the series tomorrow.
There are eight messages at all, in which RC provides intellectually satisfying faith strengthening answers to some of the most common questions about the Christian faith will be glad to provide you with a digital download of the full series when you give a donation of any amount to leader ministries today will also include RC sweeping series on apologetics defending your faith.
There you'll find 32 lessons that dive deep in the help logic and reason can help you be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have in Christ. Since today is Thanksgiving. Our offices are closed today but you can make your request and give your gift online and Renewing Your Mind.org in our quorum Deyo thought for today. Let me say to you that I understand.
I'm quite aware please save your time and energy. Don't write me a thousand letters. I'm aware that we live in a time that it pours reason and that the Christian community in many cases today seems reason as the enemy. And there's a reason for that. And that is because people who call themselves rationalists have been telling us for 200 years that the only way you can be a Christian is.
If you abandon your mind if you leave your brains in the parking lot and jump into this absurd pit of irrationality and somehow even glory in it, saying that the more irrational it is, the more spiritual it is, the more you abandon your mind the more devout you will be in your heart.
Love it. I plead with you to run for your life from that kind of thinking obviously reason is not God but God is reasonable. All reason. This is a way of thinking clearly, the laws of logic are only those rules that tell us how we can make statements that are intelligible and we give no honor to God by making nonsense statements about it is the antichrist religions that want to take away the reasonableness of the word of God and we have been brainwashed into surrendering to this idea, saying will the pagan has reason we have faith whereas the faith that we have is a trust in the coherency and the sanitary of what God clearly sets on this Thanksgiving day. Let me express our heartfelt thanks to you and to the Lord for all that he's done and all that he continues to do. We are indeed thankful and we hope you'll join us again tomorrow for Renewing Your Mind