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Creation Ex Nihilo

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
January 31, 2022 12:01 am

Creation Ex Nihilo

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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January 31, 2022 12:01 am

By God's command, all things came into being. Today, R.C. Sproul introduces the doctrine of creation "ex nihilo"--out of nothing--and explains why this doctrine is one of the central issues that separate Christianity from secular atheism.

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Next on Renewing Your Mind with RC Sproul.

One. Christian theologians say that God creates the world actually hello or out of nothing that is not the same thing as saying once there was nothing. And then out of that nothing, something came so that raises the question what was there before there was nothing. That's one of those questions. The brain doesn't stay with us because Dr. RC Sproul will provide the answer. This is from his overview series that we call foundations which he looks at the fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith, including the doctrine of creation now touching the issue that I believe is the key and central issue in our culture today that separates Christianity and other religions from all forms of secularism and of atheism.

Those who have been proponents of atheism and secularism have aimed their guns almost exclusively at the Christian in Judeo-Christian doctrine of creation because they understand this point that if we can undercut the concept of divine creation, the whole Christian life and worldview collapses because primary to Judeo-Christian faith is the concept that this world in which we live has not emerged as a cosmic accident but is the result of the direct supernatural propulsive work of a creator of the very first sentence of sacred Scripture sets forth this primary affirmation upon which everything else is established. In the words of that first sentence go like this in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and there are three fundamental points that are affirmed in that first sentence of Scripture, all of which are in dispute. In our day. The first is that there is a beginning, second, there is a God.

And third, that there is a creation while one would think that if the first point could be established firmly that the other two would follow biological necessity. That is, if there is indeed a beginning to the universe, then there must be something or some one who is responsible for that beginning and obviously if there is a beginning, there must be some kind of creation. But the amazing thing about the contemporary milieu in which the subjects are debated is that for the most part, though not universally, but for the most part, the majority of those people who adopt various views of secularism acknowledge a beginning in time to the universe, advocates for example of The Big Bang Theory of cosmology say that 15 to 18 billion years ago the universe began and it began as a result of this gigantic explosion. As I've said on other occasions, one highly respected physicist made the comment that 15 to 18 billion years ago the universe exploded into being, and if it exploded into being. The immediate question is if it exploded into being what it exploded out of non-bank and that's a course and absurd idea, but the irony is that most secularists will grant that the universe had a beginning, but still reject the idea of creation and the idea of the existence of God. Now the one thing that we virtually all agree on is that there is such a thing as a universe. Some may plead the case that what we call the universe or external reality to ourselves is nothing but an illusion, and that the world does not exist and even my own self-consciousness may be a delusion.

But again, that begs the question, and only the most recalcitrant solipsistic would try to argue in such a fashion that nothing exists because to argue that nothing exists you have to exist to make the argument, but in any case, given the truth that something exists out there and that there is a universe of philosophers and theologians historically have looked at that and asked the basic question why is there something rather than nothing and indeed that's the oldest philosophical question. Perhaps that there is, why is there anything at all and those who have sought to answer that question have realized that there basically are only three options to explain reality as we encounter it in our lives.

The first is that the universe itself is self existent and eternal.

I sent a few months ago that the overwhelming majority report among secularists is that the universe did have a beginning and is not eternal, but I stop short of saying that everyone holds that position because there are those who in the past and even today have argued that the material world is eternal and is always been there and it has the power of existence within itself so that the universe is self existent and eternal.

The second option is that the universe was created by something or someone that is self existent and eternal well notice that these first two options have one very important common element to that. Both of these options argue that something is self existent and eternal. And the third option will come back to this first through the third option is the option that I call self creation.

The idea that the universe did not always exist, but that it in the final analysis, came into being. Suddenly, dramatically, by its own power. Now I have to say at this point that most people who deny number one and number two and argue that the universe pops into being, will not use the language of self creation because they understand. I hope that this concept. The concept of self creation is a logical absurdity that it is an analytically false statement manifestly if one needs only think about it for five seconds to see that that's the case for in order for anything to create itself must be its own creator. That would mean they would have to exist before it made itself and therefore it would have to exist before it was which means it would have to be and not be at the same time and in the same relationship which violates the most fundamental law of reason there is the law of non-contradiction so that this concept of self creation is manifestly absurd, contradictory and irrational. Not only to hold such a view would be bad theology, but it would be equally bad philosophy and or bad science because science as well as philosophy rests upon the ironclad laws of reason.

So this position is essay is irrational and unreasonable, but most people who hold to such an idea. As I said don't call it self creation, but the concept is one that manifestly involves self creation. We think back.

For example, to the time of the Enlightenment were one of the main aspects of the Enlightenment was the assumption that the God hypothesis is no longer necessary to explain the presence of the external universe. This was the great discovery of the Enlightenment that drove in acts against the root of the tree of the classical synthesis in which the church enjoyed such respect in the philosophical realm throughout the Middle Ages. Because philosophers could not gainsay the rational necessity of an eternal first cause, or of the existence of God, but the discovery of the Enlightenment, when the lights went on, it was the discovery that the God hypothesis was no longer necessary to explain the world because science had now advanced to such a degree that an alternative explanation could suffice and serve to explain the presence of the universe without an appeal to a transcendent self existent eternal first cause her to a God and in the 18th century that discovery was the discovery of what was called then spontaneous generation idea spontaneous generation.

Is that something was generated spontaneously without an antecedent costs. It just popped into existence on it so well again if I use language that I use and call it self creation. It's very easy to see that notion is self-contradictory, but if I call it by another name. Call the Rosa Tulip I maybe can sneak it by you if I call it spontaneous generation, but conceptually I'm saying the same thing and one spontaneous generation was justly and legitimately reduced to absurdity in the scientific world to a certain degree alternative concepts sought other language to replace it. I remember reading an essay by a Nobel prize-winning physicist, in which he quite soberly and academically made the comment that the days when we can assert spontaneous generation are over and acknowledge the spontaneous generation was a philosophical impossibility. He said now we have to substitute for spontaneous generation.

The concept of gradual, spontaneous generation set forth. Does this mean that you can't get something out of nothing quickly that takes a long time for something to create itself. But, given enough time and enough nothingness that nothingness can somehow work out the power to bring something into being.

I'm not joking when I tell you this was a highly respected as I say, Nobel prize-winning physicist who writes this essay in which she advocates gradual spontaneous generation, but usually the term that is used in the place of self creation is the idea of chance creation, chance, creation where another form of logical fallacy is brought into play and that is the fallacy of equivocation in the fallacy of equivocation takes place when in the midst of an argument, sometimes very subtly the words that are keywords in the argument change their meaning and this is where we see this with a vengeance in terms of the use of the word chance because the word chance is a perfectly good word in our language and is one that is very useful in scientific investigations because chance is a word that describes for us mathematical possibilities. We can say if there are 50,000 flies in a closed room that there are statistical odds that can be used to show what is the likelihood of a certain number of flies being in any given square inch of that room at any given time, and so in the efforts to be able to predict things scientifically, working out complex equations of possibility quotients is a very important and legitimate enterprise of the scientific vocation. But it's one thing to use the term chance to describe a mathematical possibility. It's another thing suddenly to shift in your usage of the term to using the term chance as if it were something that had actual creative power.

Something that would have the ability to bring things into existence or even to affect changes among things that are already in existence for chance to influence anything for chance to have any impact or effect on anything in the world are outside the world it would have to be something that possesses power, but chance is not a thing chance is simply an intellectual concept that describes mathematical possibilities. It is no thing. It has no power, and to say that the universe came into being by chance if you mean by that. The chance exercise some power to bring the universe into being.

Again your throne back to the idea of self creation because chance is nothing. It is not a thing. It has no power. It has no bearing. So if we can eliminate this concept altogether, which reason demands that we eliminate altogether, then you're left with one of the first two options which two options. As I said, at least agree on the point that if something exists now if anything exists now than something somewhere, somehow, must be self existent because if that were not the case. Nothing could possibly exist at the present time, and one of the absolute laws of science that we have is this law ask Nico low Nico fit which being translated means simply out of nothing. Nothing comes in simple jargon that could be translated to say you can't get something from nothing. If all you have is nothing that's all you will ever have. Because nothing cannot produce something and so the principle here is that if there ever was a time when there was absolutely nothing that we could be absolutely certain that today, at this very moment, there would still be absolutely nothing so something has to be self existent.

Something must have the power being within it for anything to exist at all. Now these two options post many problems in the idea of the self existent material world is often spelled out in terms like this since virtually everything that we examine in the material world manifests change and contingency and mutation philosophers are loath to assert that that aspect of the universe is that part that is self existent and eternal because that which is self existent and eternal is not given to mutation or to change. Usually what the argument goes to the car argument goes like this is somewhere out there or in their in the depths of the universe there is some hidden little pulsating core or power supply that is stable.

That is self existent that is eternal to which everything else in the universe owes its origin of existence and materialists at this point will argue that there is no need for a transcendent God to explain the material universe because the eternal pulsating core of existence can be found inside the universe rather than transcending it appear out there in the great beyond that point. Another error is made in the air again is linguistic misuse of the term transcendent because when the Scriptures speak of God as being transcendent, it is not describing God's location. It is not simply saying that God lives up there or out there somewhere, but when we say that God is above and beyond the universe were saying that he is above and beyond the universe in terms of his being his ontology. He is ontologically transcendent. Anything that has the power of being within itself and is self existent must be distinguished from anything that is derived independent and contingent. So if there is something at the core of the universe that is self existent and has the part of being in and of itself, then it by its very nature transcends everything else Autocare were Godů Winokur was addresses were concerned about is his nature is eternal being and the dependence of everything else in the universe upon him now. Finally, in the time that is left, which is brief. The classical Christian view of creation is that God creates the world ask Nico low, out of nothing and does this not flatly contradict the absolute law of already set forth that ask Nico low Nico fit out of nothing, nothing comes people of argued against creation ask me hello on those very grounds. Well, when Christian theologians say that God creates the world ask Nico low were out of nothing that is not the same thing as saying once there was nothing. And then out of that nothing, something came rather the Christian view is in the beginning God and God is not nothing God is something God is self existent and eternal in his being and he alone has the ability to create things out of nothing God can call worlds into existence. This is the power of creativity in its absolute sense that only God has the ability to create matter. Not reshape it and reform it from some pre-existing material. When we talk about creativity in the artistic realm we talk about somebody's ability to take a square block of marble and shape it and form it into a beautiful statute or take a plane canvas and some paint and transform that by rearranging the pigment into a beautiful painting. That's not how God creates the universe there is no matter that exists, but God calls the world into being and his creation is absolute in the sense that he is not simply shaping, forming and shuffling around things that already existed.

The Scripture gives us only the briefest description of the how he does at all that the Bible gives us is what we call the divine imperative were the divine fiat were God creates by the power and the authority of his command. God says, let there be in the results.

That's the divine imperative because even nothing, cannot resist the command dreams all that is we worship the God of power and might, don't we.

But it's amazing to think that this God who is so powerful that he spoke the world into existence is also the God who knows every hair on her head. You been listening to Dr. RC Sproul in the lesson from his overview series titled foundations. The series features 60 lessons that covered God's attributes that mankind is God's image bearer sin, the atonement, and many other basic Christian doctrines. Dr. Strohl taught this series to if you will lay the foundation for the Christian faith to know who God is and and to know his word better soar making the special edition of the series available to you today for a gift of any amount to request your DVD copy. Call us at 800-435-4343. You can also go online to Renewing Your Mind.Ward. This special edition of the foundation series includes an extra disc featuring all of the audio files from the series, and a PDF of the study guide with outlines and study questions. So, if you will teach Sunday school at your church or lead a small group in your home.

I think you'll see why this is an excellent resource. So, with your gift of any amount today. We invite you to request foundations.

Our phone number again is 800-435-4343 inter-web address is Renewing Your Mind.Ward. Regular ministries are our desires to help Christians know what they believe, why they believe it how to live it and how to share it. To that end, we published hundreds of teaching series. We posted regional, national and now international conferences, and we've created an online Bible study, community if you learn best and online setting. Let me encourage you to visit Lincoln here, connect, learn more about it when you go to once again that's Unfortunately, the entertainment world has shaped what too many of us think about angels, demons and Satan. But tomorrow Dr. RC Strobel look to the only source that matters on the subject. We hope you'll join us tomorrow for Renewing Your Mind

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