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Self-Existence

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
June 18, 2022 12:01 am

Self-Existence

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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June 18, 2022 12:01 am

In order for anything to exist at all, there must be something that exists by its own power. Today, R.C. Sproul continues to make his case for the self-existence of God.

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Today on Renewing Your Mind in many slides classrooms today. Students are told to believe everything we see around us just magically appeared out of nothing side shows things that are mysterious things that you can't fit into your present paradigms. I agree with that but to argue for something from nothing is not only not good theology, not good philosophy is not good science either because it's manifestly absurd.

Anything to exist.

Something must exist by its own power as will learn today on Renewing Your Mind. Every human every animal, even the earth itself began somewhere and at some time. Dr. RC Sproul continues his series on apologetics today by pointing us to the only transcendent supreme being the only one who is self existent.

As we continue with our study of apologetics. We recall that what we've been examining in the past, lectures are the options of the alternatives to give a sufficient reason to explain reality as we encounter it when we've looked at the first option that it is an illusion and we have eliminated that possibility than the second. When we looked at in great detail was the reality is self created and when we examined that we saw from an analytical perspective from a logical analysis. This is a self defeating idea. That is, it is absurd by definition because it's rationally impossible than the third alternative.

We looked at was that the universe is self existent or created by something ultimately that is self existent. Now with the concept of self existence we understand immediately. The other four alternatives already we've established that there must be something somewhere, somehow, that self existent because we've eliminated the others by the impossibility of the contrary, know that were going to have to discuss where and what it is that is self existent, but first of all I want to just look at the concept of self existence and the first thing we want to ask is this question, is it possible for anything actually to be self existent, we've seen that it's logically impossible for something to be self created again because for something to create itself. It would have to exist before it was and it would therefore have to be and not be at the same time in the same relationship and so logic eliminates this as a rational possibility. Now I'm asking the question, is the idea of something's being self existent and eternal. A rational possibility now. There have been times in the past in the history of philosophy when some people have gone so far with reason that they have actually argued that if anything can be conceived of rationally it must in fact exist in reality that's not what were going to be trying to demonstrate now. For example, I can conceive of the existence of a unicorn. We have the ability to abstract combined and related ideas and disassemble them and then reassemble them putting horns on the noses of horses and that sort of thing. Borrowing from the rhinoceros where we do see a horn on the nose of an animal, and we can transfer that to a doctor if we want to make conceive of a dock with a horn on its nose or you maybe have been in certain sporting good stores where you will see on the wall. The heads of deer with their antlers and then alongside of them.

You'll see a rabbit's head with antlers coming out of the top of it because some taxidermist came up with the idea to implant the deer's horns in the skull of a rabbit as if somebody had actually shot.

He rabbit with a wonderful New Year's rack on its head. That is, we can conceive by taking apart certain aspects of animals and reconfiguring them and coming up with ideas of rabbits with horns or with the horse with the horn in terms of the unicorn but just because it is rationally conceivable to have a unicorn does not mean that such animals exist, but you can't deny the possibility or the reality of unicorns on the grounds that they are rationally impossible.

We've denied self creation on the grounds that it is rationally impossible. So now are asking now is self existence, a rationally possible idea. Now when we put together or side-by-side. These two ideas self creation and self existence. They seem so similar that some people will respond and say well if self creation is rationally impossible. So self existence must also be rationally impossible and therefore going to account for reality were going to have to make a choice here between two rationally impossible or inconceivable idea. And so what difference does it make whether you go to self creation or self existence will here's the difference. There is nothing illogical whatsoever about the idea of the self existent eternal being that is of a being that is not caused by something else.

Remember we said at the beginning that one of the problems we have in the discussion of the existence of God is that some people misunderstand the idea of the law of cause and effect, saying that it means that everything must have a cause must know the law of causality says every fact must have a cause because, in effect, by definition, is that which is been produced by something outside of itself, or beyond itself, but the idea of an uncaused be is perfectly rational now, just because we can conceive of an uncaused being something that exists in and of itself from all eternity. That is not caused by something outside of itself, does not mean that it would indeed have to be just because we can conceive of it.

But all I'm saying. At this point is that we can conceive of the idea of a self existent eternal being without violating rationality. So I'm saying that reason allows for the possibility of this while it does not allow for the possibility of self creation knowledges in a moment ago just because I can conceive of the rational possibility of a self existent being does not mean that it in fact exists because theoretically we could say that it is rationally conceivable that nothing whatever exist reset again. It is rationally conceivable that nothing exists now and nothing ever existed. However, once we take that step that we took at the very beginning of this construct that if something exists then that changes everything, because if something exists then the idea of self existent being becomes not only possible but necessary reset again if there is anything that exists now, the idea of something that is self existent becomes not merely a rational possibility, but it becomes a rational necessity and so let me explore that idea in a little bit more detail by again putting the idea of self existence, which in theology we call the attribute of a CNC that is that something exists in and of itself. It is uncaused. It is uncreated.

It differs from everything in the universe that has a cause that is dependent or derived and so this idea of the self existent eternal being that has the power or acidity means it has the power to be in and of itself or another way of saying it is that it has the power of being in and of itself. It doesn't gain its existence or its being from something antecedent to itself, but it has it inherently and because it has it inherently.

It has it the internally there was never a time that a self existent being did not exist if it did, then it would be not self existent. It would have to abandon created by something else. And so self existent being is, by definition, one that always has been so in any case, as we look at this idea, self existence, were now saying that it exists not only possibly from the viewpoint of reason, but also necessarily known St. Thomas Aquinas was arguing for the existence of God in his day one of his five arguments was an argument for God from the principle of necessary being, so that in theology.

God has been called the ends necessary on that being whose being is necessary now. There can be a little bit of confusion at this point it gets a little bit complicated sober and have to think carefully now and closely when philosophers and theologians speak about God as necessary. Being there are two distinct ways in which God is described as a necessary be the first way. He's described as a necessary being is that he is necessary by virtue of rationality, or to say that the existence of God. If anything exists is rationally necessary.

That is, if something exists now recent demands that we come to the conclusion that something has always existed that something somewhere has the power of being within itself or we simply could not account for the existence of anything. Again, every much if there was ever a time when there was nothing, absolutely nothing. What could there possibly be now. Except nothing because actually hello Nico, fit out of nothing, nothing can come unless it comes by itself, creating itself, which is a rational impossibility. Now I realize at this point that there can be people who say wait a minute, science now shows you that you can have through quantum physics and quantum mechanics.

Something coming from nothing.

Science shows no such thing.

Science shows things that are mysterious things that you can't fit into your present paradigms. I agree with that but to argue for something from nothing is not not only not good theology, not good philosophy is not good science either because it's manifestly absurd but we know that something exists now so that means there could never been a time when there was absolutely nothing.

There's always had to be something so for women demonstrated that it's God but worldly Oregon at this point that there must be something that has the power of being within itself and is always been there and because that is an being whose being is necessary. Logically, it's a logical necessity that we postulate such an idea of self existent being again. We began with the rational possibility of self existent being but given the thesis that there is something that exists now rather nothing, then that takes us to the next step that there must be a self existent being through rational necessity, so that when we talk about God being a necessary being in the first instance what we mean by that is that his existence is a necessity of rational postulation. Recent demands the existence of a self existent eternal bank and that's very important for the Christian who is trying to defend their faith because only just say as an aside right now that the guns of criticism against Judeo Christianity are aimed and focused almost exclusively at the idea of creation and the idea of a creator, because if you can get rid of creation and get rid of the creator than the whole concept of God collapses and so people are trying to argue that if you're going to be rational and scientific then you have to believe in a universe without God, what were trying to do is turn the guns around and say to the people out there that are saying that they need to turn the guns in on themselves and realize that what they are postulating as an alternative to full body theism is manifest irrationality and absurdity that reason demands that there be necessary being, but that's only one way in which we define the idea of necessary being that is, it is rationally necessary now the other way in which we define necessary being is St. Thomas Aquinas did is that this being has what we call ontological necessity that Herod gets a little bit more abstract a little more difficult. If you're not a student of philosophy of already defined this term. Ontology before but were going to take the time to go over it again ontology is the study or the science of being so when we say that God is ontologically necessary. We mean by that that he exists by the necessity of his own being. He doesn't exist because reason says he has to exist. He exists eternally because he has the power of being in himself in such a way as that. This being cannot not be since the difference between us and God. We say that God is the supreme being and we say that were human beings, but the difference between the supreme being and the human being is being is that my being, or my existence is creaturely existence by which I am a dependent derived contingent creature. I cannot sustain myself forever. There was a time when I was not there is a time when my life in the form in which I'm living it now will undergo some kind of transition.

I will in fact die right now for me to continue to exist in my present state. I need to have water.

I need to have oxygen and I need to have a heartbeat in brain waves and so on. I am dependent upon all of these things in order to continue to exist hundred years ago there was no RC Sproul.

I did not exist.

Now I exist. I have a beginning in time in my life can be measured in terms of time and not only that but the whole process or progress of my life is a life of constant generation and decay of chain of mutation, which is the supreme characteristic or attribute of contingent beings or creatures they change constantly, whereas that which has self existent eternal being is change less because it is never losing any of the power of its being, nor is it gaining anything in the scope of its being because it is what it is eternally and is not that it borrows or adds something to itself after 500 years of eternity. It has being itself within its own power.

That's what we mean by a self existent eternal being, whose being is ontologically necessary. That is, it cannot help but be pure being is dependent upon nothing for its continuity of existence or its origin of existence.

It's not in the state of becoming, as Plato understood. It's in the state of pure being, and pure being cannot not be.

That was behind by the way in shorthand's thinking, Anselm's ontological argument that reflect an attribute only of one being the most perfect being conceivable can it be said of that being that it cannot not be, it must be in reality as well as in the mind, but that's another story, but in the meantime, this is the link we have with biblical theism. This is how God reveals himself with his sacred name to Moses in the Midianite wilderness when God calls Moses out of the burning bush and sends him on this mission to Pharaoh to liberate the people of Israel and Moses now in his amazement watching this bush that is burning but not being consumed in hearing this voice speaking to him out of the bush calling him by name saying Moses. Moses put off your shoes from off your feet to the ground were on your standing is holy ground. Moses first question he asks God is, whom I that I should do these things. That's the first question anyone to know he will then very quickly moved to the big question when he says to God, who are you who shall I tell the people of Israel has authorized me to ask them to go on this act of rebellion against Pharaoh who shall I say to Pharaoh says let my people go, and God answers him by giving him his sacred name. His memorial name, the name by which he is known from all generations by saying to Moses play which being translated means I am who I am. I am is sending you is a not I was or I will be where I'm in the process of change or becoming blocked by M who I am. He uses the verb to be in the present tense.

This is the name of God, the one whose being is always present, eternally present and eternally unchanging, without whose being nothing else could possibly be met is that self existent eternal being have a name by the name of God or is it the universe itself. Is it matter itself. That's what will look at in our next session and you could hear that message next Saturday here on Renewing Your Mind. This is from Dr. RC Sproul series defending your faith and we are pleased to feature it on the Saturday addition of Renewing Your Mind in this overview of classical apologetics.

RC explains the four laws of logic that are necessary for all reasonable conversation and it's on that foundation that he lays out ways to defend your faith in a faithless world. We will send you this 11 DVD set 32 messages when you give a donation of any amount to look at your ministries are a couple of ways you can reach us to make a request. One is by phone at 800-435-4343 or online at Renewing Your Mind.word Dr. Strohl said that are calling this age is not simply to believe or proclaim. Also called to defend, to give an answer for the hope it's within us. We do hope to hear from you if you like to request the series or phone number again is 800-435-4343. Our online address is Renewing Your Mind.or attend on behalf of all of my college cheerleader ministries, let me thank you for your generous donation before we go. Let me remind you that you also find helpful.

Teaching 24 hours a day on ref net that's our Internet streaming radio station.

We have gathered in several of today's most faithful Bible teachers and pastors, including Stephen Lawson. Alastair begged Sinclair Ferguson and of course Dr. RC Sproul. You also hear music, audiobooks, and more. Listen at any time when you go to ref net.FM or when you download the free ref net app next week. Dr. Strohl point out the philosophy and science have long argued for the existence of something they call a necessary power. Ironically, the power they describe looks a lot like our triune God, the God of the Bible. I hope to join us next Saturday for Renewing Your Mind


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