God as the Only Option
In the end, a creator God is our only logically
possible explanation for origins. How do we know this? In order to
answer this question, we must first make one assumption that is
crucial to almost everything else. Dr. Sproul has pointed out the
necessity of not only assuming the validity of the laws of logic but
the necessity of adhering to them. Without this, even science is
impossible and must end up teaching nonsense, as it does now in the
area of origins.
To argue validity to logic is an assumption,
but an absolutely necessary one. If logic has no validity, even the
words used to argue against logic have no meaning:
To say anything intelligible, positive or negative, about logic
requires that the words we use in the assertion or denial have
intelligible meaning. If the words we use can mean what they mean
and theyíre contrary, then they mean nothing and our words are
Philosopher Ronald H. Nash writes: "Strictly speaking, the law of
noncontradiction cannot be proved. The reason is simple. Any
argument offered as proof for the law of noncontradiction would of
necessity have to assume the law as part of the proof. Hence, any
direct proof of the law would end up being circular. It would beg
Nash is correct in his analysis. But again we remember that any
attempt to refute the law of noncontradiction also requires one to
assume the law being refuted.
When I declare that the law of noncontradiction is a necessary
assumption, I mean that without it all other assumptions about
anything become impossible. To challenge this assumption makes
science an excuse in absurdity. Again, the scientific method itself
must be discarded.
People do challenge and deny the law of noncontradiction, but
they do so selectively. They deny it when it suits themÖ. Although
most people Iíve met who argue against logic will readily admit to
or even glory in the irrationality of it, they will protest if you
label their position absurd. They want irrationality without
absurdityóa difficult request to fulfill. 66
Put another way, "How do we know that the real is
rational? We donít. What we do know is that if it isnít rational, we
have no possible way of knowing anything about reality. That the real
is rational is an assumption. It is the classical assumption of
science. Again, it is a necessary assumption for science to be
possible. If the assumption is valid and reality is rational and
intelligible, then the falsifying power of logic can play a major role
in scientific inquiry." 67
In other words, if we reject the laws of logic, we
reject everything and all knowledge becomes impossible. But if we
accept the laws of logic, as we must, then this leaves us only one
valid option for explaining the origin of the universeócreation by
God. Letís see why.
Only Four Options
As Sproul points out, there are really only four
options to consider for the origin of the universe: 1) that the
universe is an illusionóit does not exist; 2) that it is self-created;
3) that it is self-existent and eternal by itself; and 4) that it was
created by something self-existent. He further argues out that there
are no other options: "Are there are options Iíve overlooked? Iíve
puzzled over this for decades and sought the counsel of philosophers,
theologians, and scientists, and I have been unable to locate any
other theoretical options that cannot be subsumed under these four
For example, the idea of spontaneous generation inherent to
naturalistic evolution is the same as option 3, self-creation;
philosopher Bertrand Russellís concept of an infinite regress, an
infinite series of finite causes, is simply a camouflaged form of
self-creation disguised to infinity.
Dr. Sproul proceeds to show that the first three
options concerning the origin of the universe must logically be
eliminated as rational options.
Option 1 must be eliminated for two reasons. First,
if the universe is an illusion, the illusion must somehow be accounted
for. If itís a false illusion then it isnít an illusion; if itís a
"true" illusion then someone or something must be existing to have the
illusion. If this is the case then that which is having the illusion
must either be self-created, self-existent, or caused by something
ultimately self-existent, i.e., again, everything is not an illusion.
The second reason for eliminating option 1 is that
if we assume the illusion is absolute (that nothing exists), including
that which is having the illusion, then there is no question of
origins even to answer because literally nothing exists. But if
something exists, then whatever exists must either be self-created,
self-existent or created by something that is self-existent.
The problem with option 2, self-creation, is that
"it is formally false. It is contradictory and logically impossible."
essence, self-creation requires the existence of something before it
exists: "For something to come from nothing it must, in effect, create
itself. Self-creation is a logical and rational impossibilityÖ. For
something to create itself it must be before it is. This is
impossible. It is impossible for solids, liquids, and gases. It is
impossible for atoms, and subatomic particles. It is impossible for
light and heat. It is impossible for God. Nothing anywhere, anytime,
can create itself." 70
Sproul points out that an entity can be self-existent and not violate
logic but it canít be self-created. Again, when scientistsí claim that
15 to 20 billion years ago "the universe exploded into being" what are
they really saying? If it exploded from nonbeing into being then what
Sproul summarizes his reasoning in six points.
First, chance is not an entity. Second, non-entities are powerless
because they have no being. Third, to argue that something is caused
by chance attributes instrumental power to nothing. Fourth, something
caused by nothing is self-created. Fifth, the idea of self-creation is
irrational and violates the law of noncontradiction. Sixth, to retain
a theory of self-creation requires the rejection of logic and
While the concept of self-creation can be believed, it cannot be
argued rationally. It is as rationally inconceivable as a round square
or a four-sided triangle. 72
The problem with option 3, that the universe is
self-existent and eternal, is that the discoveries of modern science
force us to reject it. And there are other problems.
Again, how did the universe exist forever and
then do in time (i.e., create life) what it had not done forever?
Are all parts of the cosmos self-existent and eternal or only some
parts? If we say all parts, that includes ourselves and every single
man-made item that exists. But we know these cannot be
self-existent and eternal. Cars, watches, chairs and all people were
brought into existence at some point in time. If we say some parts of
the material cosmos are self-existent and that they created other
parts, we have essentially transferred the attributes of a
transcendent God to the self-existent, eternal parts of the universe
and thereby rejected our own assumption of materialism. Besides, it
simply is not rational to argue that matter created life.
All the laws of science, logic and common sense show
that life does not originate from non-life.
Finally, if there were ever a "time" when nothing
existed, what would exist now? Clearly, nothing would existóunless we
argue something can come from nothingómore magic that places us back
at self-creation, a logical impossibility. So if things exist now,
then something is self-existent, and it must either be God or
matter. If it canít be matter, and it canít, then it
must be God. 73
Sproul continues to point out that the remaining
concept of a self-existent reality, i.e., God, is not only logically
possible it is logically necessary:
Öthere must be a self-existent being of some sort somewhere, or
nothing would or could exist. A self-existent being is both
logically and ontologically necessaryÖ. We have labored the
logical necessity of such being. Yet it is also necessary
ontologically. An ontologically necessary being is a being who
cannot not be. It is proven by the law of the impossibility of the
contrary. A self-existent being, by his very nature must be eternal.
It has no antecedent cause, else it would not be self-existent. It
would be contingent. 74
After logically demonstrating option 4 as the only
reasonable option available in the realm of the debate over origins,
Sproul also shows that the classic arguments by Kant and Hume against
the cosmological argument are invalid. Indeed, Kant and Hume are
vastly overrated by skeptics, and, in fact their theories are actually
antithetical to science. For example, Roy Abraham Varghese comments as
Jaki, Meynell, and a number of other thinkers have repeatedly
demonstrated that the Humean and Kantian theories of knowledge used
against theistic arguments cannot be accepted uncritically because
they fly in the face of the key assumptions underlying the
scientific method. [Bertrand] Russell himself once said, "Kant
deluged the philosophical world with muddle and mystery, from which
it is only now beginning to emerge. Kant has the reputation of being
the greatest of modern philosophers, but to my mind he was a mere
misfortune". Additionally, Kantís attempt to identify the
cosmological argument with the ontological argument has often been
effectively derailed, most notably in A. E. Taylorís Theism.
In sum, based upon the law of non-contradiction and
its extension, the law of causality, Sproul demonstrates that we have
no other rational option than option 4, that the universe was
created by something that is self-existent, i.e., God.
76 But it is also a
necessary and practical conclusion that this God be personal, not
impersonal. "Can there be an impersonal cause of personality
No. Of course, many people today prefer the idea that God is
impersonal, whether we have the Brahman of Hinduism, some other form
of pantheism, or the essentially illogical "deification" of matter as
in naturalistic evolution. (Again, if the universe is created, then
pantheism is impossible for this would mean God was created.)
The reason for this preference for impersonality is
evident. If God is impersonal, we are off the hook and accountable to
no one. The concept of an impersonal origin is attractive because it
allows us to think we escape moral responsibility to a personal God.
We can live as we wish and do what we want. Biblically, of course, and
often practically, this is the ultimate exercise in self-delusion.
Sproul concludes by stating, "Chance as a real force
is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific
inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue the advance in
knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all."
If the results of a Gallup poll reported on a CNN
"factoid" are correct, only 9% of Americans believe that life on earth
arose by chance anyway. This would seem to imply that most Americans
are better informed about origins than most scientists. Of course,
most Americans also believe in evolution; they simply believe God used
the evolutionary processes to create life. The reasoning is that, if
life exists, it is much more reasonable to think it came from God than
from nothing, regardless of the process. At this point, unfortunately,
most Americans have also bought into the second level of modern
scientific myth making, the garnering of scientific data in such a
manner as to make evolution seem possible. In other words, if
chance is rejected, and we assume God used the process of evolution to
create life, then all the "evidence" scientists claim for
evolution "must" be valid. Biblically, however, it is impossible that
God could have used the process of evolution, and this explains why
its claimed evidences are found to be non-existent.
In conclusion, once we have God on board, it is
simply a matter of logically employing Christian evidences to prove
that the Christian God is the one true self-existent being. Indeed,
what other rational, comprehensive, convincing worldviews do we have
as options? Apart from Christianity, there are none.
79 For example,
Eastern religions are philosophically self-refuting and nihilistic;
modern materialism/secularism/atheism/humanism is bankrupt
philosophically, morally, and in most other ways, as demonstrated by a
number of modern philosophers and theologians.
deism, pantheism, panentheism, and other worldviews are also
inadequate or logically deficient.
81 Only Christianity survives the tests of
logic, rationality and empirical, historical verification as a
66. R. C. Sproul, Not a Chance: The Myth of
Chance in Modern Science & Cosmology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker,
1994), p. 145-46.
67. Ibid., p. 156.
68. Ibid., pp. 157-58.
69. Ibid., p. 158, cf., p. 12 ff.
70. Ibid., p. 12.
71. Ibid., pp. 12-13.
72. Ibid., p. 173.
73. Ibid., pp. 159-60; See Also Richard
Swineburnís trilogy, esp. The Existence of God.
74. Ibid., pp. 185-86.
75. Roy Abraham Varghese, "Introduction" in Henry
Margenau, Roy Abraham Varghese, eds., Cosmos Bios Theos,
(LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1992), p. 16.
76. Sproul, p. 192.
77. Ibid., p. 190.
78. Ibid., p. 214.
79. Cf., our Ready With an Answer (Harvest
House, 1997) and companion volume Knowing the Truth about
Salvation (Harvest House, 1997)
80. Stuart C. Hackett, Oriental Philosophy
(Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1979); David L.
Johnson, A Reasoned Look at Asian Religions (Minneapolis:
Bethany, 1985); R. C. Sproul, Lifeviews (Old Tappan, NJ:
Revell, 1986); David Ehrenfeld, The Arrogance of Humanism
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1978); Ravi Zacharias, Can
Man Live Without God? (Dallas; Word, 1994); R. C. Sproul, If
Thereís a God Why Are There Atheists? (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale,
1978); Phillip Johnson, Reason in the Balance: The Case Against
Naturalism in Science, Law and Education (InterVarsity, 1995);
Norman L. Geisler, William Watkins, Perspectives: Understanding
and Evaluating Todayís Worldviews (San Bernardino, CA: Hereís
Life Publishers, 1984); John Warwick Montgomery, "Is Man His Own
God?" in John Warwick Montgomery (ed.), Christianity for the
Toughminded (Minneapolis: Bethany, 1975).
81. Norman Geisler, et al., Perspectives;
"Creationism: Is It a Biblical Option?" Proceedings of the Third
Creation-Science Conference (Caldwell, Idaho: Bible Science
Association (1976) and Marvin L. Lubenow, Bones of Contention: A
Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils (Grand Rapids, MI:
Baker, 1992), Ch. 20.