Friday, December 22, 2017

What is Reality, Part 2..Reality as Self-Created

By Reverend Mark Hunnemann

Continued from What Is Reality, Part 1...Reality As Matrix Illusion

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

This is the second in a four-part series on reality: how did the universe come into being? What is reality?

Anyone who is serious about sharing their faith effectively needs to understand the different views on how the universe came to be. Satan doesn’t just attack physically but through doctrines that dishonor God as both Creator and Redeemer. Unbiblical views of cosmology have led many people away from God and His precious gospel. That is why they are doctrines of demons.

The most basic philosophical question is: why is there is something rather than nothing? We looked at the first explanation for reality as an illusion last time, and saw its irrationality and unbiblical nature. Let me remind you of the four basic explanations of reality as we confront it.

1. Reality is an illusion
2. Reality is self-created
3. Reality is self-existent and eternal
4. Reality was created by self-existent God

So, this time we shall look at the notion that the reality we confront each day is self-created. Many who believe this notion don’t necessarily say this explicitly, but it’s what they mean.

The statement/proposition ‘self-created’ is what is known in logic as being analytically false. It is false by definition. It is a logical absurdity. Every unbiblical view of reality is at odds with biblical epistemology (view of knowledge and how we attain it) and logic, and leads to irrationality; these basic principles of logic are not negotiable.

For something to create itself, the effect has to be its own cause which flies in the face of not only logic but science as well; nothing has to create something; it has to exist before it existed; and it has to be and not be at the same time and in the same relationship. This violates the law of non-contradiction in order to create life. And as we said, all non-biblical views of origins violate logic at some point, and more importantly the Word of God, as expressed in Genesis 1:1 and innumerable other places. But, as we’ll see, the utter irrationality of this notion has not prevented it from popping up in various forms and becoming very popular.

Imagine this discussion: 1.“Who made the grass?”  “God did.”…2.”Who made you?” “God did.”…3.”Who made God?”  “God made Himself.”  Sorry, but not even the omnipotent, Living God could create Himself! It’s logically absurd. He’s always been, and He is the Supreme Being, from whom all other being is derivative…including human beings. To be, or not to be..that is the question. Indeed!
During the Enlightenment in the 18th century, the French Encyclopedists (e.g. Diderot, d’Holbach)asserted that the ‘God hypothesis” was no longer needed as a sufficient cause of the universe. In place of God, they posited spontaneous generation as the causal factor behind all reality. Things just simply begin to be.

For example, they noted  that there was a puddle in the road, but soon after mosquitoes were being formed. Hence, it appeared that the insects were spontaneously generating(self-creating). Without the benefit of microscopes many such anomalies must have appeared as mysterious. However, as thinking people, these folks should have remembered the basic maxim-ex nihilo nihil fit—out of nothing, nothing comes, and they should have come to the conclusion: “We don’t know.” But they seized upon these examples because of their anti-God assumptions and extrapolated them backwards to creation—self created.

Today the notion of spontaneous generation has been thoroughly debunked as ludicrous in scientific circles. We now know that there all sorts of microscopic entities that can explain many of the past mysteries. You may recall this being discussed in High School biology.

Surely the notion of spontaneous generation is passé, right? Not so fast because there is the field of physics! One Nobel Prize winning scientist stated that the universe came into existence by a ‘gradual spontaneous generation’! In other words, you can’t get something from nothing quickly but, given enough time, it will happen! Sheesh.This reminds me of the saying: “A rose by any other name is still a rose.” What this Nobel Prize winner is asserting is still self-creation, which is logically absurd. No matter how long the interval, spontaneous generation cannot occur.

The Hubble Telescope has given us astonishingly lovely pictures of God’s cosmos. It has also caused one very famous astrophysicist to say that that 15-18 billion years ago the universe exploded into being. The key word is ‘being’. If had said that 18 billion years ago matter was shaped into its present form, then there would not have been anything logically wrong with his comment (though you many disagree with the time factor) But, my question to this astrophysicist is this: what was there before this explosion? Non-being…nothing? To say that the “universe exploded into BEING” is making an ontological and philosophical statement. If that’s what he is saying, then that is philosophical nonsense. Non-being cannot explode into being. Or, nothing cannot explode into something. Maybe that’s not what he meant, but there are others who would argue in this fashion.

The esteemed Stephen Hawking, leading cosmologist, co-authored “The Grand Design” in which he argued that the universe was self-created. This notion is absurd, as we’ve seen, because it would have to exist before it existed…or there was an effect without a cause. All of his comments about gravity miss the obvious point: where did gravity come from?  If he is going to say that the universe is self-creating then he needs to be stick to it and frankly say that nothing created something…but the most intelligent people can shroud absurdities in so much abstruse language that it sounds profound, when in reality it is absurd nonsense.

The most frequent form of self-creation today is creation by chance. Since I was in college, I developed a fascination with cosmology and cosmogony, but I am not a scientist, nor the son of a scientist! I am definitely not a physicist.  I applaud the developments in the area of theoretical physics.
However, I can observe and analyze the way that they interpret the data and the conclusions drawn(which is often subjective and hidden assumptions peek through)as well as their propositions to see if they are rational. One doesn’t have to be a physicist to see if their propositions are logically absurd or not.

Arthur Kessler stated that the reigning principle of chance in physics made God an anachronism; outdated and unneeded.

Over and over we hear highly intelligent scientists assert that the universe was created by chance. It was created by the impersonal plus time plus chance.

Take an example of flipping a coin. What are the chances of it landing on ‘heads’? Fifty-fifty. But what did ‘chance’ have to do with the outcome of the coin flip? Nothing, it is simply a way of speaking of mathematical possibility.

However, the notion of chance has taken on mythological status—even ontological status. Ontology has to do with being. But when you thing about it, chance is nothing. It is not a thing. It does not have extension or energy. It is no-thing, nothing. Chance has no power because it is ontologically nothing. It has no causal power. Again, chance is merely a way of expressing mathematical probability regarding an event, but it can’t cause anything.

However, many physicists and other scientists assert that chance created the universe! Not a chance! Yet, if you dress your verbiage up in enough abstruse, technical details, as scientists often do, they get away with saying that chance created the universe, when chance can’t even flip a coin!

When scientists state that the universe was created by chance, then they are necessarily implying that it was self-created, which is a logical absurdity.  You may couch it in scientific jargon so that it seems profound, but it isn’t. It grieves my heart to see so many college students mis-led by the logical jibberish of professors that sounds so persuasive to them regarding the origins of reality.

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Wrong views of reality and how the universe came into being have to be debunked if we are going to be faithful to Christ. And some views of origins naturally lead to occult activity (e.g. illusion). Hence, we need to lovingly ‘destroy’ arguments raised up against the knowledge of God…but do so with tears.

When I was in college, I coined a term for myself which I wanted to use as rule: seek epistemological humility. It seemed to me that many of my professors were quite the opposite. They were seeking knowledge of God’s world in an autonomous fashion, and that always leads to hubris and irrationality. Autonomous thinking is the attempt to analyze and interpret God’s world apart from God’s Word. Does that sound wise to you? Remember Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge/wisdom.”

In physics, and in every academic field, it is important to be able to say “I don’t know or I don’t understand” when we bump into a mystery we can’t unravel. In God’s world we should expect and rejoice in mysteries. That is proper epistemological humility before God’s wondrous, and mystery filled creation, which reveals His wisdom and other attributes(Romans 1:18ff). However, it is quite another thing to say, in light of these mysteries: “Nothing is producing this event.” In order to say that, one would have to know all the variables yet unknown to science. In other words, one would have to be omniscient to say: “It had to be nothing that caused that event, because it seems unfathomable and contradictory to me.” That’s not only bad theology, its bad science as well.

Self-creation is absurd because the effect has to precede the cause, or nothing gives rise to something. More profoundly, it is anti-biblical. We know from scripture this blessed truth: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Amen.

Since God is your Creator then you are accountable to Him. And since He is infinitely holy, then we all have fallen short, way short, of His glory.  Your problem is not metaphysical; it is moral and spiritual. You don’t need to overcome your finitude by union with the Absolute. No, we need a Personal Savior from our sins. Jesus died and rose again so that we might have eternal life. We are saved by the finished work of Christ on the cross, plus nothing. Lift up your empty hands of faith today and bow before the Lord as your Savior and Master, and the angels will sing in heaven over your eternal salvation!

Next time we’ll look at reality as self-existent and eternal.

Here is part 3:

Mark Hunnemann is the author of Seeing Ghosts Through God's Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits. It's also available in eBook format.

No comments: