Symbio apologetics and cultural issues
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Symbio : Apologetics and cultural issues. Natural Theology 4/21/12. ROMANS 1:18-20.

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Symbio apologetics and cultural issues

Symbio: Apologetics and cultural issues

Natural Theology

4/21/12


Romans 1 18 20

ROMANS 1:18-20

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.


Caveats

caveats

  • These are arguments for theism. Coming to faith in Christ requires specific revelation in addition to general revelation.

  • My explanation of each of these arguments will be very cursory.

  • We’re all influenced by other factors besides reason and logic.

  • It is very possible to over-emphasize such arguments and develop a heady, puffed-up, argumentative attitude.


1peter 3 14 16

1PETER 3:14-16

14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.


Persuasion

persuasion

Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.

2Corinthians 5:11a Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.


Arguments for theism from natural theology

Arguments for theism from natural theology

  • First Cause (The Cosmological Arguments)


The kalam cosmological argument

The Kalam cosmological argument

  • Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

  • The universe began to exist.

  • Therefore, the universe has a cause.


The argument is not

The argument is not…

  • Everything that exists must has a cause.

  • The universe exists and so must have a cause.

  • Therefore, the universe is caused by a first cause.


The kalam cosmological argument1

The Kalam cosmological argument

  • Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

  • The universe began to exist.

  • Therefore, the universe has a cause.


Premise 1 whatever begins to exist has a cause

Premise 1: whatever begins to exist has a cause

  • Generally accepted

  • Denial would challenge most of what we know about the world


Premise 2 the universe began to exist

PREMISE 2: The universe began to exist

  • Non-existence of an actual infinite

    “…the infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought…The role that remains for the infinite to play is solely that of an idea.”

    David Hilbert


Premise 2 the universe began to exist1

PREMISE 2: The universe began to exist

  • Non-existence of an actual infinite

  • Short history of the Big Bang

  • Thermodynamics

    “Today, few cosmologists doubt that the universe, at least as we know it, did have an origin at a finite moment in the past. The alternative – that the universe has always existed in one form or another – runs into a rather basic paradox. The sun and stars cannot keep burning forever: sooner or later they will run out of fuel and die.”

    Paul Davies


Theories of the universe s eternality

THEORIES OF THE Universe’s Eternality

  • Steady State

  • Quantum Gravitation Models

    “Quantum-mechanical events may not have classically deterministic causes, but they are not thereby uncaused or acausal…The fact that uranium atoms consistently decay into atoms of lead and other elements – and not into rabbits or frogs – shows that such events are not acausal but take place within a causal nexus and lawlike structures.”

    John Jefferson Davis


Theories of the universe s eternality1

THEORIES OF THE Universe’s Eternality

  • Steady State

  • Quantum Gravitation Models

  • Oscillating Universe Theory

  • String Scenarios

    “…the notion of a beginning is repugnant to me…I simply do not believe that the present order of things started off with a bang…the expanding Universe is preposterous…incredible…it leaves me cold.”

    Arthur Eddington


The kalam cosmological argument2

The Kalam cosmological argument

  • Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

  • The universe began to exist.

  • Therefore, the universe has a cause.


The nature of the first cause

THE NATURE OF the First Cause

  • Changeless and Immaterial

    • Must transcend space and time

  • Unimaginably powerful

  • Personal

    • Two types of causal explanations: scientific laws and personal agents

    • Only objects that are timeless and immaterial are minds and abstract objects, but abstract object don’t cause anything


Arguments for theism from natural theology1

Arguments for theism from natural theology

  • First Cause (The Cosmological Arguments)

  • Design (The Teleological Arguments)


The fine tuning of the universe

THE FINE-TUNING OF THE UNIVERSE

  • Ratio of electrons to protons (1037)

  • Rate of expansion of the universe (1055)

  • Mass density of the universe (1059)

  • Gravitation constant (10100)

  • Weak nuclear force (10100)

  • Cosmological Constant (10120)

  • Low Entropy Condition (1010(123))


Designed for scientific discovery

Designed for scientific discovery

  • Our atmosphere is clear

  • The moon is the right distance from the earth, stabilizing the earth’s rotation

  • Position in the galaxy is ideal

  • Our sun’s mass and composition


Of course it appears fine tuned

Of Course it Appears Fine-Tuned…

  • A fine-tuned universe is the kind of universe that would produce observers

  • Firing squad analogy


Multiverse theory

Multiverse Theory

  • Our universe is one of a vast (perhaps infinite) array of universes

  • Inflationary Theory: Big Bang triggered an endless progression of universes

    “…if our universe is but one member of a World Ensemble, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probably than all of nature’s constants and quantities falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range.”

    William LaneCraig


Multiverse theory1

Multiverse Theory

  • Our universe is one of a vast (perhaps infinite) array of universes

  • Inflationary Theory: Big Bang triggered an endless progression of universes

    “The many worlds hypothesis is essentially an effort on the part of partisans of the chance hypothesis to multiply their probabilistic resources in order to reduce the improbability of the occurrence of fine-tuning. The very fact that otherwise sober scientists must resort to such a remarkable hypothesis is a sort of backhanded compliment to the design hypothesis.”

    William LaneCraig


Multiverse theory2

Multiverse Theory

  • Our universe is one of a vast (perhaps infinite) array of universes

  • Inflationary Theory: Big Bang triggered an endless progression of universes

    “(In order to) abolish one unobservable God (multiverse theories require) an infinite number of unobservable substitutes.”

    Moreland and Craig


Arguments for theism from natural theology2

Arguments for theism from natural theology

  • First Cause (The Cosmological Arguments)

  • Design (The Teleological Arguments)

  • Morality


Red herrings

Red Herrings

  • Atheists can still be morally upright

  • The Euthyphro Dilemma:

    • If something is good because God wills it good, than anything could be good.

    • If God’s will is not the source of good, goodness lies outside of God’s being and there is something God is subject to.


Cultural relativism

Cultural Relativism

  • Morality depends solely on cultural factors

  • The great diversity in moral norms between cultures demonstrates the cultural influence on morality


Cultural relativism1

Cultural Relativism

  • The intermixing of cultures

  • The diversity of moral standards between cultures is not that great

    “Every culture has a concept of murder, distinguishing this from execution, killing in war, and other “justifiable homicides.” The notions of incest and other regulations upon sexual behavior, the prohibitions upon untruth under defined circumstances, of restitution and reciprocity, of mutual obligations between parties and chidlren – these and many other moral concepts are altogether universal.”

    Anthropologist Clyde Kluckhohn


Cultural relativism2

Cultural Relativism

  • The intermixing of cultures

  • The diversity of moral standards between cultures is not that great

  • Leads to contradictions and inability to live and speak coherently

    “If ‘good’ or ‘better’ are terms deriving their sole meaning from the ideology of each people, then of course ideologies themselves cannot be better or worse than each other. Unless the measuring rod is independent of the things measured, we can do no measuring, for the same reason it is useless to compare the moral ideas of one age with those of another: progress and decadence are alike meaningless words.”

    C.S. Lewis


Individual relativism

Individual Relativism

  • Cultural relativism leads to nihilism

    “You think that the ‘good cause’ must be my concern? What’s good, what’s bad? Why, I myself am my concern, and I am neither good nor bad. Neither has meaning for me…Nothing is more to me than myself…I decide whether it is the right thing in me; there is no right outside me…I secure my freedom with regard to the world in the degree that I make the world my own…by whatever might, by that of persuasion, or petition, of categorical demand, yes even by hypocrisy, cheating, etc.; for the means that I use for it are determined by what I am.”

    Max Stirner, 19th century German philosopher


Morality demands god

Morality Demands God

  • Many honest, atheistic thinkers would agree (Russell, Nietzsche, Stirner, Ruse, Sarter, Camus, Provine, etc.)

  • Morality requires transcendence

    “If the evaluation (of the state of affairs) is to be beyond question, then the evaluator and its evaluative processes must be similarly insulated. If it is to fulfill its role, the evaluator must be the unjudged judge, the unruled legislator, the premise maker who rests on no premises, the uncreated creator of values. Now what would you call such a thing if it existed? You would call it Him.”

    Aruther Allen Leff


Arguments for theism from natural theology3

Arguments for theism from natural theology

  • First Cause (The Cosmological Arguments)

  • Design (The Teleological Arguments)

  • Morality

  • Consciousness and Cognition


Materialism and our mental faculties

Materialism and Our Mental Faculties

  • Materialism is the most fatalistic philosophy

    “Consider how we use the word because. If we say “X moved because it was propelled by Y,” we are using because in a causal fashion. Yet if we say “I believe X because of Y,” we are using because not in a causal fashion but with regard to reasons or rational grounds for believing X. If materialism were true, we could never grant reasons for holding beliefs since all our brain states would be rigorously determined in a materialistically caused fashion.”

    Douglas Groothuis’ paraphrase of C.S. Lewis


Materialism and our mental faculties1

Materialism and Our Mental Faculties

  • Materialism is the most fatalistic philosophy

    “(If our cognitive equipment) can be entirely accounted for in terms of chance variations, natural selection, and so on, without supposing that they somehow embody and express the purpose of some creative being, (then) we cannot say of them that they are, entirely by themselves, reliable guides to any truth whatever, save only what can be inferred from their own structure and arrangement.”

    Richard Taylor, materialist


Materialism and our mental faculties2

Materialism and Our Mental Faculties

  • Materialism is the most fatalistic philosophy

    “With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind.”

    Charles Darwin


Materialism and our mental faculties3

Materialism and Our Mental Faculties

  • Materialism is the most fatalistic philosophy

    “If materialism eliminates rationality as a way to know truth, then we must either deny our intuition that some truth can be known and become epistemological nihilists, or we must embrace a worldview that makes truth and knowledge possible. But few people will actually take the nihilistic step off the cliff. It contradicts common sense and would destroy scientific methods as truth-seeking procedures.”

    Douglas Groothuis


Arguments for theism from natural theology4

Arguments for theism from natural theology

  • First Cause (The Cosmological Arguments)

  • Design (The Teleological Arguments)

  • Morality

  • Consciousness and Cognition

  • The Ontological Argument


The ontological argument

THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT

  • God is defined as being that which nothing greater can be conceived.

  • A thing exists either in (a) the understanding only or (b) in both the understanding and reality.

  • It is “greater” to exist in reality than to exist merely in the understanding.

  • If God exists merely in the understanding, then God is not the greatest possible being, since a being that existed in reality would be greater than a being that existed only in the understanding.

  • But God is by definition the greatest possible being (from 1).

  • Therefore, God exists not merely in the understanding but in reality as well.


Romans 1 18 201

ROMANS 1:18-20

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.


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