Arguments for a Personal Creator by William Lane Craig & Ravi Zacharias

2 Types / 3 Reasons

“One of the most remarkable features of the kalam argument is that it gives us more than just a transcendent cause of the universe. It also implies a personal Creator.”

“There are two types of explanations [causes]–scientific and personal.

-Scientific [mechanistic] explanations explain a phenomenon in terms of certain initial conditions and natural laws, which explain how those initial conditions evolved to produce the phenomenon under consideration.

-By contrast, personal explanations explain things by means of an [efficient] agent and that agent’s volition or will.”

Example: “Imagine you walked into the kitchen and saw the kettle boiling on the stove. You ask, ‘Why is the kettle boiling?’ Your wife might say, ‘Well, because the kinetic energy of the flame is conducted by the metal bottom of the kettle to the water, causing the water molecules to vibrate faster and faster until they’re thrown off in the form of steam.’ That would be a scientific explanation. Or she might say,”I put it on to make a cup of tea.’ That would be a personal explanation. Both are legitimate, but they explain the phenomenon in different ways.

1st Reason: “There cannot be a scientific explanation of the first state of the universe. Since it’s the first state, it simply cannot be explained in terms of earlier initial conditions and natural laws leading up to it. So if there is an explanation of the first state of the universe, it has to be a personal explanation–that is, an agent who has volition to create it.”

2nd Reason: “The cause of the universe transcends time and space, it cannot be a physical reality. Instead, it must be nonphysical or immaterial. Well, there are only two types of things that can be timeless and immaterial. One would be abstract objects, like numbers or mathematical entities. However, abstract objects can’t cause anything to happen. The second kind of immaterial reality would be a mind. A mind can be cause, and so it makes sense that the universe is the product of an unembodied mind that brought it into existence.”

3rd Reason: “If the universe were just a mechanical consequence that would occur whenever sufficient conditions were met, and the sufficient conditions were met, and the sufficient conditions were met eternally, then it would exist from eternity past. The effect would be co-eternal with the cause. How do you explain, then, the origin of a finite universe from a timeless cause? I can only think of one explanation: that the cause of the universe is a personal agent who has freedom of will. He can create a new effect without any antecedent determining conditions.” (1)

“There is no ground for supposing that matter and energy existed before and was suddenly galvanized into action. For what could distinguish that moment from all other moments in eternity? -Edmund Whittaker (2)

1. There are 2 ways of explaining things: scientific (physical conditions) and personal (volitional mind).
2. The explanation of the universe must transcend matter, space, and time because those properties are finite.
3. Therefore, the explanation of the universe is personal (volitional mind), which is eternal.

 

Personhood & Goodness

[On the question: “Does Life Have Meaning?”]

You know [. . .] this is actually an amazing question when you unpack it a bit. [. . .] You know what the question I’m asked most on the campus? They will agree that there is a moral framework, somehow, we cannot run from. They will grant you that.

-Even an atheist, they’ll say, ‘Why can’t I be good?’

-I said, ‘I never said you can’t be good.’

-I said, ‘But you’re begging the question: what is good?’

-And I said, ‘There’s a second question you have not even asked which is implicit in your question…

-That every time we raise the problem of evil, it is either raised by a person or about persons.

It is either raised by a person or about persons.

‘How could God allow the holocaust? How could this happen? How could God allow a little baby to die in the mother’s arms?’

It’s always raised by a person; about a person – which means person-hood is indispensable to the question. Therefore the assumption is that the intrinsic value is not in the question but in the person-hood.

How can a person be of intrinsic value if time plus matter plus chance has been the cause of that person? It’s nothing more than chemistry in motion.

The only way the person could be of value is if the person is the creation of somebody with infinite and intrinsic worth; which means it’s God Himself. That needs to be able to justify our question.

So, when we talk about evil and all the relativism and all of that… we need to realize that we are the point of God’s creation. This is not to build pride. This is to build worth. This is to build value.

So as Christians and as believers, when atheists raise the questions and present challenges to us, we need to realize they’re actually arguing against themselves.

[1] They’re assuming their questions are important.
[2] Their questions are worth it.
[3] That they are worth it.
[4] And the one they’re raising to is worth it.

None of which actually holds if we are the product of primordial slime.

So the atheist raising the questions, ultimately, actually argues more for the existence than the non-existence of God.” (3)

1. Morality assumes a law and person-hood.
2. Morality is spiritual, not physical, and meaningful.
3. Therefore, there is a Lawful and Personal Spirit who gives meaning.

 

Verses

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)

“So God created man in His own Image, in the Image of God He Created him; male and female He Created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

 

References

(1) Criag, William L. “The Personal Creator.” The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God. By Lee Strobel. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004. 109-11. Print.

(2) Whittaker, E. T. The Beginning and End of the World. London: Oxford UP, 1942. Print.

(3) 100huntley. “How Can a Good God Allow Evil? Does Life Have Meaning? – Dr. Ravi Zacharias.” YouTube. YouTube, 27 May 2010. Web. 23 June 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it7mhQ8fEq0 >.
 

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