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The Apologetic Implications of Christian Cosmology

Father want to thank you for your truth. We thank you for what we’ve learned over the year about you, about your absolute attributes, the attributes of your greatness, that you are immortal spirit, you are triune person. You are our creator and we thank you for the things that we’ve learned. And we just ask that you would help us to take those truths into our day-to-day life and our conversations with others.

I pray that the truths that we have learned would become practically, immediately relevant to our thinking, our speech, and then how we live our lives. We ask that you would help us today to, to, think about those implications carefully. That you would lead us into all truth, and help us to be biblical in our thinking, so that our steps would be guided by your light and your truth.

 Thank you again for the men and the time that we’ve had together over the year. We ask that you would bless the hour ahead of us. In Jesus name. Amen.

 Okay. We have spent about five weeks going through the, the, creation week and we have seen, hopefully, with great clarity and distinction, that God is our creator and it’s been, been, a, I think a fun survey. I’ve really enjoyed it. But I want to ask you, just as you reflect on, back on the five weeks.

 So we’ve talked about God as creator. What did you learn from that survey? So, what are the some of the things you learned from that survey? What stood out to you? Some things that maybe you hadn’t thought about before. What, what, what were essential to you? Anyone? Yes. Wayne.

Audience: Implication of God’s primary role as judge. Right? Stemming from the it is good judgement.

Travis: Oh, okay. Good. Good. Implication of God’s role as judge because he’s, he made the first valuation. It is good. Good. Thank you. Others? Yes. Joe.

Audience: Connects with our apologetics class really good and that like it’s the only, it’s logical thing that could create intelligibility was that God created all this stuff to be intelligible so you can understand it.

Travis: Yeah. Yeah. Good. So, and I, I’m thankful that you have seen the connection there, because that’s, we’re going to talk a little bit, bit, more about today in, in, something that’s actually not going to be able to come up in our apologetics class.

 But talking about the implications of this creation doctrine on our apologetics, on how we think about truth, metaphysics, Christemology, ethics, our worldview, it all comes from that creation week. We couldn’t think intelligibly without what God did, so we’re dependent on that. Good. Thank you. Others? Yeah, Gary.

Audience: I like to see how, even today, we can see general revelation. And since we’ve got the Holy Spirit, we also have the power to correctly interpret general revelation to, to, the love of God and what Wayne and Joe said about how it all fits together and what you just said about ethics and informing everything. It’s the whole package and everything. We walk out, we can still, even to this day, see that whole package.

Travis: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. Because God has opened our eyes by regeneration. We are able to receive his special revelation. And through special revelation, the word of God. We’re now able to look and interpret the entire world around us. General revelation, see it clearly and see him clearly. Yeah. Our eyes are completely opened. That’s great. Other thoughts. Yeah, Nick.

Audience: I just love how foundational the, the, first chapters of Genesis are and, and, how, how, much we packed into them. You know there’s, if the Bible, the Bible’s kind of a, a, focused narrative of the, the, world and, and, and, so it has to it’s, it’s, unpacking kind of a, a, meta narrative for our, our, worldview, you know. And so it’s, it’s, neat to see how much is laid out in those first chapters. And then everything else builds on it.

Travis: Good, good. So, you use the word, did you use the word foundational? I think you used the word foundational. Foundational for our worldview. Use the word meta narrative, which is another word for worldview. So, with that in mind, what, why do you think we spent all this time on the first, those, that first chapter in Genesis; all the creation week? Because it’s foundational. Yes, Joe.

Audience: The way, one way we did it, is that we said what God did and then, what it tells us about God. So we’re, we’re learning more about what God is like by what he did.

Travis: Good. Okay so, so, it’s inherently theological. It’s, there is a, there is a, a, philosophy, a way of a philosophy of life that we learn from Genesis: the meta narrative, the worldview. And more foundational to that is our theology; is understanding that everything is grounded in a God who did all this. And what all this tells us about the God who did it.

That’s exactly right. Which, which, goes back to our metaphysics questions of theology, questions of being, ontology, you know, and starts with the Being of God. Good. So any other thoughts on that? Why do we, why do we spend all this time on Genesis?

Audience: Easily, it’s the one that’s attacked I guess from us in the world.

Travis: Yes, exactly. It’s the one that is attacked. And this is, you know, and I want to say this too, that there are, you know, it’s the one that’s attacked by the world, scoffed by the world, made, made fun of. But what, what, is really disconcerting to me is how complicit Christians can be; professing Christians can be in attacking and undermining Genesis in the creation account, that was, as we see recorded scripture. When they do that, they’re basically, they’re just cutting themselves off at the very foundation.

 So, I want to, I want to just commend to you that we protect and defend this doctrine because it is, everything is based on it. That’s, that’s, why it’s at the beginning of our Bible, right. Any other thoughts? Okay.

 Every time I go back, as you men have said, every time I go back, consider how God created the heavens and the earth, I’m really faced again with that theology; who God is, what he’s like. And then I consider the implications of that doctrine in the world, in the world we live in, especially the apologetic implications, like in our secular materialist culture and age, where every kid is indoctrinated into the same kind of thinking. And I think about how creation confronts that.

 The doctrine of creation confronts and undermines all that, which is why it is so viciously attacked and scoffed. But I also think, with regard to the theology of creation, I think about its devotional implications. When I consider, you know, it’s what David said in Psalm 8. “When I consider the heavens and the stars that you’ve made and the work of your hands, what is man that you’re mindful of him.”

     [You] We’re humbled before this creative God. We’re humbled before the truths that we learn about Him. We’re humbled, about, before his being, his greatness. And so there’s a, there are implications of, of, an apologetic nature that helps us to interpret and the world around us defend the truth of Scripture.

 They’re also implications of a devotional nature that cause us to have a, a, heart of worship toward God. And I want both of those things to, to, come out. I want to talk about both of those things. That’s how I’d like to end the year.

 As we’re kind of wrapping up this first year, we’ve been talking about the absolute attributes of God with the implications. So, today we’ll explore some of the apologetic implications of the theology of creation. Next time we’re going to reflect on some of the devotional implications. Okay.

 So that’s what we’ll do today is apologetic implications. And I don’t. So, I’ve written up there what is really a Pagan diagram. So we’ll erase it so the kids don’t come in and get led astray tomorrow. But, but, that’s, I don’t want to get lost in the weeds.

 I’m going to be hitting some of the, the, things that we’re going to talk about this morning and kind of skimming across the waves. So don’t, if you feel like you’re getting lost in a couple of terms, don’t worry about it. There’s some things I want to draw your attention to at the end of this. Okay.

 Turn in your Bibles though to Acts 17, Acts 17. We have talked, as I said this year, about the doctrines of God’s absolute being, his incommunicable attributes. So, we’ve talked about his greatness, his immortal spirit, which is a simple, he is simple. He is self-sufficient being. He is perfect being, eternal, infinite being.

 We’ve talked about him as triune person, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And that plurality of personhood comes out from God. That’s why there are plurality of persons on this earth; comes from that. We’ve talked about him as Creator.

So, you know, we, we talked about [the] his attributes being refracted through the prism of creation. So, his simple being is refracted and you can see all these different attributes. But if you back it up, we said God is all of his attributes. He is not a, he’s not complex or composite; like we add up all his attributes and there’s God.

 No, but he is all his attributes are equal to one another. That’s the doctrine of simplicity, we’re talking about; which is puzzling to us, because we can’t imagine anything but complexity. We just have to take what we’re learning about God, on the basis of faith.

 But he is immortal spirit, simple being, triune person and then all of that is known to us, in and through creation. So what he created and what he made all of a sudden we infer back to who he is, his eternal power and divine nature. So as human beings, we enter the world born into this world that God created, and we are surrounded by God’s revelation of himself. Gary used the word general revelation.

 So we’re surrounded by general revelation and this is what Paul said in Acts 17:28, “For in him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, for we are indeed his offspring.” So look at Acts 17 and let’s start reading there in verse 22.

It’s Paul, he is standing before the brightest philosophical minds of his day. He’s standing in one of the, the epicenter of, of, philosophy, in the midst of the Areopagus, the Areopagus. And he says, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious.” Now I want to say that that’s not a commendation of their, of their great religious heritage. He’s not, he’s not looking at their culture and saying, I admire you for being so religious. No.

 He’s about to point out how contradictory they are. So he says, I see you’re in every way, way, very religious. “For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘to the unknown God’. What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaimed you.”

 Basically, you’ve admitted there’s a, there is a plurality and a contradiction in your worship. In all these idols, all these, these, places of worship, that are self-contradictory and you, even, at the end of it, put an idol here to the unknown God, which is admitting your ignorance.

So I’m here to tell you, while you worship in ignorance, I’m going to proclaim to you. You’ve admitted your ignorance. I’m here to proclaim to you God’s revelation. Verse 24, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man.”

 Again, he’s confronting them: “Doesn’t live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on” [the face of] “all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,

“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God has overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed;

“And of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Stop there. So, as Paul says here, and as the men of Athens already know, they are completely immersed in God’s revelation. They are born into it. They’re surrounded by it. They stand on top of it. They look up to it. God’s revelation is absolutely everywhere. And yet because of the spiritual condition into which we are all born, as Ephesians 2 says, “we are dead in our trespasses and sins.” We don’t interpret our world properly.

We don’t interpret our world accurately as we’re born into this world, which is why Paul had to confront and correct the Athenians on several points. “What you worship in ignorance, this I proclaimed to you;” or being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like metals or some other, you know, atomic particle or even something, something, imagined or dreamed up in your, in your mind.

 Verse 29, and then he says, “these times of ignorance,” that is not knowledge. “God has overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.” So, we start with God’s absolute being, and we realize, as sinful man comes into the world, he’s interpreting his world. Okay.

We’re all born into the world, born into sin and we interpret our environment, not through the light of faith, because none of us are born Christians. We’re not born regenerate. We’re born dead in sin. So we don’t interpret through the light of faith. We interpret through this, the darkness really of sin and unbelief.

 So that’s why Paul was speaking of people, people groping their way to God, because they’re blind. They’re in the darkness, but as intelligent creatures, as sentient creatures, by virtue of being made in God’s image, which the vestiges of his image is still in every single one of, one of, us born in the world. We are born into the world doing what we are designed by God to do.

“God created man to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.” Genesis 1:28. “He created us to exercise dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

So we enter the world in darkness, yes, but doing what we are designed to do. And we learn, and we reflect, and we think, and we interpret, and we come to conclusions about the world. And as we do what we’re designed to do, because we’re creatures and we can’t help it, we make use of reason. We make use of that tool called reason.

 And we, but we realize Biblically that that reason is leading men astray. It’s set off course, undermined, distorted by the indwelling sin nature. Okay. So, so good, so far right? What ought, what ought to be obvious and plain to us as men, created in God’s image, that is, that Romans 1, that God created the heavens and the earth, that the creation reveals his eternal power and divine nature, that all is plainly manifest to us, and we ought to infer from that, and reason back to God from that.

 But those truths are all hidden from us. Why are they hidden? Did God hide them? No. They’re hidden because man, in his sin and his sinful delusions, he fancies himself to be as God. He pretends that, you know, to think, to behave as if he is his own God. That’s how we enter into the world. That is, the essence of our, our, sinfulness, is that we can be univocal in our thinking self.

Self, you know, definitional, and define our world, define ourselves as whatever gender we want to, define ourselves as, whatever person, whatever kind of person we want to. Define God, whatever, whatever God we want to define. So we come into this world and everything is already off, because we’re born into sin. What is plain in the world around us, all of it attesting to God as the all wise, and infinite, and immortal, all powerful, self-sufficient creator. That’s plain.

 And yet the world for us doesn’t look like it was created that way, because we’re born into sin. So it becomes this world to us, becomes a perplexing place of complex, insoluble problems, dilemmas, contradictions and really outright confusion. So that’s how we come into the world. That’s how, and we’re trying to make sense of it.

But we come up with all these dilemmas and all these things that we can’t solve. The most fundamental of these problems, the meta, and it’s really a metaphysical problem, a problem of cosmos or origins, Being, and all that; is the, the, most complex or difficult fundamental problem man faces is called the ‘problem of the one and the many.’ Have you heard of that? The ‘Problem of the one and the many’.

 We are born into a world where we observe both diversity and unity. There is a plurality that shows variety and creativity, but there’s also a oneness, that holds all things together; that keeps everything from fracturing off into oblivion. So this metaphysical question has been asked in a number of different ways and put usually into an either or form.

 You’ve probably heard all this before, but there’s the question between the absolute and the relative. There’s a question of, of, being versus becoming; absolute being versus derivative becoming. There is essence versus existence. There’s necessity versus contingency.

 If you think about the, the, finite temporal realm of matter and substance, there are other questions that arise about the one and the many, like what’s the relationship between the simple and the complex? What’s the relationship between space or void? On the one hand, is it infinite or finite? Is it whatever. So, there’s space, there’s void, there’s emptiness. Does that go on forever or does it have a, a, containment to it?

 Or you know, so the relationship between space and void and then matter and substance? On the other hand, like, is matter and substance, is it eternal or temporal? Is it, you know, temporal being, matter in motion? So what is the relationship also between the continuous and the discreet? These are mathematical questions. Can, they’re mathematical terms. Continuous, like a set of data that [is] has values on a finite or infinite interval, like a timeline.

 So values on a timeline, one you know 1,2,3 or a number line or whatever. Or a set of, set of, datas with values that are distinct and separate from one another, like members in a class. There’s no necessarily interval or a relationship between you, it’s just a number. There’s 20 or 80 or whatever. Continuousness requires a measuring device. So you use a ruler to measure height, a scale to measure weight, a watch to measure time.

 Discrete, that just requires counting the number of people, number of cars in a parking lot, or whatever. So these are all questions. How do these things relate to one another? Is there no relation between them? So the Greeks in trying to puzzle over their world and understand the difference between things and the unity between things; the question of the one and the many.

How does the how does the, how are the many all brought into relationship with one another, held together. They looked at their world and they saw basically four substances, four elemental substances or essences. Empedocles Greek saw the world as consisting of four basic elements or essences. He said earth, water, air, and fire. Air, water, earth and fire and the relationship between those substances.

** Diagrams are not exactly as Travis displayed on the board, but are representations of Elemental square.

I’m not sure if you can see the diagram I drew up there on the board. It’s represented what’s called the elemental square. You can Google that online and that’s where I got the picture from. But the elemental square, you’ll see different versions of it, but it’s basically air, fire, earth and water and showing the relationship between them.

 So the Greeks saw this relationship in what they viewed as absolute elements. There’s air, what you can’t see, but it’s represented by wind. We feel it. It’s invisible to us. There’s water, excuse me, liquid substance. There’s earth, hard things, and fire, which is energy. So they saw the relative interplay of those elements and involve, involving a mixture of those powers.

So the square here shows that if you look at the earth over there, you can see the, the, at the points you’ve got the, the, powers of coolness, and dryness, and warmness, and moisture, over there or wetness. So the earth is that which is dry and cool, water is cool and moist, air is moist and warm, and fire is warm and dry.

 So even though they put all these things into a table and they saw the seasons, they saw the, the, rotation based on the, the, movement of the sun and the seasons, they had the, the, winter, the summer and winter solstices, and the fall and spring equinoxes, and the high points, and all that.

They, they, ask the question still: what is the relationship between the many and the one? What is it that brings and unites all these things together? What is, what unifies it all? What is primary and absolute, and what’s secondary and derivative? What keeps the many bound together, working together, which is necessary to maintain, maintain the world? Do the many work in cooperation or tension? Are they in opposition or are they in cooperation and harmony? Are they bound together by one underlying power or an overarching power? Or is it none of the above?

Whether they’re asking all those questions, let’s say we’re looking for something. You see the four elements there. They were looking for something to unite those four elements, a mysterious fifth element, or a fifth, or quintessence. This is where they get the term quintessence. Plato called the fifth element the, ath, Aether. Ether. That’s what we call ether. This, he called it, this most translucent kind of air, which is called by the name of ether.

 So that was the substance he proposed, may be binding all things together. There are non-Christian, then, solutions to bringing all this together and saying, how do we unite all these things. And apart, you know, this problem of the one of the many and apart from a biblical worldview non-Christians have proposed a number of philosophical and religious answers to the question.

 But they really do boil down to two non-Christian systems. One is monism and the other is dualism. Monism and dualism. One and dualism being two. So dualism: all things are part of two independent, opposing equal powers. Think of, you know, in martial arts, the Yin and the Yang. Think of material versus immaterial. Spiritual and physical.

Monism would be from mono, single. It’s a denial of any duality between the material and the non-material; the world and the creator and all that. So it’s just monism says, there’s one single thing. Yeah Brett.

Audience: Okay, so just real briefly says monism and dualism. Those are ways to explain the relationship between the one and the many.

Travis: There are, there are ways to speak of what is underlying that brings everything together. So there’s either, and it’s, it’s, really either monism or dualism or plurality. So it’s saying more than one. But this, this, right here seems to be a representation of a plural system. But really, they’re saying there’s something underneath it that brings everything together. So they see these four elements as being physical, material elements, but there’s got to be something spiritual, under, underlying that holds it all together. So the ether, the ether or, you know, Plato was actually a dualist. So he talked about the ether, but then he proposed his theory of forms and all that.

Audience: So he was saying that all this is physical evil and, and, then the ether, the quintessence or whatever is, is spiritual good and that’s the dualism. Is that, that, this is just physical and then the implications from that philosophically or is that, is that.

Travis: Well let me, let me not misrepresent Plato by saying, by agreeing with you or disagreeing. I don’t know for sure. So I just, I just, know that he talked about the ether, but he also talked about his theory of forms, that proposed a dualism between the spiritual and the material.

Now, so just hold that thought, and I don’t want to answer every, every, philosophical system here, but I can, what I can cover is what’s in my notes. So, so, all non-Christians of thought can really be, they, there can be a whole edifice of complexity on top of it and Plato is one representation of that.

 But you can go down many different philosophical roads, but, essentially, they boil down to either monism or dualism. Both of which, I just want to say, are denials of Christian truth. They are denials of biblical truth or creation. Creation story. Okay.

Monism, let’s talk about that real quick. There is one thing that unites the elements. Monism says there’s one thing that unites the elements. There are both religious or immaterial versions of monism and non-religious or material forms of monism. Religious monism argues that the unity of all things is an immaterial unity.

So the, the, concept of pantheism, God is all; that’s what pantheism literally means. Pan is the word ‘all’ in Greek and Theos the word for God. God is all. Pantheism is one form of religious monism. So, Hinduism is basically a pantheistic view, that God is all.

Audience: God is in the trees, God is in the water. God is

Travis: No, no, that’s, that’s not in. That’s God in, which we’ll get to in a second. God is all. God’s everything that is.

Audience: Is God. Oh is God.

Travis: Is God. Non-religious monism is seen in today’s secular atheistic Darwinian materialism. That is to say, all that exists is matter. An ancient form of that, is to say that all that exists is atoms. So this, this materialistic form or view of the world isn’t anything new. It’s actually very, very old, to say, that all that is, is material; all that is, is atoms.

So the question you have with, all that is, is atoms is, are we talking about spontaneous generation? It just came out of nothing. There’s the question of infinite regression going all the way back. How does that, how does that come to be? So you’re still asking questions. You’re just kicking the can down the road, so to speak.

 You’re still asking questions of how did it all get here. What is the, the, relationship between the one and the many? How did it all come about? That’s monism though. So there’s religious monism, non-religious monism. We’re living in today, what’s taught in a lot of schools, is a non-religious monism. All that is, is material. All that is, is atoms.

 And yet we know that’s not true. I mean everybody knows, senses, there’s something else to us. Dualism or you could just throw pluralism in there. But dualism, there is more than one thing that unites the elements, and so the elements exist in tension and opposition to, between two or more equal opposing powers.

 So Aristotle believed that each element, here, is dominated by one power. Those powers are in tension. It’s impossible for one to transform into another. Notice he just said that, it’s impossible for one to transform into another. Why? So that’s, that’s what you call prejudicial conjecture. That’s Aristotle giving his opinion and it’s prejudiced on his own system; to support his own system.

 And I want to tell you that that happens all the time with people you talk to. They just want to be able to give you their opinion and not back it up with any evidence. Okay? So one educated Pagan, I read, describes Aristotle’s view using this elemental square diagram. Earth is predominantly dry. Water is predominantly cool. Air predominantly moist. Fire predominantly warm.

 The dominant power is the one in a counterclockwise direction from the element in the square of opposition. So you can see the, the, arrows pointing on the square going around. It’s going in counterclockwise direction. So the dominant power is the one in clockwise direction from the element in the square of opposition. Thus the arrow by each element points to its dominant power.

 Listen, I’m going to quote this. If you don’t get it, it’s Okay. It’s just a bunch of Pagan gibberish, but I’m going to quote it anyway. “The vertical axis in the middle there,” you can barely see it. I’ve got it represented by dots, but I can see it’s hard to see there. “Vertical axis and the triangles in the middle there represent the active qualities, warm and cool. The horizontal represents the passive, moist and dry.

**A representation of what Travis is talking about.

 “The upper elements air and fire. Air and fire are active, light and ascending. The lower, water and earth are passive heavy and descending.” That’s Yin and Yang, and it’s also those triangle symbols are phallic symbols, male and female. Okay? “So the upper elements, active light and ascending. The lower elements, water and earth, they’re passive. They’re heavy and descending.

“The elements on the right are pure, extreme, and absolutely light like fire or heavy earth, and those on the left are mixed, intermediate relatively light air or heavy water. The absolute elements exhibit, un, unidirectional motion, ascending fire, descending earth, whereas the relative elements like air and water can also expand horizontally. The organic cycle, the cycle of the seasons goes sunwise around the square.”

Now, as you listen to me describe that, I’m done, by the way, you can check back in, okay. But as you listen to that, you can hear the blending of empirical observation. So looking at the world around us, making observations and spiritual conjecture, assigning reasons why this is happening.

 It’s a Pagan system and this is exactly what the Greeks produced. And we, today, are heading in the very same direction with our science. Greek theology assigned a deity to each of those elements. So, Zeus was air, Nestus water, Hera earth, and Hades fire. Each deity then was the spiritual power behind each element. Thus, there was a pluralistic system of competing deities keeping the earth in balance. This is where, this is where this comes from.

There were many philosophers, even in this day of Greek philosophy, that scoffed at that. And they looked at this as kind of a popular pluralism that embraced by the Hoy poloy, the ignorant masses, and they kind of laughed at them as they held to their, their, traditions of gods and all that stuff. And they favored this philosophical dualism that was patterned off of Plato’s theory of forms.

 If you think about the forms, the real, you know, we’ve talked about this before in here, that there is a chair sitting here, but that chair is not the ideal of chairness. It has the qualities of chairness, but it’s not the perfect or ideal chair that is contained, or the ideal chair is found in a spiritual realm that doesn’t actually exist.

 But this is a projection of that, but imperfectly so. So there are flaws in this chair and all these different chairs, though they look the same, are not the same. They all have the same properties, but you can find a rocking chair and you can find a, a, glider and you can find all these different things, but they have these properties of chairness and the ideal chair is found in the heavens. In..

Audience: In chair heaven

Travis: Chair heaven. There’s table heaven, there’s wall heaven and roof heaven and everything else. So the that’s, that’s, how for Plato the real and the ideal are held in tension with one another, both of them having substance or essence. But the real material substance is based on the ideal counterpart, that’s in the ethereal. So all of those things, all the things we see are united by being patterned after that.

 Another form of dualism is Panentheism, that’s what you’re saying, ‘God is in all.’ So Pan: all, ‘en: the word in, and then, theos: theism. So ‘God is in all’ is literally what Panentheism means. So pan, Pantheism is a form of religious monism. But the dualistic counterparts of Pantheism is Panentheism: God is in all. And Panentheism attempts to maintain the distinction between the immaterial and the material, and then unite them in a form of religious dualism.

So, there remains, though, even as we describe all this, this very stubborn problem, dilemma of the one and the many. What is fundamental? What is primary? What is absolute? What is relative? They still haven’t answered that. They’ve just built a system.

Every non-Christian solution to the problem of, ‘the one and the many’, suffers from one of two or both; well, ultimately both, but two errors; philosophical errors, which are fatal, rationally fatal to the entire system. One error is arbitrariness and the other error is inconsistency.

 We speak about something as arbitrary, or this, this rational or philosophical error of being arbitrary. We’re talking about an assertion that someone makes, and it is basically an unfounded opinion; a prejudiced conjecture. It’s a, it’s an opinion that’s offered that favors your own system. Okay?

 So that’s, that’s, what we’re talking about when we say arbitrary, it’s no supporting evidence at all. You just throw that out there and you kind of keep moving along. The other, the other error, philosophically, is inconsistency. So if, if, you’re in a philosophical debate and you can, can, show where your opponent is being arbitrary or inconsistent, you’ve won. You basically undermine his system.

 Inconsistency, that is, it’s an assertion that’s not consistent with itself or with the rest of the system. So here’s, here’s, one that’s very popular today, there is no such thing as absolute truth. Can you show me how that’s inconsistent with itself?

Audience: It’s an absolute truth.

Travis: It’s an absolute statement, right? So, you’ve undermined your very system, just by the statement you’ve made; it’s absolutely, fundamentally inconsistent. Okay.

So, we have this, and I just want you to see this, that we have this complex system, not just this system, but walk into any classroom, today, in elementary, middle school, or high school, or the college campus, and you’re going to hear a lot of complexity and a lot of things that are built that seem consistent, in, with one another. If you go underneath it..

Audience: House of Cards.

Travis: It’s a House of Cards. It’s a, it’s a, paper tiger. It is easily blown down. If you go down to the root of it, you’re going to see arbitrariness, inconsistency, definitely both. You’ll find both. So it seems really, co, coherent. This elemental square is really cool isn’t it? You know everything kind of relates seems really earthy, you know, air, fire. what’s that? Earth, Wind and Fire. Yeah, there you go.

Audience: The two airs, the, the, two winds of the air.

Travis: Yeah, earth, wind and fire. They left out water.

Audience: They did. They’re all bad. They were dirty.

Travis: Oh. Okay.

Audience: It was California. It was California. They didn’t believe in baths.

Travis: They didn’t believe in baths, the hippies.

Audience: Yep. Beats the bathtub.

Travis: But it seems to be when you look at an internally consistent way of looking at the world. But when you come back to the foundation and, and, ask the problem about the one and the many, you find that the entire system rests on a foundation that’s either arbitrary, it is it’s prejudice, conduct, conjecture or it’s inconsistent with itself.

 So let’s talk about, try to identify some arbitrariness and inconsistency in monism; fatal flaws for monism, religious monism, and non-religious monism. Religious monism is any form of, you know, religious immaterialistic monism like Hinduism or something like that. [Says], which basically says that, [the very], at the very bottom of it all, at the very foundation, there are no distinctions.

You can’t make any distinctions between material and immaterial. It’s all, God is all. God is all. Any system that says that and starts there is flawed from the start. Any, anybody who posits that and makes that, immediately has forfeited rationality, and it’s absolutely arbitrary.

 They are asking for you to make one exception to rational consistency. And they’re saying, hey, let me be arbitrary here at the starting point, and then my whole system will make sense. That’s what they’re saying to you. I want one exception, give me one exception, and then everything else will make sense, if you just kind of follow my system.

 So if you allow them in that exception at the starting point, that there are no distinctions, then there’s really no basis to judge anything as consistent or inconsistent, is there? If there are no distinctions, makes no sense of language, makes no sense of logic, makes no sense of anything in creation or human experience. And they say, that’s okay. It’s fundamentally irrational.

Audience: And unworkable.

Travis: And unworkable and untenable. And they don’t even live that way.

Audience: So you would ask them, ‘okay, if they’re, if God is everything, what about good and bad?’

Travis: Exactly.

Audience: Then we’re, we’re, back down to that road again.

Travis: Yeah, we’re, we’re, immediately there. We’re asking those kinds of questions to say: So are you saying in your worldview, look at ethics, epistemology, look at metaphysics, but start with ethics. What is it that makes anything right or wrong? Is there anything that makes anything morally evil or good? And if so, why do you set up systems of law that punish the evil doer and protect the innocent? Why do you do that? They can’t explain it. There is no fundamental consistency.

 So you can see you’re dealing with something that is inherently irrational and they have forfeited rationality and forfeited a reason. So they don’t even pretend to provide in their system the preconditions for intelligibility. Wes.

Audience: I may not be understanding the arbitrary part as much as maybe the inconsistency, but in that system, if everything is, then really nothing is. In this case, if you use God as the example, if God is all this, then God is still nothing. If God is everything, then God is nothing. And that is so. I mean, did they ever, they have to deal with that argument is that..

Travis: They, they, avoid all arguments by forfeiting; in forfeiting consistency, forfeiting rationality from the very beginning, they don’t feel the need to, to, argue that point with you, but they will feel the need to argue with you, because they’re human.

Audience: And they cover that over with a hand wave of, well, there’s no relative difference in value. So you can have your opinion and I’ll just go about my day.

Travis: Yeah, exactly, exactly. So what you, what you do when you deal with a Hindu or someone of that system is press them with their need to give an account for the things that they know internally are right and wrong. The, the, sense of, of, the law of God written on their heart and the sense of conscience that they have.

 You press them and say your system cannot give an account for why you have that sense of moral oughtness and ought notness; why you have that sense that, that sense of should and should not. And God, the true God, is going to hold you accountable for that in the end. So you have to press them for their accountability before a holy God and before, before, whom they will stand one day and give an account for this idol that they’ve made-up. Daniel.

Audience: Yeah. I was just going to add that our conscience for something to be true demands perfection. Like it, it, we, we, can very easily, if something is inconsistent, we can know, like just, without having all the evidence that it is not going to end up being true in the long run. And so, it’s interesting that they would take that approach considering we can bit their conscience.

You know, works in the same way as our conscience, in the sense that we understand that if something’s going to be true, it has to have perfection. It has to be absolutely, completely without error. And so from the very get go, they’re like, all right, just put this off for a second. I mean right then and there. I mean even, even, their conscience is burning in them that this is, you know, it’s not squeaky clean. It’s, it’s.

Travis: That’s totally right. And this is what Paul was basically saying to the Athenians. The Hindus could have stood there among the philosophers at Mars Hill and be convicted by his same message, that you live in God’s world and you cannot escape your creatureliness.

 You stand on his earth, you reason with the mind that he gave you, and the law that he wrote in your heart. You are accountable to him and God has overlooked times of ignorance, but he’s one day going to judge. That’s what we say to all these philosophical systems. Boiling it down to the two: The monism and the dualism. We say to all, God is going to hold you accountable. Yeah.

Audience: Is, is, kind of brought to mind, just a good example of that. There’s, when I was in my philosophy class at Ames, [they], the professor and I [would] had these conversations in there. [They] it was, it was interesting because whenever I would say, so, I’m trying to figure out this philosophical problem that you’ve raised in class and figure out how it works in a Christian worldview.

 And she was always kind of puzzled by that and interested to see me try to figure out Biblically how these things are. And, and, I would always tell her, if there is one true worldview, it has to make sense of everything. And she was, she was, kind of like, like, amazed at that. And she was, it was kind of like she was reacting against it, like really, you think you have the one true worldview that makes sense of everything. Really?

 And to Daniel’s point, I think unbelievers are all used to operating in an inconsistent and fundamentally flawed worldview. And so, when you say here’s absolute truth, they react in pride and, and, in like, you’re attacking them, you know.

Travis: They react to it as if you are proud. They react saying, how can you say that? And especially true, like if you go to India. It’s a little different here in our, in our, country where there is a pluralism, in a diversity of religious and philosophical worldview and opinion. People have gotten used to: Well, how can you say that your system is the only system?

 Because, as soon as you say that, you offend the Muslim and the Hindu and the, the, secularists and everybody else. So the secularists get away with saying that, really, to all the religious systems, because we’ve become a secular, really a secular society. And that’s, and they kind of, again, grant the ignorant masses their delusions, you know, the opiate of the masses, which is their religion. That’s fine.

It’s, you know, passes on some culture and some tradition, but let’s not take them too seriously. They do want you to take very seriously their secular materialism, though. But it’s, but it’s, true they say that that’s fundamentally proud and we’re saying, no, it’s fundamentally humble, because we are submitting ourselves to our creator. I see you, Bill. I saw a hand over here though. I didn’t see a hand over here on this side. It was you, Scott.

Audience: In response there that, that worldview, that everybody’s coming from that, that, they’re assuming everything was fundamentally flawed or, or, inherently irrational. All they do to support that Christianity is also, is find one or two flawed Christians and say see Christianity is broken. Well, I went to church one time and people were bigots or people were..

Travis: Right.

Audience: And that’s it. That, that, proves it. And that’s, that’s, obviously biased, but that’s the, that makes sense that their worldview is inherently flawed, irrational. So there, it’s okay, that they’re biased, because they assume bias.

Travis: Right. But they start from that position. Yeah, they, they, are prejudiced against a world, of where supernatural can exist. Like miracles. They’re prejudiced against it. They say, they define that out of their worldview and then say, you need to prove it back in. And we’re, we’re, going to go back and say you haven’t argued that bias. You haven’t made your case for why miracles are nonexistent, why supernatural cannot be involved in this world. So we’re going to press them for that. Yeah Bill.

Audience: It probably doesn’t have to be said in this room, necessarily, but, what, if I heard you correctly, what you just said is that secularists are, are, looking at other religious systems. But I think we want to make sure that we understand the secularists, actually, are a religious system. That is their religious system.

     There is no non-religious point of view in, in, this discussion there, there, there, isn’t any. It’s competing understandings of, of, things that we would ultimately assign some value of religion to. I mean, whether, not us necessarily but, but.

Travis: Right, and, and, what we’re, the distinction we’re making between the religious and non-religious here is, to say, to talk about a, a, system that can embrace the concept of a deity that is higher than all that explains everything and a system that defines a deity out of it, like everything is atoms or everything is material. And I agree with you and we agree here in this room that everything is religious in, in, nature and even their secularism have, have, all the religious components to it.

It’s just that they’ve, they’ve, deified, so to speak, it’s got all the marks of deity. They deify this thing called evolution did this or chance did this. There’s no such thing as chance. There’s no such thing as Mother Nature. There’s no such thing as evolution planned this or did accomplish this. It’s, it’s, a non-entity.

 So I agree that there is, there are religious components to it. The distinction I’m trying to make right now is just between those systems that overtly say, yes, there’s a deity behind all this and those that say there isn’t. So just forsake of argument. Yeah.

Audience: So yeah, I’m kind of following up with that. Every person has presuppositions, and those presuppositions are based on faith.

Travis: They believe it.

Audience: And so that’s what that religious theme. My question is, is that the same thing as arbitrariness? Is that what we’re saying?

Travis: It’s the same thing as arbitrariness, when they just give this, this, opinion; when it’s an, when it’s opinion that’s not argued, doesn’t have any evidence supporting it. Yes, it’s arbitrary. Now we are basing our system not based on faith, but based on reality.

 And so our, this is why we, we, go back to the argument, the transcendental argument for the existence of God, which says that, the, we can prove the existence of God based on the impossibility of the contrary. So we’re taking any other system, we’re saying it doesn’t provide the preconditions of intelligibility. It doesn’t provide any way to make sense of the world that we live in.

 There is only one, there is only one system that provides all the evidence that makes sense of the world we live in and it’s, it’s, Christian theism. It’s what the Bible says. It can explain everything in a human experience. It can explain metaphysics, and epistemology and, ethics.

 It explains why we do what we do, how we are, the way we are. It explains everything, how the world started, how it will end, everything in between, what went wrong with it, the solution to the problem. It explains everything. No other system will do that.

 It doesn’t provide those preconditions. And so fundamentally it’s based on arbitrary conjecture. It’s based on an opinion and that they just want the one opinion to start with what they believe by irrational faith and then they reason from that starting point, Scott.

Audience: So I, I, think you just answered it, but I was talking with this guy at the autoshop and he was arguing about how the, the, Bible like where we get everything is not like, you know, it’s where did you, where did you, get that like there’s no, there’s no, evidence for that. That’s actually real, you know. But then I think you hit on how the, the, difference between Christianity and every other religion is, that it explains everything for.

Travis: Right. And, and, [the], so him trying to undermine your authority source is again based on his own opinions or things he’s heard. And So, [what], when people say your Bible isn’t valid or legitimate, say oh, really? You’ve studied it. Really. So tell me, tell me, what contradictions you find. Tell me what you don’t find plausible. And people are, well, you know, I remember, I think this thing.

 It’s like the telephone game, you know, someone says this and you kind of pass it on. So, tell me why you think the Bible is like a telephone game. You just have to press them for these little assertions that they make all the time. Say, tell me why that is so.

 Now we need to get back on track. We’re talking about religious monism as opposed to non-religious monism. But religious immaterialistic monism, like Hinduism says there’s no distinctions. As soon as they make that claim that there’s no distinctions and they just make that arbitrary claim, they have forfeited rationality.

 And, basically, [they have], there’s in a sense, the apologetic task is done with them, because you just silence their mouth. If they, if they say, there is no reason for anything, and I’m gonna, I’m gonna practice irrationality then, [they] you win.

Okay, so you win the debate. So they’re, they’re, unb, they feel unbound by the need for consistency. They see no problem with making any arbitrary or whimsical claim about anything. Metaphysics, ontology, theology, cosmology, and they can make anything up that they want to. And you say, well, you just made that up and they say, yeah so.

 Well then you just force them to, you know, you just, you just, go back to that issue of you’re going to give an account for that. That’s sinful reasoning. So since they can’t provide the preconditions for intelligibility, they have no basis upon which to make any argument whatsoever. Get this though, even though they will. They cannot help but make arguments and try to explain the world that they live in and the world around them because they are human.

So, again, pointing out that tension, so non-religious monism, any form of secular materialistic monism, it suffers from a host of problems, like the philosophical problem of the law of infinite regression, the fact of immaterial realities.

 Those things that demonstrate law, like properties, like morality, like ethical rules, like laws of logic. All those things exist. They’re non material realities that they use all the time. And yet, they say all that is, is, atoms. Are the laws of logic atoms? Can you pick up a law of logic? Here’s the law of non-contradiction. Let’s touch it. Let’s step on it. No, you can’t. You can’t kick it. Brett.

Audience: Or like when Darwin looked through, you know, telethorized his microscope, you know, the cell looked like a ping pong ball. And so that, you know, that’s pretty easy. It’s like, oh, it all comes down to these ping pong balls, you know, and they just randomly, you know, got together and then, you know.

 But now we know, like the cell is infinitely complex, almost. You just, you almost can’t get to the bottom of it. And the structures within the structures, within the structures. There’s just absolutely no way that two atoms, you know, with no intelligence whatsoever, just decided that they wanted to get together.

Travis: Get together. That’s right.

Audience: So it’s just you just got to think really fast, you know.

Travis: It is. And again, that goes back to the problem of ‘the one and the many’. What is this, all this many complexity which we thought was reduced down to one atoms. No, there’s actually, when you look at it more closely, that’s, that’s, such a superficial, and, and, and ignorant way of looking at the world.

Audience: So it made sense in some ways. You can almost sympathize with them on that. You can say, yeah, you know, that used to make sense back in the nine, 1820s or 1840s, but now it’s just, it doesn’t make any sense anymore, you know. I mean look at, look at, how really complex it is. There’s nothing behind that.

Travis: So, so going back to, those are all even atoms, though material realities, but we still understand that there are, like I said, say the periodic table and how all those atoms come together. All of that is mathematically explainable and you can see the mathematics in the physics of the world. Bill, you fly airplanes and I think there’s some physics involved in that, and some mathematics, and some engineering.

Audience: It’s all secular religion, Travis.

Travis: It’s all secular religion. I didn’t want to accuse you but, but, but, no so, so, there’s something, there’s something that you rely on every time you step into an airplane. That’s that today’s physics are like yesterday’s physics. There’s a uniformity in science. Why should we assume that? In a, in a, secularist, materialistic worldview, why is today like yesterday? Why will tomorrow be like today? Because God made it so.

 But in their worldview, where everything is random chance, there is no, there is no basis for that expectation. And yet they rely on it all the time. The mathematics, immaterial entities like numbers. I mean, I can write a five on the board or a four, but that’s just a representation of the concept of five or four. Those are immaterial things, and yet they..

Audience: Five heaven and four heaven, are they, is it the same or is it a different heaven for things that are immaterial as, as, opposed to chairs and tables?

 Travis: Well, that’s what Plato was trying to struggle with. Yeah.

Audience: That’s what he couldn’t figure out is..

 Travis: Well, he was trying. I think he was trying to see laws of logic that have a, have a, reality that’s non-material. And so he’s trying to bring the material in conformity to those immaterial things, immaterial realities. Yeah, that’s what he’s, that’s how he’s trying to bring the many and the one together, is by, pro, proposing that idea.

 And once again, he’s saying, grant me one exception, arbitrariness. Grant me one opinion that I can start leaving out and everything else will make sense. Just grant me this one. So how did it all come together? How did, how did, those immaterial realities just form and be?

Audience: The big bang theory. Yea. And there’s no monism system that has yet been able to explain why, when we look at the fundamental components of the most, smallest piece of atom, why the most basic state of every piece of solid matter, is actually energy. Right, that’s correct. Christianity is the only religion that can explain that. The only system.

Travis: That’s it. Exactly right. So, the secular materialists, which are monism, which is our world, this is the world we live in. This is the world of education. They have the same problem with arbitrariness and it’s very, very easy for us to poke holes in it. For us to show their worldview to be, you know, basically undermined completely.

They have a host of inconsistencies; so like this, if imperial, if empirical observation. So everything is a scientific method, right? We have this method, we make observations, we test theories and, and, all that, and we come up with hypothesis and thesis and all that stuff.

 So, if empirical observation is the only way we can know anything at all about the universe, how can anyone, living, say anything at all about the origins of the universe? Because you cannot make any observation about how everything started.

Audience: Right. It’s a nonrepeatable process.

 Travis: Exactly. More fundamentally, fatal flaw is this one; if empirical observation is the only way we can know anything about the universe, what scientific study has provided us with the evidence of that epistemological rule? That is, empirical observation is the only way we can know anything about the universe. You see inconsistency there? That’s arbitrary.

 Empirical observation is the only way can we can know anything about the universe? Is that a law? Is that a rule? How did you come up with that by empirical observation? They didn’t. They just say it. What’s that?

Audience: By Faith. They split their own faith.

Travis: Do you do you understand what the, the, problem there; the inconsistency. I, I’m seeing some puzzled looks. You Nick. Are you puzzled?

Audience: No.

Travis: Okay. You got it. All right, everybody else.

Audience: This puzzled look is that, I for 40 years have been trying to figure out why that, that, that, made sense. That reasoning thing that you’re talking about. I actually think about this a little bit from a counseling perspective. It’s no wonder that, that, the because the world’s trying to come up with the solutions of how it never made sense in people’s mind, with that reasoning.

None of it. Whatever philosophy it was, whatever scientific theory there was, you always walked away going, it didn’t, it did never fit together without the arbitrariness of, just give me this, or these exceptions. And once you give one, you give as many as it does to make sense to somebody, until it doesn’t make sense anymore. So you try to go back and say, now where’s the accountability though.

Travis: That’s right. So, so, some people will make, so let’s, let’s, go back set this, and people see, people see a problem in the human being, something that makes them abnormal, inconsistent with the way that other people think and live, like they’re you know like the men of the tombs running around naked cutting themselves with knives.

 You know in Jesus cast demons out of those men. So there’s a spiritual reality and some people would say everything is demons. And so big, big, industry of exorcism. Let’s, let’s, cast demons out of everything. Is everything demons in our day? What’s that?

Audience: I don’t know. Some of these chairs, some of these chairs.

Travis: In our day, in our day, you know the, there’s exorcism’s making a, a, big comeback and resurgence but, but, many people say, no, everything’s not demons. Everything is chemistry. Everything’s biology. So now you’ve got these poor. Before you had these poor people, like having to submit to this exorcism process.

 And they’re, you know, these poor people with problems. It’s not demons. It’s, it’s, their theology. It’s their, it’s their anthropology. It’s their problem with sin and their need to be reconciled to a holy God. And they had no system that could help them understand how to do that.

 Now when everything is biology, medicate everything. And you’re still no closer to helping them. And medicate everything and we’ll subdue the symptoms. And the problem still remains, that they are fundamentally at odds with their creator. They’re not reconciled to a holy God and they have guilt before him; which translates, when they realize, that into shame. And shame produces all kinds of, of, you know, problems for the soul.

And you know, interacting in life, that people can be, you know, defensive or angry or whatever. And so, we say just medicate it, and then the symptoms seem to go away, for a time, until they get off their medication and, you know, light the place up with an AK47 or whatever. So it’s the, it’s the same kinds of issues.

 So anyway, that’s in, in, our world we’re dealing with material that, that, materialism, and they say empirical observation is the only way we can know anything about the universe. And yet, they have not proven that assertion by empirical observation.

Audience: In fact, empirical observation will prove that that is not the case. There are limits to what they can observe and what they can see and what they can do, and they’ve proven their own case. If you just look at their observations,

Travis: Well, take, take, the scientific methods based on laws of logic, laws of non-contradiction, you know, laws of you know, consistency, internal consistency. They have not proven those laws of logic, that they assume and use all the time, by empirical observation. No one has seen a law of logic. No one’s looked at it. No one’s tested it, by the scientific method; assume it to be true and use it.

 Again, they’re living in him; in God we live and move and have our being. In him, we live and move and do the scientific method. We assume his world. Use his world in order to rebel against him. So Van Till described what men do as it’s like a, it’s like a, little kid who’s in rebellion to his father. He sits on his father’s lap and slaps him in the face. [He can’t]

 If his father stood up, he couldn’t reach his father, so he must sit in his lap in order to reach his face. In the same way unbelievers sit on the Father’s lap and slap him in the face. They use the Father’s world and the, and the Father’s laws, and the Father’s, everything he’s given them, but they use it to rebel against him. Jeff, you’re going to say something?

Audience: Well, all of the arguments, you know, singular or plural, either way, either way you want to look at it, all say the same thing, but they have to disguise it in other ways, because what they all say is, well, just assume that what I say is true. What I’m telling you is truth. Don’t think about, it just it’s truth. Just, just, go with it. If you believe what I say is true, then everything else will make sense.

Travis: That’s right. That’s exactly right. It’s called arbitrariness, which philosophically, as every one-on-one philosophy major knows, not even a major, well, you know, entering into philosophical reasoning, logical deduction. As soon as there’s arbitrariness, the system’s gone. The argument’s over. As soon as there’s inconsistency, argument’s over. Was it you, Nick?

 Audience: I, I, just raised my hand.

 Travis: But I thought I saw. Was it you, Scott? Yeah, let’s go.

Audience: It seems to me that there’s a, there’s a, couple of natural outcomes to poking these holes in those worldviews. If they’re not somebody who likes to think or is from to want more knowledge, they shut down. Or they resent you from pointing out that there’s more, in the first place and that’s the end of the conversation.

 Or is it nihilism? Everything’s pointless. There, there are no points. There, there is nothing. That, that, there, there is no end game. There is no true knowledge. If you, if you keep, if you, if you poke a hole in empirical truth, empirical knowledge, you know everything’s developed through testing, and you know the empirical process. And if you poke a hole in that, then they fall to, well, nothing, there’s nothing. And, and, me responding with, well, every word of God is true is just a faith statement.

Travis: Yeah, and that’s what they say. But you show them how even their empirical observation, they’re, they’re, conducting science is based on your worldview. So you’re borrowing from my worldview, which gives you the foundation to do science. It gives you the laws of logic. It gives you. It gives you.

 We went back to Creation Week and saw how God created categories. God created organization. He created everything according to its kind, that we might observe, and categorize, and put everything into categories, and organize and, and, make inferences and, and, all that.

He made animals and humans similar that we might study animals and see things about us, ourselves, and see their digestive systems and say, well, that wasn’t good for them, might not be good for us. So we, we, can do all that scientific study, biology and, and, botany and all that kind of stuff, because God made it the way he made it. That’s what we’re trying to tell them.

 So we’re showing them that their worldview doesn’t have the, the, preconditions. It doesn’t have the foundation for them to do any intelligent thinking. But there is one that does. And so we demonstrate that. We don’t just offer them a faith statement, just believe, you know, we don’t. We do say believe, but believe based on here’s the evidence and the evidence is look at the Christian worldview, how it explains everything.

 Now at the end of this, I need to, actually, hurry because I can’t really take any more questions right now. But, but, at the end of us, we’re going to say that nobody can come to this and understand it, unless God regenerates them. They’re not going to see this on their own. They’re going to be blinded in darkness until God opens their eyes, until he gives them a new heart, a new, new, eyesight.

Makes them a new creation. And they immediately, immediately, no time gap, believe. They immediately understand and then they can start building on, on, that Christian worldview. So with again talking about monism, secular materialistic monism, without non-material realities that are law like in nature like laws of logic, laws of morality, ethic, ethics, mathematics and all that stuff, we cannot make sense of our world at all.

 And so, materialistic monism, it fails to provide us with the preconditions of intelligibility, and it’s actually a very, very easy system to, to, destroy and undermine. And so be gentle with those secularists around you, but don’t let them off the hook. Okay, so fatal flaws for dualism. What about dualism, this Yin and Yang idea that there’s two, there’s evil and good, there’s dark and light and they’re in tension and the, the, fact that they’re held in tension holds everything together.

 And that’s kind of the world we live in. What’s the fatal problem that Plato hasn’t overcome? If you, you, if you press Plato, he still hasn’t dealt with the problem of ‘the one and the many.’ He hasn’t. There’s no, nothing in his system has explained what gives rise to what, how it comes into being, which one is primary, which one is responsible for the other, which is absolute and which is relative.

So, like the Monist, Plato would ask for just one exception. Just give me one instance of arbitrariness and then I’ll explain to you the rest of the system. And we are not willing to grant Plato or anyone else that kind of an exception. We don’t allow ourselves that kind of an exception. We say, yeah, I’ll show you from Scripture.

 It’s not being unkind. It’s just demanding that we maintain the dialectical or logical consistency upon which even our conversation is based, when our conversation depends on laws of logic in order for it to make sense. Laws of grammar and all that. So Plato, us, everyone else cannot be arbitrary or inconsistent. We have to build our system of thought upon a rational foundation. Now I’ve skipped over dualism.

 I want to talk about the perfection of the Christian doctrine of creation. Harold Kuhn summarizes the foundational heart of the Christian worldview and the doctrine of creation. He says, quote, “In reality, the heart of the Christian worldview is revealed in this aspect of the Christian understanding of creation. Biblical record’s clear at the point of ascribing to God the ultimate and soul will in the matter of creation.”

 So let me ask you, real quick, how does the Christian doctrine of creation solve that insoluble problem for all mankind, of the problem with ‘the one and the many’? How do you see that solved in the doctrine of creation? Brett.

Audience: So I’m starting to get the orders of this; isn’t perfect, but it’s like, so the matter that you could basically get people to boil down their thing to; this monism. Yeah. As matter is everything, because all their, all their belief about there being a God and stuff like that; in spite of the fact that they believe in evolution. You know.

Cause most people tend to say they believe in evolution. Can be bull. It can be kind of gotten rid of; you can say, but you believe in evolution for some reason. Then you can get them back to monism there. So, so, that’s not answered, because matter isn’t everything and, [they], that’s why they believe in a God and all that stuff. I mean, but they’re not.

 So, so, anyway that’s, that’s, you can point to that arbitrariness. But in our system, it, it. Okay, so this is, so it, it, provides those in conditions for preconditions for intelligibility by the fact that. I’m trying to figure it out. It’s like God makes; God is an inte, is intelligent. God has the laws that are discoverable by us, through the creation that he made. So can’t all be matter. It has to be matter that is ruled by immaterial intelligence. So that makes sense that that’s not arbitrary and it’s not inconsistent.

 I guess the, the, fuzzy thing for me, in a little bit, and I’m trying to remember back to previous lessons. But the fuzzy thing for me is why is that not arbitrary? Why, why is this God posited, once again, is not arbitrary? And I, I, do remember being very convinced. I’d like to just go back to those lessons about the authority of Scripture, the self-attesting authority of Scripture. That, that, is not a cyclical argument.

 I forget it. So, so, that’s why it’s a little fuzzy for me, because God could be arbitrary. If he’s just posited as a religious system, like the other religious systems. Does that makes sense? But it’s not. And I, I, forget why. Honestly, I.

Travis: Okay, so, so, let’s go somebody else I thought I saw Mark are you raising your hand?

Audience: Yeah. I, I, take a stab at it. I’m, I’m, gonna. I just think that God created everything individually, but quoting Paul, “in him we live, move and have our being.” The oneness of God.

Travis: So we have our being in God’s.

Audience: In His being.

Travis: God’s being is absolute, primary, fundamental, necessary, pure, pure being. And what is it about God’s being that brings ‘the one and the many’ together?

Audience: The fact that we have a relationship with God. He made us. So he is not just an ethereal thing that’s out there. He is a personal God of intelligence, who in a very ordinal and purposeful fashion, made us and immediately had a relationship with us throughout.

Travis: Okay, true, true. But even more fundamental. And you actually hinted at it and what you said there. What is it in the being of God that brings together the problem of ‘the one of the many.’ Nicholas.

Audience: He’s consistent with himself and everything he does is consistent with him.

Travis: Okay, that’s true.

Audience: So. So everything that he created is also in some way from him. It’s united in him.

Travis: Is God One?

Audience:  Yes.

Travis: Is God Triune?

Audience: Yes.

Travis: ‘The One and the many’. Okay. In the being of God you see ‘the one and the many’ in pure, eternal, infinite, simple being. He’s not composed of parts. The simplicity of God means that eternally there is ‘the one and the many’ in God. Which is why we see in creation, diversity and unity. There is diversity of persons; three persons in God, There’s diversity in creation. There is singularity in God of one essence, one being shared by all three persons. But the, the, one essence, then gives unity to all that we see. Okay. I’m not asking you to understand everything and comprehend it, but I am asking you to apprehend it. Okay?

Audience: Oh, and here, here’s one that’s not arbitrary. So I, I, thought of it or I understand that a little bit. That’s, that’s, not arbitrary, because we got that from Scripture. It and it makes sense throughout the entirety. That’s what the self-attesting authority of Scripture is. It’s, it’s internal consistency.

 So it, without stating it, without stating it, is just by revealing God in his many different ways that we were discovering is, is, showing us a triune God, which would make sense of ‘the one and the, the, many’, which materialism doesn’t do and, and, and, pantheism doesn’t do. But it’s not arbitrary because we derived it from a statement of God, written out to us about what he is like.

Travis: It’s, ar, not arbitrary, because it’s not our opinion.

Audience: Right. It came from somewhere.

Travis: It’s not opinion, it came from somewhere. We were.

Audience: As theirs didn’t. And if you keep in the scripture, it’ll keep proving these truths to you.

Travis: Right. Exactly.

Audience: Where, whereas, like the Bhagavad Gita or whatever, you know, just take some ancient document, it, it, has its own being. You know, you could say it came from the gods or whatever, whatever it did, you know in its own way or whatever. But problem with it is it’s internally inconsistent.

Travis: You got it.

Audience: And so then you, then you, understand that, that had to have been arbitrary.

Travis: It doesn’t. It’s, it’s, inconsistent internally and it doesn’t comport with anything we actually see and know. Take the, take the, but take the, take the, you know, Joseph Smith looking through the Urim Thummim glasses to interpret the golden plates and, and, here comes the Book of Mormon and there you go. And so, you put it forth, setting aside the  plagiarist, plagiarized portions from the old, you know, the, you know, the King James version of the Bible.

You know, just take, take, it on its face and you see its internal inconsistency. You see, its external lack of comporting with anything else in the world. How they take, and instead of a material law of eternal regression, that they break, it’s an immaterial law of eternal progression. It’s a gods, producing gods, producing gods, producing gods; and what started it all.

 Just grant me that exception, right? Grant me that exception, so I don’t have to prove that to you. And if you believe this, then everything else makes sense. No, I won’t grant you that exception. And I’ll hold myself to the same standard. Let’s go to Scripture and see how it explains everything; that’s internally consistent. It externally comports with reality. Okay. So, it’s all based on the being of God. That’s what I want you to understand.

Audience: So it’s basically the fact that every other system breaks down. I know you’ve been saying that, and I, I, just hadn’t been getting it. But every other system breaks down. It’s not so much that. Yeah. Our system, that’s the thing, is our system doesn’t break down. And there’s every system, every other system does; and, and, thereby shows its arbitrariness.

Travis: Exactly.

Audience: Which, which, ours doesn’t do. And so therefore is not arbitrary. Would you just say that word again; internally consistent and externally?

Travis: It exter, it externally it comports with reality and it comports with everything else. It explains reality. It’s, it’s, consistent with everything we see in the world around us. Okay? So everybody understanding what Brett said, because he’s being actually pretty helpful in, in, what he’s trying to…

Audience: Actually.

Travis:  Well, yeah, that way, but I think he’s being helpful.

Audience: And it’s, and it’s, I just, I just had a, a, quick thought on what he’s saying, to try to kind of sum to, point out real quick. Everything that any, any, worldview has to start somewhere. And it’s gonna, you could, you could, you have to drill down eventually to the presuppositions behind it and there’s something that you start at, that you just, it, it, just is and you go from there.

 You can’t defend that fundamental starting point. So you have to trust a standard. So we trust the Bible, unbelievers trust themselves, in their own reason or whatever else. And, and, so the difference in the, the, reasons, it’s not, we’re not arbitrary and they are is because they’re ignoring the clear revelation of God. I think that’s the, that’s the, difference.

Travis: And they’re,

Audience: They’re, not making sense.

Travis: Well, their trust is irrational trust. And, and, that’s why we want to say, like some people, you would say, you’ll hear say, they’ll say something like, well, you know, you see like the miracles of the Bible, and they say, well, we just take that on faith, as if to say we don’t. There’s a rational reason for that. It’s irrational, but just grant us that irrationality, it’s taken on faith. No, no, it’s actually taken on faith, yes.

 It’s a rational faith. It’s a faith that actually is reasonable, internally consistent and externally, you know, it comports with reality. But we, we, understand a system in which God made natural laws and rules that govern the universe and he can intervene, at times, to do what is supernatural. What is a miracle. That’s part of the world view.

Audience: And God clearly intervened in history multiple times to show that.

Travis: And we believe that. And there’s a basis to believe that.

Audience: So it’s really basic apologetics. When you talk to somebody, you all you’re doing is very gently break down their system. And then when they grant you that and they say, okay, yeah, you’re right, it’s broken. But your system is broken too. Then you just say, then you, then upon that you invite them. No, it’s not; ours is a reasonable faith.

Come, come tell me, tell me what you’re talking about. Help me to understand my inconsistencies, and I’ll show you why I’ve, I’ve, come to the fact that these are not getting inconsistent, because this did not come from me. This is not arbitrary, because it, it, it, is not something that anybody would ever make up; a triune God who is sovereign over all things, even evil.

Travis: And so, so, it is our apologetic, in this sense. In, in the transcendental argument for the existence of God is a reductio ad absurdum on their words. It’s a, it’s reducing it to absurdity that you might demonstrate, then here’s the truth about the Christian theism, comes from Scripture.

 So we’re, we’re, over time, and I wanted to read you a host of material from Van Til, but I’m just going to have to punt that and you guys can get your own copy of Van Til and read it yourself. But, but, he has a, he has a section in here on the eternal unity and plurality, and then temporal unity and plurality. Okay.

 So ‘the one and the many’ are brought together in the eternal, the being of God. And then it comes out in what we see in time, what we see now in reality, in the material reality. Okay. So let me, if you’d like to make a copy of that chapter, I can let you use the book. Let me, one, one thing I want to say again, reemphasize about this.

According to Hebrews 11:3, nobody is going to believe the Christian doctrine of creation apart from God’s gift of regeneration, which opens the eyes to saving faith, repentance, and faith. The creation of the world ex nihilo by divine fiat is a revealed doctrine. So they’re not going to come, they’re not going to come to this on their own. Says in Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of the things that are visible.”

 Okay, so again, by faith we understand. By faith we understand. We must believe and trust God. And if we trust God, we look at his scripture. And when we look at his Scripture, we understand that the things we see are not made from anything that was there. It’s made from God speaking it into existence.

 Divine Fiat, decree, created out of nothing, no pre-existing material. And that’s known by faith. It’s known by, by, God opening our eyes, which is, is, a reality, now, after the Fall. We must have our eyes opened. And that’s anybody you talk to, they must have their eyes open, So you can, you can, do all this reductio ad absurdum. You can bring their worldview into absolute oblivion and reduce it to absurdity.

 And they will, if they’re not regenerate, if they’re not believing, then they will just skip to another bad worldview. Okay. So don’t be disappointed when they do that. Just understand God still needs to open their eyes and you can just chase them down and say, let’s talk about that worldview and reduce that to absurdity. Okay, let me pray and then we can discuss, if you’d like to.

 Father, thank you again for this: The power of your word, the self-attesting authority of the Scripture. We thank you, that you have opened our eyes to truth. You’ve been so gracious to us, to put our sin in the Cross, and to give us eternal life in your Son. We are so thankful that you’ve opened our eyes to the reality of your truth, and through the lens of Scripture, we look at the world around us and find it fully explained.

 We’re so grateful that there’s a consistency between our metaphysics and epistemology and ethics. We, we, we, live and behave and act and think based on what is, based on the reality that’s all grounded in your pure, essential, necessary, absolute being. We are so grateful to belong to you, and that we can learn and understand you, and then teach others. We just pray that you would help us to rejoice in these truths. That these truths would fill our hearts with love and joy in our salvation.

 And that out of that overflowing love and joy that we would speak to others about you. Not trying to win arguments and debates, but wanting to see people delivered from their darkness, delivered from their inconsistency and their foolishness, and to be brought into salvation. That they might see you for who you really are.

 That you might be glorified, shown to be great, as you really are. We love you and thank you again for all these truths. Please help us to understand what seems somewhat out of reach to us, but help us to understand. Believing, believing all your truth, in Jesus name. Amen.