Origin Issues: The Struggle To Cut God Out

Despite what you may have learned in school or picked up at your local Barnes and Noble lately, the issue of origin has not been settled in the hearts and minds of your fellow humans. A few things are clear:

1) We want to know where it all came from.
2) We are on the search to find out.
3) Naturalism (non-theistic evolution) isn’t actually as popular as you may have heard.

A recent Gallop poll reveals that God still gets a lot of credit for creating it all, and those who deny any involvement from God are still a significant minority.

Francis Schaeffer wrote a phenomenal book in 1972 entitled Genesis in Space and Time. In one of the opening chapters he discusses “modern man’s basic mystery.”[1] This mystery revolves around the issue of Being. Basically, when we view the world around us, we must give an answer for Being. We know we exist (at least most of us do), and we see a world around us that exists, and something within us calls out “Has it always been there?”[2]

Here are three origin options Schaeffer suggests:

1) Once there was absolutely nothing and now there is something.
2) Everything began with an impersonal something.
3) Everything began with a personal something.

Although Schaeffer claimed that, to his knowledge, the first option had never been “seriously propounded by anyone,” it is apparent he didn’t live long enough to meet Richard Dawkins.

I’m not an authority on his teaching, but I believe “nothing was and now something is” seems to be where Dawkins lands. He does admit that he doesn’t have an answer for how it all came to be. Here is what he says in his book The Ancestors Tale:

“The universe could so easily have remained lifeless and simple -just physics and chemistry, just the scattered dust of the cosmic explosion that gave birth to time and space. The fact that it did not -the fact that life evolved out of literally nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved literally out of nothing -is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice. And even that is not the end of the matter. Not only did evolution happen: it eventually led to beings capable of comprehending the process by which they comprehend it.”

On option #2: “Everything began with an impersonal something,” Schaeffer says,

“The assumption of an impersonal beginning can never adequately explain the personal beings we see around us, and when men try to explain man on the basis of an original impersonal, man soon disappears. In short, an impersonal beginning explains neither the form of the universe nor the personality of man.”[3]

Schaeffer concludes with the biblical option, #3: “Everything began with a personal something.”

“…Genesis 1:1 does not depict an absolute beginning with nothing before it. God was there—and then came creation… “In the beginning” is a technical term stating the fact that at this particular point of sequence there is creation ex nihilo—a creation out of nothing. All that is, except for God himself who already has been, now comes into existence. Before this there was a personal existence—love and communication. Prior to the material universe, prior to the creation of all else, there is love and communication. This means that love and communication are intrinsic. And hence, when modern man screams for love and communication (as he so frequently does), Christians have an answer. There is value to love and value to communication because it is rooted into what intrinsically always has been.”[4]

As we wrestle through these “origin options” I think it is clear that something, some witness, within the human mind exhibits a gravitational pull toward a personal beginning. The poll linked above makes this obvious. In public schools in America we have taught either an impersonal beginning or a Dawkins-like nothingness-to-somethingness for decades. Yet, when people are asked what they believe concerning origin, 3 out of 4 still hold to a personal beginning. Admittedly, this in and of itself doesn’t mean they’re right, but I think at the most basic level it reveals that Schaeffer was onto something.

Human beings intrinsically cry out for love and communication. And when we see the form of the universe around us and the personality within us, an impersonal beginning just won’t suffice.

[1] p. 19.

[2] Ibid.

[3] p. 21.

[4] p. 26.

About Pastor Andrew

Follower of Jesus, Husband to Carissa, Daddy to four daughters, Lead Pastor at LifePoint Church in Vancouver, WA.
This entry was posted in 2theSource, Genesis and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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