Apologetics Atheism Cosmological culture Logic Natural Law

Atheists Try to Make a Silk Purse out of a Sow’s Ear

The Law of Causality

Atheists try to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. At least that’s how I see it.

When it comes to the Universe and how or if it began, they’ll shine and sew just about any old argument together, pretend it’s a Dooney and Bourke, and tote it off to the logical mall grinnin’ like a possum eatin’ a sweet tater.

Their problem is, the deficiency of their argument leaves them so poor they can’t pay attention.

Many times their issue stems from the denial of the law of causality. It’s a natural law meaning it’s  an observable law or laws relating to natural phenomena[1].

The law of causality is one of those things that, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t escape it. It’s a basic as dirt and necessary to understand most anything. It’s as plain as the nose on your face. Even the skeptical David Hume agreed.

Thus the skeptic still continues to reason and believe, though he asserts that he cannot defend his reason by reason; and by the same rule, he must assent to the principle concerning the existence of body, though he cannot pretend, by any argument of philosophy, to maintain its veracity.85[2] –David Hume

Simply stated, the law of causality says that anything that has a beginning has a cause. Simply applied, the Universe had a beginning so…

Now, admittedly, that particular application is exactly why most atheists resist this law against all of their own intuition. They know that if they admit that the Universe had a beginning, and that anything that has a beginning has a cause, then they have a problem. That’s a sellout of immense proportions!

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Houston we have a problem

Most of the time when someone has a problem with this natural law, they attempt to twist it or treat it as a sleight of hand. To be honest, the wording may seem trickier than the reality.

Let’s look at it.

The first part of the law is simply a description of stuff, anything (any-thing) that has a beginning.

Just as some folks attempt to do with the word no-thing, they also do with the word any-thing. Anything is the kind of word that is very inclusive. In fact, it is almost always all inclusive. The difference here is that the word anything has a qualifier. The phrase has a beginning limits the word anything in a particular way.

Having a beginning limits anything to all things that have come into existence or began to exist.

This qualifier is probably the most argued point that atheists love to pick on when it comes to the law of causality. If they can’t disregard the Universe as not anything, then they want to include God part of anything therefore having a beginning.

 Stick to the definition of the law. It’s important.

One thing that we are definitely not saying is that anything has a cause. Only things that have beginnings have causes. Something that has no beginning is uncaused. Therefore, something that is uncaused cannot, by definition, have a cause. The word cause means to begin something or bring it about. God, by definition, has no beginning. He has always been. He has no cause.

cause

noun

1          a person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition.[3]

A condition in the sense of the definition above can be existence or being. If somethings existence begins, then it is caused to exist by something else or something other than itself.

Anything or person that has no beginning is defined as self-existent. We call that attribute aseity.

Aseity

The absolute self-existence of God. He has life in Himself (John. 5:26), or to use the Latin phrase, life a se, hence the word a-se-ity.[4]

That’ll come up. I guarantee it.

Here’s the power of being familiar with this natural law. If someone denies that anything that has a beginning has a cause, they are in effect saying that anything can come into existence uncaused. Not only can a Universe which is governed by such laws somehow magically pop into existence without a cause, so can anything inside of the Universe do the same.

This is a problem particularly for a person who proposes not to believe the law of causality as a foundational and transcendent principle or law.

You see, if anything can begin without a cause, then someone can take their car, money, or any other property and honestly justify it by simply saying “Nothing caused its disappearance”.

If they question a sudden nose bleed and facial pain, it wasn’t the accelerating fist someone placed on their head that caused it.

In fact, their precious god of science can no longer be practiced due to the fact that its method for discovery is based upon the presumption that anything that has a beginning has a cause.

If causality is not real, science becomes impossible—for what scientists are doing is tracing the path of cause and effect from one event to the next.[5]-Francis Shaeffer

Don’t get me wrong. You’re not going to find many folks who will challenge this basic law. But, if you are not familiar with its definition and its consequences, then you won’t be able to go far with any other argument, be it Biblical, evidential, or philosophical.

The law of causality is primary and necessary to understanding the Universe and practicing apologetics. Learn it. Tactfully and intentionally employ it as you discuss beginnings.

To deny the law of causality is anti-science and logically self-defeating. Expose the atheist who tries to disguise his bad argument by shining a pig ear and parading it around as if it is scientific. Stick with the law as defined and hammer the nail. It’ll be easy to do. Reality precedes your argument.

What atheist say about causation may sound soft and silky, they may even fashion a nice handle to carry it around, but if it denies this fundamental truth, it’s still just a  dressed-up pig ear.

[1] Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. (Eds.). (2004). Concise Oxford English dictionary (11th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

85 David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1956).

[2] Schaeffer, F. A. (1982). The complete works of Francis A. Schaeffer: a Christian worldview (Vol. 5, pp. 364–365). Westchester, IL: Crossway Books.

[3] Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. (Eds.). (2004). Concise Oxford English dictionary (11th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[4] Cairns, A. (2002). In Dictionary of Theological Terms (p. 42). Belfast; Greenville, SC: Ambassador Emerald International.

[5] Schaeffer, F. A. (1982). The complete works of Francis A. Schaeffer: a Christian worldview (Vol. 5, p. 364). Westchester, IL: Crossway Books.

Donnie
I was born in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, born again at a very young age, married a beautiful and likeminded woman, moved to Tennessee, and raised two children in the Southern traditions of loving God and neighbor, exercising manners, and being stewards of the land and its bounty. After becoming involved in youth ministry in our local church, the need of teaching people "what they believe and why they believe it" became painfully apparent, especially in my immediate context (rural Southern churches). We began an apologetics/theology ministry there but have since moved on. After serving in church leadership and being called to faithfulness and duty to protect our congregation from a rogue pastor under church discipline of his previous church, my experiences in this biblical process shape much of what I believe about how churches in the South have become weak and why nominal Christianity is prevalent. I love the Church and Southern culture so you can expect to read about apologetics and theology as well as church and culture here, written southern style, by the grace of God. Deo Vindice
http://www.southernbyhisgrace.com

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