Logic: A Gift From God Not To Be Thrown Out The Window
by Scott Noble
July 7, 2014
Famous hymn writer Isaac Watts also wrote a book about Logic. In this book he said, “The power of reasoning was given us by our Maker, for this very end, to pursue truth; and we abuse one of his richest gifts, if we basely yield up to be led astray by any of the meaner powers of nature, or the perishing interests of this life. Reason itself, if honestly obeyed, will lead us to receive the divine revelation of the gospel, where it is duly proposed, and this will show us the path to life everlasting.” (Watts, 325)
Whether we think about it or not, our view of logic affects all of us. The mystics despise logic. As a result, they drift far from God’s Word. Others have used logic to justify false ideas, like a hammer being used to destroy instead of to build. The fact that logic can be misused does not mean it should be thrown out the window. Logic is a gift given to us by God. It is so basic and so essential that we could not make any distinctions at all without it. We could not say that some things are wrong and some things are right, without using the basic laws of logic. We could not communicate or understand God’s Word without logic.
Even people who are against logic must use logic in order to make known their opposition, thus contradicting themselves. Without logic a person could write something like, “If the if yes no yes no could if could if yes no yes no.” If logic does not apply, then morality, communication, discernment, and even the possibility of science are voided. Politics, economics, medicine, theology and every other subject is affected when logic is thrown out the window.
The Catholic mystics add to and take away from God’s Word in many ways. One of these ways is through their disdain for logic. As will became clear later in this appendix, logic is a central feature in the Bible and is central to the Christian worldview. Before talking about that though, I would like to look at a few examples from history related to logic.
Historical Examples Related to Logic
Aristotle (384-322 BC) is famous for articulating some of the basic laws of logic, but he was not the inventor of logic– merely a discoverer. J. Warner Wallace, who was an atheist for 35 years, but who is now a defender of the Christian faith, wrote, “God did not create the Laws of Logic. These laws are simply a reflection of the thoughts and logical character of God, and as such, they reveal His logical, perfect nature.” (http://www.str.org/blog/is-god-real-are-the-laws-of-logic-simply-human-convention s#.U42KQVdIPYg) One example of the Laws of Logic being a reflection of God’s nature is the fact that God cannot lie: “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” (Titus 1:2) This is in agreement with the Law of Non-Contradiction and also the Law of Identity, which we’ll look at later.
Looking back at his life, Wallace wrote, “When I used to argue against the existence of God, I employed Laws of Logic my atheistic worldview could not provide. I had to borrow these concepts from the very worldview I was trying to defeat. Today, as a theist, I have an adequate foundation for these logical axioms. I can respond to objections in a way that is consistent with my worldview.” (http://www.str.org/blog/ is-god-real-are-the-laws-of-logic-simply-human-conventions#.U42KQVdIPYg)
Georg W. F. Hegel (AD 1770-1831): A Synthesis of Opposites
Georg Hegel was a German philosopher and a critic of traditional Christian ideas. Concerning Hegel, Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer in his book “Escape From Reason,” wrote, “[Hegel] opened the door to that which is characteristic of modern man. Truth as truth is gone and synthesis (the both-and), with its relativism, reigns.” (Schaeffer, 1968; 41-42) In his book “He Is There And He Is Not Silent”, Schaeffer wrote, “…the method of epistemology [the study of knowledge] had always been antithesis. That is, you learn by saying ‘a’ is not ‘non-a’. That is the first step in classical logic. In other words, in antithesis if this is true then its opposite is not true…. But Hegel argued that antithesis has never turned out well on a rationalistic basis, so he proposed to change the methodology of epistemology. Instead of dealing with antithesis, let us deal with synthesis…. turning the whole theory of knowledge upside down.” (Shaeffer, 1972; 53-54)
Karl Marx (AD 1818-1883), Multiple Logics, and Nazi Germany
Karl Marx, the man behind the Communist ideology, studied Hegel’s ideas and held to the concept of polylogisms (though he didn’t call it that– the term “polylogism” was coined later by Ludwig von Mises), which is a non-sensical concept advocating different kinds of logic. Austrian economic theorist and prolific author Ludwig von Mises, explains how Karl Marx and his followers sidestepped logic in order to implement their political and economic goals: “All human interrelations are based on this assumption of a uniform logical structure. We can speak to each other only because we can appeal to something common to all of us, namely, the logical structure of reason…. Marx and the Marxians, foremost among them the ‘proletarian philosopher’ Dietzgen, taught that thought is determined by the thinker’s class position. What thinking produces is not truth but ‘ideologies’…. It is therefore useless to discuss anything with people of another social class. Ideologies do not need to be refuted by discursive reasoning; they must be unmasked by denouncing the class position, the social background, of their authors…. The Marxians have resorted to polylogism because they could not refute by logical methods the theories developed by ‘bourgeois’ economics, or the inferences drawn from these theories demonstrating the impracticability of socialism. As they could not rationally demonstrate the soundness of their own ideas or the unsoundness of their adversaries’ ideas, they have denounced the accepted logical methods. The success of this Marxian stratagem was unprecedented.” (http://mises.org/daily/1457/What-the-Nazis-Borrowed-from-Marx)
This “success” for their ideology (achieved by throwing logic out the window) was a tragedy in the lives of many who had to live in oppressive communist and socialist countries.
Mises also pointed out how the Nazis in Germany also made use of this idea of multiple “logics”: “The German nationalists had to face precisely the same problem as the Marxians. They also could neither demonstrate the correctness of their own statements nor disprove the theories of economics and praxeology. Thus they took shelter under the roof of polylogism, prepared for them by the Marxians. Of course, they concocted their own brand of polylogism. The logical structure of mind, they say, is different with different nations and races. Every race or nation has its own logic and therefore its own economics, mathematics, physics, and so on…. Neither Marxian nor Nazi polylogism ever went further than to declare that the logical structure of mind is different with various classes or races. They never ventured to demonstrate precisely in what the logic of the proletarians differs from the logic of the bourgeois, or in what the logic of the Aryans differs from the logic of the Jews or the British…. Polylogism is not a philosophy or an epistemological theory. It is an attitude of narrow-minded fanatics, who cannot imagine that anybody could be more reasonable or more clever than they themselves. Nor is polylogism scientific. It is rather the replacement of reasoning and science by superstitions. It is the characteristic mentality of an age of chaos.” (http://mises.org/daily/1457/What-the-Nazis-Borrowed -from-Marx) Like the communist countries, Germany also suffered from not being allowed to defend or refute ideologies using classical logic.
S ¸ren Kierkegaard (AD 1813-1855) and Karl Barth (AD 1886-1968)
Karl Barth, the Swiss theologian, was very much influenced by Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher. Francis Schaeffer, writing about Barth’s theology, explains its connection to Kierkegaard’s leap away from logic, “Religious truth is separated from the historical truth of the Scriptures. Thus there is no place for reason and there is no point of verification…. in this system is the constant appearance in one form or another of the Kierkegaardian emphasis on the necessity of the leap. Because the rational and logical are totally separated from the non-rational and the non-logical, the leap is total. Faith, whether expressed in secular or religious terms, becomes a leap without any verification because it is totally separated from the logical and the reasonable.” (Schaeffer, 1968; 51-52)
Pastor and Bible professor David Kowalski wrote, “I think Kant was a pivotal figure in separating noumena and phenomena, but Kierkegaard kicked that can further down the road, officially separating revelation from reason…. What matters to Kierkegaard is not what one believes, but how passionately one believes it and how fervently one acts upon it. He advises a leap of “faith” (a kind of fairy tale belief) that has as little as possible to do with evidence or reason…. For the Kierkegaardian existentialist, revelation is experience only and at least theoretically non-communicable…. The death of God theologians claimed they were only taking Barthianism (which is essentially Kierkegaardiansim) to its logical conclusions.” (http://www.apologetics index.org/3133-truth-events) Downplaying logic inevitably leads to the exaltation of experiences and feelings without regard to whether those experiences or feelings are anchored in biblical truth or not. This can be seen in extroverted and extreme pentecostal experiences on the one hand and in introverted and mystical experiences on the other hand. Jesus said, “…If a man love me, he will keep my words…” (John 14:23)
Kowalski also wrote, “Barth is ‘in,’ and his thinking blends well with postmodern theology which denies the existence of absolute, objective truth….. Everything Karl Barth said or wrote about Christian theology must be understood to exist in the mysterious world of the ‘Neo-Orthodox Triangle’– the intellectual equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle. Ordinary laws of thinking do not apply in the Neo-Orthodox Triangle. Cardinal truths fly into the triangle and are never seen again. Biblical, Christian faith becomes mysteriously shipwrecked in the triangle. The three sides of the triangle are Barth”s views on God, revelation, and history…. For Barth, theology cannot be reduced to the categories of true or false– theology exists within the realm between the two in which nonsense is considered good teaching.” (http://www.apologeticsindex.org/2838-plain-talk-on-karl-barth)
Science and Logic
Francis Schaeffer points to the Christian worldview as promoting scientific inquiry, “The early scientists also shared the outlook of Christianity in believing that there is a reasonable God, who had created a reasonable universe, and thus man, by use of his reason, could find out the universe’s form.” (Schaeffer, 1968; 31)
Christian philosopher Vishal Mangalwadi, who is from India wrote, “The fact is that the Hindu doctrine of Maya– that the material universe is somehow unreal– and its corollary– non-rational mysticism– destroyed the very foundations of science and learning in India.” (Mangalwadi, 111)
Mangalwadi also wrote, “Scientism [believing that rationality is not behind the universe, but that it is an accident of nature– and yet using human reason to try to understand the universe] has failed to provide a satisfying philosophy of science, and mysticism is a blind alley which destroys the possibility of science. However, it is possible to go back to the original assumption of the founders of modern science, that the world is comprehensible by human reason because it is created by a rational Being who has also created us in his own image to govern the earth.” (http://www. karma2grace.org/page.asp?pg=74)
Concerning modern discoveries which supposedly disprove that our universe is logical, Mangalwadi wrote, “The paradox of light appearing both as a particle and as a wave does not imply that the law of non-contradiction is invalid, that an apple can also be a banana. The fact is that light is neither a particle nor a wave. It is something for which we have no parallel in the macroscopic world, therefore we tend to describe its space dimension as a particle and its time dimension as a wave. Physicists now prefer to call it a wavicle – a name which means nothing concrete to us, because it has no parallel in our macroscopic experience. But it establishes a principle that if at present our language does not adequately describe a particular reality, what we need is not to abolish language, but to coin a new word or phrase. Likewise, the “uncertainty” of the behaviour of the electrons [Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle] is because there are no “local” hidden variables or causes. It does not prove that there are no ‘non-local’ hidden causes which could explain the behaviour.” (http://www. karma2grace.org/page.asp?pg=74)
Is Logic Invalid In the Oriental Hemisphere?
Medical doctor Nishanth Arulappan, who is from India wrote, “The reason Indian philosophy is considered to be mysterious and enchanting is because it tolerated contradictions, despite recognizing them…. Logic is the same for both groups. What is a contradiction in the West is a contradiction in the East…. the law of non-contradiction is unavoidable. There is no “both-and” anywhere in the universe.” (http://www.biblicalphilosophy. org/Logic/Logic_East_West_Nishanth.asp)
Vishal Mangalwadi pointed out, “It is easy for Swami Ranganathanda to say, ‘If facts do not fit logic, it is logic that has to go.’ The question is, however, how do we know what the facts are? Whatever his other mistakes, Kant was right in his insistence that logic is a priori. If we cannot assume the validity of logic, we cannot know any facts.” (http://www.karma2grace.org/page.asp?pg=74)
Dr. Avi Sion, although a defender of Buddhism, wrote the book “Buddhist Illogic” focusing on Nagarjuna’s errors [AD ca. 150-250]. Nagarjuna was one of the key figures in Mahayana Buddhism. Sion wrote, “The way offered by Nagarjuna is unconvincing to anyone with high standards of knowledge; it is merely a malicious parody of logic. What revolts me here is the shameless sophistry engaged in by Nagarjuna, in his impossible attempts to give logical legitimacy to his anti-logical ideas. (See Appendix 1 for a list of fallacies he uses repeatedly.) If someone sincerely believes that no words have true significance, would he write his skeptical words and expect others to understand them?… Like many Western skeptics, Nagarjuna does not take the trouble to harmonize his words and deeds, testing his thoughts on his own thinking; if knowingly indulged, this is hypocrisy. Like many religious apologists, Nagarjuna considers logic, not as a tool of research and discovery, but as a weapon of rhetoric in defense of preconceived ideas; if knowingly indulged, this is cheating. (Sion, 100-101)
Dr. Avi Sion summarized Nagarjuna’s thoughts: “In sum, though he gives the illusion that it is reasonable to abandon reason, it is easy to see that his conclusion is foregone and his means are faulty.” (Sion, 9)
To this day, Nagarjuna is held in high esteem among many of the Mahayana schools of Buddhism. Others who followed in Nagarjuna’s footsteps made similar illogical claims, such as Candrakirti: “Candrakirti (circa seventh century C.E.) then criticized Bhavaviveka’s use of logic to arrive at positive truths, maintaining that the only proper ’empty’ use of logic was, to reduce one’s opponent’s positions to absurdity, without taking a positive position oneself.” (Robinson, 89)
In Hinduism, logic is also downplayed, as Mangalwadi shows, “It is true that Vedanta [one of the Hindu philosophies] teaches categorically that dependence on the senses and logic has to be discarded if we want to know the true nature of the universe. In his authoritative work Bliss Divine, Swami Sivananda states unequivocally that the vedantic view is that we must seek to ‘consciously destroy the mind by Sadhna and Samadhi.’ And again: ‘Do not use your reason too much in the selection of your Guru;’ ‘Keep your intellect at a respectable distance when you study mythology. Intellect is a hindrance;’ ‘That which separates you from God [Brahma] is mind.'” (http://www.karma2grace.org/page.asp?pg=74)
In some forms of eastern thought, it is said that something can be true and false at the same time and in the same sense. In that case the opposite meaning of the previous sentence would also be true, so that every sentence could falsify itself, and we would end up with no meaningful communication at all. This is self-defeating and vain talk, which doesn’t correspond to the real world. In the real world something either is alive, or it’s not; somebody is absent, or they are present, etc.
Mangalwadi compares the Buddhist starting point and the biblical starting point: “…Buddhism started with the assumption that both physical reality and human rationality are products of Ignorance (Avidya). Therefore, the enlightenment it sought was to transcend rationality by altering consciousness and finding mystical knowledge and occult power…. Why did the Judeo-Christian tradition use rationality and creativity (instead of mysticism and ‘transcendental’ meditation) to lead the fight against suffering, against the violation of human liberty and dignity? The answer is: the Bible begins with an assumption that is opposite to Gnosticism and Buddhism.” (Mangalwadi, 123-124)
What results can be seen from India’s spiritual worldview? Mangalwadi sums it up with this sobering list: “Asceticism, untouchability, mysticism, the occult, superstition, idolatry, witchcraft, and oppressive beliefs and practices became the halmark of Indian culture.” (Mangalwadi, 153) Mangalwadi also gives this somber warning: “We in India will condemn ourselves to a few more generations of ignorance, perversion, exploitation, and slavery if once again we turn en masse to a failed mysticism.” (Mangalwadi, 142) This should also be a warning for every Christian who is tempted to dabble in mystical practices.
Is God’s Logic Different From Human Logic?
Sometimes the assertion is made that in the Bible or in the spiritual realm a different kind of logic is being used. To make that assertion is to completely misunderstand what logic is. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Speaking the truth implies using the Laws of Logic. The Bible, being God’s Word is also logical and true.
God’s ways are higher than our ways, but God and His Word are not illogical, or “beyond logic” as some mystics have claimed. If someone says a Bible passage “seems” or “appears” illogical, this is understandable, because all of us have limited knowledge. But, to say that a passage “is” illogical falls into problems. It presumes that we completely understand the passage or the idea, to where we can stand in judgment over God’s Word to say definitively that it is illogical. There are many good books which explain supposed biblical contradictions, showing the false assumptions which the accusers make. Not understanding is one thing. Judging God or His Word as illogical is another. The laws of logic are not optional.
David Kowalski gives an example showing the absurdity of assigning to God a different kind of logic: “Though no one would deny that God is beyond our comprehension, it is problematic to imagine a different kind of logic in God– one, for example, in which 2+2 does not equal 4.” (http://www.apologeticsindex.org/3135-the-perplexing-paradox-problem)
Gordon Clark, chairman of the Philosophy Department of Butler University for 28 years, wrote, “Of course, the Scripture says that God”s thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways. But is it good exegesis to say that this means his logic, his arithmetic, his truth are not ours? If this were so, what would the consequences be? It would mean not only that our additions and subtractions are all wrong, but also that all our thoughts– in history as well as in arithmetic– are all wrong. If for example, we think that David was King of Israel, and God”s thoughts are not ours, then it follows that God does not think David was King of Israel. David in God”s mind was perchance prime minister of Babylon. To avoid this irrationalism, which of course is a denial of the divine image, we must insist that truth is the same for God and man.” (http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=16)
Gordon Clark also gave a good summary of the qualities of logic: “Logic is fixed, universal, necessary, and irreplaceable. Irrationality contradicts the Biblical teaching from beginning to end.” (http://www. trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=16)
Charles Hodge, principal of Princeton Theological Seminary for over 25 years, wrote, “Nothing, therefore, can be more derogatory to the Bible than the assertion that its doctrines are contrary to reason. The assumption that reason and faith are incompatible; that we must become irrational in order to become believers is, however it may be intended, the language of infidelity; for faith in the irrational is of necessity itself irrational….” (http://thecollegeoftheology.com/god-and-logic)
Craig Hawkins, philosophy professor and Christian apologist illustrates his points about logic well: “…one cannot not use logic in the real world. Try driving to the grocery store while denying the validity of logic. (Indeed, what grocery store? The one that is and is not there?) One can not successfully cross the railroad tracks without it. Next time you’re at a railroad crossing with an apparent train speeding down the line imagine thinking that the train is there and it is not there. Would you? No! Try this in the ‘real’ world. (Why do Hindus and Christian Scientists look both ways before crossing the street?) Logic is necessary or indispensable in life. One literally can not live (long) without it!…. One cannot even cross the street, let alone the metaphysical [dealing with things beyond the physical realm] highway without using logic.” (http://thecollegeoftheology.com/god-and-logic/)
In conclusion, Dr. John Robbins, founder of the Trinity Foundation, wrote, “God is a rational being, and man, his image, is also rational. God was not joking or waxing metaphorical when he invited sinners, through Isaiah, ‘Come, let us reason together.’ Because man is God”s image, his logic is God”s logic, and God and man can reason together. God”s truth and man”s truth are not two different truths; the concept of twofold truth, in which one thing can be true in theology and its contradictory true in philosophy, or in which two contradictories can both be true in theology, is medieval and modern Antichristian nonsense. God”s logic and man”s logic are not two different logics; the notion of polylogism– many logics– is nonsense.” (http://www.trinity foundation.org/journal.php?id=290)
Dr. Paul Copan, Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University, gives a general timeframe for the ideas of modernism and postmodernism: “If the French Revolution and the storming of the Bastille in Paris (1789) stands as a picture of the shift to modernism, the fall of the Berlin Wall exactly 200 years later (1989) symbolizes the failure of modernism and rise of postmodernism.” (http://www.4truth .net/fourtruthpbnew.aspx?pageid=8589952823)
Dr. Paul Copan defines modernism and postmodernism as follows: “Modernists attempted to create ‘grand stories’– without reference to God– to ground human dignity, freedom, morality, and progress.” “…with postmodernism, not only was God excluded as a foundation for making sense of reality and human experience; we cannot speak of any universal truth, reason, or morality. We just have fragmented perspectives.”
Vishal Mangalwadi summarizes some similarities between Hinduism and postmodernism: “Both postmodern secularism and traditional Hinduism believe that human reason is incapable of knowing objective truth and morality. They also preclude the possibility of an infinite, personal God who exists, who knows the truth, and can reveal it to human beings in rational language.” (Mangalwadi, 107)
Many of the mystics want to bypass the mind, and bypass rationality, which many of them even explicitly state. This is a problem, because on one hand it undermines a rational understanding of the Bible, opening it to any “secret meaning” or Gnostic understanding of the Bible. On the other hand, if logic does not apply, then anything goes– all religions would be the same, and all would lead to the same place, etc. People could claim anything, because they no longer would have to defend it logically– that is postmodernism.
Christian philosophy professor and accomplished debater Dr. William Lane Craig thinks that postmodernism as a philosophy is doomed, saying, “After all, nobody adopts a Post-Modernist view of literary texts when reading the labels on a medicine bottle or a box of rat poison! Clearly, we ignore the objective meaning of such texts only at peril to our lives…. Indeed, in philosophy Post-Modernism is really a rather marginal movement, being ensconced principally in departments of English, literature, and education, rather than in philosophy.” (http://www.reasonablefaith.org /the-revolution-in-anglo-american-philosophy) There are many schools of thought which throw logic out the window. Postmodernism is one and mysticism is another. As Christians we recognize that logic is a gift given to us by God, to be received with thanksgiving and used for His glory.
Words Related to Logic in the Bible
Here are two verses in the Old Testament which point to the importance of using “reason.” “The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.” (Proverbs 26:16) “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
In the New Testament, the Greek word “logos,” is used (meaning “word” or “reason”), from which the English word “logic” is derived. Listed below are a number of New Testament verses which use various forms of the word “logos.” After the headings of the related Greek words, are verses from the King James Version, with the corresponding English words underlined.
“logos”: “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” (Matthew 5:32) “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:36) “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) “After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.” (Matthew 25:19) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1) “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach…” (Acts 1:1) “But sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer toevery man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear.” (I Peter 3:15)
“ellogeo”: “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” (Romans 5:13)
“logizomai”: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:28) “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
“analogizomai” (“ana” means “again,” as in “Anabaptist”- to baptize again): “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Hebrews 12:3)
“logikos”: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1) “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” (I Peter 2:2)
“dialegomai” (“lego” is the Greek word from which “logos” is derived): “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” (Acts 17:2) “Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. (Acts 17:17) “And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” (Acts 18:4) “And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.” (Acts 18:19)
In these various words related to “logos” we get the following English words: cause, account, word, reckon, treatise, reason, disputed, reasoned, imputed, conclude, think, consider, and reasonable. These words are very much related to rational thought, reasoning ability, and logic.
“antilogia”: “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Hebrews 12:3) “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” (Jude 1:11)
“alogos”: “For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.” (Acts 25:27) “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption.” (2 Peter 2:12) “But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.” (Jude 1:10)
“anapologetos” (“an” means “not,” as in “anarchy”- not with authority): “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20
Day to day communication is based on logic, just as God’s Word is based on logic. In prayer, we also need to “love the Lord our God with all of our minds,” using real communication, not altered states of slumber, inebriation, or going into a “realm” of “alogos.” The mystics try to say that God is “beyond logic” or “illogical” as if logic does not apply in some realms. It is false and absurd to say that truth does not apply in the spiritual realm. The wisdom of God may seem like foolishness to people, but that is because of our limited perspective. God who cannot lie, and who is the God of truth, is eminently logical. To ascribe “alogos” to God is a terrible insult.
God sent His “logos” (Jesus) into the world to communicate with us. If we have a real relationship with God, we will also communicate with Him through prayer, which is in agreement with His Word. To bypass His Word is to bypass logic and bypass our minds which he gave us. The King James Version translates the word “alogos” as “brute” or “unreasonable” in Acts, 2 Peter and in Jude. Let us not be brutish or unreasonable, but rather, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word [logikos], that ye may grow thereby.” (I Peter 2:2)
The word “apologetics” in English, meaning to give a defense, comes from two words in Greek: “apo” meaning “from,” “of,” or “by,”; and “logia” related to “logos.” So, to give a defense it must be “by logic.”
“apologia”: “Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.” (Acts 22:1) “Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.” (Philippians 1:7) “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (I Peter 3:15)
“apologeomai”: “While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.” (Acts 25:8) “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself.” (Acts 26:1)
The Four Primary Laws of Logic
1. The law of (non-) contradiction. It states that no statement (proposition, assertion, etc.) can be both true and not true– false– (e.g., A can not be non-A) at the same time and in the same sense.
2. The law of excluded middle states “A or non-A,” that is, a proposition or statement is either true or false– it must be one or the other.
3. The law of identity. It states that A=A.
4. The law of logical or rational inference. An example of it or one way it is expressed is: “if A=B, and B=C, then A=C.”
(Adapted from Craig Hawkins… http://thecollegeoftheology.com/god-and-logic/)
The Four Laws of Logic in the Bible
1. The law of non-contradiction. In Thailand (and elsewhere) some people like to say that “all religions are the same.” But, this does not take into account all of the contradictory beliefs. Some people say that Biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism are the same, but again, this ignores the many contradictions. Paul spoke clearly about those who preached “another Jesus” or “another gospel” identifying this as different and corrupt, (2 Corinthians 11:3) and making use of the law of non-contradiction. Although using the name of Jesus, their preaching contradicted what Paul had specifically preached about Jesus and the gospel. “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Corinthians 11:4)
2. The law of excluded middle. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) There is no alternative choice here– if a person is not born again, they cannot see the kingdom of God. Either a person is a Christian, or is not.
3. The law of identity. In the book of Isaiah we see the importance in God’s Word of correctly identifying “good” and “evil.” Isaiah rebuked those who misidentified these things. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)
4. The law of logical or rational inference. There is only one Saviour, and this Saviour is God. “I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no Saviour.” (Isaiah 43:11) “…there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” (Isaiah 45:21b-22) From these verses we could say God=Saviour (A=B). But, in the New Testament, many verses call Jesus the Saviour, such as the following one in Luke: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) From these verses we see that Saviour=Jesus (B=C). And, this brings us to the logical conclusion that Jesus=God (A=C). Of course, many other verses support this, some stating it plainly (John 1:1,14; John 20:28; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 1:8, I Timothy 3:16).
Reason Submitted to God’s Word
Not all reasoning is good reasoning. Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) In the following example, we see the disciples of Jesus using their reasoning and their thoughts for a selfish purpose: “dialogismos”: “Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him.” (Luke 9:46-47)
Human reasoning that is not submitted to God’s Word is a pathway to sin. When mystics abandon their God-given reasoning abilities, this is also a pathway to sin. But, when our reasoning is submitted to God, we are ready to let God teach us through His Word. This does not mean we will understand everything. There are mysteries in God’s Word that we don’t understand, but this is not because those are illogical things, but because we have limited knowledge and walk by faith now. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (I Corinthians 13:12-13)
Emergent and Mystical Common Ground
In a critique of Brian McLaren, emergent church leader, Bob DeWaay gives some background regarding the common ground the emergent church has with mysticism. “According to [Francis] Schaeffer, the true fool”s mission is ‘escape from reason,’ the title of one of his books. Schaeffer says…. ‘As a matter of fact it is the only way man can think. The sobering fact is that the only way one can reject thinking in terms of an antithesis and the rational is on the basis of the rational and the antithesis…. This is the way God has made us and there is no other way to think. Therefore, the basis of classical logic is that A is not non-A’…. The term ‘postmodern’ has come along to describe the results of the rejection of both reason and Scripture. We are left floating in a sea of subjectivism. This despair has taken a predictable turn. Once the hope of knowing ‘true truth’ as Schaeffer called it has been given up, what sort of religious practice makes sense? The answer is mysticism. Now unfettered from both church authority and Biblical authority, the postmodern worshipper finds meaning in the subjectivism of mystical experience. It is not surprising that among those McLaren admires are key proponents of mysticism: Brother Lawrence, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, et. al. Mysticism is a way of having a religious experience that does not require the theological distinctions and definitions that McLaren disparages.” (http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue87.htm)
Some people may ask, “Why is logic so important?” “Isn’t this just a side issue for philosophers to speculate about?” Whether we realize it or not, logic or the lack thereof affects all of us deeply. Philosophies that are thought up in “ivory towers” eventually trickle down into the fabric of societies, through popular movies, music, books, laws, etc. Saying that logic is not important is like cutting off the branch we’re sitting on. Our God is a God of order. “Let all things be done decently and in order.” (I Corinthians 14:40) When a church abandons logic it can lead to the introverted extremes of mysticism on one hand, or to the extroverted extremes of misused charismatic gifts on the other hand. The so called “Toronto Blessing” was a prime example of the latter. “Over and over again we are told by the likes of Rodney Howard Browne, ‘turn off your mind,’ ‘get out of your head’ and enter in.” (Randles, 1995; 10) Pastor Bill Randles warns, “There is coming an abandonment of all that smacks of order, tradition, logic, and reason.” (Randles, 1995; 134) When a society abandons logic, the result is tragic in the injustices that are allowed. When logic and absolutes are set aside, the whims of dictators and a sentimental attachment to false ideas will rule instead. God’s Word is the logical foundation that can bring life and truth to both the church and to society.
Mangalwadi, V. (2002). The Quest for Freedom and Dignity. Willernie: South Asian Resources.
Randles, B. (1995). Weighed and Found Wanting: Putting the Toronto Blessing in Context.
Robinson, R.H., Johnson, W.L., Wawrytko, S.A., & DeGraff, G. (1997). The Buddhist Religion: A Historical Introduction. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
Schaeffer, F. (1968). Escape From Reason. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press.
Schaeffer, F. (1972). He Is There And He Is Not Silent. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
Sion, A. (2002). Buddhist Illogic: A Critical Analysis of Nagarjuna”s Arguments. Geneva: The Logician.
The Holy Bible (The King James Version)
Watts, I. (1996). Logic or the Right Use of Reason in the Inquiry After Truth with a Variety of Rules to Guard Against Error in the Afairs of Religion and Human Life, as well as in the Sciences. Morgan: Soli Deo Gloria Publications.