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Introduction to Basic Logic PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 04 August 2008 15:11
God has a mind- Romans 11:34 "who has known the mind of the Lord"

God thinks- Isaiah 55:9 as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are ... my thoughts than (yours)

God does not have a physical brain. His mind and thoughts do not require neurons and chemistry.

Logical thinking or rational discourse presupposes and requires certain Rule or Laws of Thought:
  • Identity (A is A)
  • Contradiction (A can not be Not A at the same time and place)
  • Excluded Middle (A or Not A)

"The Law of Contradiction is a presupposition and non-negotiable principle for Christian Theology and Apologetics." "Without [logic] no knowledge of anything cognitive can be achieved." "The basic Law of rational intelligibility (is) the Law of Contradiction." - R.C. Sproul

Secular Philosophers agree-

"denial of [the 3 Laws] would make all discourse impossible." "Without assuming the Law, [no one could] assert anything, not even a denial of the Law itself"- Hospers

"any system to be workable at all must be governed by some principle of consistency" - A.J Ayer

NOTE: these Laws of Aristotelian Logic do not apply to nonsense statements ["there are no absolutes" or "This statement is false"] or to self-reference statements ["the square root of 4 is asleep" or "Zeus is insane"]

What is the justification of these Rules of Logic? They are considered self-evident. Their proof is pragmatic: they work. However, these Laws have a much better foundation: they are derived from the way God actually thinks.  He is not obeying the Laws, they are derived from Him.

The characteristics of God's thinking are revealed by analyzing what He has said -

1. God's thinking is consistent, never self-contradictory- Jn 17:17+10:35 cf 14:2; Heb 6:18; Titus 1:2; Psalm 89:30-35  LAW OF CONTRADICTION

2. God's thinking is fixed, never negated or changed- Num 23:19; Psalm 119:89,151f; Isa 45:23; Rom 3:3-4,11:29; 2 Tim 2:13 THE LAW OF IDENTITY

3. God's thinking has only one meaning, ie- it does not have two opposite meanings- 2 Cor 1:17-20 and many texts warning about false prophets and hypocrites, who say one thing, while meaning the opposite, eg- Isaiah 5:20 THE LAW OF EXCLUDED MIDDLE

The last two characteristics are corollaries of the first. All three are inter related- if one, than the others. The supporting texts for one apply to all three.

The ways in which God thinks (therefore, these Laws of Logic) are themselves derived from the very nature of God

1. God is tri-personal and yet there is perfect unity: no contradiction within Himself

Jn 1:1-2,18; 5:19-20,30; 10:30+17:21; 15:26; 16:13-15 cf 6:38, 7:16,8:28, 12:49-50; Matt 11:26-27; 1 Cor 2:10-11 +Rom 8:27; Deut.6:4 +Matt 28:19- God is One (not meaning singular, but meaning a unity/indivisible) Divine Nature and yet distinctions can be made in that Nature between 3 "Persons".

2. God is eternal and immutable. He is always what he is, never becoming something else

Heb13:8, Jas 1:17, Ps 102:26-27, Exo 3:14

3. God is consistent, never good and non-good --

1 John 1:5, Tim 2:13, Heb 10:23 cf 6:17

Scripture reveals that God acts (like His thoughts) are according to His Nature. His acts never contradict each other. They are always consistent and there is no duplicity or deceit in what He does.

In summary, God is Personal. He has a Mind. He thinks and His thoughts are rational. How God thinks, speaks and acts may be described by the 3 Laws of (Aristotelian) Logic. Therefore, these Laws are derived from and justified by, the very Nature of God.

The Three Presuppositions of All Logic

The subject matter of Logic is "Formal Truth". Material truth is an assertion that a given proposition is "true". Formal Truth is an assertion that a given proposition logically precedes, or follows from, other propositions.

Logic deals with "Proof" (Validity- An argument is either valid or invalid, while a Statement is True or False.) and Relations between propositions ( often, "if..., then necessarily...") and also with Reasoning (Deduction and Induction)

Logic involves at least 3 assumptions:

1. Unity in Diversity

All things are related to all things. Something can be defined only in relation to something else.

(Key premise of Christian Epistemology: things can be known as they truly are only in their relationship to Christ)

2. Systematic Connection Between Objects

The relationship between things must be systematic. "Without objectively necessary relations or rules there can be rational experiment of significant doubt " - Cohen

We must be able to reason from this to that. Conclusions must be contained in premises. If not, no progress in thought can be made.

3. Polarity with Space-Time reality (the Natural World)

The Rules and order of logic are not just mental (in our heads). They refer to relations that really exist. "Before we discover order in the world, the order must already be there." "The assumption that the objects of physics and other sciences must conform to logic is necessary in the sense that without it, no science at all can be constructed." - Cohen

Many deny Order and Purpose in the natural world. Developments in modern physics, especially re Atomic Theory, have revealed "an underlying irregularity and disorder in phenomena formerly considered lawful."

"Nature appears unpredictable, perverse and capricious." "The same world which the 18th Century regarded as rigidly determined and designed" has to be viewed now as chaotic, lawless and unpredictable. Reality appears totally void of purpose.”

“Man in particular was but an accident of the blind, fortuitous concourse of events.".

 "The physical world and Man's role in it are irrational. Occurrences obviously serve no purpose and lead no where since they are merely accidental, chance happenings." -M.Kline

Is there any basis for the 3 major Assumptions (Unity in Diversity, Systematic Connection Between Objects and Polarity with Space-Time Reality) in Scripture? That is most important to the Christian.

Scripture clearly teaches the following:

1. Nature, including Human Beings, was created by God, who is rational.

Gen 2:4; Ned. 9:6-7; Job 38:4-11; Ps 8:3,6; Ps 89:11-12, 90:2, 95:3-6, 104:5-9, 121:2,148:1-6; Isa 40:28, 42:5a, 44:24, 48:13 Mk 13:19; Acts 17:24a; Heb 1:10 Also Gen 1:27, 5:2, Mt 19:4 cf 1 Cor.15:45 (and Rom 5), Acts 17:26

2. The Word or Logos is the rational mind or thoughts or will of God, expressed.

Nature was created by the Word (Logos) of God. It owes its initial existence to this Word

Gen 1:3,6, etc; Ps 33:6-9; Jn 1:1; Col 1:16; Heb 11:3; 2 Pet 3:5; Rev 4:11

3. Nothing, such as Matter, exists which is uncreated, self-generated or eternal

4. Nature has been and is continually being preserved maintained, controlled and directed by God and that according to His Purpose and Plan for everyone and all things

Gen 8:22; Job 38 and 39 also 26:7-13, 37:2-13; Ps 104 cf, Matt 6:26-30; Isa 40:22,26; Jer 5:24; Amos 4:13 Also Isa 42:5b; Acts 17:25, 28; Job 12:10; Exo 4:11; Ps 139:13-16; Job 14:5 cf Ps 31:14-15; Ps 147:12-20, 148:8; Col 1:17; Heb 1:3; 2 Pet 3:7 Also see Isa 14:24, 25:1, 46:10; Rom 8:28-29, 9:11; Eph 1:11

5. Nothing in the time-space world is irrational and without design, order and purpose. All that exists, as created, in its essential nature, manifests the rationality of the Word or Mind of God.  The emphasis is important. It recognizes the reality of Sin and Evil in the world, which perverts or corrupts the world in particular, although temporary, events.

Conclusion: Whatever Philosophers may say, we can have confidence that the Laws and Presuppositions of Aristotelian Logic are true, based as they are in the Biblical Doctrines of God, Creation and Providence.

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