“The Bible Trumps Logic!”

Tim

Stratton

(The FreeThinking Theist)

|

February 21, 2017

Like clockwork, whenever I offer logic-based arguments or syllogisms that deductively conclude a certain worldview is false (like this one), those who presuppose otherwise come out of the woodwork to express their disdain. It never ceases to amaze me how some are so blindly committed to a certain view that they reject opposing conclusions based on the bedrock of all reason — LOGIC — demonstrating their view is false. They inadvertently affirm that they are holding illogical and incoherent beliefs.

For example, recently an atheist (who happens to be a scientist) attacked one of my articles in which I explained that there is no logical contradiction between a belief in God and a belief in science. He actually made the following statement:

//I think what has always plagued your reasoning and leads you astray from truthful conclusions is your dependence on logic.//

Consider that statement. Reason and truth are both inextricably linked to logic; you cannot have one without the other. Thus, what he is really communicating is this:

//I think what has always plagued your [logical] reasoning and leads you astray from [logical] conclusions is your dependence on logic.//

This in nothing but nonsensical gibberish. The mental gymnastics atheists perform to “justify” presuppositions contrary to all evidence and arguments based on logic is amazing! They ignore the cumulative case of arguments and all supporting data demonstrating Christian theism is (at the least) probably true. Moreover, they have no logical arguments supporting their blind assumption that atheism is true. So atheists ignore all the reasons that one ought to reject atheism and hold their view for no logical reason. Ultimately, atheism is nothing but an unreasonable and blind faith!

Logic is bedrock and it is nonsensical to deny this fact. Moreover, I have argued that logic is actually grounded in the nature of God (if one realizes that or not). Thus, when we are logical, we are approximating to God (a.k.a., being godly). This is why if one is completely logical — and acts accordingly — they will always be a Christian because it is the most logical worldview and makes the most sense of all data.

Logical Theology

The sad thing is, however, many Christians make the same kind of incoherent claims as atheists. In the same week that this atheistic scientist rejected the bedrock of logic, a Calvinistic Christian expressed a similar view objecting to my Omni Argument Against Irresistible Grace. The argument goes as follows:

1. If “irresistible grace” is true, then for any person x, if God desires to, has the power to, and knows how to cause x to go to heaven and not suffer eternally in hell, then x will go to heaven and not suffer eternally in hell.

2. If God is omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient (a maximally great being), then for any person x, God desires to, has the power to, and knows how to cause x to go to heaven and not suffer eternally in hell.

3. There is at least one person who will not go to heaven and will suffer eternally in hell.

4. Therefore, one cannot affirm both (i) that irresistible grace is true and (ii) that God is a maximally great being.

5. God is a maximally great being.

6. Therefore, irresistible grace is false.

7. Therefore, divine determinism is false (God does not causally determine all things).

8. God is completely sovereign and does predestine all things (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:5,11).

9. Therefore, predestination and determinism are not to be conflated.

10. The best explanation of all the data is Molinism.

A Christian objecting to this argument typically assumes that Romans 9 is properly interpreted to express that no person possesses libertarian free will — especially when it comes to salvation and damnation. There are many reasons to conclude this view of Romans 9 is false (read here), but the Omni Argument, along with my Freethinking Argument, both deductively demonstrate that humans do possess libertarian free will. Moreover, the Omni Argument, in particular, deductively concludes that our individual personal damnation is at least one thing that is genuinely up to us in a free and libertarian sense. Since this Calvinistic Christian assumes a different interpretation (as opposed to arguing for one), he made a statement surprisingly similar to that of the atheist I quoted previously. He exclaimed:

//More philosophy born out of a theology that man is ultimately responsible for him choosing God and being saved. I keep waiting for the day that you see your logical error of starting with logic over God’s revealed word.//

The atheist I was interacting with is an empiricist who believes that science is bedrock. The Calvinistic Christian objecting to my argument assumes that the Bible is bedrock (especially his interpretation of the Bible is bedrock). He actually went on to state that the Bible trumps logic if the two seem to be opposed and “Your philosophy based on your logic forces you to do a bad exegesis of Romans 9 and other passages.” This comes down to something called hermeneutics.

The Hermeneutical Method

There are five essential components to a proper hermeneutic one must comprehend if they hope to interpret the Bible correctly. A proper hermeneutic requires a prior understanding of the following:

1- Original languages of the Bible

2- Historical/cultural settings of the Bible

3- Kinds of literature (genres and compositional devices) of the Bible

4- Presuppositions

5- Universal Principles (Truth and Logic)

The first three principles typically receive the most attention. The final two — which are arguably the most important — are often either ignored or misunderstood.

If we desire logical conclusions about what the Bible teaches — which allows us to state the Bible is true —  then we must begin with the bedrock of logic. You see, hermeneutics (just like the scientific method, the historical method, and mathematics) assumes logic is bedrock and builds the rest of its discipline upon it. That is to say, every knowledge based field presupposes logic and uses logic. This includes the theologian attempting to interpret the Bible correctly.

So, when a Christian complains that we are putting logic ahead of the Bible, the questions must be raised: Why is it wrong to start with logic before interpreting the Bible? How did you come to the conclusion that it is wrong to start with logic before interpreting the Bible?

The rejector of logic typically responds with one of the following:

1- “My proper hermeneutic applied to the Bible assures me that the Bible teaches this to be the case.”

2. “I am making an extra-biblical and non-logical assumption.”

If he affirms the former, since he is appealing to hermeneutics and hermeneutics is based on the bedrock of logic, then he is uttering gibberish by ultimately appealing to the bedrock of logic to reject the bedrock of logic. This is nonsense and actually affirms my point — Logic is bedrock! If he affirms the latter, then why should anyone take him seriously?

Conclusion

Ultimately, my arguments against determinism are based on the same bedrock that makes science and hermeneutics both possible — LOGIC. For Christians, if we really believe that Christianity is true, then it will always be logical since there cannot be one without the other. It is interesting that the Gospel of John refers to Jesus as both “The Logic” (John 1:1) and “The Truth” (John 14:6). Thus, Christians ought to be the most logical people on the face of the planet.

To my Christian brothers and sisters, let atheists be the illogical ones! If there is logical reason to think your hermeneutical interpretation of a specific passage of Scripture is false, then reject your current interpretation for a logical one. After all, if you seek truth, then you will always be more committed to truth over your current assumption. This applies to how the Word of God is interpreted.

So the next time a fellow Christian states something similar to “the Bible trumps logic,” make sure to explain to him that logic must be assumed prior to engaging the hermeneutical method to interpret Romans 9 or any passage of Scripture. Moreover, the same logic one must assume before engaging in the hermeneutical method to interpret Romans 9 is the same laws of logic that eventually and deductively proves that his favorite interpretation of Romans 9 is false.

Bottom line: If Christianity is true, it will always be logical!

Stay reasonable (Philippians 4:5),

Tim Stratton


PostScript:

Philosophy-free Science?

“There is no such thing as philosophy-free science, just science that has been conducted without any consideration of its underlying philosophical assumptions.”

– Dan Dennett

Philosophy-free Theology?

“There is no such thing as philosophy-free theology, just theology that has been conducted without any consideration of its underlying philosophical assumptions.”

– Tim Stratton

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About the Author

Tim

Stratton

(The FreeThinking Theist)

Tim pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska-Kearney (B.A. 1997) and after working in full-time ministry for several years went on to attain his graduate degree from Biola University (M.A. 2014). Tim was recently accepted at North West University to pursue his Ph.D. in systematic theology with a focus on metaphysics.

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