Logic Is Bedrock

By Tim Stratton

All philosophical conversation, scientific hypotheses, mathematics, and conclusions based on the historical method entail the reality of logical laws. It would be impossible to engage in any of these disciplines if there were not logical absolutes providing parameters to help us reach conclusions that follow from given premises. Here are three fundamental Laws of Logic that are always required in rational interaction:

The Law of Identity:
 Something is what it is. ‘A’ is ‘A’. Things that exist have specific properties that identify them

The Law of Non-Contradiction: ‘A’ cannot be both ‘A’ and ‘Non-A’ at the same time, in the same way, and in the same sense

The Law of Excluded Middle:
 A statement is either true or false. There is no middle position. For example, the claim that “A statement is either true or false” is either true or false.

You may have never heard of the laws of logic before; however, you use them every day whether you realize it or not. These laws are just as necessary to keep us grounded in rationality as the law of gravity is necessary to keep us grounded on the earth. Logical laws apply to everyone no matter when or where one lives. That is to say, the laws of logic transcend humanity and are objectively true.

Logical laws are not material substances. We do not discover them by digging them up or viewing them under a microscope. We cannot employ the scientific method to discover the laws of logic; rather, a scientist must assume the laws of logic before engaging in the scientific method. These laws are the bedrock of reason and rationality.

Christian theism makes this point stronger. John 1:1 states, “In the beginning was the Logos.” The Greek word “logos” is used synonymously with Jesus in the text. What is interesting is that logos in Greek means “the principle of reason.”[1] This is where we get the term “logic.” The Bible is clear that Jesus is God and suggests that he is the ground of logic itself. This makes perfect sense as to why the immaterial laws of logic impose themselves on the material world. God created the material world according to the logical laws he had in mind or that are grounded in his essence and nature. This explains why these abstract laws of logic impose themselves upon the material world.

Just as computers function correctly when programmed to work according to the laws of logic, humans behave correctly (in an objective sense) when approximating to “The Logos.” When humans freely choose to think and behave logically, we simultaneously think and behave in a godly manner. Isaiah seems to agree: “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord…” (Isaiah 1:18). The Apostle Paul makes this point even stronger in the New Testament: “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone…” (Philippians 4:5 ESV).

Stay reasonable my friends,

Tim Stratton

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NOTES

[1] The ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version, 2008, Crossway Bibles, Good News Publishers (Commentary on John 1:1)

 

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5 replies
  1. toby says:

    God created the material world according to the logical laws he had in mind or that are grounded in his essence and nature.

    You’re opening yourself up to many attacks here. Can our logic have been made different from the logic of your god? It can see it could certainly be that way. Your god can make our logic whatever he wants to suit his purpose and it doesn’t have to be HIS brand of logic. Maybe he can make a rock so big he can’t lift it.

    These things aren’t laws, by the way. They are descriptions of how our minds comprehend the universe and this is completely based on the physics of this universe. A rock is a rock and stays a rock unless it is acted upon to be changed.

    Ask yourself what A = A means apart from the universe. Rock = Rock, but there are no rocks and no minds to consider them.

    Reply
    • Rick says:

      Dear toby,
      It appears that you are trying to ignore or violate the laws of logic by willful ignorance. God is immaterial, so no matter the size of the rock, he is able to place it wherever he wishes. He put the universe into place. Through the laws of physics, which he also created, it is in its current state of motion. He will one day roll up the heavens as a garment. Perhaps the real issue is your apparent disgust of Him which makes His existence all the more believable by the intensity with which you come against people who have His favor and understanding. The universe is like the rock and A=A without the universe, because there is a mind that exists and considers ‘A’ apart from the universe. Logic is illogical without Him. I’ll pray you will know Him and that He will be merciful to you and give you understanding of the rudimentary laws of logic which undergird reasoning and destroy false ideologies of men who come against Him. If God could be understood by men, He wouldn’t be God.

      Reply
      • toby says:

        Dear Rick,

        Thanks for trotting out the old apologetic cliche that “I’m just mad at god and want to rebel”.

        If you’re making the claim that minds can exist without a physical brain could you give us a example that you’ve observed? And why personalities can totally change, memories can be lost, etc, when there is brain damage?

        “If God could be understood by men, He wouldn’t be God.”
        You’re basically saying that you don’t have to know anything to believe. I hope you don’t go around running your life on this principle.

        Reply
    • Yen says:

      “Can our logic have been made different from the logic of your god? [I] can see it could certainly be that way. Your god can make our logic whatever he wants to suit his purpose and it doesn’t have to be HIS brand of logic.”

      Toby, if there is the God that made our logic, He certainly could made it different from His own. We can even go further to said that he could make your logic different from mine. In such case, what is the point of discussing this topic with each other here? And what would be the point for God to make a different logic for us than His own? What would He accomplish with that? Is it that no one can logically figure Him out? What evidence do you have that this is true? Or is this just a wishful thinking, so we could said that God does not exist, and if He does exist, no one can logically figure Him out?
      With such a wonderfully and complex universe that we are in, I can not logically believed that its maker would be so senseless.

      Reply
  2. Mario A. Pita says:

    Tim, I enjoy your articles immensely. I have a question concerning this one. Just as the laws of Newtonian physics have not been overruled by Quantum physics, but nonetheless do not have the universal jurisdiction they were once deemed to have, is it not also conceivably or even definitely so that our “laws” of logic have only a limited applicability beyond which other, higher forms of logic apply? A problem with The Law of Contradiction might be illustrated with the quantum physics example in which light is said to behave as though it were a wave yet also as though it were a particle. It has contradictory properties which also seem to rub against the first law of logic you mention. The truth, of course, is that the light may be neither a particle or wave, but these terms are just descriptions we use for a truth that is beyond our grasp and therefore beyond our ordinary world logic. How can truths in which the truth is A and B, yet neither A nor B, truths beyond our ability to categorize, fit into those laws of logic, and should we even try to fit them, kind of like fitting ocean into a tea cup? Thanks.

    Reply

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