When most people hear the word "logic," they conjure up the picture of an old dusty professor with a high forehead teaching things nobody can understand, or nobody wants to understand. That's not the logic I'm talking about. Let me introduce you to logic in terms of how you might find it useful.
Logic is the study of how to take statements which you know are true and put them together to come up with a conclusion which you also know is true. Logic is also used to prove or disprove arguments.
Because many people have wanted to prove things, men have tried to develop our understanding of how to reason logically. Logicians have studied how to prove things, and in the process, they have discovered fundamental laws for reasoning, which we call the laws of logic. From the three most fundamental laws of logic, logicians have expanded to other laws of logic. This is much the same way mathematicians have expanded our understanding of mathematics. As Mathematics is to numbers, so logic is to words and language.
Learning how to reason well is something about which the Bible speaks. I have found in the Bible seven reasons to learn logic.
Now sanctify the Lord God in your hearts
(minds); and always be prepared for (presenting) a logical defense
to everyone who requests a reason from you concerning the hope which
is among you, (doing so) with meekness and fear . . .
– 1 Peter 3:15. (Very Literal Translation)
Always be ready to give a logical defense for your faith in Christ. Why does Peter say this? If we defend our faith, as taught in the Bible, with clear logical reasoning, showing how every man is accountable to the Bible, then we will be witnesses against the world. The world will have no logical excuse for its rebellion against God and for its hatred of us.
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without,
redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned
with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
– Colossians 4:5-6. (KJV)
Know how to respond with a wise answer to non-Christians. God knows that if we prepare ourselves to answer those who accost us about our faith, then our faith and our hope in Christ will be strengthened.
. . . holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. – Titus 1:9 (NKJV)
Hold tight to God's truth in order to be able to refute your opposition with sound biblical reasoning. The Lord makes every man pass this test before he can become an elder in His church. Shouldn't we all aspire to meet this challenge? If we stand firm in the truth, then we will be able to refute those who attack what we know is true.
Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious . . . – Acts 17:22-31 (KJV)
Paul stood before the pagan Greeks in Athens and showed them how the true God whom they did not know required them to repent. Have we trained ourselves to be able to do as Paul did? To give logical arguments when the opportunity presents itself? This is what first century Christians had to do, and quickly before the lions had the time to spring!
Defending our faith is our duty, and good reasoning is a means God has given us to do it.
For the weapons of our warfare (are)
not fleshly, rather (they are) powerful in God for the demolishing
of fortresses; demolishing reasonings and every thing lifting itself
up against the knowledge of God, and taking captive every thought
into the obedience of Christ.
– 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (Very Literal Translation)
God gave us weapons in order to pull down the reasoning and philosophies of the world, and to subjugate all thoughts to the teaching of the Bible. The Bible lays down a plan for victory, not for defeat. This is a war we are fighting. It is not a war of swords and shields, but of thoughts and ideas, a war of minds, a war between God's truth and the world's rebellious reasoning.
. . . exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. – Jude 3 (KJV)
Contend earnestly for the religion which the Bible teaches. The world's opinion is that we all should contend earnestly for nothing. They want everyone to learn to accept all beliefs and diverse religions in the name of tolerance and progress. But Jude says something quite different. There is only one Book of Truth, and its doctrines deserve to be argued uncompromisingly everywhere.
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; – Ephesians 4:14. (KJV)
Do not be like children, believing everything which comes your way, and falling for the cunning lies of the world. The world is not without designs on you.
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. – Romans 16:18. (KJV)
Beware of those who try to deceive the unlearned. Have your mind well grounded in Biblical reasoning. This is your best lie detector.
. . . Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. – Colossians 2:6-8
Be well established in the teaching of the Bible, and be on your guard for those who would hoodwink you with the traditions and philosophies of the world.
God gave us a weapon with a winning edge: sound reasoning from the Bible. Though we may seem to lose battles as our enemies try to silence the truth we proclaim, nevertheless this is a war we know we cannot lose in the end – if we are on God's side.
When it comes to the doctrines we believe, what is one of the most worthy examples in the Bible?
These [of Berea] were more noble than
those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness
of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things
– Acts 17:10-11 (KJV)
Paul and Silas, coming to Berea, found the people there more noble than at previous cities, for these people were eager to listen, and carefully studied the Bible to see if what Paul and Silas taught was true. What was so important to these Bereans? Why didn't they immediately accept what Paul and Silas were saying? Because the Bible says we should prove a doctrine before we let ourselves be convinced by it.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. – 1 Thessalonians 5:21. (KJV)
The simple believeth every word: but
the prudent man looketh well to his going.
– Proverbs 14:15. (KJV)
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God. . . – 1 John 4:1. (KJV)
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now
are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light. . . Proving
what is acceptable unto the Lord.
– Ephesians 5:8-11. (KJV)
. . .abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent. . . – Philippians 1:9-10. (KJV)
Whom shall [God] teach knowledge? and
whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned
from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon
precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here
a little, and there a little. . .
– Isaiah 28:9-10. (KJV)
If the Bereans needed things proven to them, what were Paul's methods for accomplishing this? The following passages from Acts illustrate how Paul tried to convince his audience:
9:22 [Paul] confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
17:2. And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
18:4. And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
18:19 . . .he. . . entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.
18:28. For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ. (KJV)
Paul knew he needed to prove that Jesus was the Messiah. If he couldn't prove what he said, he could not rightly expect them to believe it.
A Christian in the fourth century, St. Augustine of Hippo, had much to say about logic. He believed it was important to teach logic, which was the common practice in the classical schools of his day.
"The science of reasoning is of very great service in searching into and unraveling all sorts of questions that come up in Scripture, only in the use of it we must guard against the love of wrangling and the childish vanity of entrapping an adversary." (On Christian Doctrine II,48)
Augustine used Paul's argument against those who deny the resurrection of the dead (I Corinthians 15:12-20) as an example of how logic is necessary for proving our Christian doctrines.
". . .if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen,
then our preaching is in vain,
then we are false witnesses
then your faith is in vain,
then you are yet in your sins,
then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
"But all these false inferences followed legitimately from the opinion of those who said that there is no resurrection of the dead. These inferences, then, being repudiated as false, it follows that since they would be true if the dead rise not, there will be a resurrection of the dead. As then valid conclusions may be drawn not only from true but from false propositions, the laws of valid reasoning may easily be learnt in the schools ....But the truth of propositions must be inquired into in the sacred books...." (II,49)
Augustine also explained how logic is not an invention of the pagan philosophers, as some men objected, but a science which man has learned from God.
"...[T]he validity of logical sequences is not a thing devised by men, but is observed and noted by them.... ...t exists eternally in the reason of things, and has its origin with God. For as the man who narrates the order of events does not himself create that order; ...and as he who points out the stars and their movements does not point out anything that he himself or any other man has ordained; in the same way, he who says, "When the consequent is false, the antecedent must also be false," says what is most true; but he does not himself make it so, he only points out that it is so. And it is upon this rule that the reasoning ...from the Apostle Paul proceeds. For the antecedent is, "There is no resurrection of the dead...." ...the necessary consequence is "Then Christ is not risen." But this consequence is false, for Christ has risen; therefore the antecedent is also false. ...We conclude therefore that there is a resurrection of the dead. ...This rule, then, that when the consequent is removed, the antecedent must also be removed, is not made by man, but only pointed out by him. And this rule has reference to the validity of the reasoning, not to the truth of the statement." (II,50)
The Bereans were commended for carefully studying the Bible before believing; Paul used proof and clear reasoning to convince men of the truth of the gospel; and Augustine, though not an inspired writer, showed how the Bible uses logic to demonstrate our most basic doctrines.
As Christians, God has put in us the desire to obey His commands. But we cannot obey them if we do not know and understand them. Therefore, God has written His commands in the Bible and given us a mind to understand His commands. Now what is our duty?
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding
what the will of the Lord is.
– Ephesians 5:17. (KJV)
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. – Romans 12:2. (KJV)
For this cause we also, since the day
we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye
might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and
– Colossians 1:9. (KJV)
God commands us, not only to know His commands, but also to understand them – to understand their logical implications and to apply them to our life.
An example of how we recognize the need to obey the logical implications of God's commands is in the issue of abortion. Nowhere does the Bible explicitly say killing unborn children is sin, but we can deduce this command by comparing scripture with scripture.
The logic is clear, no one can deny it. The conclusion is true, if you believe the Bible.
Some men think that all we need to get by in life is big muscles and wilderness survival skills. I would challenge these men to prove this idea from the Bible. God gave us a mind in order to make us more than just another kind of animal.
Some men assert that the mind is evil. It is only our feelings which we should trust. Though our mind is fallen like the rest of us, it is still an essential part of who we are as sons of God, created in His likeness. God tells us to renew our mind, and learning to reason logically instead of emotionally is part of that.
Brethren, be not children in understanding. . . in understanding be men. – 1Corinthians 14:20.
Be a man. Use your mind.
In Matthew, Jesus tells us the parable of the talents in order to teach us to be good stewards with what God has given us.
. . . And unto one he gave five talents,
to another two, and to another one. . . . he that had received five
talents came and brought other five talents. . . . His lord said
unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant . . .
– Matthew 25:14 (KJV)
Like the many other things God has given us, our mind is also a stewardship we need to be faithful in.
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind . . – 1 Peter 1:13. (KJV)
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. – Matthew 22:37. (KJV)
. . . strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses [mind] exercised to discern both good and evil. – Hebrews 5:14. (KJV)
As newborn babes, crave ye after the genuine mental [/logical] milk, in order that ye may grow by it. – I Peter 2:2. (Very Literal Translation)
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. – II Timothy 1:7. (KJV)
Some liken our mind to a muscle – the more we exercise it the stronger it grows. I know this to be true in my own experience. If I don't stimulate my mind, then it becomes like jelly and it won't work when I need it.
So far we have been talking about one branch of logic, called deductive reasoning. This is the logic of proving things. I described it at the beginning of this article. Other areas of logic are also useful. It is handy to learn to recognize common errors in reasoning. This protects us from slick propaganda techniques and sales pitches. These common errors – such as circular reasoning, straw man, red herring – have, for our benefit, been cataloged by men.
Another branch of logic is inductive or scientific reasoning. The world is run by rational rules. God set it up this way so we could understand it. Good inductive reasoning helps us to make wise and practical choices in our everyday life. The study of scientific reasoning, and how to evaluate evidence to make wise choices, has a wide range of useful applications. (However, inductive reasoning is disastrous when used in theology.)
Many characters in the Bible are commended for their wisdom in their every day life. Joseph, Solomon, the wise woman of Proverbs 31, and Daniel are warmly commended for their wisdom. Proverbs often holds up the wise man who seeks to understand discretion, gathers knowledge to increase learning, and listens to the counsel of other wise men.
. . . To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: – Proverbs 1:1-5.
Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her
voice in the streets . . . How long, ye simple ones, will ye love
simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools
hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof. . . . whoso hearkeneth unto
me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
– Proverbs 1:20-33.
The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness. – Proverbs 15:14.
Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established. – Proverbs 15:22.
Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war. – Proverbs 20:18.
This last reason is the heart of the whole matter. A few examples will show you what use Jesus made of Logic.
At the very beginning of the New Testament, our Lord displayed His mental acumen and thorough knowledge of His Father's Word. In Matthew 4, the devil tempted Jesus. Each time Jesus withstood Satan by deducing that if He complied with the devil's request, then He would disobey the logical implications of Scripture.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus used logic to deduce His theology from the Bible. In Matthew 12:1-8, Jesus deduced from the exceptions to a command of Moses' that the law of mercy superseded Moses' law. (See my father's pamphlet Sabbath Syllogism)
But the greatest example is in Matthew 21:23-22:46, where Jesus stood out as the world's foremost logician. There were six battles of the mind that day at the temple, and Jesus stood unvanquished. (For a better treatment of this topic see my father's article Jesus' Use of the Logical Dilemma.)
First, the Jewish leaders asked Jesus where he received the authority to do what He did. In response, Jesus gave them a logical dilemma which answered their question and yet left them with nothing they could use against Him.
Second, Jesus told three parables with which the Jewish leaders must agree, but in doing so they condemned themselves.
Third, the Pharisees asked Jesus if Roman taxes were lawful, trying to trap Him into angering either the Romans or the common people. But Jesus threw the question back at them in another dilemma exposing their false either or dilemma
Fourth, the liberal, skeptical Sadducees tried to show how absurd the idea of life after death was by presenting the dilemma of a woman who had seven husbands, one after another, and then died herself. Their question: whose wife would she be in the resurrection? Jesus destroyed their faulty reasoning by citing the Old Testament, how marriage plainly did not exist after death. Then came the most masterful move of the millennia. Jesus showed from the passage of the burning bush in Exodus that the logical implication of the tense of the verb is proved that God still was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Therefore there is indeed life after death.
Fifth, the Pharisees came again and tried to stump Jesus with a question Jewish theologians had been debating for a long time: "Which is the greatest commandment of the law?" But again, Jesus showed that upon the first command, and the second after it, all the other commands hung. No Jew could disagree.
Sixth, and last of all, Jesus Himself put forth a dilemma – a dilemma which, if the Jewish leaders answered, they would have to acknowledge who Jesus was. Jesus asked how it could be that David spoke of his son, the Messiah, as his Lord. The only way this could be true was if Christ was both born a son of David but also existed before David – as God the Son.
What a mind our Lord had! What a logician He was! By God's grace, I want to be like Him. There is no greater reason to study Logic.
Copyright April 01, 2000, all rights reserved. 23180 views