More On The Laws of Logic and John 1:1May 20, 2009
“Either the laws of logic are separate from God,
the laws of logic were created by God.”
Since John 1:1 says that “and God was the Logos”, thus what God is the Logos is (speaking of the Logos’ nature), this confirms me to believe that the laws of logic are neither axioms which exist as “forms” all by themselves (just as the Logos is not the Father), nor are the laws of logic created by God (just as the Logos is not “a god” created by the Father). Note: for the purposes of this thread, when I say “laws of logic” I am primarily referring to classical logic, and in particular the first law of identity.
But this is extremely profound!!! This philosophical issue which has perplexed countless people for centuries is answered in John 1:1. The very arguments which atheists, Clarkians, and others use to try and say that it must be either/or when accounting for the laws of logic (in particular the law of identity), have left out the only actual possibility: they are a reflection of God’s very own nature. This is not just something the Christian apologist says but can point to from Scripture itself!
(Again, I will use the terms “laws of logic” synonymous with “identities” or “meanings”, since the 3 laws of logic (in classical logic) ultimately stem from the first law, namely, the law of identity – the ability to identify all things with concepts, or meanings. Without meanings nothing can mean anything. Nothing could refer to anything, thus nothing could be known or knowable.)
The laws of logic aren’t simply divine axioms, nor are they inventions of God. They aren’t above God (able to exist independent of God) or below God (something He created). In actuality, the laws of logic are right along side God – a reflection of God’s own mind which is eternal and unchanging.
The “logos” is a Greek word where we get our word “logic” from. The logos was referred to by philosophers for centuries, even before Christ, as that which is the source and derivative of all knowledge, rationality, teleos (meaning), purpose, design, morality, creation, etc. John is writing his gospel to Hellenistic Jews (Jews who were influenced by Greek philosophy). Thus, he explains what, actually WHO, the Logos is. The Greeks believed in an impersonal logos. They’re “logos” was not sufficient. John reveals to them a personal Logos, who is eternal in nature, is eternally in relationship, and is by nature God. It is Jesus Christ. He is outside of time (eternal), is with God, and is God’s own nature and being. It gets even more mind blowing when John mentions that this Logos (Jesus Christ) became “sarx”, or took on human flesh and bone (verse 14). He took on the very nature of His creation which He upholds.
Moving on, if we accept the former idea and say the laws of logic are separate, above, or self-existent from God, then we concede that they do not derive from God, thus God is not needed to account for them. (This is what many try to believe in rejection of Christ – a fulfillment of Rom 1:18-20 and 8:6-8)
If we accept the latter and say the laws of logic are inventions, below, or creations of God then we concede that they can be anything. God could have created them to be whatever He wanted, thus could re-invent them. Further, some say we invented them, thus why couldn’t we re-invent them or destroy them? Yet, then meanings would forever be subject to change and not even God or us would have a sure basis to know anything for certain. For example it could be said that 1=2=3 and so forth.
So why can’t meanings exist by themselves? Why can’t they be self-sufficient, self-existent, or exist independent of a mind, whether God’s or ours? Well for one, how would we detect them? Meanings are immaterial. They are abstract, or non-physical. We can’t detect them with our 5 senses. Thus, if they exist independent of God and us, how does God or anyone else detect them? If they can’t be detected with the 5 senses then how do we locate them and find them in order to use them?
Second, if we could somehow locate these abstract entities which exist independent of minds, how then would these meanings get inside people’s minds? Would God or we go shopping for them and say “I need the meaning of “addition” (so that I can check out when I’m done buying all these), and I need the number “2”, etc.” What would apply them to God’s mind or our mind? And if we are purely physical (which Naturalists believe) then how could abstract meanings get into us? How could they get into our minds which are believed to only be physical? How do non-marbles get inside something only comprised of marbles? Especially when those “marbles” are absolute (can’t change) meaning there’s something outside of the finite forever determining what they are! Human pre-commitment to logic is proof that the eternal effects the finite. We are finite, yet use eternal a-priori, namely, the laws of logic.
That which is eternal, must by definition be part of God’s own nature which is eternal, thus is prescriptive and cannot change. Meanings (the laws of logic) would fall into this category, as well as a real morality. All humans live like these exist and do so consistently and universally. Both meanings and real morality are absolute. Meanings cannot change, hence why 1+1 always equals 2 and why selfishly hating someone is always evil. Each are a reflection of God’s own being, hence why they are absolute, prescriptive, and eternal truths which will never change and can never change.
So in conclusion to the first point, why don’t meanings exist independent of God? Contrary to what atheists are trying to say today, meanings do not derive from manifestations of nature or matter. In other words, saying that because one has the ability to use their 5 senses in regard to matter, distinguish between sizes, shapes, colors dimensions, etc, then one can automatically categorize things by themselves – thus logic forms on its own. But watch closely. This is only answering how to categorize things, thus is assuming the existence of meanings by which things can be distinguished, thus categorized! In other words, the meaning of existence must exist, the meaning of “thereness” must exist so you know that something is there, the meaning of color must exist so you can then begin to distinguish colors, the meaning of height must exist in order to distinguish sizes, etc. Nice try Mr. Atheist in trying to say that the laws of logic evidence themselves because of our ability to distinguish between things. You first must have meanings before you can even begin to categorize things, hence being able to identify an apple, tree, or dog. You see, you must have the meaning of size, shape, texture, color, etc exist before you can distinguish things by using those meanings, thus begin to categorize things such as apple, tree, or dog!
Scripture accounts for this because all humans are created with bodies and spirits (dualism), not just with physical bodies (monism). We are created in the likeness of God who eternally thinks logically and is eternally active in using all possible meanings, as He is omniscient. So because human nature come from other natures which bare the image of God, then the capacity to use logic is passed down through humans. This is why we don’t go searching for logic, because it is part of our nature, as our nature is part of God’s nature, and logic is part of God’s nature. Meanings are not something that God carries around in a cosmic bag, but are reflections of His own eternal unchanging knowledge and thinking.
Now on to the second point. What about saying that God or we created the laws of logic or meanings? What if a being were to have created the laws of logic. Well for one it would have no basis to know what it was creating! It would be like a non-conscious thing trying to create the reality of consciousness itself without 1. even knowing what consciousness is, and 2. consciousness ever having existed! In other words, how can something mindless make itself mindful, when one needs a mind to know it could use a mind?!
Basically, how can 1. a blank computer program itself, and 2. do so considering there is no such thing as computer code? This is the real dilemma we would face if we were to say that God or us created the laws of logic and meanings.
And again, as I stated above, we can’t say that God or us created or invented meanings because that would mean we could destroy them or re-invent them. This would be impossible because then we could destroy all numbers or say that 1=2=3 and so forth.
In conclusion, since the laws of logic are tantamount of the Logos (which our modern word “logic” derives from) then they are part of God’s own nature, as the Logos is part of God’s own nature. If we say that God must obey the laws of logic, then we are just saying that God acts according to His own nature. Of course He does! He’s eternal, immutable, and holy according to Scripture. Whether we say God obeys the laws of logic or that the laws of logic obey God doesn’t matter. One is not above the other, nor are they separate. Logic is just a description of the prescriptive Logos (because He’s eternal).