Is God Real? Are the Laws of Logic Simply Human Conventions?
by J Warner Wallace
All rational discussions (even those related to the existence or non-existence of God) are directed and restrained by the Laws of Logic. Only theism, however, can adequately account for the existence of these transcendent laws. If God exists, He is the absolute, objective, transcendent standard of truth; the Laws of Logic are simply a reflection of His nature. They exist as an extension of His rational thinking, and for this reason, they are as eternal as God Himself. Is God real? Without God as a source for the transcendent Laws of Logic, this question (and any logical journey toward the answer) would be impossible to engage.
As an atheist, I rejected the existence of God and offered a number of objections and alternative explanations in an effort to account for the Laws of Logic. We’ve been examining the theistic explanation for these laws and several naturalistic objections to see if atheism might offer a viable alternative. If the Laws of Logic aren’t simply a “brute reality” of our universe, could they merely be a matter of human agreement?
Aren’t the Laws of Logic simply human conventions?
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By “convention,” most people typically mean “a principle everyone has agreed on”. If Laws of Logic are simply ideas about truth people have agreed on, two things would be required before we could ever have a single Law of Logic: people, and agreement. But the Law of Identity (for example) existed before people were here to think about it. Prior to the existence of people “A” was still “A” and could not be “Non-A”. In addition, people disagree about what is true (or untrue) all the time, and our positions often contradict one another. How then, can the Laws of Logic be transcendent unless they exist for all of us, whether we agree with them or not? If the Laws of Logic are merely accepted human conventions, they would, in essence, be subject to a “vote”; the laws could be changed if enough people agreed.
If God created the Laws of Logic, they are dependent on God. They are not necessary truths but contingent truths, and this means they are not foundational to the universe. And if God created the Laws of Logic, wouldn’t this mean He could change them whenever He wanted? Couldn’t God arrange things so “A” is also “Non-A”? After all, He created the Laws; He should be able to change them. But, the proposition “A” is also “Non-A” is irrational. If God is unable to change such a law, the Laws of Logic don’t appear to be dependent on God at all.
God did not create the Laws of Logic. These laws are simply a reflection of the thoughts and logical character of God, and as such, they reveal His logical, perfect nature. God, in His perfection, will not (and cannot) do anything to violate His own nature; He is not self-contradictory. Just as there is no such thing as a “square circle” (because this violates the nature of circularity), God cannot exist outside His nature, including the nature of His logical thoughts. Logic is foundational simply because God is foundational. The Laws of Logic are objective, unchangeable, internally consistent and transcendent because they reflect the nature of God…