Why Should Christians Care About Logic?
By Andrew Cabrera
I was at a Christmas party a few years ago and someone walked up to me and began talking to me about my views on God. At one point in the conversation he asked the age-old question, “Can God make a rock so heavy that he himself can’t lift it?” Among other things, I mentioned that omnipotence does not mean that God can do what is logically impossible. Then the conversation abruptly ended as he said, “You can’t use logic to talk about God. God is not bound by the logic of Man!” Then he nodded his head and tipped his chicken wing at me as if to say “Gotcha!” and walked away triumphantly before I had a chance to say a word. Was he right? Is God bound by logic? Can God do the logically impossible?
What are the Laws of Logic?
The laws of logic are not invented; they are discovered truths about the nature of reality itself. It is commonly accepted that there are three fundamental laws of logic and that all other logical principles are derived from these three laws; these foundational laws are: the principle of identity, the law of the excluded middle, and the law of non-contradiction. Each of these is similar, but subtly distinct from the others. The principle of identity can be symbolized as ∀(p): (p=p), which is a fancy way of saying that “p” is what it is. The law of the excluded middle can be symbolized as (p v ~p), and means that it will always be the case that either “p” or “not p” is true (there is no third option). And finally, the law of non-contradiction can be symbolized as ~(p * ~p), and means that both “p” and “not p” cannot be true in the same way at the same time. This may seem a bit abstract, but I just wanted to make sure we began on equal footing about what the laws of logic were before trying to apply them…
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