What Does Logic Have to do with Theology?
“What does logic have to do with theology?” That was the question asked to me by a friend as we were leaving her house for dinner.
It is a good question, and I would expect nothing less from the friend who had asked it. Its not just a question those outside of Christianity would have. I would expect only a few people could provide a well-reasoned answer in any given congregation on a Sunday morning. So, let me attempt a brief reply. I know the best way to tackle any problem is to understand what you are addressing clearly. The first step is to define terms (sometimes just doing that can give you an answer). Let’s hear what the Oxford Dictionary has to say:
Logic: “Reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity.”
Theology: “The study of the nature of God and religious belief.”
I understand there are many ways to tie those two together, but I simply see logic and theology coming together as right thinking applied to life’s biggest questions. I argue asking what logic has to do with theology carries a great assumption. I would ask if logic is simply right thinking, then why doesn’t it correspond to theology? Asking why it does implies theology is outside the bounds of good thinking or issues of faith are beyond the scope of validation.
Sadly, that is the assumption of many. No one would argue (I hope not!) that we do not use the laws of logic in all areas of our life and thinking. What are the laws of logic? We can quickly look at the three foundational laws of logic. Kenneth Samples sums up the foundational laws in his book World of Difference as such:
1.The Law of Non-contradiction: Nothing can be and not be in the same respect at the same time.
2.The Law of Excluded Middle: Something either is or it is not.
3.The Law of Identity: A thing (person, place, event) is what it is.
We cannot even begin to reason properly about anything without these three laws being universal. You do not have to know these rules to use them; you use them no matter what. In other words, in all of our thinking, these three laws are assumed to be true, they are not created. We simply could not make sense of reality if we ignored these fundamental laws of logic
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