God and Logic

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by Bryan, Jun 13, 2005.

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  1. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    Romans 9 may have the answer. Jacob & Esau having done nothing either good or bad, God hated one & loved the other. Both were born in sin and deserved nothing from God but wrath.

    [Edited on 6-15-2005 by turmeric]
  2. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I see Psalm 58:3 as very relevant to this issue: "The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies." How would you interpret that? Augustine, in City of God, described the cognitive nature of infants' depravity and unexcusability by appealing to examples such as selfishness and greed being some of the earliest observable sins of infants, such as wanting to take the food and drink themselves rather than leaving it for the other infant next to them. While they of course do not realize the full implications of their actions, they nonetheless reveal the presence of cognitive greed and selfishness in their hearts and minds. And I see that perspective as supported by Psalm 58:3.

    I understand and fully agree that imputed sin in Adam is wholly sufficient to render all persons unexcusable (and it is indeed that imputed sin of an a priori nature that is spoken of in Psalm 51:5, "in sin did my mother conceive me"). What I am also saying, however, is that it seems that cognitive sin is likewise presented by Scripture as being an immediate and universal fruit of that imputed sin, thus necessarily including all infants in every state. In addition to seeing support for that view in Psalm 58:3, I also see confessional corroboration for it in the fact that the Westminster divines felt comfortable listing "the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence" as all being things that render men unexcusable, without reservation or elaboration.
  3. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    I concur with your assessment that since infants are ungodly, they are witnessed against by the very fact of thier own creation (general revelation) as well as every other form of God's omnipotent power. But they are not going to know that until later. And that is my point.

    Creation's witness of God's power is just that - a witness of God's power whether someone cognitively affirms that or not (that's immaterial). so judgment is already set against them. But as Paul discussed in Romans 1, it is the outward fruit of universal sin that he is attacking, and that men surpress.

    Again, round and round, show me how infants do that.

    That does not deny depravity, nor does it deny their inexcusablness (which is both demosntrated in the long typed out post above, but again, its not exegetically tenable to assume Paul is talking about infnats and those non-cognitive in Romans 1).

    Its OK that you don't agree, just enlighten me, please, so we don't keep rambling the same things over and over HOW infants do this. Don't beat around the bush on answering that question - get to the point. So far, all I've seen is that your point is 1) infants are part of "all men" (where Romans doe snot address "all men" but "they" and "those" surrounding the fruits of wickedness. And 2) that general revelation is not mediate, which I agree. So, explain: HOW infants do this. Otherwise this is going nowhere fast. And please don't ask STUPID questions: i.e. "Do you assume all infants are Godly?" :um: Either, 1) You didn't REALLY read through what I posted when I talked about depravity and inexcusablness, 2) You're just being a smart-alick (I'm voting for the typical Paul M. #2). Let me play the game too: You're not really a smart-alick are you Paul? :p

    [Edited on 6-15-2005 by webmaster]
  4. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    That is definitely relevant to the issue of universal responsibility and unexcusability in Adam, on which we all agree. But the issue at hand here seems to be the cognitive fruit of that imputed sin, and whether or not it exists in infants.
  5. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Matt, babies do lie. Ask any mother here. :candle:
  6. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Chris, I am right there with you. Don't misunderstand me. Just think through this a bit more.

    Answer this question: what baby have you seen that came out of the womb speaking lies (LITERALLY?) Or does the psalmist (Hebrew Poertry) have something different in mind?

    In other words, does God have feathers because the Psalmist says "Under your wings I find refuge?"


    I agree, babies lie. But not literally the moment thay are concived, or the moment, even, that they are born into the doc's hands. I think the Psalmist has something a bit more in mind.

    Rememnber, NEVER surrender your "bible logic" (i.e. let the text speak for itself) to the law of non contradiction. That is why I wrote a 550 page book on the subject (Two Wills). Lots of people have a tough time reconciling "babies speaking lies" and taking that literally, but I'd bet you're not going to take the "God has feathers" bit literally eh?

    EXEGESIS please!

    Unless of course you mean the littel tike on thw Quiznos commercials! Now that I could buy!

    [Edited on 6-15-2005 by webmaster]
  7. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Matt, God having feathers is clearly an anthropomorphic expression. It's not intended to be taken literally. But all babies do speak lies. You said that yourself. The very fact that they are conceived in sin with a disposition to hate God supports a "literal" understanding of the psalmist. How else are we to understand the psalmist? And where do you get this notion that infants don't think? It almost sounds like you are speaking more from a psychological rather than a biblical point of view?
  8. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    :ditto: Of course they don't literally formulate the words so as to "speak" the lies, but they don't need to in order for Psalm 58:3 to prove the point of cognitive sin in them - as Patrick implied above, there are of course different "levels" of literality in interpretation. And if that passage is not at least taken to be literal in terms of it speaking of the existence of real, direct acts of sin on the part of the infant--especially in light of the fact that even most of adults' own sins are mentally committed as well, as Jesus pointed to in Matthew 5:22, 28--how is it to be taken?
  9. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    They can commit sin with the possession of greed and impatience. Getting upset when mom doesn't bring the bottle right away! Or even something like a disregard for those around them shortly after they are born in the hospital, scratching or biting someone around them because it is their instinct and gives them comfort. Augustine gave examples such as that in City of God to illustrate the existence of cognitive sin on the part of infants. Do they understand the implications of their thoughts and actions as fully as we do? No, but they don't need to in order to render them willingly sinful nonetheless - just as we do not have to either, in fact. I can have an essentially instant reaction of envy or resentment to something someone says without even thinking about it first - but that does not mean that I haven't sinned in that reaction, even though it was instantaneous and without pre-meditated thought. And that is because it is still a real, voluntary act I committed, and it reveals what was in my heart that was sinful. So it is with the mental, nearly instantaneous selfish thoughts and actions of infants.

    Just for clarification, I don't see this philosophical illustration as necessary to prove the existence of cognitive sin on the part of infants, since exegesis is sufficient to show that biblical. But since you asked for a "how" answer, I thought it might help clarify how it can be thought about conceptually.
  10. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Infants are subject, obviously, to sense experience. If they get slapped they cry. OK.

    I'm looking for the "How do they speak lies," literally. What do they do in "speaking" lies. Is that not metaphorical at least in the application? They have ALL the qualities of speaking lies in thier depraved wicked hearts. Practically, how do they look at creation, supress the truth (because its plain to them) and then go off fornicating, or partaking in sexual immorality (Romans 1). There is a differecne between the anlogical expressions given on subjects like these (knowing that n infants cannot SPEAK at all) and the meaning behind the verse. We know God has feathers. Why? Becuase Patrick says its anthropological? No, because of exegesis. So what about infants that SPEAK? Metaphorical or not?
  11. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    I agree. No contention there at all. The fruit of thier depravity will manifest itslef ultiamtely. But as you said, they will understand it s depth as they grow and mature. In other words, when mommy does not bring the bottle right away to, say, a 1 week old, do you scold the baby or not? Why wouldn't you scold the baby? If you are saying they are aware of it (and they are at a certain level) why then, wouldn't you EXPLAIN it to them? or would you?

    [Edited on 6-15-2005 by webmaster]
  12. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    They cry when they need not. Their manipulative. They are greedy and selfish. Augustine's observations I think are spot on in this regard. Just because they do not lie in a language you understand, doesn't mean they don't lie yet. Its in their actions.
  13. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    I agree, that their depravity demonstrates fruit.
    But this thread was on logic, and then it morphed in how infants, under "all men" as PM said, suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

    Help me: how do infants, in any language, suppress the truth in unrighteousness? Remember, this is a positive action according to the Apostle. As a result of this positive action, and its continued suppression, God "gives them over" to thier sin. According to the Apostle, this is recordable (see his list) based on general revelation which is reflected upon so that the one reflecting knows that God's power is present in creation.

    Can someone explain how infants, in any language, do this?
  14. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The truth of God and His character is revealed by general revelation both in external nature and providence as well as in internal hearts, and God's Law is a perfect expression of His character. So if infants inherently know God in His existence and character--for example, knowing His wisdom by the splendor of creation around them, or knowing His attribute of judgment through the feeling of any suffering or discontentment, even if they cannot express either in a human language--then by committing sins such as those Patrick mentioned above, they are suppressing the truth that God's character and Laws are perfect, since violating them is making the claim that there is a better way to live, namely, the way they choose to live each time they violate them. Thus, they call God a liar in those acts, since He says they are not the best way to live.

    (An important point in all of this is that infants do not have to express things in an official human language to understand and decide them. One example that comes to mind is my high-school science teacher, who has a Downs-syndrome girl as his oldest child, and he told us that his younger boy learned to speak her language before he learned to speak English. Before the boy spoke English, they could tell he was communicating with the girl, and later when he could speak beginning English, he was able to communicate to the parents what the girl was saying or wanting when the parents had no idea.)
  15. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Chris - I agree completely.
  16. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    I would also add, that Paul's list of sins there in Romans 1 is not exhaustive. Gentiles are guilty of other sin as well as a result of their suppressing the truth. He just uses the most obvious perversions to prove his point.
  17. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    I agree again!

    (Two in a row!) :lol:
  18. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Paul, of course, just make a notation that for the mentally disabled and the infants, they do this in a different capacity than we do with reflecting on nature, contemplation through propositional truth, etc. That, again was my initial point.

    [Edited on 6-15-2005 by webmaster]
  19. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Is there any aspect of revelation (general or special) not communicated through the Logos?
  20. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Alright. Let's let the topic get back on track.
  21. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    From what we have discussed, yes, infants and the mentally retarded know God. (Since no one else popped in, I thought I'd state the obvious. I know you like it when people state the obvious.)

    You said: "Well, the soulution is to point out that this is a false dilemma, as Frame does above and that is the point and context of your quote. God *is* logical. It is His nature. What we call logic is a reflection of the way God thinks, if you will."

    Okay we are good with that.

    How about "God *is* logic."

    How shoudl Christians define logic? and then How should logic, then, be related to God to make "God is logic" a true statement with no fuzzies?

    [Edited on 6-17-2005 by webmaster]
  22. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    Noah Webster gets my vote.

    LOG'IC, n. [L. id; Gr. from reason, to speak.]

    The art of thinking and reasoning justly.

    Logic is the art of using reason well in our inquiries after truth, and the communication of it to others.

    Logic may be defined, the science or history of the human mind, as it traces the progress of our knowledge from our first conceptions through their different combinations, and the numerous deductions that result from comparing them with one another.

    Correct reasoning implies correct thinking and legitimate inferences from premises, which are principles assumed or admitted to be just. Logic then includes the art of thinking, as well as the art of reasoning.

    The purpose of logic is to direct the intellectual powers in the investigation of truth, and in the communication of it to others.
  23. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate


    Does 2+2=4 for God?
  24. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    No, its just that we don't need to get into how infants are in fact logical in thier responses or in thier innate knoweldge. Instead, let's keep the tread on tract.
  25. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    But you have to satisfactorily explain it. Not "just explain it.":D

    Paul, the reason Jeff said what he said, is because the way you are expressing yourself is going to lead you to skepticism if your honest. Which is really what Van Tillian Presuppositionism is going to lead to, unless of course you don't mean what you just said.

    "But we also have "human logic."

    This is not really a helpful way of saying anything. God's logic and my logic about the equation is the same on my level.

    You answered Jeff by saying "yes" they are the same, but then said there is a difference between what God knows and what I know.

    If 2 + 2 = 4 is true for me and God, then on a human level, so far as I am not contradicting myself, its is true for God to that degree. As God's knowledge is more quantitatively and quantitatively more accurate than mine, that does not mean on my level that the equation equaling "4" is not 4 for God. Its 4 for me and God in the same sense, logically speaking. Otherwise you wind up a skeptic.

    "This logic tries to represent, on a creaturly level, the coherence in God's mind. But we can't equate the two since we have waring systems of logic..."

    If you can't equate the two, then how do you know what God's logic is like, or if you have any truth whatsoever? Than you have to be a skeptic about what you believe concerning God because you might be wrong. (And we've gone round and round on this too.)

    "So, we want to do justice to all the diversity and make sure we don't equate Human logic with saying God is logic since human logic changes and often contradicts itself via differing methods and axioms."

    There is no diversity if 2 + 2 = 4 on my level for me and God. If I ask, "What about when human logic is non-contradictory - is God's logic the same?" The answer is yes. So there is no skepticism and no differecne to the quality or quantity of my logic and God's at that level.

    Otherwise, you will remain in a contradition.

    So how can you answer Jeff with a "yes"?

    [Edited on 6-17-2005 by webmaster]
  26. Apologist4Him

    Apologist4Him Puritan Board Freshman

    Hello Paul,

    I havn't read through this thread entirely, so this may have already been mentioned. The phrase "God is love" can easily be taken out of context. In the biblical context, John is making a distinction between those who love (know God) and those who do not love (do not know God). We know there are different types of love, and it can easily be argued that John did not have human love in mind, John has the kind of love Jesus mentioned in Matthew 5:43-48 in mind, John has godly love in mind. God is love is a way of saying "true love comes from God, everyone who knows true love, knows God". So, it can be said "God is logic", in the sense that "true logic comes from the perfect mind of God." I don't think we can say the phrases in exactly the same sense (people can know the law of non-contradiction without knowing God in the sense John is talking about), but nearly the same sense. However the phrase "God is logic" may be a good backdoor approach to the Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God. :D
  27. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    Under the Clarkian point of view, "existential import" seems to be a mute point. After all, what is "existence"?

    1) Do unicorns exist? Yes. They are an imaginary horse with a horn on its head.

    2) Do dreams exist? Yes. I have them quite often.

    The question is not "Does A or B exist?" but "What IS IT?" Is it imaginary? Is it physical? Is it round?

    It seems under a presuppositional standpoint, all members in a premise or conclusion would exist as SOMETHING.

  28. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Okay, very good. I agree. We both understand the nature of an object, on our sense, the same way.

    How, then, do you distinguish your Aristotle / Frege distinction? Trying to be clear: If God knows what I know about the apple, but I disagree with Frege, does God disagree with Frege?

    Or maybe another way of saying it, is logic (order in communication, i.e. God is a god of order even in communication) involved in knowing at any level?

    By the way, I always enjoy your ranting.
  29. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I don't agree with it.
  30. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    Care to elaborate?
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