PMW 2018-047 by Jason Lisle (Biblical Science Institute)
Gentry introductory note: Postmillennialism entails a full-orbed biblical worldview. The argument for postmillennialism begins in the Creation Account. A proper view of creation is necessary for a proper view of eschatological hope. Furthermore, the biblical worldview rooted in the orderly creation by God is able to justify the laws of logic, which are so necessary to rationality. This article by Dr. Jason Lisle is helpful for understanding the significance of the biblical worldview in supporting the laws of logic.
We saw previously that the Bible can make sense of laws of logic and their properties, and that the three laws of thought are rooted in the nature of God. However, non-biblical worldviews cannot make sense of laws of logic or their properties. As one example, consider materialism: the belief that all things that exist are physical and extended in space. It is quite obvious that materialism cannot make sense of abstract laws because abstract things are non-material, and the materialist does not allow for the existence of the non-material. But really, any worldview that denies the Bible cannot make sense of the existence and properties of laws of logic. Why should there be abstract laws that govern all correct reasoning? Who decides what these laws are? Why would such laws be universal, and invariant? Even if a person were to presume that laws of logic existed and had all these properties, how could that person possibly know that laws of logic are such? What are some possible ways in which the non-Christian might attempt to account for laws of logic?
Some people might say that they really can’t explain why laws of logic exist or have the properties that they have, but they don’t need to because they know from experience that laws of logic are as they are. “Who cares why laws of logic exist? We use them because they work.” There are many problems with this answer. If laws of logic were merely based on human experience, then it would be irrational to arbitrarily assume that they will apply to as-yet-unexperienced situations. For example, when people landed on the moon, they expected that laws of logic would work there, and yet no one had ever experienced being on the moon before. Astronomers assume that laws of logic work the same in deep space, even though no one has ever been there to experience it. So, experience cannot justify our expectation that laws of logic will work in as-yet-unexperienced situations or places. And yet we somehow know that logic will work in such situations.
Furthermore, all our experiences are in the past, and yet we somehow expect laws of logic to work in the future – a future that no one has experienced. Why? It is irrational to automatically assume that all things will be in the future like they have been in the past; otherwise you would have to conclude that you are immortal. After all, you have never died in the past. Can you therefore conclude that you will never die in the future? That would be silly, and yet people assume that laws of logic will work in the future just like in the past.
As It Is Written: The Genesis Account Literal or Literary?
Book by Ken Gentry
Presents the exegetical evidence for Six-day Creation and against the Framework Hypothesis.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
Only the Christian worldview can justify our expectation that laws of logic will work in the future as in the past, and in all locations, because God’s mind controls all of reality. God is sovereign, omni-present, and does not change with time. We know these things because God has revealed them to us in His Word. Therefore, we can be assured that logic, which reflects His thinking, will be the same at all times and locations. But mere human experience just doesn’t cut it.
Creations of People?
Some might claim that laws of logic were created by people. In this view, laws of logic are conventions that people have found useful and therefore chose to obey. Why should we not contradict ourselves? They would answer, “because we have found that when we do, it doesn’t go well for us. The result is always false.” Why follow the law of the excluded middle? They would say, “because we have never found a third alternative – a situation where neither the proposition nor its negation are true.” Some would add that we should follow laws of logic because they are intuitively obvious.
Unfortunately, there are many problems with this view. If laws of logic were created by people, then these laws could not have existed before people. And yet, it is absurd to think that the law of noncontradiction didn’t exist at one point. Was there ever a time – before human beings – when both a proposition and its negation were both true? If so, what was that proposition? Laws of logic were discovered by people, but they existed before people and were therefore not created by people.
Furthermore, if laws of logic were merely conventions that people find useful (like the metric system), then other people and cultures would have developed different laws of logic, just as some cultures use the British system rather than the metric. When you drive from the United States to Canada, you must stop thinking in terms miles and start thinking in terms of kilometers. But laws of logic are not like that. They don’t change from one nation to the next. They are universal. Laws of logic apply even in places that no human being has ever visited – such as the Andromeda Galaxy.
Nor would we expect laws of logic to be invariant if they were invented by people. After all, laws created by people change from time to time. There was a time when the national speed limit in the United States was 55 miles per hour. But that law was repealed. On the other hand, the law of noncontradiction will never be repealed. It was not created by humanity and cannot therefore be repealed by humanity. Thus, laws of logic cannot merely be humanly stipulated conventions.
Understanding the Creation Account
DVD set by Ken Gentry
Formal conference lectures presenting important information for properly approaching the Creation Account in Genesis. Presents and defends Six-day Creation exegesis, while presenting and rebutting the Framework Hypothesis.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
Reflections of the Universe?
Some people have suggested that laws of logic are simply a reflection of the way the physical universe is. In this view, we discover laws of logic much the way we discover laws of nature, such as the law of gravity. We learn from experience that this is simply the way the universe is. Such people ask, “Why invoked God?”
This view also has its problems. First, it merely pushes the problem back. Namely, why should a chance universe obey any sort of laws at all? How can you have laws without a law-giver? Why is the universe constrained to obey the law of noncontradiction, and the law of the excluded middle? Nor does this view account for the properties of laws of logic. Why should they by universal, invariant, and abstract?
After all, the universe is very different in different places. . . .
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Dr. Jason Lisle is a Christian astrophysicist who researches issues pertaining to science and the Christian Faith. He has a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Colorado in Boulder. There, he used the SOHO spacecraft to analyze the surface of the sun, and made a number of interesting discoveries, including the detection of giant cell boundaries. A popular speaker and author, Dr. Lisle presents a rational defense of a literal Genesis, showing how science confirms the history recorded in the Bible. Brought up in a Christian family, at a young age he received Christ as Lord. Since then Lisle has always desired to serve the Lord out of love and gratitude for salvation, and to spread the Gospel message to all people.
Tagged: Genesis Creation Account, laws of logic, rationality
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