Thursday, March 26, 2009

Logically speaking...

So I had the honour of spending part of last night with our church group for college-age folk. With nothing scheduled to talk about, the evening was devoted to "can of worms" questioning... sometimes a bit daunting, but always fun. I only know about half of these folk very well at all, so there was the additional challenge of that. Anyway, I was asked one particular question that's left me thinking - always a good thing!

One guy asked me (in response to a comment I made about the differences between Modernity and Postmodernity) if I thought God was logical. My answer: "It depends on how you define logical". That's not a cop out! Think about it for a moment with me, as I try to refine my thinking...

Usually when we talk about logic we mean something that makes sense, it flows from A to B, etc... Webster's dictionary says it means "capable of using reason in an orderly cogent fashion". That sounds about right. But does that describe God? I would argue that plenty of what God has done and does is not "reasonable" to me. Much of God's work does not seem "orderly" to me. Moreover, God often does things that simply don't seem logical to me! Don't shoot me just yet; hear me out.

God holds that I must pray, yet He knows everything. Is that logical? God says I'm alive here on earth, yet I'm viewed as presently glorified with Him in Heaven. God says I'm a sinner struggling daily to walk in the light, yet I'm viewed as righteous through Jesus' blood. God says Jesus was 100% human and 100% divine. God exists in three co-equal persons. The list could continue.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying God is illogical. Not at all! I'd like to think there's a third option - something like superlogical - above what we call "logic". I'm also not saying His Word is illogical or that it should be read and studied in any way but a logical one.

I'm arguing that "logical" means different things from either the human or the divine perspective. Therefore I'm not sure it's terribly instructive to talk about whether or not God is "logical". A more instructive question: has God left us a logical revelation of Himself? The answer, of course, is yes - the Bible is God's logical self-revelation.

I admit I haven't thought through all the ramifications of this just yet. It all started as a simple question in the midst of a grander discussion. But if His ways are beyond my comprehension, and the word we use for comprehensible, orderly, cogent things is "logical" ... you do the math.

In the end, I'm reasonably certain this is a philosophical argument, and a philosophical one only. I could be accused of merely arguing semantics, I suppose. But as is usually the case, such philosophical banter can often be instructive, and regularly makes us think. So thanks, Revolution, for making my brain turn to a different beat last night!

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