Logic – A New (but Orthodox) Paradigm

A friend came by the other day and surprised us with rare insight concerning human logic and the Bible. When you consider the Word of God, you come across apparent passages that are puzzling and even disturbing. For example, how can God be God and Jesus be God and the Holy Spirit be God yet there is only one God? The Trinity, because of its familiarity is an accepted mystery.

However, your head starts spinning as you consider more inexplicable difficulties: How does God elect and regenerate and then hold the unbeliever accountable for not believing? How does God harden hearts and send deceiving spirits and yet is not the author of sin? Although I remain puzzled by these passages, I see the enormity of the Lord’s understatement that His thoughts are far above our thoughts and His ways above our ways.

This friend, a medical doctor, is a mathematician at heart. He loves the philosophical aspect of math as well as the applied. He explained that growing up he considered logic to be the highest form of reasoning. Like many of us, if something was not logical or didn’t make sense, he rejected it. However, as he’s studying Scripture, the Lord is opening his eyes to a greater paradigm.

He says logic is a dangerous enemy when you apply it to understand the ways of God because it is constrained to the limits of a fallen world. Unlike God, human logic is cold and heartless because it cannot administer (or factor in) grace and mercy. Logic’s intention might be good but the end of it is death because it is tainted by sin.

When we attempt to measure and understand the Bible or God by using our logic, we fall far short of comprehending the infinitely vast reasoning of God. God gave us the ability to reason, so of course we don’t throw logic and reason out the window. However, we MUST make it SUBJECT to God and the Bible, NOT the other way around. In other words, we don’t interpret the Bible using our limited reasoning. We measure (and form) our views, values and reality by what God says in His Word.

I’m thinking, for example, of how our idea of good and bad is distorted by sin.  As I’m meditating upon the Sovereignty of God in our trials and tribulations, I am challenged.  I saw a picture of a boy today, horrendously burned by a suicide bomber’s deadly aftermath.  Is God in that? What’s the good in that? Honestly, my stomach churns at the thought.  My logic says that a Good God doesn’t equal charred skin and terrorist bombings. My logic screams: ugliness and pain contradict goodness and love.  But what of the bloody, cruel picture of our Savior on the Cross?  What of the searing spit, the piercing thorns, the scornful faces?  What of the Pharisees’ smug smirks of victory, the Roman’s ruthless spearhead, the frightening chasm between a Father and His only Son?  What of the Judge of the universe being judged to appease the Judge (mind-boggling point from Josh’s message this morning)?  What kind of logic is THAT???

I’ve been reading Ann Voskamp’s blog as well as others on suffering and the sovereignty of God.  A reader commented by describing her own shift in paradigm that echos my own musings:

I have made the massive mistake of thinking that my perception is His reality. That the “bad” is his fault or mine, but either way, it’s punishment and far from “good” and that “good” was reward for right behavior on my part. It’s been a narrowly selfish view of God’s character and it has led me into many dark nights.

God is slowly opening my heart to His reality: He is good and I am lovedAlways. I am always loved and He is always good. No matter how I feel or what seems true.

His truth and His perception is each of our realities if we allow Him to help shape what we see as true.  He is always good. And we are always loved.

This won’t sit well with many contemporaries today.  In fact, it might make you sorely unsettled.  But read anything by the Puritans or the early Reformers and you will see that this is not a new view.  Only until recent times, there was a deep reverence and trembling before this awe-inspiring God.  They couldn’t wrap their brains around Him – and it was OK.  They let the mysteries of God overwhelm them to worship. They allowed the unexplainable Providence to provoke profound faith.  They expected the inscrutable ways of God to graciously humble their prideful perspectives.  God is God and humans are, well, not God.

The fact is: God is the center of absolute logic. The Word is the center of absolute logic. What doesn’t make sense to us makes perfect sense to Him.  I’m getting to the point where in the face of scientific evidence “disproving” Biblical probabilities and possibilities, in the face of culturally-accepted views of a watered-down, universal God, in the face of apparent historical contradictions discovered in archaeological pits and in the face of the rising rebellion against all things orthodox – I will fly to my Savior and stand on the Word. Scientifically impossible?  Uh, God created it and rules it – it’s possible.  Historically questionable?  Uh, it’s His story and He decides when to unearth the rest of it.  Ok, I think I might be talking about two different things – but it all leads to one – do I trust Him at His Word?

So, can I apply this ‘new’ logic to the mysteries strewn throughout Scripture? The mystery of suffering, the mystery of election, the mystery of God’s decrees, the mystery of the Cross?  Ironically, the only way to make sense of it all is to admit that it doesn’t.  Not to me anyway.  And call me simple, call me foolish, call me blind.  The more I learn about God, the more I realize how little I know and, you know what?  I’m coming to a point where I just bow, hand over my mouth, no arguments, no back-talk, just awe and amazement. God is God and I am not.  And that’s O.K.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nchomeschoolmom
    Jul 27, 2008 @ 19:10:14

    Great post, Julie! I need to read that other blog too, haven’t done that yet.

    Love you and miss you!

    Beth

    Reply

  2. Lori Greathouse
    Jul 27, 2008 @ 21:44:26

    This is awesome, Julie! Thank you for allowing us to share in your thoughts! I’ve added this to my Favorites list!!

    Lori

    Reply

  3. Jen
    Jul 28, 2008 @ 08:19:19

    Julie…Again, you are right where I am, saying it so much better than I could. Your last paragraph is so much where I have been lately…and those last two sentences say it all.

    Your writing blesses me so much!

    Jen

    Reply

  4. Jeremy (JB2)
    Aug 05, 2008 @ 08:17:37

    Julie….wonderfully written post. Like you stated, it is the understanding that God is infinitely more logical than me that drives me to awe inspired worship of him. Those that feel they must “figure God out” have no idea of the blessing they are missing! By the way, I’m the JB2 of the diorthosis blog and have been blessed by many of your posts.

    God bless

    Reply

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