The Nate Files: The Consolation of Logic

Good morning!

If you read the last Nate Files post, then you know that Nate is a big fan of logic, particularly syllogisms. That man knows his syllogisms, tell me you. And the other day he showed me something pretty neat about logic in the Christian life.

In case you’ve forgotten, a syllogism is a deductive argument in logic comprised of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion. If the two premises are valid, then so is the conclusion. For example: All men are mortal (major premise). Socrates is a man (minor premise). Therefore, Socrates is mortal (conclusion). See? Simple.

Now, Nate thinks that this can be applied to the Christian life in an incredible way. But remember first what we said about a syllogism- if the premises are valid, then so is the conclusion. That’s important.

In Nate’s articulation, our major premise is some rule of doctrine, like, “God infallibly forgives and accepts all who believe in Christ.” Our minor premise is a particular circumstance, such as “I believe in Christ.” Our conclusion follows: “Therefore, God infallibly forgives and accepts me.” Here that is again below:

Major Premise: God infallibly forgives and accepts all who believe in Christ.
Minor Premise: I believe in Christ.
Conclusion: Therefore, God infallibly forgives and accepts me.

This is so good. Now, it’s not new at all; Scripture uses this line of reasoning, and Christians have been using it to comfort each other since the Church’s foundation. What I like about this, however, is that it draws attention to the infallibility of the logic. Again, if the premises are valid, then so is the conclusion. I think this is huge for struggling believers. It narrows the scope of their doubts. “Can you invalidate the premises? No? Then you have no reason to doubt the conclusion.” Obviously this doesn’t work for believers who doubt their belief (because that calls into question the minor premise), but then again, this isn’t the only tool in our toolbox.

Does the whole thing sound cold and unfeeling? There’s a reason that fireplaces are lined with stone and not wool. Logic does not depend on feelings, which makes it so comforting. My feelings come and go; my stand on the rock-solid logic of God’s word needs to be more certain than that.

So take a stand on the immovable logic of God’s Word, and rejoice in the solid ground beneath your feet.

-Daniel

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