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The Divine Logos and Mystery...

Logic and Mystery

The Gravity of Grammar and Being...

Someone recently wrote me and objected to my statement that logic is, at bottom, grounded in "mystery," and then denounced my thinking as "nonsense." What I was hoping to point out, however, was the strange "gravity" found in our syntactical connections, the "gravity of grammar," if you will, that connects our ideas and coherently orders and distributes their relationships to the external world, and that this "grammar of Being" is surely mysterious....  After all, it makes little sense to simply state that necessary truths, such as the "law of noncontradiction" [i.e., that nothing can both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect: ~(A & ~A)], or the "law of excluded middle" [i.e., that everything must either be or not be: (A v ~A)], or the "law of identity" [i.e., that everything is identical with itself: (A =A) & (A ≠ ~A)], are those that "must be true" in all possible worlds, without explaining or at least wondering over the "force" and "weight" that are found in these "indubitable" axioms. Indeed it is precisely the "gravity" of logical connection that constitutes the link between our use of language and reality itself, and merely appealing to an axiom to prove an axiom begs the question of what exactly makes an axiom logically compelling in the first place....  Negatively we can say that the presence of contradiction reveals a problem with truth, but positively it is more difficult to define logical relations in terms of "elegance," "harmony," "fitness," or some other aesthetic description. I say all this simply to note that there is a "sentiment" of rationality, since it must be admitted that the sheer fact of existence itself is itself mysterious, and the question as to why anything exists at all is ultimately grounded in God's inscrutable decrees (Isa. 40:28; 55:8-9; Rom. 11:33; Psalm 145:3). Saying that logic is "mysterious," then, is surely not to say that it is "irrational." Therefore we read that Yeshua is the Source of all states of being in the universe (πάντα δι᾽ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν / "All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being" (John 1:3)), and that all of creation is being constantly upheld by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3). "All things were created by Him and for Him," and "in Him all things consist" (συνεστηκεν, literally, "stick together") (Col. 1:16-17). Yeshua is the Word or "Logic" (Λόγος) of God, and all things are radically grounded in His Life (John 1:1,4). He is the Source and End of truth, as he attested: אָנכִי אָלֶף וְתָו רִאשׁוֹן וְאַחֲרוֹן ראשׁ וָסוֹף / "I am the 'A' and the 'Z,' the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (Rev. 22:13).

Either there is "logic" that is ontologically binding and significant for all people (i.e., a "grammar of being"), or there is nothing but relativism and biased individual perspectives. In other words, either truth is possible (and knowable to us) or we are left with postmodern chaos and solipsistic nihilism... However God is "not a man that he should lie," nor is He deceiver. We can trust that since we are made in God's image, the laws of thought apply in real ways to what he has made, as Rene Descartes (1596-1650) said. The issue, then, may be rephrased to ask whether all knowledge is derived from "reason" or if there may be other "organs of knowledge" in addition to human ratiocination and inference. For instance, the great philosopher and prodigious mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) taught that the "heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing," which means that wisdom is not knowable through rational calculation, since rational calculation begins with unprovable "first principles" or "self-evident" intuitions. Pascal insightfully wrote: "For knowledge of first principles... is as solid as any derived through reason, and it is on such knowledge coming from the heart and instinct, that reason has to depend and base all its argument" (Pascal: Pensťes).  Reason, then, is a servant of our passions, activated and made subservient to the role of will and desire in the pursuit of truth. However reason alone (i.e., "rationality") cannot demonstrate why we should care for the truth, why we believe that knowledge is better than ignorance, why love and peace are valuable, and so on.

Some people disdain philosophy and think that we should be simple-minded in our faith. Now while it's true that we should be "as little children" in trust of our Heavenly Father, "yet among the mature we do impart wisdom (σοφία), although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God (θεοῦ σοφίαν ἐν μυστηρίῳ τὴν ἀποκεκρυμμένην), which God decreed before the ages for our glory" (1 Cor. 2:6-7).

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