Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Logic in Theology

In logic it is very common to present one or more established and
accepted rules or facts and then show a progression of how accepting
those facts, premises, logically lead you to accept their conclusion.
They typically take the form of if A and B are true then C is also
true. If it is obvious that C is not true the only other answer is that
one or more of the premises are not true.
If all cars are red, all cars are convertibles, and I own a car, then I own a red convert able. If I don't own a red convertible then at least one of the stated premises is necessarily false. In this case it's the first two that are false. All cars are NOT red and all cars are NOT convertible.

For centuries philosophers have struggled with making theology fit their
logical rules and restrictions. The most common attempt at this is
called the problem of evil.
1. God is benevolent and doesn't want evil to exist.
2. God is omnipotent and has the power to destroy all evil.
3. Evil does exist.
Therefore both 1 and 2 cannot be true.

Entire books have been written on just this subject but, in my opinion none of them provides a complete resolution to the issue.

I'm not overly hung up on this issue but I just bring it up to illustrate how my mind tries to grasp with issues. Once I understand the logic behind a system it is easier for me to figure out what I need to do next. All too frequently my mind finds little paradoxes that I need to resolve before I can continue.

Here is one that popped into my head during Sunday's lessons on forgiveness:
1. With sin we cannot be perfect.
2. If we don't forgive the greater sin is on our head.
3. God will not forgive some sins.
Therefore the greater sin is on God's head and he ceases to be perfect.

Or this one:
1. Part of forgiveness is to forget the sins of those who trespass against us
2. God forgives our sins.
3. Omniscient means to know everything, including the history of someones sins.
Therefore, God cannot be both omniscient and forgiving.

Or another:
1. God wanted Adam and Eve to multiple and replenish the Earth.
2. God commanded Adam and Eve to not partake of the tree of knowledge.
3. Being obedient to either 1 or 2 requires disobeying the other.
Therefore, God does NOT except us to obey all of His commandments.

I could go on and on. My only point her is to show how a logical, analytical mind tries to make sense of Gospel principles.

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