Monday, June 21, 2010

A salutary circularity.

"Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever." (Ps 119:152)

The scriptures need not bow to our rules of logic (which are perfectly miserable and unable to increase one cubit of our stature). We may learn from the bible itself that the bible was established by God to last forever. There is no higher authority to which we can appeal in our understanding of scripture than scripture itself. It is Christ's own word.


Theophilus said...

You are conflating what God has ordained as being good with the words used to communicate this to God's people. To say that a means of communication "need not bow to our rules of logic" is silly. If it were entirely "illogical," it would also be entirely unintelligible, and being unintelligible, you could not say jack squat about any of it. Unless you think yourself a really senseless blubbering idiot (and I'm quite sure neither of us really thinks that), then the texts must be at least logical enough that we can speak about them with at least some meaningful sense.

To use the text you cite, in order for the writer to learn from the statutes, the statutes must be intelligible; in order for them to be intelligible, there must be some sort of human-accessible logic to them. Without this, the text would be incomprehensible, and the writer's learning would have to have been derived ecstatically, rather than from the text as the writer so clearly states.

But certainly, I will freely admit that God is condescending to our frail reasoning abilities in his expressions of himself to us.

Emerson Fast said...

Hey Theophilus,

I didn't mean to say that the bible has no logic in it. Just that (at certain points) it is free to break from logic. Maybe even at many points.

Take for instance a statement from Peter in the book of Acts: "You killed the author of life." There are many facets of that statement that defy logic. But we receive this word and (if we have some training in the doctrine of Christ's hypostatic union) understand the message that is being conveyed.

I also learned of another logical fallacy in the book of Titus, which states very bluntly: "Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, gluttons etc.." This is a quotation from a Cretan prophet...even though the statement would require that the Cretan is lying and thus the testimony would not be true.