Devotional: Logic as Defensible Communication

There was a point when logic was a form of art in itself. Words could be strung together in varying orders to form sentences of emphasis. Furthermore, when outlined those sentences would provide a flow of thought that was orderly, sensible, and defensible. Today forms of arguments consist of name calling, character attacks, and irrational statements. Truly logic has become a lost form of communication resulting in a lack of conversation,  a lack of wisdom, and a lack foresight (in seeing errors and contradiction). Certainly the employment of logic extends far, but some would be surprised to see its use throughout Scripture. The New Testament authors especially employed logic in order to make truthful arguments that stand against any form of deconstruction.
Writers such as Paul (see Romans 9 & 10), James (James 2:14-26), and Peter (1 Peter 3:13 – – 4:6) often utilize it to emphasize their points in teaching God’s Word. However, we turn to the Gospel of John to see that our Lord Jesus Christ also used it to dismantle the antagonism of the facets of worldly thinking. In John 7:23 we read,
“If a man receives circumcision on Sabbath so that the law of Moses won’t be broken, are you angry at me because I made a man entirely well on the Sabbath?”
The Lord’s time on earth is drawing towards its final months and he has just seen many disciples leave him behind because his teachings were hard (John 6:60-71). Even the Lord’s own brothers have shown they are antagonist towards Him (7:1-7). He also discloses the world’s hatred for him because he exposes its sin. Then we come to his teaching during the Feast of Tabernacles and that hatred is demonstrated to readers. At this point the Jews are angry with him because he healed a man on the Sabbath (v.21 in reference to Jesus’ healing found in John 5:1-23). For those who had designed specific laws and requirements in order to avoid work on the sabbath, this was a great transgression.
The Lord’s response here is quite remarkable. He turns the argument around by suggesting they to have transgressed the supposed law. Circumcision was a practice brought forth under the Old Testament (Genesis 17:9-14; Exodus 12:44-49) that required males to be circumcised on the eight day. What if this eighth day fell on the Sabbath? A potential conflict existed, because to not circumcise was a transgression of God’s law, yet to circumcise was a violation of the law they had put into place. Therefore, it was common knowledge that circumcisions were still performed on the Sabbath. Christ reasons then, if it is permissible for an act of refinement on a small part of the body, would it not be even more appropriate to perfect the entire body? The implied answer is obvious.
Why is such an implied answer obvious? Because to answer otherwise denies basic principles of reasoning and contradict the Jews own teachings. Thus, the Lord has defended himself in a way that follows rules of logic making it not only truthful, but also reasonable and defensible. If Jesus Christ utilized logic as a means of communication and defense, why are we not more apt to follow his lead and use it in our own defenses?
Calling someone a name is not a legitimate form of argument or debate, because the truth of that has no bearing on the truth of the position being presented (i.e. to call someone an idiot does not mean that person is wrong). Unfortunately, that is our standard form of argument these days. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. In our continual transformation into the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-30; 12:1-2) it is reasonable to expect that our ability to be reasonable in our assertions would also conform to the Lord’s example as well.
Logic should be a part of who we are and how we confront any situation. This is especially true though, when we are sharing truth. The truth of Scripture (and the life that follows from that truth) is defensible when we are logical in its assertions. Therefore, we should not look beyond the logic of Scripture to prove the reliability and truth of Scripture.
Photo “Staircase Logic” courtesy of user Michael and Flickr.