How should believers respond to claims that certain doctrines taught in Scripture are illogical, such as the Trinity? Or, given the existence of evil, logic proves a good and all-powerful God cannot exist because an infinitely powerful God could and would prevent evil (the “problem of evil”)? Atheists and Christians agree that logic guides right thinking, and both use logic to formulate and test truth claims. But, does the common appeal to rules of logic exempt the atheist from the problem of human limitations as discussed in parts one and two of our four part series?
Here, again, we see in the atheist the same unfounded faith in human opinion and the ability to know what cannot be known. For instance, God is infinitely beyond our human limitations and can only be known as He chooses to make Himself known, and He has revealed Himself as a Trinity. From our limited human perspective, then, how can we know otherwise? If we deny God’s existence because we cannot logically reconcile God as three persons and one God, we assume that only those things we can fully understand can be true of God. But does our inability to fully comprehend an infinite God mean He cannot exist as He has revealed Himself to be? To deny His existence or nature because we cannot entirely grasp what He has revealed about Himself constitutes faith in our limited understanding as the ultimate standard of truth and makes our limited perspective the ultimate standard of what can and cannot be true of an infinite God. But how can anyone know the nature of an infinite God apart from what He has revealed about Himself? How can one who does not know the contents of his neighbor’s garage know that God cannot be a Trinity? Here again, atheists suffer from the same human limitations as the rest of us when it comes to knowing ultimate realities, including the ultimate reality of an infinite and Triune God.
The same problem confronts the appeal to the problem of evil to deny God’s existence. The inability to comprehend why a God of perfect goodness and power allowed evil into His universe reveals the limits of human knowledge, but has no effect on the possibility of God’s existence. God has revealed much about the nature and existence of evil as it entered the universe by the will of free creatures. But mysteries remain, and the limited perspective and speculation of people cannot be the ultimate standard of what a God that transcends the world He created can be or do. In any event, the premise, “a good God will always prevent evil,” cannot be validated (and we know from Scripture and history that it is false). Things that appear impossible from our limited vantage point may be possible, nonetheless. And while sufficient to know and love Him personally, our knowledge reduces to next to nothing in the face of His infinity.
Logic is a valuable and indispensable gift from God to help us order our thinking and knowledge of Him and His universe. And because God is perfectly logical, no contradictions exist in Him. Yet, as used by limited and fallible people, logic alone cannot be the ultimate standard of truth regarding our infinite God—that honor belongs to God’s revelation. We depend on God telling us what He is like, and He has done so in Scripture. We can know Him truly as He has chosen to reveal Himself, but if we could fully understand Him we would be God. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). That we are unable to fully understand an infinite God is quite logical. To deny the existence of God because our limited understanding cannot fathom certain mysteries or truths He has revealed about Himself assumes our own limited understanding to be the ultimate standard of truth, an irrational and illogical assumption. God alone is the ultimate standard of truth.
Therefore, the same unfounded faith in human opinion and presumed ability to know what cannot be known underlying arguments against biblical miracles also underlie denials of God based on difficulties reconciling biblical truths according to our limited use of logic. People lack the perspective, knowledge, and ability to rightly deny the existence of an infinite God, regardless of the criteria they use.
For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:19-21 NAS).
And while we can never fully understand everything about our infinite God, He has graciously revealed to us all we need to know to love and trust Him. Indeed, to trust His perfect power and character in the face of great mystery is the logical thing to do.
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