Saturday, July 8, 2023

Twelve Points For Proving Christianity - PointTwo: The Opposite Of True Is False



    Once I heard a lecture delivered by the late Christian apologist Norman Geisler. In the lecture he laid out what he called "Twelve Points for proving Christianity". I found his outline so helpful in thinking through how someone could discuss the truth claims of Christianity. The hope is that readers will gain greater confidence in sharing their Christian faith, as well as defending it. In our last post we began with the first point "The Truth of Reality is Knowable". Readers who desire to review the first two posts prior to this one may do so here and here In today's post, we link this first point to a second "The Opposite of whatever is true is false".

The opposite of true is false.

    What follows is defining and explaining a foundational principle for reasoning and understanding how we can know anything - the law of non-contradiction.

A. The law of non-contradiction means something cannot be true and not true in the same way and in the same sense.

    As I mentioned, the law of non-contradiction tells me that something cannot be one thing, and yet be its opposite at the same time and in the same way. It is such "first principles" for foundational laws of logic that enable us to make sense of anything or to know anything at all. Anytime an individual attempts to violate the law of non-contradiction, he or she is acting "irrational", that is, they do not have proper justification for their beliefs and behavior. We know that laws of logic such as this derive from God Himself, since the Second Person of the Trinity Himself is called "The Logos", expressing the very nature of God Himself (John 1:1,14). In other words, if God did not exist, logic itself would not exist.

    This second point of "the opposite of true is false" is so necessary when talking to people about Christian truth claims. Only Christianity can explain why we live in a world that includes the universal law of non-contradiction. There is a reason why there is no such thing as square circles or making a nonsense statement such as "I am here and not here at the same time". If we did not have such a thing as "the opposite of true is false" (the law of non-contradiction), then we could not have conversations with one another, make sense of anything, nor would anything exist at all!

B. Sinful tendencies of the tongue try to ignore the law of non-contradiction – James 3:8-12

    The law of non-contradiction not only grounds rational thinking and making sense of our physical world, but it also exposes the errors that occur in our ethical beliefs and moral behaviors. The Apostle James shows how irrational sin can be in the realm of our speech in James 3:8-12

"But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh."

    Here James demonstrates how God's nature in rooting rationality itself is woven into the created order. When we spiritually and morally oppose God, to do so is to sin or transgress. Sadly, human beings, even those born-again in saving faith, will find themselves saying one thing while meaning another, with the very act betraying their true intentions. They may think they can do two opposites at the same time and in the same way, yet God looks on the heart and sees their true spiritual and moral condition (compare 1 Samuel 16:7). 

    God's nature of being Holy shows that despite sin's efforts, it cannot violate the law of non-contradiction. In other words, we either are doing what is right and true or what is wrong and false. As the late preacher Adrian Rogers once noted "a half truth is still a full lie".

C.Sin by its very nature is irrational,
that is, it violates whatever is true. Isaiah 5:20-21

    When you think about it, sin itself is at its root irrational, since it attempts to believe and behave independently as if there were no God. The Lord Himself pronounced judgment on His people for their sin. In a striking passage that features what it looks like when the law of non-contradiction is violated, we read these words in Isaiah 5:20-21 

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight!" 

    We see examples of people attempting to violate the law of non-contradiction and thus leaping into irrationality, especially in the current popularity of identity politics and claiming to self-identify as one gender in opposition to one's true gender. Such moves are applauded, even though they have no basis in logic or physical reality. Paul would expound on this state of affairs in Romans 1:18-31, describing such a mindset in Romans 1:21

"For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

Closing thoughts:

    In today's post we explored the second point in our twelve points of proving Christianity - the opposite of true is false. This point, along with the first "the truth about reality is knowable" grounds our discussion in the all important subject of "truth". We know that Jesus included truth in defining what it means to be converted in the true knowledge of the God of the Bible (John 17:3). Moreover, Jesus also claimed that He Himself is "The Truth" (John 14:6). Truth, as we have seen, is not just an abstract principle, but ultimately is the Almighty powerful God, revealed in the Person of Christ Himself. In our next post, we will explore our third point for proving Christianity - "it is true that the theistic God exists".

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