Reasoning out of the Scriptures Part 2

Reasoning Out of the Scriptures I. This study sets forth the Biblical method for arriving at truth, our chief pursuit. PRO 23:23; 4:7. A. It sets forth the importance of linear, connected thought that produces sound conclusions as opposed to scattered, disconnected thought that produces invalid or indeterminate conclusions. This may be expressed: 1. Valid premise + valid reasoning = valid conclusion. 2. Valid premise + invalid reasoning = invalid conclusion. 3. Invalid premise + valid reasoning = invalid conclusion. 4. Invalid premise + invalid reasoning = indeterminate conclusion. B. It sets forth the necessary subjugation of emotion to logic. C. It sets forth the method of Paul, our pattern. ACT 17:2-3; 18:4-5. 1. This implies that his hearers recognized the Scriptures as having merit. 2. Mind that Paul never reasoned from rabbinical traditions/the oral law. 3. He reasoned from philosophy or the creation among those who had no history with the Scriptures. ACT 17:22-31. 4. Before you can reason with some from the Scriptures, it may be necessary to reason them to the Scriptures: setting forth the necessities of First Cause/Creator, communication in language via recorded revelation, evidences in creation and history or from your personal salvation that Scripture is true, etc. But mind that reasoning is still here a requirement. II. reason: intr. To think in a connected, sensible, or logical manner; to employ the faculty of reason in forming conclusions (in general, or in a particular instance). A. The word logic comes from the Greek word logos, which means word, speech, discourse, reason. B. The same Greek word logos is translated Word in JOH 1:1, 14. C. The Word, Jesus Christ, is the highest expression of reason/logic. D. His testimony is the spirit of prophecy, i.e., He is the author of all Scripture. REV 19:10. E. In order to think logically you do not need to learn all the forms and figures of correct thinking taught in books on logic. You need only learn to think Biblically. F. If one has the mindset of Jesus Christ, which is laid out in the Scriptures, he will think logically. PHI 2:5-8. G. The mind of Christ is humble submission to God. Such a mindset is essential to the discovery of truth. PRO 11:2. H. With the mind of Christ one is equipped to judge all things, to arrive at correct conclusions. 1CO 2:15-16. I. God has so structured the creation that it cannot be rightly comprehended without Jesus Christ. 1. All things are created by and for the Lord Jesus Christ and God has given Him preeminence in all things so that He is the unifying whole into which all facts are fitted and related. COL 1:16-19; 2:3. 2. Therefore, in the absence of the divine revelation that centers in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the truth (JOH 14:6), all reasoning no matter how sound will fall short of leading the mind to the ultimate knowledge of truth. 3. For example, with just the world to study and no Bible to read, man cannot find out the beginning or the ending of the world. ECC 3:11; HEB 11:3; 2PE 3:5-8. 4. There are things that man cannot discover with just his senses and reasoning power. 1CO 2:9-10. Reasoning 12-8-18 Page 1 5. If a man rejects Scripture and relies solely on his own reasoning, he is doomed to folly and vanity, that is, so much money and time wasted on education that gets him nothing but a Doctor of Delusion degree from Damn U. ROM 1:21-22; 1CO 1:20-21; 3:18-20; 2TH 2:11-12. 6. Not even God the Father can be known without Jesus Christ Who declares Him. JOH 1:18; MAT 11:27; 1JO 2:23. 7. Recognizing Jesus Christ the Logos/Word as the Beginning, Ending, Center and Pinnacle of everything is the key to sound reasoning. 8. “The nature of Christ’s existence is mysterious, I admit;...Reject it and the world is an inexplicable riddle; believe it and the history of our race is satisfactorily explained.” (Napoleon Bonaparte) III. Emotional thinking interferes with rational faith that is fixed on truth. A. emotion: Psychology. A mental ‘feeling’ or ‘affection’ (e.g. of pleasure or pain, desire or aversion, surprise, hope or fear, etc.), as distinguished from cognitive or volitional states of consciousness... B. faith: Belief, trust, confidence. Confidence, reliance, trust (in the ability, goodness, etc., of a person; in the efficacy or worth of a thing; or in the truth of a statement or doctrine). C. We are to believe truth and not believe error. 2TH 2:11-14; 1JO 4:1. D. Therefore, Biblical faith requires one’s reason to discern the truth that is to be believed. 1. By logic, we arrive at the knowledge of the truth we are called to believe. 2. Hence, Paul reasoned out of the Scriptures in an effort to persuade men to believe the truth of Jesus Christ. 3. Those who have no faith in the truth are unreasonable. 2TH 3:2. E. When emotions dominate, they obstruct the attainment and exercise of rational faith. 1. We probably have all experienced moments of intense excitement, joy, sadness, distress or fear, etc., where our rational thinking shut down. Ever come under the sway of an expert salesman who knew how to get you “under the ether” emotionally? 2. Fear and joy confounded the disciples’ belief in what they saw. LUK 24:36-41. 3. The fool, who is not rational, is characterized by the uncontrolled emotion of anger. PRO 12:16; 14:17; ECC 7:9. 4. When the disciples were full of fear because of the storm, they had no faith. MAR 4:35-40. 5. Rhoda’s excitement caused an irrational response. ACT 12:13-14. 6. Those who “...have pleasure in unrighteousness...” (2TH 2:12) believe not the truth. a. They would rather feel good even if it is something wrong. b. This is the dangerous power of positive emotions for emotion’s sake. c. A country song said, “If lovin’ you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” 7. Emotion should properly respond to truth (PSA 119:128, 162; 2KI 22:11), not be the determiner of truth. a. Truth must be determined rationally, not emotionally. b. Emotions need to be brought under control of the logos, i.e., the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the ultimate expression of logic. 1CO 9:27; EPH 4:17. F. We are to guide our hearts (the seat of emotions) not be guided by our hearts. PRO 23:19. G. Conversion demands “...repentance to the acknowledging of the truth” (2TI 2:25-26). 1. Emotion-led thinking is one of the things to repent of in deference to truth. 2. Through the truth we may recover ourselves from the emotional traps by which the Reasoning 12-8-18 Page 2 devil takes us captive. IV. Arriving at truth by reason demands that there must be truth that can be known and known with certitude (subjective certainty...absence of doubt). A. truth: Conformity with fact; agreement with reality; accuracy, correctness, verity (of statement or thought). B. Truth is an inescapable concept. If there is no truth, is it true that there is no truth? 1. If it is true that there is no truth, then there is truth. 2. If there is truth, then it is not true that there is no truth. C. Without truth, there can be no profitable communication. EPH 4:25. 1. Without truth, nothing is knowable. 2. We cannot know if one is telling the truth unless we know what the truth is. 3. There is no way to know what truth is if there is no truth to know. 4. “There is no truth to know” is self-refuting since that statement must be true for its proposition to be valid, which means that the statement is false. D. There are five states of mind with regard to knowing: 1. Ignorance. The mind is without knowledge. 2. Doubt. The mind is suspended between judgments and thus arrives at no decision. 3. Suspicion. The mind inclines toward a position but without commitment. 4. Opinion. The mind decides in favor of a judgment, but with the fear of error. 5. Certitude. The mind gives a firm assent to a judgment without fear of error due to recognized valid reasons. E. We can either know with certitude or we cannot. 1. Sceptics deny that we can know with certitude. This doctrine is self-refuting since it demands that one certainly know that he cannot know with certitude. 2. No sceptic can live daily life without practicing a belief in certitude. 3. Sceptics argue that it is certain that there is no certitude. If so, there is certitude. 4. Sceptics argue that we must doubt everything to avoid error. a. However, this admits that there is doubt versus certainty and error versus truth. b. If these distinctions are accepted as certain, then everything is not doubted. c. “We must doubt everything to avoid error” is a statement of certainty. d. If “We must doubt everything to avoid error” is valid, then one must doubt that statement. 5. Sceptics either have valid reasons for doubting everything or they do not. a. If they have valid reasons to doubt, then those reasons are known for certain and everything is not doubted. b. If they have no valid reasons to doubt everything, then their scepticism is overthrown. 6. Sceptics are conscious of their own doubting. If they were not, they would not be aware of it and arguing about it. a. Their doubting argues for the certainty of their existence. b. If they doubt their existence, then who is doing the doubting? 7. Since the doctrine that we cannot know with certitude is self-refuting and irrational, it stands that we can know with certitude. F. Therefore, we can know with certitude and there is truth to be known with certitude. G. Because truth can be known, men are without excuse before God. ROM 1:18-23, 28. 1. Fallen man cannot know spiritual truth because he has not the spiritual capacity. 1CO 2:14. Reasoning 12-8-18 Page 3 2. But fallen man can know natural truth, which proves God’s existence. V. All knowledge is based in first principles which are self-evident. These cannot be refuted without assuming them. A. The Principle of My Own Existence, aka, The Principle of Identity. 1. I am I. If I am not, then I am not I. 2. To say, “I am not,” I must say, “I am.” I have to affirm my existence to deny it. B. The Principle of Contradiction. 1. It is impossible for the same thing both to be and not to be at the same time. Otherwise stated, “A” cannot be “non-A” when all factors are identical. 2. Example. a. “Long hair is always good.” and “Long hair is always bad.” b. If all factors are identical, these are contradictory statements. c. These are not contradictory statements if factors differ. If the former is referring to hair on a woman but the latter is referring to hair on a man or to hair in your butter, the statements are not contradictory. The apparent contradiction was owing to a lack of detail or context. 3. To deny the necessity and validity of the Principle of Contradiction would be to strip words of their fixed meaning and render speech useless, since it eliminates distinction between things. Bleach, milk and water would all be the same thing. Truth and falsity would be the same thing. C. The Principle of Sufficient Reason. 1. Everything that exists must have a sufficient reason for its existence. 2. Otherwise stated, “Nothing produces nothing.” It is logically impossible for something to be produced from nothing. 3. This principle is the basis of the Law of Cause and Effect. 4. The universe either exists by magic or by an outside First Cause. D. The Principle of the Essential Trustworthiness of My Reason. 1. This affirms that one’s reason is capable of knowing truth. 2. The self-evident nature of this was addressed in the foregoing refutation of scepticism. E. The above four principles enable us to know with certainty truth from error, right from wrong, and they interrelate. 1. The Principle of Identity affirms that a thing is as it is. Since a thing is what it is, it cannot not be what it is at the same time, all factors bring equal (which is the Principle of Contradiction). 2. Since a thing can’t be and not be at the same time with identical factors in play, this means that it has a sufficient reason for its existence (which is the Principle of Sufficient Reason). 3. I know the Principle of Identity and the principles which arise from it because my reason is capable of recognizing the existence of things (which is the Principle of the Essential Trustworthiness of My Reason). 4. All these principles distill down to the fact that there is truth which can be known with certitude. F. All of this is known intuitively by a rational mind. 1. Apart from a disruption of rational thinking because of biological, chemical, traumatic or some other tangible source of disruption, the only way of overriding this intuitive knowledge is by deception masquerading as wisdom: a lie posing as truth. Reasoning 12-8-18 Page 4 2. We are warned against the influence of philosophy and vain deceit (the wisdom of this world). COL 2:8. 3. “Education is useless without the Bible.” (Noah Webster) VI. Faith is the glue which enables us to connect together what we know and it enables us to know more of what is knowable. A. Faith and knowledge work in tandem. EPH 4:13; 1TI 4:3; 1JO 4:16. 1. faith: Belief, trust, confidence. Confidence, reliance, trust (in the ability, goodness, etc., of a person; in the efficacy or worth of a thing; or in the truth of a statement or doctrine). 2. knowledge: The fact of knowing a thing, state, etc., or (in general sense) a person; acquaintance; familiarity gained by experience... Acquaintance with a fact; perception, or certain information of, a fact or matter... B. Knowing the facts of Christ, we believe them. Knowing Christ Himself, we trust Him. C. If one does not believe on the Lord Jesus, he lacks that which connects all facts together. D. The knowledge of God provides the basis for faith (PSA 9:10). The more one knows the Lord, the more reason one sees to trust Him. E. Just as knowledge provides the information upon which faith acts, the act of faith grasps the knowledge that is available. F. Unbelief hinders the acquisition of knowledge even when the information is right in front of us. JOH 14:7-11; LUK 16:31. 1. Consider the failure of the disciples to understand the teaching of our Lord regarding the leaven of the scribes and Pharisees. MAT 16:5-12 c/w MAR 8:14-21. a. The disciples knew that our Lord Jesus fed the multitudes with a little bread and fishes as their answers revealed. b. But lacking faith, that knowledge did not affect them as it should. They did not connect the facts they knew to the present situation. c. They reasoned (MAT 16:7; MAR 8:16-17) but their reasoning process was defective because it lacked faith. 2. Consider the evil example of Israel in the wilderness. HEB 3:17-19. a. They knew the miracles God had already performed for them. b. But they did not connect that knowledge to fresh challenges because their knowledge was not coupled with faith. c. Hence, their knowledge did not profit them (HEB 4:1-2). It was all the same as if they did not know at all. 3. These examples are basic issues with which we all may struggle. We may know that God is all powerful and faithful to His own words of promise but that knowledge will not have the strengthening and transforming effect in us if we do not trust His power and promises. a. It is one thing to know a fact and to believe that fact to be true. Devils do as much. MAR 1:24; JAM 2:19. b. It is another thing to trust that fact so that it influences my life. c. This is the difference between “belief that” and “belief in.” (1) One may, based upon evidence, believe that a bulletproof vest stops a a pistol round. (2) The real test is when one wearing that vest is forced to rely on it to do what one believes that it can do. That’s “belief in.” Reasoning 12-8-18 Page 5
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