“Logically, logic is insufficient.” – an observation from my brother, the vulcan
Modern human beings are a fun bunch. Over recent centuries and decades we’ve almost come to believe that, through the use of one single tool, we can deconstruct the entire universe and everything in it, reducing all of existence to a math equation we can fit in our shirt pocket. We have the key to every door imaginable in this tool, the world would have us believe, and it is touted as our passageway to all knowledge and understanding.
It is a ruse, and its name is “logic”.
Calm down, Plato, I’m not knocking logic. I am, however, knocking the exalted pedestal upon which modern man is guilty of placing it. I am afraid that we have seen a shift over the last approximately 500 years or so (and even before, but it really took off with the rise of modernism and the Renaissance) from a position of holding to the ministerial* use of reason to that of holding a magisterial** use of reason. As a consequence, we have begun trying to outsmart the very Word of God, as if somehow our mental faculties can – to co-opt the words of the Apostle Paul – ascend to heaven to bring Christ down.
Misguided as the thinking that our creaturely faculties should be able to comprehend the mysteries of God is, many examples of it can readily be found all around us. From Rob Bell’s recently published conclusion that “God is love, and a loving God wouldn’t send people to hell, therefore there is no hell” (flawed, of course, in that Bell chooses to define “love” for himself and assume his own definition a priori in order to draw his preferred conclusions), to the Islamic position that “human flesh is finite, God is infinite, therefore the Incarnation is impossible since the finite can never take part in (participate with) nor contain the infinite” (which you Calvinists out there should recognize as the ultimate conclusion to your “finitum non capax infiniti” argument), we are literally surrounded on all sides.
Scripture tells us some hard things. Things like the Trinity, predestination, the resurrection of the dead. Things that logic is just not capable of making final, ultimate sense of. But things that Scripture insists we believe, even in the face of our finite brains screaming, “but that’s a contradiction!”
Indeed, in our God-given quest to seek out knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 25:2) through our skills of logic, we need to remember that while many things are beyond reason, this does not mean they are against reason.
In point of fact, if we claim to believe in a transcendent God, then the most logical and reasonable conclusion in the world is that logic itself is insufficient to understand Him and His ways. He is beyond our realm of experience, from which our logic is based. As Creator, He tells logic what to be, not the other way around. It should be no surprise, then, that there are things He speaks of which are too high and lofty for us, knowledge and understanding beyond the reach of our reason.
But know, brothers and sisters, that the faith of a child is sufficient where logic fails. Faith needs no clever paradigms, no well-crafted arguments. It needs only the voice of the Father, extending in Baptism through Christ to you saying, “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Listen to Him.
*As in “minister”. Reason as subject to God’s Word.
**As in “magistrate”. Reason as arbitrator of God’s Word.