A group of protesters in Wisconsin recently found themselves in an embarrassing situation. The headline reads, “Awkward: Protesters Fail to Inflate Coal Plant Balloon With Renewable Energy.”[i] The group of unhappy activists was protesting Madison Gas and Electric’s new rates, complaining that it diminished consumer interest in renewable energy. To make their case loud and clear, they inflated a blow-up coal plant balloon using nothing but “renewable energy” while chanting “Coal has to go!” Unfortunately, the blow-up coal plant collapsed because their batteries ran out of power and their solar panel did not produce enough energy to keep it inflated. The group later admitted that they would normally inflate the prop with electrical wall outlets or gas-powered generators. The irony and foolishness of the situation aren’t difficult to see. The energy company they were protesting against provides them the energy required to inflate the prop in their protest. Without that energy source, they can’t even inflate their prop.
Atheists find themselves in a similar predicament. Without logic, they cannot make their case against Christianity, yet only the Christian worldview can account for logic. This point was argued in a previous article on Christianity and logic. If atheists attempt to stand on their own worldview, similar to the protesters using their own energy source, they cannot provide the necessary logical foundations to reason against Christianity, just as the protesters could not provide their own energy to inflate their prop. The Christian God must first provide man the ability to reason, and only then can he suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18).
Many Christians don’t recognize man’s dependence on God for knowledge and how this relates to logic. Without logic, knowledge would be impossible because we could never know what is true; no distinction between truth and error could ever be made. The connection between man’s dependence on logic for knowledge and man’s dependence on God for knowledge is easily established in the person of Jesus Christ.
“In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, John wrote, ‘In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.’ The Greek word Logos is usually translated Word, but it is better-translated Wisdom or Logic. Our English word logic comes from this Greek word logos. John was calling Christ the Wisdom or Logic of God. In verse nine, referring again to Christ, he says that Christ is ‘The true light’ who lights every man.”[ii]
Jesus is the Logos–the Logic of God–that lights every man with knowledge. This is why the Scriptures tell us that in Christ Jesus “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3). Here is the heart of Christian epistemology: All wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ. The fact that all knowledge is hidden in Christ means that man cannot search it out anywhere else. If Christ does not illuminate the mind of man then man can know nothing at all. And because our ability to think rationally requires logic, man cannot even reason or think rationally apart from Christ, the Logic of God.
The desire of the unbeliever to reject God may also cause him to reject logic as well. This should not come as a surprise to us since God has made “foolish the wisdom of the world” (1 Cor. 1:20). If the unbeliever forfeits logic then he has already lost the debate because all debates, all rational discourse, and all communication, presupposes logic. Without logic, the unbeliever cannot even make his case against Christianity.
Let us return to our unhappy protesters and consider for a moment that the coal plant balloon represents an argument against the company they were protesting. The protesters were protesting the energy company because of its non-renewable energy, yet they required that same non-renewable energy to inflate their balloon. Likewise, some atheists reject logic in order to make their arguments against Christianity, yet they require logic to make their arguments intelligible. Theoretical physicist and atheistic propagandist Stephen Hawking is one such example. Hawking writes: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”[iii] In order to argue for a self-created universe, one must reject the law of non-contradiction. For something to be its own creator and its own creation, it must exist and not exist at the same time and in the same sense. According to Aristotle, “The same attribute cannot at the same time belong and not belong to the same subject and in the same respect.”[iv] R. C. Sproul also notes that “for something to create itself, or to be its own effect as well as its own cause, it would have to exist before it existed. The universe, to be self-created, would have to be before it was. Stated in terms of the law of non-contradiction, the universe would have to be and not be at the same time and in the same relationship.”[v]
Hawking must reject the law of non-contradiction in order to argue for a self-created universe, but it is impossible for him to make his argument intelligible apart from the law of non-contradiction. That is because every word in his argument has definite and specific meaning. As Dr. John Robbins wrote, “Each word has a definite meaning. In order to have a definite meaning, a word must not only mean something, it must also not mean something.”[vi] When Hawking argues that “the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” he does not intend for us to understand that “the universe cannot and will not create itself from nothing,” for that would contradict his claim. The word “can” does not mean “cannot” and the word “will” does not mean “will not.” He is, therefore, rejecting the law of non-contradiction to make his argument while at the same time using the law of non-contradiction to make his argument intelligible. His argument is self-refuting. No rational person could ever accept such a position. Unfortunately, atheists make arguments like this all the time. However, if they insist on making logical blunders or advancing self-refuting arguments or dismissing logic altogether in order to maintain the position of atheism then so be it. Christians have nothing to fear, for “let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: ‘That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged’ ” (Rom. 3:4).
[i] Gutfield, Greg. “Awkward: Protesters Fail to Inflate Coal Plant Balloon With Renewable Energy.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 16 Oct. 2016. Web. 24 June 2017. <http://insider.foxnews.com/2014/10/16/awkward-protesters-fail-inflate-coal-plant-balloon-renewable-energy>.
[ii] John W. Robbins, “Why Study Logic?”, The Trinity Review (July/August, 1985)
[iii] Roberts, Laura. “Stephen Hawking: God Was Not Needed to Create the Universe.” The Telegraph. September 2, 2010. Accessed November 10, 2014. Emphasis mine
[iv] Robbins, “Why Study Logic?”, 2.
[v] Sproul, R.C. “Self-Creation.” In Defending Your Faith, 205. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 200
[vi] Robbins, “Why Study Logic?”, 3.