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Vern Poythress – Every Time We Think

19 Jul

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Logic, we have said, is personal. But logic does not depend on any one human person, since it would still hold if we had never existed. Logic transcends the world, including the world of human persons. That is another way of saying that it is divine. It belongs to God, as a feature of his speech. It displays his attributes because it is an aspect of his character. Hence, we rely on God every time we think and every time we engage in logical reasoning. We can praise God for what he has given us in our logic and our ability to reason.


~Vern Poythress~






Logic: A God-Centered Approach to the Foundation of Western Thought (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2013) p. 80.

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Vern Poythress – God: The Source of Logic

10 Jul

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If logic is not created, and it just “is,” we have to return to the question of whether God is subject to the laws of logic. If he is, he is not truly absolute. Logic rules over him. Logic appears to be a kind of ruling “god” above God, making us question who or what is the final controller. But what is the alternative to the assumption that God is subject to the laws of logic? If God is not subject to the laws of logic, should we conclude that he is illogical? Then we cannot depend on him…

The Bible teaches the distinction between Creator and creature. God alone is Creator and Sovereign and Absolute. We are not. Everything God created is distinct from him. It is all subject to him. Therefore, logic is not a second absolute, over God or beside him. There is only one Absolute, God himself. Logic is in fact an aspect of his character, because it expresses the consistency of God and the faithfulness of God… There is nothing more ultimate than God. So God is the source of logic. The character of God includes his logicality.


~Vern Poythress~






Logic: A God-Centered Approach to the Foundation of Western Thought (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2013) p. 63.

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Vern Poythress – The Influence of God in Informal Arguments

23 May

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The Bible indicates that unbelievers who reject the message of salvation in the gospel, the good news about Christ, have their eyes blinded by Satan:

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Cor. 4:3-4)

This statement about the reception of the gospel indicates that the gospel deserves to be welcomed and believed. There is plenty of evidence, including the divine witness of the Holy Spirit that accompanies it (1 Thess. 1:5). But unbelievers are not persuaded by this evidence. They are blind to it. At some crucial points they do not accept the arguments, no matter how convincing these arguments may be in their own right.

Our hearts can easily deceive us. Even if we pride ourselves on our ability to criticize bad arguments, we are more likely to undertake a critique if our heart includes us to dislike the argument’s conclusion or to be suspicious of it. On the other hand, in practice we are more likely to neglect the task of critical analysis and to swallow a flawed or fallacious argument if our hearts tell us that the conclusion is pleasing…

On the one hand, emotion or commitments in the heart can sway people to reject good arguments, arguments in accord with sound logic. On the other hand, God can change human hearts, and he can give wisdom to people who love him. Rightly understood, love and logic go together.


~Vern Poythress~






Logic: A God-Centered Approach to the Foundation of Western Thought (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2013) p. 46-47.

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Vern Poythress – Why Autonomous Reasoning Isn’t Enough

7 May

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As part of this process [committing to become followers of Christ], they see that Christ testifies to the divine authority of the Old Testament, and indirectly to the New Testament, because Christ authoritatively commissioned the apostles as witnesses (Acts 1:8). So their view of the Bible changes. They begin to use the Bible’s instruction rather than autonomous judgment as their ultimate guide. Whether the process is long or short, we can see a marked difference between the beginning and the end: they were formerly in rebellion, and now they have been reconciled to God through Christ.

But according to the Bible no one is neutral in the process. We are all by nature rebels against God and we do not want to submit. The Bible itself indicates that the heart of the difficulty is not in the alleged doubtful character of the evidence presented in the Bible (the evidence for the resurrection of Christ is particularly pertinent), but in the doubtful or rather sinful character of us who read it. Moreover, our sinfulness infects our reasoning, so that we come to the evidence with corrupted standards for judging it. Even if the Bible is genuine, we want to judge it rather than submit to God. We want to remain in charge of our life (autonomy), including the life of reasoning. Our desire for autonomy, and the conception of reasoning that goes with it, need changing. We need to be redeemed by God from our rebellion.


~Vern Poythress~






Logic: A God-Centered Approach to the Foundation of Western Thought (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2013) p. 36-37.

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Other Poythress Quotes at the Cross Quoter