I was recently asked to speak about the ‘inherent logics of faith’ and compare them to the ‘logics of science’, especially with regard to cosmology.
As I crafted my contribution to this discussion, I was stumped by the use of the word ‘logic’. Now after the event, where a concentration of philosophers, theologians and scientists all gathered around this issue, I remain unwilling to offer a full derivation of the logics of faith, at least one that I would recognise as an apologetic.
Of course, there are ‘logics’ applied in the faith. Biblical interpretation can follow a logical method, there are the rational proofs of God particularly championed by Aquinas, and some defend a natural theology where patterns or coincidences in nature are used to defend the idea of a ‘hands on’ Creator God. These might all be held up as evidence for God, to be used in a logical argument but, for me at least, they would never be a full account of my faith.
Faith is a choice, a gift, a way of thinking that is always, partly transcendent; it is reason meets revelation not only on an individual level, but also globally if we consider the place of divine revelation in the history of the faith. Faith is also deeply personal. Some are attracted to rock solid theology, proofs, and answers. Others are more comfortable with the darkness, unknowing and questions. Can we include not-knowing in an ‘inherent logic of the faith’?
Inherent means a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute, from the Latin meaning, ‘sticking to’. But has there ever been unilateral agreement on the faith, and her theology? And when it comes to applying that logic to interpretation of, for example the big bang, we all know that two people can interpret the same event in different ways, even paradoxically.
A faith-logic that I would be comfortable with must include paradox, anti-logic and diversity in unity. And for this is offer three ‘proofs’: all Trinitarian theology, the anti-logic of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:22-25) and a creation Christology of Jesus Christ, the Word or Logic of God, at the beginning of the universe (John 1). These are held together and, when used in the defense of a faith logic, are often best illustrated through personal narrative and involvement.
Christian logic is built on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the faith logic of a Christian involve us in this story. It is in our lives that the proof of the logic might be found. Lives where the first become last and the last first, where giving away our belongings makes us rich, and where freedom comes throughslavery. It is illogical and uneconomic, but it is the faith-logic, a lived experience of being a child of God and part of the body of Christ in this suffering world.