Are any laws of logic violated by the story of Jesus? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I have a saying about many skeptics that I meet that they honor reason with their lips but their heads are far from it. One such rule is the idea of logic. For many, being logical doesn’t mean following the laws of logic. It means just not believing in God and miracles because those violate logic because, well, they just do because that’s not logical.
To be fair, some skeptics will try to point out some logical contradictions in the nature of God, and this is entirely valid. If there is a logical contradiction in the nature of God, then God does not exist in the way we have conceived Him. If that is what is being done, that is not what this post is about. This post is about the claim that something like the resurrection of Jesus violates logic.
Let’s start by saying what laws of logic are. They are simple. The Law of Identity is A = A. What you are talking about is what you are talking about. Something is itself. The Law of Excluded Middle says that A is either B or non-B but nowhere in between. Something has to fall on the spectrum somewhere as either true or false. The Law of Noncontradiction says that A cannot both B and non-B in the same time and in the same sense. Contradictions can’t be true.
From here, consider a story like Cinderella. This is one that we all know is meant to be a fairy tale and not a historical reality. We can say all we want that the events in Cinderella never happened, but that does not mean that they violate logic. In the story, a fairy godmother turns a pumpkin into a coach and mice into horses.
Has any law of logic been violated? Not a one. What would be a violation is for mice to not be mice while being mice or for them to become horses and not become horses in the same time and in the same sense. It would also be the case that either the mice became horses or they did not.
Even the staunchest atheist can conceive of a story where a pumpkin becomes a coach. It doesn’t mean he thinks it would ever happen, but he can have a suspended disbelief of sorts where he watches the movie with a daughter, for example, and goes with the story as is. What he cannot conceive is a story where Cinderella has two pumpkins and the fairy godmother gives her two more and she has five pumpkins. You can conceive of a world of magic. You cannot conceive of one where 2 + 2 = 5.
So let’s look at the resurrection of Jesus. The event is the resurrection of Jesus and not anything else. It either happened or it didn’t even if it’s the case that we can’t know if it happened or not. There are no contradictions involved. A dead body coming back to life does not violate logic. You could try to argue it violates science or materialism, but not logic.
This is the case with most miracle claims out there. Whether they are true or not is another matter. Now if they violated logic, they could not be true, but in the same sense, just because they do not violate logic does not mean that they are true. Cinderella doesn’t violate logic, but that does not make it true. The truthfulness of the claim will be determined on other grounds, namely historical grounds.
In dialogue with skeptics, remember that logic refers to something very specific. Skeptics will often act like if you are logical you don’t believe in God or miracles or something of that sort. That needs to be backed. That kind of reasoning on their part is not illogical, but it is certainly not rational.