The New Yorker cartoon dates from the early part of the twentieth century, and the caption has entered into national lexicon of snappy comebacks for a reason.
You know, cut to the chase. What’s the bottom line? Cash it out for me. It brings to mind an admirable method of reasoning, one of the valid hypothetical syllogisms, thusly and to wit, “If P, then Q. Not Q, therefore not P.”
There is a type of postmodern intellectual, not to mention his pale cousin, the postmodern intellectual lite, who likes to obscure a subject with a fog of words, ostentatious learning, even more ostentatious footnotes, extended digressions, appeals to Heidegger (the Nazi), and whatnot. But then, when he gets to the point where he says to us, “It’s brocoli, dear,” I always look around to see if I am being set up.
The attempts to pass it off as broccoli are fairly limited, and they all proceed from a refusal to acknowledge that God makes sense. As C.S. Lewis pointed out somewhere, nonsense doesn’t cease to be nonsense simply because you preface it with the words “God can.” Appeals to perichoretic mystery do have a legitimate place — but that place is not to get your and your lousy argument out of a jam.
Jesus Christ is the Logos of God, the Word of God. Thus He embodies everything that words lawfully do, and one of the central things that words lawfully do is make sense of things, and when I say “make sense,” I am using a pre-Kantian correspondence approach to truth. But in a fogged postmodern condition, we like to pretend language is an invention of ours, one that keeps us completely away from Kant’s noumenal realm (i.e. reality), but language was actually an gift of God to us, one which He gave us so that we could be able to talk about the noumenal realm. God did not put Adam in the Garden, and then hide the Garden from him. Adam was the one who did the hiding.
So Aristotle didn’t invent logic, but rather discovered it. He came across it, just lying there. He came into something that already pre-existed, you know, like Daniel Boone coming into Kentucky.
The basic laws of logic are not above God, obviously, for then the lawgiver of those laws would be the true Most High God. The laws of logic are not below God, as though they were mere creatures that He could have created differently if He had wanted. God could have made maple leaves blue if He had wanted to, but He didn’t. He could have made the sky green, and the sea red. But He didn’t. But God Himself could not make round squares — not because a God of Geometry told Him He couldn’t, but rather because the triune God cannot violate His own nature and character. The basic laws of logic are descriptions of God’s nature and character; they are attributes of God — like His love, His righteousness, His holiness, and so forth.
It is worth remembering that when we distinguish God’s attributes, we are not separating them. As Thomas Watson once put it, “All God attributes are identical, and are the same with his essence . . . So there are several attributes of God whereby we conceive of him, but only one entire essence” (A Body of Divinity, p. 87). The fact that God is self-consistent is one of His attributes, and it is an attribute that we have described in our studies of the world in the vocabulary of certain basic laws of thought.
The law of identity (A is A), the law of non-contradiction (A cannot be not A), and the law of the excluded middle (A as a proposition must be either true or false, and not a third thing) are simply descriptions of the way all things must ultimately be. All things in the created order must be this way because God Himself is this way, and the creation necessarily reflects what God is like.
If these laws above were not constitutive of ultimate reality, then we could deny that the Father is the Father, we could say that the Father is the Father and is also not the Father, or we could say that to confess that God is the Father is neither true nor false. In short, we have kicked the door wide open to every conceivable heresy — which, as I gather, for some people is kind of the point.
If logic and right reason are crucial to genuine piety, and they are, and if the Westminster Confession was right to maintain that we could know things from Scripture as the Word of God, even if it were by “good and necessary consequence, then fuzzy thinkers everywhere are in trouble. And we can see they are in trouble when they try to tell us its broccoli.
There are all kinds of reasons why postmodernists want us to pretend its broccoli, and the Christian pomos wave their hands over the spot and tell that we should not be so beholden to Aristotle, trapped as we are in those teeny Aristotelian cubbies. But Aristotle does not need to have anything to do with it. Kids can grow up in Kentucky before learning anything about Daniel Boone. In fact, depending on the school, they might never learn about Daniel Boone.
Right reason makes a hash out of Darwinism. Logic has shown that socialism is a colossal failure, and a fraud on top of that. And extensive research has shown that sexual congress is best achieved when you have one male and one female. There. I said it.