Must a person give up reason, mind, logic, and intelligence to become a Christian? Are these mental categories a hindrance to a Christian to live a godly life? Why do so many religious systems warn their devotees that reason and logic will hinder their spiritual attainment? Is there a relationship between their leader’s statements against reason and their leader’s desire to control their followers? Are young Christians intellectually and spiritually disadvantaged, when they are discouraged from studying the principles of logic by their leaders? Finally, are Christians profaning the name of the Son of God when they boldly proclaim that reason is of the devil?
First, we will answer these questions from the Word of God. Then we will examine various Christian writers who have provided a rich source of material on this subject. By contrast, we will then assess the writings of false religious systems. In conclusion, we will note the moral implications of the position that is opposed to knowledge, reason, wisdom, and logic.
The “Word” of the Gospel of John is one of the names or titles of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a translation of the Greek word Logos. The basic meaning of logos is the ‘thought’ of the mind. There are other Greek words which emphasize the physical sound or the vocalization of thought. Logos is the mental concept of the mind or the thought-content of the mind. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Logos or the Divine Expression of the mind of God. He is the Sent One of the Father. The Son is the One through whom the mind of God is perfectly expressed to man His creature.
Another important aspect of “Word” is its permanent character. “Thinking” for us is a process. God does not know by a mental process, since He is omniscient or all-knowing. He does not increase in knowledge as we do by thinking. Hence, God knows immediately and eternally. The Word of God does not change.
For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Ps 119:89 (KJV)
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. Isaiah 40:8 (KJV)
… the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 1 Pet 1:23 (KJV)
But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. 1 Pet 1:25 (KJV)
The Word of God is the [Logos of Theos]. The Word of God finds its expression in the Scriptures. These Scriptures are God-breathed and express the mind of God in human language without error. These propositional statements are infallible truth. The word theology is derived from theos and logos to form theologos or theology.
Although logos meant “word” when the New Testament was written, it also meant more than simply “word.” We find a clue from our English cognate for logos which is logic. Professor Gordon Clark used the word, logic, in his translation of the prologue of John’s Gospel.
In the beginning was Logic, and Logic was with God, and Logic was God. . . . In Logic was life and the life was the light of men. 1
His translation illustrates the richness of the Greek word, logos, and helps us to understand its original meaning.
The central theme of logic is true knowledge through correct thought. Because logic is so important, college curricula offer logic courses in philosophy, mathematics, and computer science departments. There are various subdivisions within the field of logic. Formal logic provides principles to evaluate the validity and soundness of syllogistic truth claims. Informal logic provides warnings about common techniques people employ to either discredit the truth or to entice someone unwittingly to accept error. Symbolic logic is a mathematical study of the principles of logic. Boolean algebra is based upon symbolic logic and is studied because its truth tables are used as the basis for computations in modern digital computers.
The fundamental basis for logic is the unity and harmony of God’s mind. The mind of God is self-consistent and provides the grounds for logically coherent human thought. The use of logic provides a means to test the validity and soundness of our thoughts. All of our thoughts of God should be logical. Illogical and contradictory thoughts are sinful. The concern for truth provides an underlying unity between logic and the Logos of the New Testament. A central theme of scripture is the Logos who came so we would know the Father in truth and without error.
Some would claim logic is just another invention of the human mind. However, logic is not an invention or a creation of mankind. It is a discovery by mankind of consistent modes of thinking. To illustrate clearly this point, we recognize Christopher Columbus did not invent or create the New World; he discovered it. The Americas were created by God. Likewise, chemists did not invent the chemical bonds of atoms; they discovered them. The matter and energy of atoms were created by God and now subsist through the power of God. Similarly, the mind of God is the ultimate ground for logic (and mathematics). Our responsibility is to learn and properly apply the principles of logic to our thoughts. The law of non-contradiction is not sinful; it is the violation of the law of non-contradiction that is sinful.
God cannot do anything irrational, and God cannot have an illogical thought. The basic laws of logic originate from the nature of God. So, to have godly thoughts, we must apply these principles to our thoughts. Evil doctrine violates logical thought.; One reason evil doctrinal systems are contrary to the truth of God is because their systems ignore logic and rational thought.
Still, this modern usage of logic is a subset of the ancient usage of logos; and, hence, it only partially corresponds to the fullness of the Greek meaning of Logos.
If we take a hint from Chapter Eight of Proverbs in the Old Testament, we find Wisdom is a divine person. Many biblical expositors teach that Wisdom is the Son of God.
I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. … The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. … Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men. 8:12,22-24,30-31(KJV)
When we use Wisdom in John’s prologue, we further approach the meaning of Logos. “In the beginning was Wisdom, and Wisdom was with God, and Wisdom was God.”
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance 2 and the Englishman’s Greek Concordance of the New Testament 3 show Logos can be translated reason. We see logos translated reason in the writings of the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul. Peter knew people would want to have reasons for faith in Christ, and, obviously, he thought there were very good reasons to be given. Peter did not believe that humankind was so dead that they could not inquire about faith in Christ.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer [apologia] to every man that asketh you a reason [logos] of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 1 Pet 3:15 (KJV)
And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason [logos] would that I should bear with you: Acts 18:14 (KJV)
Professor Clark illustrates the absurd conclusions that results when we do not use our reason in understanding the Scriptures. The Scripture states “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. Isaiah 55:8.”
Of course, the Scriptures says that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways. … If for example, we think that David was King of Israel, and God’s thoughts are not ours, then it follows that God does not think David was King of Israel. David in God’s mind was perchance prime minister of Babylon.
To avoid this irrationalism, which of course is a denial of the divine image, we must insist that truth is the same for God and man. Naturally, we may not know the truth about some matters. 4
God created us and He knows we are not robots. He created us in His image and we are responsible to act accordingly. We represent Him in a manner beyond any other being of the animal kingdom. Imagine for a minute if you had the power to create someone just like yourself. It would have a mind and be in your image. You would expect this one in your image to act responsibly towards you, since you were its creator. Likewise, God expects us to conduct our life as His responsible creatures who are made in His image.
We will be called upon to give an account of our earthly conduct at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Christians are accountable for the life they live. Are we prepared to give an account or a reason for every word we have uttered? In Matthew 12 verse 36, there are three related words: say, word, and account. This verse illuminates the difference between word as speech [rhema] and the rich meaning of logos. The distinction between rhema and logos is one between the sound articulated by the mouth [rhema] and the mental idea of the mind [logos]. (Professor Gordon Clark discusses the distinction between logos and rheemata in Chapter Three of his book entitled, The Johannine Logos.) 5 Matthew 12:36 teaches our life should be lived in view of giving an account [logos] at the judgment seat of Christ.
But I say [lego] unto you, That every idle word [rhema] that men shall speak, they shall give account [logos] thereof in the day of judgment. Matt 12:36 (KJV)
So then every one of us shall give account [logos] of himself to God. Romans 14:12 (KJV)
Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account [logos]. Phil 4:17 (KJV)
An expanded translation of John 1:1 follows to give a better idea of the fullness of the title Logos.
In the beginning was the Logos–the Word, the Divine Logic, the Wisdom, the Reason, the Expressed Mind of God.
We should be careful whenever we depreciate logic, reason or wisdom. Remember, it is the title of the Divine Being, the only begotten Son of God who became flesh and dwelt among us. To make the false claim that reason or logic is of the Devil is to dishonor the glorious person of the Lord Jesus Christ who is the eternal Logos. Such false claims attributes to Satan what really belongs to one of the persons of the Godhead. Satan wants mankind to think God is arbitrary and unreasonable. The saints of God should not spread Satan’s lie. The Savior came in human flesh, and He is the divine expression of God who is the perfection of reason, wisdom, and mind.
Scriptural Words Related to Logos
The New Testament word, alogos, means “without logos.” So, alogos means without logic or unreasonable. For example, Festus said in Acts 25:27 “it seemeth to me unreasonable [alogos] to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.” So, from this example, we can see alogos means more than simply without a word. It means unreasonable or illogical.
Alogos characterizes animals, since beasts lack reason. In fact, scripture translates alogos as “brute,” meaning without reason. Reason distinguishes mankind from the beast of the field. The Apostle Peter describes false teachers as animals without reason.
But these, as natural brute [alogos] beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; 2 Pet 2:12.
Note the context. It was not because of the use of reason these individuals turned to corruption; it was through the abandonment of reason, they did so. This is a vital point to notice, and the results were devastating. Their teachings were without reason, and, so, they spoke evil of things they understood not. (One needs reason to understand.) This ultimately led to immoral and corrupt behavior. Their lack of logical thought, logos, led to evil doctrine and immoral practice.
Answer, apologia, is a combination of two Greek words: apo meaning ‘of’ or ‘from’ and logia (logos) meaning reason. Thus, the verse instructs us to give an answer from reason–not an answer from feelings–of our hope in Christ.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer [apologia] to every man that asketh you a reason [logos] of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 1 Pet 3:15 (KJV)
The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter instructs us to be ready to give a reasoned apologetic, apologia, of the Christian faith. The field of Christian apologetics is often a very neglected study. Poorly instructed and mentally lazy Christians look down upon apologetics. In fact, it is strange to hear so-called Bible teachers give admonitions to believers not to be involved in apologetics. These teachers think they are wiser than the Word of God. Their extreme beliefs cause them to consider it futile to try to convince the totally depraved human mind about the truth of God. However, their false teaching is in direct opposition the Word of God. Holy Scripture commands us to give an apologetic; these teachers are urging us not to give an apologetic, resulting in positive disobedience to Scripture.
The English cognate for eulogeo is eulogy. It is a combination of eu meaning “good” and logos meaning “word.” Since it means good words, it is translated as blessing or praise. Excellent thoughts are thoughts in harmony with the mind of God. When we express these thoughts, they are praise to God. (See Romans 15:6).
Blessed [eulogetos] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed [eulogeo] us with all spiritual blessings [eulogia] in heavenly places in Christ: Eph 1:3 (KJV)
The cup of blessing [eulogia] which we bless [eulogeo], is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 1 Cor 10:16 (KJV)
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance gives “logical” as the meaning of logikos. 6 The Englishman’s Greek Concordance of the New Testament states it means “rational” and “mental.” 7 Service to God is a logical response because of God’s mercies toward us. The Apostle Paul said,
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable [logikos] service.” Romans 12:1.
The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter states the Holy Scriptures are logical and rational.
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual [logikos] milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 1 Pet 2:2 (NIV). 8
Another, but older version, gives a very similar translation “as newborn babes desire earnestly the pure mental [logical] milk of the word, that by it ye may grow up to salvation,” 1 Pet 2:2 (JND).9 The newborn baby Christian needs the logical or mental milk of Scripture. When we feed newborn babies a substitute diet of spiritual trivia, we should not be surprised they do not grow up. The newborn’s food is the wholesome logical, rational, and inspired Word of God.
This word is an interesting Greek word. It combines moros with logos. Moros means dull, stupid or a moral blockhead. (See Strong’s # 3474 moros). 10 The English cognate for moros is moron. In Ephesians 5:4, the King James Version of the Bible translates morologia (μωρολογία) as “foolish talking”. Scripture tells us not to express our moronic thoughts.
We are not to be moral blockheads. Immoral jokes desensitize us to moral issues, and television and public opinion has been effective to desensitize Americans to sexual immorality.
In English, pseudo means false just as it does in Greek. The New Testament has false prophets (pseudoprophetes), false Christs (pseudochristos), false apostles (pseudapostolos) and false logos (pseudologos). The Apostle Paul wrote there would be those who would be
“Speaking lies [pseudologos] in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 1 Tim 4:2 (KJV).
These false teachers were “promulgating erroneous Christian doctrine”11 or false teachings. Again we notice those who embrace a false logos will take up with evil doctrine and bad behavior.
The Historical Christian View
For the first fifteen centuries of the Christian Era, believers readily acknowledged the importance of reason, logic, and wisdom. This was especially true of early Church leaders, since they were fluent in Greek which was often their native language. They were intimately aware of the rich meaning of logos. They obeyed the scriptures in writing an extensive apologetic for the pagan world. They lived honorable Christian lives, since they did not found their faith upon emotions or a subjective Christianity.
Justin Martyr (110-165 A.D)
Justin Martyr was born in Samaria near Jacob’s well. His birth was about 20 years after the death of the Apostle John. His parents were thought to be Romans. He studied several philosophies before settling upon Platonic philosophy. After he was saved, he faced the pagan world with the boldness of a Daniel. He was faithful to the command to give an answer (apologia). In fact, we still have two Apologia in Greek written by him. For the glory of His Savior, he held in high esteem the title of the Son of God, the Logos. Justin stated “reason directs those who are truly pious.” Whereas, the unjust are “yielding to unreasoning passion.” He titled Jesus as “Reason (or the Word, the Logos) Himself.” He considered Christianity a belief according to reason. The following is the beginning of his first apologetic to the Roman Emperor.
The First Apology of Justin Martyr
Chap. 1 — Address
To the Emperor Titus Aelius Adrianus Antoninus Pius Augustus Caesar, and to his son Verissimus the Philosopher, and to Lucius the Philosopher, the natural son of Caesar, and the adopted son of Pius, a lover of learning, and to the sacred Senate, with the whole People of the Romans, I Justin, the son of Priscus and grandson of Bacchius, natives of Flavia Neapolis in Palestine, present this address and petition in behalf of those of all nations who are unjustly hated and wantonly abused, myself being one of them.
Chap. II — Justice Demanded
Reason directs those who are truly pious. … For not only does sound reason direct us to refuse the guidance of those who did or taught anything wrong, but it is incumbent on the lover of truth, by all means, and if death be threatened, even before his own life, to choose to do and say what is right. 12
Chap. V — Christians Charged with Atheism
… You do not examine the charges made against us; but, yielding to unreasoning passion, and to the instigation of evil demons, you punish us without consideration of judgment. …
For not only among the Greeks did reason (Logos) prevail to condemn these things through Socrates, but also among the Barbarians were they condemned by Reason (or the Word, the Logos) Himself, who took shape, and became man, and was called Jesus Christ; and in obedience to Him, we not only deny that they who did such things as these are gods, but assert that they are wicked and impious demons, whose actions will not bear comparison with those even of men desirous of virtue. …
We worship and adore, knowing them in reason and truth, and declaring without grudging to every one who wishes to learn, as we have been taught. 13 (Parentheses in original).
This beloved saint of God was beheaded at the command of Prefect Rusticus in Rome. His godly and moral life is a witness to us today. The following is his touching testimony before his execution.
And when they had been brought before his judgment-seat, Rusticus the prefect said to Justin, “Obey the gods at once, and submit to the kings.” Justin said, “To obey the commandments of our Savior Jesus Christ is worthy neither of blame or of condemnation.” Rusticus the prefect said, “What kind of doctrines do you profess?” Justin said, “I have endeavoured to learn all doctrines; but I have acquiesced at last in the true doctrines, those namely of the Christians, even though they do not please those who hold false opinions.” Rusticus the prefect said, “Are those the doctrines that please you, you utterly wretched man?” Justin said, “Yes.” …
The prefect says to Justin, “Hearken, you who are called learned, and think that you know true doctrines; if you are scourged and beheaded, do you believe you will ascend into heaven?” Justin said, “I hope that, if I endure these things, I shall have his gifts. For I know that, to all who have thus lived, there abides the divine favour until the completion of the whole world.” Rusticus the prefect said, “Do you suppose, then, that you will ascend into heaven to receive some recompense?” Justin said, “I do not suppose it, but I know and am fully persuaded of it.” Rusticus the prefect said, “Let us, then, now come to the matter in hand, and which presses. Having come together, offer sacrifice with one accord to the gods.” Justin said, “No right-thinking person falls from piety to impiety.” Rusticus the prefect said, “Unless ye obey, ye shall be mercilessly punished.” Justin said, “Through prayer we can be saved on account of our Lord Jesus Christ, even when we have been punished, because this shall become to us salvation and confidence at the more fearful and universal judgment-seat of our Lord and Savior.” Thus also said the other martyrs: “Do what you will, for we are Christians, and do no sacrifice to idols.”
Rusticus the prefect pronounced the sentence, saying, “Let those who have refused to sacrifice to the gods and to yield to the command of the emperor be scourged, and led away to suffer the punishment of decapitation, according to the laws.” The holy martyrs having glorified God, and having gone forth to the accustomed place, were beheaded, and perfected their testimony in the confession of the Savior. 14
Irenaeus (120-202 A.D.)
He was born in Smyrna of Asia Minor and grew up familiar with Polycarp whom the Apostle John had taught. Later in his life, he moved to Lyons, France to aid in the missionary work of Pothinus. Polycarp had previously sent Pothinus there as an evangelist.
Irenaeus declared “Logos is Mind.” He understood the significance of the Logos and its relationship to the mind. He is a testimony against the hostile anti-intellectualism of many modern day Christians.
But God being all Mind, and all Logos, both speaks exactly what He thinks, and thinks exactly what He speaks. For His thought is Logos, and Logos is Mind, and Mind comprehending all things is the Father Himself.15
For that a word is uttered at the bidding of thought and mind, all men indeed well understand.16
Athenagoras, an Athenian philosopher who became a Christian, wrote A Plea for the Christians in 177 A.D. It was sent to Emperors Marcus Aurelius Anoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus. He wrote of “proofs and reason accordant with truth” which would prove the truth of the Christian belief. Athenagoras proclaimed “a Son his Logos, … the Son is the Intelligence, Reason, Wisdom of the Father.” He would not comprehend the present day disregard for intelligence, reason and wisdom, since the title of the Son as Logos encompasses these. To be against these, they would be against the Son of God Himself.
We are able to demonstrate what we apprehend and justly believe, namely that there is one God, with proofs and reason accordant with truth. 17
That we are not atheists, therefore, seeing that we acknowledge one God, uncreated, eternal, invisible, impassible, incomprehensible, illimitable, who is apprehended by the understanding only and the reason, who is encompassed by light, and beauty, and spirit, and power ineffable, by whom the universe has been created through His Logos, and set in order, and is kept in being–I have sufficiently demonstrated. [I say “His Logos”], for we acknowledge also a Son of God. Nor let any one think it ridiculous that God should have a Son. For though the poets, in their fictions, represent the gods as no better than men, our mode of thinking is not the same as theirs, concerning either God the Father or the Son. But the Son of God is the Logos of the Father, in idea and in operation; for after the pattern of Him and by Him were all things made, the Father and the Son being one. And, the Son being in the Father and the Father in the Son, in oneness and power of spirit, the understanding and reason (nous kai logos) of the Father is the Son of God. (brackets in original). 18
For, as we acknowledge a God, and a Son his Logos, and a Holy Spirit, united in essence, –the Father, the Son, the Spirit, because the Son is the Intelligence, Reason, Wisdom of the Father, and the Spirit an effluence. 19
But we are in all things always alike and the same, submitting ourselves to reason, and not ruling over it. 20
But our belief rests on a most infallible guarantee–the purpose of Him who fashioned us, according to which He made man of immortal soul and a body, and furnished him with understanding and an innate law for the preservation and safeguard of the things given by Him as suitable to an intelligent existence and a rational life. 21
Clement of Alexandria (153 – ?220 A.D.)
Titus Flavius Clemens was a Greek philosopher who was converted to Christ. He defended the Christian faith against the pagan world. His education and learning in Greek philosophy gave him insights into Christian apologetics. He was used to help preserve the Church against the Gnostic heresy. Again, his philosophical background was suited to answer Gnostism. He considered reason a gift from God. Even though some Christians trivialize these early Church fathers, they were greatly used of God.
Now neither is knowledge without faith, nor faith without knowledge. 22
He who communicated to us being and life, has communicated to us also reason, wishing us to live rationally and rightly. 23
Tertullian (145-220 A.D.)
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus was a Roman lawyer who was skilled in Greek and Roman law, philosophy and literature. As a soldier of Jesus Christ, he stood fearlessly before the power of Rome. Probably, his most read works are the Apologeticus and De Spectaculis. These are two must-read books for anyone who wants to read a book actually written by a Christian during that period. It contrasts sharply with the lifeless, worldly, and accommodating Christianity, we see all around today. Tertullian’s Apologeticus– Latin for apologia–should challenge us to be faithful in our day.
But go to it! My good magistrates; the populace will count you a deal better, if you sacrifice the Christians to them. Torture us, rack us, condemn us, crush us; your cruelty only proves our innocence. That is why God suffers us to suffer all this. Yes, but lately, when you condemned a Christian girl to the pander rather than the panther, you admitted that we count an injury to our chastity more awful than any penalty, than any death. But nothing whatever is accomplished by your cruelties, each more exquisite than the last. It is the bait that wins men for our school. We multiply whenever we are mown down by you; the blood of Christians is seed. 24
In the De Spectaculis Tertullian condemned the Romans for killing Christians as a spectator sport. The Roman crowds would cheer with a great uproar whenever a Christian was eaten by a lion or a bear. The crowds thrilled at the sight of flames engulfing young believers tied to stakes. The Roman leaders told the populace that the king’s funeral ceremonies assured the king’s welcome into heaven by Jupiter, the main Roman god. What was the response of Tertullian to their delight in the murder of Christians? Would Tertullian see these great kings in the light of heaven or the darkness of Hell? He boldly gave his answer even while the terrible persecutions were happening. He was looking forward to when the tables would be turned against them. In the future, he would be a spectator in the Stadium of Judgment and cheering at the righteous judgment of God upon these vile Romans executioners.
What a city, the New Jerusalem! Yes, and there still to come other spectacles–that last, that eternal Day of Judgment, that Day which the Gentiles never believed would come, that Day which they laughed at, when this old world and all its generations shall be consumed in one fire. How vast the spectacle that day, and how wide! What sight shall wake my wonder, and what my laughter, my joy and exultation? as I see all those kings, those great kings, welcomed (we were told) in heaven, along with Jove, along with those who told of their ascent, groaning in the depths of darkness! And the magistrates who persecuted the name of Jesus liquefying in fiercer flames than they kindled in their rage against Christians! 25
Tertullian continued within the line of Christian testimony to the reasonableness of God and His Son. He attested to the Word as Reason.
All the properties of God ought to be as rational as they are natural. I require reason in His goodness, because nothing else can properly be accounted good than that which is rationally good; much less can goodness itself be detected in any irrationality. 26
For God is rational, and Reason was first in Him; and so all things were from Himself. This Reason is His own Thought (or Consciousness) which the Greeks call logos, by which term we also designate Word or Discourse and therefore it is now usual with our people, owing to the mere simple interpretation of the term, to say that Word was in the beginning with God. … Observe, then, that when you are silently conversing with yourself, this very process is carried on within you by your reason, which meets you with a word at every movement of your thought, at every impulse of your conception. Whatever you think, there is a word; whatever you conceive, there is reason. … Now how much more fully is all this transacted in God, whose image and likeness even you are regarded as being, inasmuch as He has reason within Himself even while He is silent, and involved in that Reason His Word! 27
Hippolytus (170-236 A.D.)
Hippolytus provides an interesting quotation in which he notes the Logos is not the word of sound as articulated by the voice. It is the ratiocination of the divine mind. Ratiocinate means to reason using formal logic. 28 Hippolytus understood mind, reason, logic are attributes of God, and they are meant by the word Logos.
Therefore this solitary and supreme Deity, by an exercise of reflection, brought forth the Logos first; not the word in the sense of being articulated by voice, but as a ratiocination of the universe, conceived and residing in the divine mind. 29
Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria (273-?320 A.D.)
Arius developed an early heresy within the Church. It was a heresy against the person of Christ. In response to this heresy, Alexander of Alexandria, Egypt composed an epistle to settle the Church’s position towards this heresy. Eighty presbyters and deacons from Alexandria and Mareotis, Egypt signed his epistle. He had carefully drafted the epistle, since it was sent to Bishop Alexander of Constantinople. Clearly, he identified the Word, Logos, as the Wisdom and Reason of God.
And how, if the Son is the Word or Wisdom and Reason of God, was there a time when He was not? It is all one as if they said, that there was a time when God was without reason and wisdom. How, also, can He be changeable and mutable, who says indeed by Himself: “I am in the Father, and the Father in Me,” and, I and My Father are one;” and by the prophet, “I am the Lord, I change not?” 30
Saint Aurelius Augustinus (354-430 A.D.)
Saint Augustine was an important early Christian writer and defender of the faith. Although his native language was Latin, he still correlated the Word of God with the Wisdom of God. Augustine identifies the human mind as the part of man that is the image of God.
For who would embrace so impious an opinion as to think the Father to have uttered a word in time, in order that the eternal Son might thereby be sent and might appear in the flesh in the fullness of time? But assuredly it was in that Word of God itself which was in the beginning with God and was God, namely, in the wisdom itself of God, apart from time, at what time that wisdom must needs appear in the flesh. Therefore, since without any commencement of time, the Word was in the beginning, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, it was in the Word itself without any time, at what time the Word was to be made flesh and dwell among us. 31
But we have come now to that argument in which we have undertaken to consider the noblest part of the human mind, by which it knows or can know God, in order that we may find in it the image of God. … For, as we have said, although worn out and defaced by losing the participation of God, yet the image of God still remains. 32
Wherein is the image of God, i.e. in the mind.33
Eusebius of Caesarea (about 260-337 A.D.)
Eusebius Pamphilus wrote one of the first histories of the Church. His history is important today and is frequently quoted as a historical reference. He wrote with caution, knowing his history would be widely read. He carefully stated his position on the person of Christ. He associated the intellectual and substantial Wisdom with the living Word.
No language, then, is sufficient to express the origin, the dignity, even the substance and nature of Christ. Whence even the divine Spirit in the prophecies says, “who will declare his generation?” For as no one hath known the Father, but the Son, so no one on the other hand, can know the Son fully, but the Father alone, by whom he was begotten. For who but the Father hath thoroughly understood that Light which existed before the world was –that intellectual and substantial Wisdom, and that living Word which in the beginning was with the Father, before all creation and any production visible or invisible, the first and only offspring of God. 34
Saint Jerome (345 – 420 A.D.)
Saint Jerome was the author of the Vulgate Translation of the Bible from Greek into Latin. He explicitly stated Logos has many meanings in Greek. He knew that it denoted reason.
“In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.” Logos in Greek has many meanings. It signifies word and reason and reckoning and the cause of individual things by which those which are subsist. 35
Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Saint Thomas Aquinas is probably the greatest Christian apologist who has ever lived. He had a short but very productive life. Though he died at 49 years of age, he wrote many literary works defending the Christian faith. He exquisitely showed Christian revelation is fully reasonable. His most famous work is the Summa Theologica. In his Summa contra Gentiles, he defended the faith against Islam that had been gaining ground in Europe. He wrote it to aid the missionary efforts to convert the Moors who were occupying Spain. Many Christian scholars still follow his scholastic method of Christian apologetics. 36
I answer that, Word, said of God in its proper sense, is used personally, and is the proper name of the person of the Son. For it signifies an emanation of the intellect: and the person Who proceeds in God, by way of emanation of the intellect, is called the Son; and this procession is called generation, as we have shown above (Q. 27, A.2). Hence it follows that the Son alone is properly Word in God. 37
Non-Christian Religious View of Reason and Logic
Non-Christian religious systems oppose reason and logic. They do not subject their doctrinal truth claims to verification. Often they depend upon ineffable experiences, and only the faithful have these experiences. They must close their mind and blindly leap in faith to secure spiritual enlightenment. This carrot of spiritual attainment is beyond reason and logic, and it entices them to make the leap. It teases them with the supposed attainment of cosmic intelligence that in reality is vacuous mental pride.
Mysticism attracts converts, because it promises its followers the attainment of spiritual transcendence over the mundane world of human experience. It offers knowledge, wisdom, and the experience of the Cosmic Intelligence. Mysticism claims it brings the human mind into attunement with Absolute Reality. Mysticism–The Ultimate Experience by Mr. Poole explicitly assigns logic to a non-existent role for the mystic.
In the analysis of mystical literature, we do not find a great deal of reference to logic, and very little to reasoning. It has been stated by many who have studied mysticism and by those who have been mystics that mysticism is above reason. 38
The mystic does not reason himself into a mystical experience. In fact, he could not do so if he wanted to. The mystical experience lies above reason. Therefore, as it lies above it, it lies outside of it. Reason and mysticism are almost opposites…39
We can easily review some of the paradoxes. In the pantheistic paradox, God and the world are both identical and non-identical. The universal mind is both qualified and unqualified, both personal and impersonal, both static and dynamic. 40
Notice how, in this next paragraph, the mystic concedes logic and reason are necessary for everyday human experience. The mystic has to confess they depend upon reason and logic to conduct their daily affairs. The mystic cannot live his day-to-day life the same way he lives his religious life. There is disunity between their daily life and their religious life.
Mystical experiences directly affect our concepts of logic and reason. They conflict with many of the laws of logic, and they are not in accord with our normally conceived ideas regarding the processes of reasoning. As far as the mystic is concerned, the mystical experience replaces the laws of logic and reasoning, not that the mystic denies that these exist. In his day-to-day experience, he applies logical conclusions, inferences, and the process of reasoning to the conditions in his environment which he must face as he lives like other human beings. 41
Christians unanimously reject mysticism. However, they would be shocked to learn they have altered Christianity, so it fits snugly within mystical pantheism. The doctrinal statements of mysticism can often be restated with Christian terminology. The result is a pantheistic doctrine hidden with Christian words. For example, we can take two of the above quoted paragraphs and restate them with Christian terms. Notice, when the word “Christianity” replaces “mysticism” and “Christian” replaces “mystic,” the following paragraphs result.
In the analysis of Christian literature, we do not find a great deal of reference to logic, and very little to reasoning. It has been stated by many who have studied Christianity and by those who have been Christians that Christianity is above reason.
The Christian does not reason himself into a Christian experience. In fact, he could not do so if he wanted to. The Christian experience lies above reason. Therefore, as it lies above it, it lies outside of it. Reason and Christianity are almost opposites..
If a Christian were to state the above in public, quite possibly, no one would raise a question about the person’s orthodox Christian position. Yet, these statements are as far from the truth as possible. This illustrates the degree to which many Christians have accepted mysticism into their Christian beliefs.
To continue with another illustration, the following paragraph makes word substitutions using a paragraph quoted above. This also shows us the danger of accepting mysticism under the guise of Christianity.
As far as the Christian is concerned, the Christian experience replaces the laws of logic and reasoning, not that the Christian denies that these exist. In his day-to-day experience, he applies logical conclusions, inferences, and the process of reasoning to the conditions in his environment which he must face as he lives like other human beings.
Since there is one God of the Universe, we can live unified lives. There are not two modes of thinking: one for daily living and another for our spiritual life. We should not bifurcate our life between the mundane and religious. We should not have a dichotomy between our secular affairs and our Christian duties. The unity of God provides the Christian with a basis for unity and harmony in temporal and eternal matters.
Zen Buddhism is a popular Eastern religion that has made inroads into the Western world. It is fashionable among believers of the New Age philosophy. Zen claims to be superior to reason and the logic of the human mind, and its teachings are not subject to intellectual analysis. It does not impose cold doctrinal statements upon its devotees. It is experienced!
Zen is decidedly not a system founded upon logic and analysis. If anything, it is the antipole to logic, by which I mean the dualistic mode of thinking. … Zen has nothing to teach us in the way of intellectual analysis; nor has it any set doctrines which are imposed on its followers for acceptance. 42
We might wonder why so many Christian teachings have come to approximate this pantheistic Eastern religion. Of course, biblical words cloak the underlying pantheism. For example, a Christian might teach “Christianity is based upon faith and not reason. Doctrines are not as important as the heart’s response to Christ.” The Zen Buddhist would nod in agreement and say, “Just like your belief, Zen is based upon faith and not reason, and doctrines are not as important as the heart’s response to Buddha.”
The Christian’s distrust of reason, logic, and apologetics opened the doors wide for Zen Buddhism to invade the Western world. Sadly, it invaded, and the modern day Christian threw down his intellectual weapons and fled into the backwoods of blind faith.
Baha’i started in Iran during the 19th century. It is a synthetic religion, since it honors and incorporates major world religions into its faith. This synthesis can be done because reason and logic are put aside. And when these are put aside, logical contradictions no longer present a problem. An attractive universal religion results, and religious bigotry ceases. A spiritual transcendent experience provides a common basis for an ecumenical communion of faiths. These non-legalistic converts enjoy love and peace in their beautiful faith. And since it feels so wonderful, it must be true.
When we read the Book of God the faculty of comprehension by which we form conclusions is reason. Reason is mind. If we are not endowed with perfect reason, how can we comprehend the meaning of the Word of God? Therefore, human reason, as already pointed out, is by its very nature finite and faulty in conclusions. It cannot surround the Realty Itself, the Infinite Word. Inasmuch as the source of traditions and interpretations is human reason, and human reason is faulty, how can we depend upon its findings for real knowledge?
… What then remains? How shall we attain the reality of knowledge? By the breaths and promptings of the Holy Spirit which is light and knowledge Itself. Through it the human mind is quickened and fortified into true conclusions and perfect knowledge. 43
The Bhagavad Gita is the most revered religious text in the land of India. It was completed about 100 B.C. 44 Today, it is read by millions. It reduces the trustworthiness of the mind and senses. The convert must submit his mind and his feelings of right and wrong to his spiritual guide or guru. The Way of Knowledge is absolute mental prostration to a guru. Without this subordination, there is no salvation.
The raft of mental prostration floats well over the ocean of life. The whirlpools of sin are simply illusions. Even the most sinful of sinners is borne over all sin by this raft of mental abandonment. No matter how authentic evil appears to the senses, blind faith buoys the raft over these mental illusions. The novice of the sea may think he sees evil; however, the guru navigator knows these are delusions. The amateur must let the guru be his eyes and mind. What he sees is what the guru tells him to see. Truth is what the guru tells him the truth is. However, there is one sin, and it is unpardonable. The disciple will perish eternally, if they do not prostrate their mind, will, intellect and reason to the all-knowing guru. Hindu doctrine proclaims the exercise of the will of man is sin.
The Way of Knowledge
34 Learn it by prostration, by inquiry, and by service. The wise, who have seen the Truth, will teach you that Knowledge.
35 When you have known it, O Pandava, you will not again fall into delusion; and through it you will see all beings in your Self and also in Me.
36 Even if you are the most sinful of sinners, yet by the raft of Knowledge alone will you be borne over all sin. 45
The Way of Renunciation
26 Those who are free from lust and anger, who have subdued their minds and realized the Self–those sannyasis, both here and hereafter, attain freedom in Brahman. 46
The Way of Meditation
4 When a man has no attachment to the objects of the senses or to works, and when he has wholly renounced his will, he is said to have attained yoga. 47
When the mind is conquered, all contradictions are illusions and they do not disturb the mind of the enlightened one. For example, to the un-enlightened human mind, heat and cold are not alike. But to the enlightened spiritual mind, they are alike. Remember that is what the guru has taught. The reason the un-enlightened human mind does not see their likeness is because it is limited to the world of senses and mind.
7 He who has conquered himself and is serene in mind is constantly absorbed in the Supreme Self, alike in heat and cold, pleasure and pain, and honour and dishonour.
8 He is said to be a steadfast yogi whose heart, through knowledge and realization, is filled with satisfaction, who, having conquered his senses, never vacillates, and to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are the same. 48
Faith is the means to obtain the Grace of Krishna. This supreme faith requires the negation of reason and mind to achieve the spiritual goal. This faith compels the total commitment to the guru’s teachings. The spiritual guide assures the learner that the guide’s knowledge is superior and is to be obeyed. It takes the grace of Krishna to accomplish the suppression of mind and senses. The spiritual guru is only able to reward those who have committed absolute mental abasement to his will.
The Way of Realization
21 Whatever may be the form a devotee seeks to worship with faith–in that form alone I make his faith unwavering.
22 Possessed of that faith, he worships that form and from it attains his desires, which are, in reality, granted by Me alone. 49
In number 58 below, the guru’s sharp teeth are well-exposed. It states “if from self-conceit you do not listen to Me, you shall perish utterly.” This pronounces judgment upon the one who is not completely surrendered in mind and heart to the enlightened guru. The guide is not illusionary about the demands of total devotion. The mind should clearly think of the reason for mental prostration. The novice will actually perish without complete submission. There is to be no illusion on this point. Their senses and mind should be rational towards this warning. However, for everything else, the will, mind, and senses must be humbly counted evil. Mental suicide is the pathway to the eternal abode.
Liberation Through Renunciation
56 Even though engaged in all kinds of action, a man who has taken refuge in Me reaches, by My grace, the eternal and imperishable Abode.
57 Surrendering, in thought, all actions to Me, regarding Me as the Supreme Goal, and practising steadiness of mind, fix your heart, O Arjuna, constantly on Me.
58 Fixing your heart on Me, you will overcome every difficulty by My grace; but if from self-conceit you do not listen to Me, you shall perish utterly.
71 And the man who hears this, full of faith and free from malice–even he, liberated from sin, shall attain the happy regions of the righteous.
73 Arjuna said: My delusion is gone. I have regained my memory through Your grace, O Krishna. I am firm; I am free from doubt. I will act according to Your word. 50
The Bhagavad Gita uses words identical to Christianity, such as grace, faith, believe, enlightenment, sin, peace, heart response, spirit, freedom and heaven. The Bhagavad Gita promises eternal blessing to its adherents. So, what standard of truth can distinguish the Bhagavad Gita from the Bible, since their wording and claims seem similar?
Christian fideists, those who stand upon simple believism, assert an encounter with a supernatural Spirit to validate their truth claims. Believers in the Bhagavad Gita would heartily agree with these fideists, since the spirit of Krishna has authenticated their world view. They agree only those who are enlightened by a spiritual encounter attain the reward of truth. This incapacity to distinguish truth claims results when the rational basis for Christianity is removed. The foundations of Christianity are undermined by this subjective test for truth. Christianity collapses to the level of the Bhagavad Gita.
With Christendom’s embrace of the subjective test for truth, the truth claims were placed beyond the mind. The truth of these subjective experiences could not be denied. What appears to be undeniable must be the truth, and truth should be taught in churches. So, it is no wonder Eastern thought is overtly studied in liberal churches. These churches have abandoned reason and logic, the tools required to evaluate truth claims. They consider Biblical stories to be mythological and not historic events. These biblical events are not as important to them as their spiritual meaning. So, to be fair and not bigoted, these churches teach Eastern myths with their own traditional religious myths.
The Bhagavad Gita is cultic in theory and practice. As typical of cultic ideologies, even Christian cults, it insists upon unreasoned and blind subordination to spiritual guides. If anything is illogical or unreasonable, it is because the subordinate has not sufficiently accepted the mind of the guru. So, what appears wrong to the learner is not wrong, since the guru has taught it is right. The learner sees illusions; the guru teaches the truth. The leader’s way to stop questioning is to make out that questioning is rebellion. The learner is reminded not to be so mentally self-conceited. The subordinate is reminded they need submission and humility. This is the mental abuse characterizing cults.
The teachings of the Bhagavad Gita are logically self-defeating. How can one know if what one hears from the guru is real and not actually a sensory illusion? If one cannot trust the senses, then the sense of hearing should not be trusted. If all senses are illusionary, then the sensation of hearing the voice of the guru would be an illusion. Likewise, if visual objects, such as a clod or gold, are the same, then perchance the stone and guru are actually the same. They are both visual objects, and visual objects are illusionary. By what standard can the stone and the guru be told apart? The only knowledge of the guru has come through the sensations of sight and hearing of which both deceive the mind through their illusionary sensory impressions.
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
The Bhagwan lived a luxurious lifestyle for a long time. His teachings attracted many people from all walks of life. His movement again demonstrates an escape from reason and the resulting decadent behavior. His test for truth was whether or not the teaching made a person feel good. He claims bad religious teaching causes a person to feel guilty. Good religious teaching creates a healthy psychological state. Sin is considered a false idea and a total lie to his system. He feels objective truth is inferior to subjective emotions.
The intellect cannot trust anybody; he can only criticize. He cannot trust. He can doubt, but he cannot have faith. And if sometimes some intellectual comes to faith, it is never authentic. First he tries to convince himself about his faith; it is never authentic. He finds proofs, arguments, and when he is satisfied that the arguments help, the proofs help, then he believes. But he has missed the point because faith is not argumentative and faith is not based on proofs. If proofs are there, then there is no need of faith.
Faith means a jump into the unknown without proofs.
“Because he [God] cannot be proven: that is why I believe in Him.” This statement is illogical, irrational, because a logical statement must be like this: “These are the proofs of God; therefore, I believe in Him.” And he says, “Because there are no proofs and no argument can prove that God is, therefore, I believe in Him.” And he is right in a way because faith means a jump into the unknown without any reasons. 51
So the Christian attitude of condemnation, of sin or other such religious attitudes is totally a lie to tantra–and absurd. … And any religion that makes you guilty, makes you neurotic. It drives you crazy! In this sense, tantra is the only healthy religion. 52
The repudiation of mind leads to sexual immorality. No doubt, this made his movement attractive to its young devotees. He confused love with lust. The acceptability of his teachings should serve as a convincing warning to Christian parents. A pagan religion dressed with Christian terminology is not Christianity. The parents who taught their children only a feeling-based faith did not prepare them against the snares of the Bhagwan’s feeling-based religion. This cost these Christian parents dearly. They paid for it in the coin of their children’s sexual immorality.
Because of this dropping from the head, the consciousness has moved to the genital area. The mind is no more. The mind has become no-mind. T heir faces have the same ecstasy as a Buddha has. This sex has become a meditation. Why? Because the focus has changed. If once you can change the focus of your mind, if you can remove it from the head, the head is relaxed. Then all tensions have dissolved. You are not there: the ego is not there.
That is why, the more mind becomes intellectual, rational, the less capable it becomes love, because love needs a different focusing. In love you need a focusing near the heart. 53
Free Daist Communion
A religious movement started by Franklin Jones who now goes by the name of Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda. He teaches he is an incarnation of deity. The Free Daist Communion has the typical marks of a false religion: distaste for reason and logic, submission of the mind to a guru, a subjective transcendental experience, and immoral practices.
But the practice, the sadhana itself, is the relinquishment of mind, the relinquishment of thought.
You may discover in some moments (perhaps sitting in meditation) when there is the voluntary relinquishment of thought and of mind, that a sudden energy pervades the body, a natural energy pervades the body, no longer obstructed by the knots of mind. Then you are available to My Spiritual Presence. Then my Spiritual Presence is of use to you. Before that, you might experience My Spiritual Presence to some degree, mainly through various effects. If you continue to yield your attention to Me, to My Spiritual Presence Itself, then you may be moved beyond these effects and beyond mind, both the conceptual mind and the perceptual mind, both your verbal thoughts and your visions.
Just now you are thinking. If you made an effort to stop thinking, you would feel the energy I just mentioned to you. If you stop it for a couple of moments, and you persist and hold it for another couple of seconds, you begin to feel it. Your thinking processes are destroying the equanimity of the body, just as the thoughts themselves are without equanimity. If this thinking could relax, body-mind would be conducted to God. By Grace, this becomes possible. 54
Mental prostration to the Sat-Guru is required of the mature practitioners. They must commit mental suicide for their guru.
On the contrary, such immature “practitioners” think they are supposed to be independent. … However, in the true (and tradition-honored) Guru-devotee relationship, you turn your life over entirely to the Sat-Guru, and not in fantasy, but in actuality, and you do not anything without the Instruction, Blessing, and Permission of the Sat-Guru. 55
This Hindu cult accepts the ancient Sanskrit Vedic scriptures for belief. They cannot question these Sanskrit writings. No independent thinking is permitted. They do not trust their senses, since their senses may contradict these scriptures. All contradictions are illusions.
They are presuppositionalists. Presuppositionalists are people who presuppose what needs to be proved. The real question to be proved is whether or not the Vedas are indeed the word of God. This is one question is not open to their closed minds. Their entire test of truth is the Vedic scriptures. Cow stools are pure according the Vedas, all evidence to the contrary. It would be mental self-conceit to suggest this Vedic scriptural statement were false.
Such independent thinking is not approved by the followers of the Vedas. The Vedic followers receive knowledge directly from authorities. They do not speculate. We cannot attain knowledge through speculation because everyone is imperfect….
According to the Vedic system, we receive knowledge from Vyasadeva, Narada, and Sri Krsna Himself. This knowledge is perfect because these personalities are not subject to the four defects of conditioned living entities. The conditioned living entity has a tendency to commit mistakes, to be illusioned, to have imperfect senses, and to cheat. These are the four imperfections of conditioned life. We therefore have to receive knowledge from those who are liberated. This is the Vedic process. If we receive knowledge from Krsna, there cannot be any mistake, nor any question of illusion. Our senses may be imperfect, but Krsna’s senses are perfect; therefore whatever Krsna says, we accept, and that acceptance is our perfection. 56
Srila Prabhupada: Our test of truth is Vedic evidence. For instance, it is stated in the Vedas that cow stool is pure. We accept this as true. We cannot reach this conclusion by argument. 57
Srila Prabhupada: In the advanced stage, when we are firmly situated in the truth, it is, of course, good to stand by our convictions. That is determination. For instance, we have understood that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No one can change us in this conviction. 58
The devotee of the Hare Krishna way has sacrificed logic. The spiritual guide is superior to reason. By contrast, Athenagoras said, “But we are in all things always alike and the same, submitting ourselves to reason, and not ruling over it. 59 The Christian values reason, since the Bible commands them to test truth claims.
Syamasundara dasa: Rather than personal guidance, Aristotle emphasized rational logic
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, but when you are guided, you have to sacrifice your logic to accept the superior logic of your guide. 60
Syamasundara dasa: Pascal also advocated that. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, We also advise people to chant Hare Krsna. Since you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, why not chant? 61
The negation of reason leaves the entire task to faith. They surrender to blind faith. This blind faith is their foundation. The foundation cannot be challenged or the structure would fall. They are dedicated to the proposition their religion is not man-made, rather it is divine in origin.
Srila Prabhupada: In the last chapter of Bhagavad-gita, Krsna tells us to abandon everything and just surrender unto Him. (Bg. 18.66). Now this requires full faith. If we speculate about this, we do not have faith. … Faith means believing firmly. If we have firm faith, we will become perfect by surrendering unto Krsna. If we still have reservations, we cannot have firm faith. … Faith is the foundation. If the foundation is lost, how can a big building stand?62
Krsna says, “Surrender unto Me.” This is real religion. It is not man-made. 63
Blind faith is attractive to sinful man, because it degrades the image of God. A rational mind is what separates humans from the beast of the field. In the writings of Saint Augustine, we find the mind of man is the image of God. This image has been defaced but not erased. Fallen man wants a belief system outside of any reference to the image of God. False religious systems degrade logic and reason, because these have their original source in God. Religious man can exalt himself, since he does not submit his thoughts to reason.
The Son of God
The Logos of scripture means the expression of the Divine Mind of God. Word is the title of the Son who expresses the mind of the Father. The Mind of God is Wisdom, Reason, Logic, Intelligence, and Word. Their source is God. We realize the unlearned inadvertently deny the attributes of God. Still, ignorance should show some modesty and not be so bold. It is a serious error to demean the exalted title of the Son. This exalted title directs our attention to the Savior as expressing the Mind of God who thinks perfectly. God is not illogical, irrational, or stupid.
Logos (log’-os); from 3004; something said (including the thought); by implication a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension, a computation; specifically (with the article in John) the Divine Expression (i.e. Christ): Strong’s # 3056 64
The Image of God
Wisdom, reason, will and intelligence are among the gifts of God to mankind. Among the earthy creatures, only humankind is distinguished with a rational mind. It is the imprint of God on mankind which yielded a creature made in the image of God. No other animal creature has this. It is not mere “human reasoning,” since it has a divine source to enable human beings to have the knowledge of God and to enjoy communion with God.
Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. James 3:9 (KJV)
The Noetic Effects of the Fall
With the Fall, of course, sin brought in separation from God and the need of redemption. Reason and conscience provide the grounds for human responsibility before a righteous God.
And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? Gen 3:11 (KJV)
God could ask “Who told thee that thou wast naked?” The answer was no one told Adam. Adam had newly acquired the knowledge of good and evil within himself. His fallen depravity did not eliminate knowledge of sin; it was an addition to his knowledge. The mind was marred–not taken away–by the fall. (Adam fell emotionally; however, the human race still has emotions. The body of Adam experienced the physical results of the fallen state. Nevertheless, Adam and his offspring have bodies.) God entreats the sinner to come to reason together with Him about their sin. The entreaty was never greater than when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He came to the dusty roads of Samaria to meet an outcast woman to reason with her about her sins and to redeem her.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18 (KJV)
Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God. Job 13:3 (KJV)
Two Views of Faith
Pagan views of faith stand in stark contrast to Biblical Christianity. These New Age views have been imbibed by Christians. As a result, many have accepted a belief system similar to pantheism, although a Christian vocabulary is still used. They would be happy with the definition of faith from Webster’s New World Dictionary. This definition is precisely the one pantheism insists to be the supreme point of faith. It is diametrically opposed to the Christian view of faith. If faith were this, then there would be no logical difference between Christianity and any other pantheistic religion.
Faith, 1. unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence. 2 unquestioning belief in God, religious tenets, etc.65
Francis Schaeffer warned there were two views of faith. One view was scriptural and the other false. The definition of faith in Webster’s New World Dictionary is false; It has no correlation to Biblical faith.
Of course, faith is needed to become a Christian, but there are two concepts concerning faith. The two ideas of faith run like this: One idea of faith would be a blind leap in the dark. A blind leap in which you believe something with no reason (or no adequate reason), you just believe it. This is what I mean by a blind leap of faith. The other idea of faith, which has no relationship with this, none whatsoever, is that you are asked to believe something and bow before that something on the basis of good and adequate reasons. There is no relationship between those two concepts of faith.
The biblical concept of faith is very much the second and not the first. You are not asked to believe in a blind leap of faith. The Bible teaches that there are good and sufficient reasons to know that these things are true. If you examine the ministry of Paul and also of Christ, you find they endlessly answered questions. There was no concept here of “Keep quiet, just believe”; it just does not exist. Paul answered the questions of the Jews, he answered the questions of the non-Jews, he was always answering questions; and the book of Romans certainly answered the questions of those without the Bible as well as of those with it. 66
Morality and Reason
The youth of today are stripped of reasons for faith by false views of faith. No wonder so many have given up the study of God’s Word. Without an objective basis for faith, they cannot have the true knowledge of God. They are like ships in the storms of life without a compass or rudder. If reasoning were bad, then substances supressing the minds of young people should be good. Drugs and alcohol reduce brain functions. Yet, these substances cause bad moral conduct.
This lack of the knowledge of God is a moral issue. God has a controversy with us. Through lack of knowledge, the people are destroyed, and the young suffer the results. By contrast, it will be a day of blessing when in the future the whole earth is filled with His knowledge.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. Hosea 4:6 (KJV)
For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6 (KJV)
For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. Hab 2:14 (KJV)
The pagan belief structure depends upon the rejection of reason. Once subjection to the guru is accomplished. The disciple is open to immoral sexual practices. As was noted above, the despising of reason leads to sexual immorality. No wonder the young people are being destroyed by immorality at an ever increasing rate. The practice of pagan morality has entered the Church, because the pagan view of the mind has become adopted by many Christians. The espousal of pagan theology by Christians has led them into pagan morality.
The Character of a Cult
It is characteristic of cults to dismiss logic and reason. This is necessary to achieve mind-control over their devotees. Control is their supreme goal. Never question the truth of their spiritual gurus. Mental prostration towards their view of reality is imperative. Only they can guide into the truth; no one else has the truth. Cultic leaders give reasons to their followers, why they must not reason. Cults exercise their own will and tell their followers not to have a will. Cults exercise lordship over the minds of their subjects while demanding unreasoned obedience and submission. Their dual standard of behavior is typical of intellectual dishonesty. Cults claim only they offer the positional place of safety.
Christendom has organizations exhibiting pagan cultic behavior. In fact, a condescending spiritual master might reprimand a young person for questioning their thought. If the answer is not immediately received, the leader tells the young person they are rebellious. It is mind-control. There is the “can’t talk” rule.67 The one who wants to resolve the problem is arbitrarily charged with creating the problem. The illusion of peace is more important than real peace. Submission to error is more important than obedience to what the young person understands God’s Word to teach.
Although God desires to reason with a poor sinner and our lowly Savior gently talked with the woman at the well, these leaders are not open to reason about what they do and teach. It would be too lowly and degrading for them. Besides, it’s easier to stonewall. Only they can properly interpret the Word of God. Pride of position is more important than the spiritual damage this pride causes the young believer. Spiritual bondage is the result of error. Truth sets free.
As soon as sin entered the world, God sought out Adam to talk with him about his sinful condition. God attempted to reason with Cain. God patiently reasoned with the nation of Israel about their spiritual condition. The Bible is a long history of God seeking to reason with the human race. It is sad but true, man by nature does not like to reason. When spiritual leaders censure reason they side with the rebellious state of fallen man. They give sinners an excuse to remain sinners.
Way of Recovery
The Logos of the Gospel of John takes us back to God. The Logos was made flesh and dwelt among us. He came and has shown us the Father with whom we have fellowship. Understanding the meaning of Logos provides a basis for recovery. The truth of Logos energized the early Church. We need a return to the Logos of historic orthodox Christianity.
The unlearned who are against logic and reason have imbibed the ancient heresy of Gnostism. The Gospel of John answered the heresy then, we need the same answer for today. The truth of the Logos ought to prevent us from having Gnostic beliefs. The Mind of God has been revealed through the Word who was made flesh. “We have the mind of Christ. 1 Cor 2:16 (KJV). Scripture teaches us to love the Lord our God with all our mind. We need to gird up the loins of our mind.
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1 Pet 1:13 (KJV)
The Bible presents abundant evidence of its truth claims. Luke, the physician, wrote to Theophilus and said the truths concerning Jesus were based upon many “infallible proofs.” (See Acts 1:3.) Christianity expects its followers to accept the fact their senses and their mind can evaluate information. The Bible has hundreds of substantiated prophetic truth claims occurring over thousands of years. Christianity has nothing to fear from a logical examination. Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote
Since faith rests upon infallible truth, and since the contrary of a truth can never be demonstrated, it is clear that the arguments brought against faith cannot be demonstrations, but are difficulties that can be answered. 68
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. John 21:25 (KJV)
We look forward to when we shall see the Logos who became flesh. Then we shall know even as also we are known.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Cor 13:12 (KJV)
1 Gordon H. Clark, Logic, The Trinity Foundation, Maryland, 1988, p. 121.
2 James Strong, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, Riverside Edition, Crusade Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, p. 45.
3 George V. Wigram, The Englishman’s Greek Concordance of the New Testament, 9th Edition, Samuel Bagster & Sons Ltd., London, England, 1903, p. XXIV.
4 op cit. supra note 1 at p. 128-129.
5 Gordon H. Clark, The Johannine Logos: The Mind of Christ, The Trinity Foundation, Jefferson, MD, 1972, p. 46-58.
6 Strong, op. cit. supra note 2 at p. 45.
7 Wigram, op. cit. supra note 3 at p. XXIV.
8 Taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, 1973, 1978 by the International Bible Society. Used by Permission.
9 John N. Darby, The Holy Scriptures, A New Translation from the Original Languages, Kingston Bible Trust, Sussex, England, 1884, Reprinted 1975.
10 Strong, op. cit. supra note 2 at p. 49.
11 Strong, op. cit. supra note 2 at p. 78.
12 Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, The First Apology of Justin, In: Vol I, Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, (The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325), W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI., 1885, Reprinted 1989, p. 163.
13 ibid. p. 164.
14 Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, The Martyrdom of the Holy Martyrs: Justin, Chariton, Paeon, and Liberianus, Who Suffered at Rome, In: Vol I, Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, (The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325), W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI., 1885, Reprinted 1989, p. 305-306.
15 Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, Irenaeus Against Heresies: Book II, In: Vol I, Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, (The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325), W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI., 1885, Reprinted 1989, p. 400.
16 ibid. p. 401.
17 Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, A Plea for the Christians by Athenagoras the Athenian: Philosopher and Christian, In: Vol II, Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire), (The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325), W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI., 1885, Reprinted 1989, Vol. 2, p. 132.
18 ibid. p. 133.
19 ibid. p. 141.
20 ibid. p. 147.
21 ibid. p. 156.
22 Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, The Stromata, or Miscellanies, In: Vol II, Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire), (The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325), W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI., 1885, Reprinted 1989, p. 444.
23 ibid. p. 445.
24 Tertullian, Tertullian: Apology, De Spectaculis, Minucius: Octavius, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1931, Reprinted 1984, p. 227.
25 ibid. p. 297-299.
26 Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, The Five Books Against Marcion. Book I. Wherein is Described the God of Marcion. He is Shown to be Utterly Wanting in All the Attributes of the True God., In: Vol III, Latin Christianity: Its Founder Tertullian, (The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325), W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI., 1885, Reprinted 1989, p. 288.
27 Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, Against Praxeas; In which He Defends, in All Essential Points, the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity., In: Vol III, Latin Christianity: Its Founder Tertullian, (The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325), W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI., 1885, Reprinted 1989, p. 600-601.
28 Webster’s New World Dictionary of American English, Third College Edition, Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York, N.Y., 1988, p. 1115.
29 Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, The Refutation of All Heresies. Book X., In: Vol V, Fathers of the Third Century: Hippolytus, Cyprian, Caius, Novatian, Appendix, (The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325), W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI., 1885, Reprinted 1989, p. 150.
30 Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, Epistles on the Arian Heresy and the Deposition of Arius., In: Vol VI, Fathers of the Third Century: Gregory Thaumaturgus, Dionysius the Great, Julius Africanus, Anatolius and Minor Writers, Methodius, Arnobius., (The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325), W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI., 1885, Reprinted 1989, p. 297-298.
31 Philip Schaff, On The Trinity: Book II, In: Vol III, St. Augustin: On The Holy Trinity, Doctrinal Treatises, Moral Treatises, (First Series: A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nice Fathers of the Christian Church), W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI., 1885, Reprinted 1989, p. 41.
32 ibid. p. 189.
33 ibid. p. 195.
34 Eusebius Pamphilus, The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilus, Bishop of Cesarea, in Palestine, Translated by Christian F. Cruse, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1850, reprinted 1990, p. 15.
35 Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Letter LIII, To Paulinus. In: Vol VI, Saint Jerome: Letters and Selected Works., (Second Series: A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church), W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI., 1885, Reprinted 1989, p. 98.
36 Norman L. Geisler, Thomas Aquinas: An Evangelical Appraisal, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1991, pp. 195.
37 Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Vol I., First Part, QQ.1-119, (In: St. Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica, Complete English Edition in Five Volumes, Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province), Christian Classics, Westminster, MD, Published 1911, Reprinted 1981, p. 179 (Pt.1, Q.34, Art.2).
38 Cecil A. Poole, Mysticism–The Ultimate Experience, Rosicrucian Library Vol. XXXIX, Supreme Grand Lodge of AMORC, Inc, San Jose, CA, Printed by Kingsport Press, Inc., Kingsport, TN, 1982, p. 113-114.
39 ibid. p. 114.
40 ibid. p. 115.
41 ibid. p. 117.
42 D.T. Suzuki, What is Zen?, In: The Gospel According to Zen: Beyond the Death of God, Editors, R. Sohl and A. Carr, 1970, p. 13.
43 Horace Holley, Bahai World Faith: Selected Writings of Bahaullah and Abdul-baha, Second Edition, Bahai Publishing Trust, Wilmette, IL, 1956, p. 253-254.
44 Arthur L. Basham, The Origins and Development of Classical Hinduism, Edited by Kenneth G. Zysk, Beacon Press, Boston, MA, 1989, p. 97.
45 Swami Nikhilananda, The Bhagavad Gita, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, New York, N.Y., 1952, p. 141-142.
46 ibid. p. 158.
47 ibid. p. 162.
48 ibid. p. 163-164.
49 ibid. p. 192-193.
50 ibid. p. 366-371.
51 Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, The Book of the Secrets-II, Rajneesh Foundation, Poona, India, 1975, p. 73-74.
52 ibid. p. 311-312.
53 ibid. p. 323.
54 Da Free John, The Love-Ananda Gita, Dawn Hose Press, Clearlake, CA, 1989, 277-278.
55 ibid. p. 431.
56 Bhaktivedanta, A.C., Dialectic Spiritualism: A Vedic View Of Western Philosophy, Prabhupada Books, W. Va. 1985, p. 16.
57 ibid. p. 208.
58 ibid. p. 148.
59 Athenagoras, op. cit. supra note 17 at p. 147.
60 Bhaktivedanta, op. cit. supra note 56 at p. 50.
61 ibid. p. 169.
62 ibid. p. 265-266.
63 ibid. p. 335.
64 Strong, op. cit. supra note 2 at p. 45.
65 Webster’s New World Dictionary, op. cit. supra note 28 at p. 487.
66 Francis Schaeffer, Francis Schaeffer Trilogy: The God Who is There, Escape from Reason, He is There and He is Not Silent, Crossway Books, Westchester, IL, Div. Good News Publishers, 1990, p. 182.
67 David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN, 1991, p. 68.
68 Thomas, op. cit. supra note 37 at p. 5 (Pt.1, Q.34, Art.2).