This is an interesting question, @mgaplus4. @Jennifer_Wilkinson makes a great point along with the definitions! And this issue of eliminating the possibility of God’s existence or interaction with His creation is a topic of great consideration when dealing with atheists, agnostics, etc. Because we see more and more that objections for God are not based on reason, but on ideology that refuses to observe possibility and probability. (This flow of thought I’m using is referenced in Abdu’s podcast and I’m also paraphrasing from from the writings of John Lennox.)
When I read the definition Jennifer provides for logic, I see where logic could be fickle and influenced by staunch ideology that rejects a Source for logic. If my source for my logic is founded only in me and not from a source outside of me, then I will probably get pretty circular in my reasoning.
My sons participated in competitive debate in middle school and high school years, and I recall that one of the important things that had to be established first in the round was definitions. Your logic and defense should compliment your definitions.
And the practice of making up our own personal definitions is becoming more common which renders the use of language tenuous. To be able to define words at will renders a society void of any logic or reason resulting in nonsense. It will be as if each person is speaking their own language and only the one speaking can know what is being said. What a lonely world that would be!
If I am investigating an observation that could be a miracle, but I have eliminated the possibility of God being
the principles governing correct or reliable inference…reason or sound judgment
then I have removed an option that is not only possible, but may be the most logical, and I’ve limited my field of explanations to something that is often less likely or even reasonable (E.g. me ).
In other words, we’re trying to settle the debate about whether a miracle happened like the resurrection, not by the merits of the evidence in favor of that miracle, but by defining miracles such that there can never be enough evidence to justify a miracle. Do you see that? It’s important we understand that. See, if we make the claim that a miracle is by definition the least likely explanation of something, well then there can never be a miracle. There can never be one because the minute I actually offer you any explanation whatsoever, no matter how implausible it is, because of my prior definition, even my crazy implausible explanations must automatically be better than a miracle because I’ve defined a miracle as the least plausible explanation, or the least probable explanation.
That gives me license to provide any crazy theory I want to explain all four facts of the resurrection, for example, or to explain any miracle claim that someone gives.
I have been listening to John Lennox during the week on my drive time, and I really enjoyed his extensive discussion of miracles in his book Gunning for God, he gives attributes of a miracle as something that is observable and different from the normal.
A moment’s thought will show us that, in order to recognize some event as a miracle, there must be some perceived regularity to which that event is an apparent exception! You cannot recognize something that is abnormal, if you do not know what is normal. This was recognized long ago. It is interesting that the historian Luke, who was a doctor trained in the medical science of his day, begins his biography of Christ by raising this very matter.— He tells the story of a man, Zechariah, and of his wife, Elizabeth, who for many years had prayed for a son because she was barren. When, in his old age, an angel appeared to him and told him that his former prayers were about to be answered and that his wife would conceive and bear a son, he very politely but firmly refused to believe it. The reason he gave was that he was now old and his wife’s body decrepit. For him and his wife to have a child at this stage would run counter to all that he knew of the laws of nature. The interesting thing about him is this: he was no atheist; he was a priest who believed in God, in the existence of angels, and in the value of prayer. But if the promised fulfillment of his prayer was going to involve a reversal of the laws of nature, he was not prepared to believe it.
Lennox goes on to discuss evidence which I think supports Abdu’s discussion:
I remind the reader that I use the term “evidence” and not the term “proof”, since, as we pointed out
in Chapter 2, proof in the rigorous mathematical sense is not available in any other discipline or area of experience, not even in the so-called “hard” sciences. In all other disciplines we speak of evidence; and it is up to each person to make up their mind whether the evidence is convincing for them or not.
I pray that a person that has not intentionally cut himself off from truth will observe the logic and reason that an all powerful God Who is the Author of the laws of physics can also move in liberty outside of those laws and influence outcome in unique ways because He is not bound by the laws (as we are.) And God gives us enough mind, conscience and “normal” to be able to recognize it and His involvement in His created universe.