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The Logic of Patience

December 7, 2006

Gordon Clark says John 1:1,4 may be paraphrased,

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.

Dr. Clark exposits on God and Logic in an essay of that title, and more comprehensively in a small but high-density book, The Johannine Logos, as well as throughout his many writings. God is truth, and truth cannot be truth unless it is logical. Rational people know this.

Unfortunately, these people do not run the world and its things.

I realize that human reasoning suffered as soon as Eve suspended her disbelief in talking animals. The decline continues on a precipitous scale.

I was just reading a reply to an email I sent to a friend who lives abroad. I had emailed her a photo of the famous shoes I was discussing on my blog Tuesday. My subject line contained the words “gospel of peace.” The body of the mail contained “shoes.” So google positioned ads their random logic generator determined relevant: “Life is Good & Peace Frog,” “Peace Corps Alternative,” “The Walking Company,” and “Pediped Infant Footwear.” This is how I know our privacy is secure. Naturally, Ephesians 6:15 did not come up in Google logic. It is not something they could sell us.

I mailed out some school supplies. The postage came to $37.00 for two small boxes of zip-lock bags of pencils, erasers, and rulers. Had the packages contained the same weight in printed materials, whether school books or pornography, the postage would have been around $8.00.

I conduct all our banking online. I could write a check and empty our account and run away to Minot, North Dakota. But only my husband, who has never logged on to the account, is conferred with the truly awesome power to switch from receiving paper statements to receiving electronic statements. This is perfectly logical in the bank’s institutional eyes: the paper statements, after all, come addressed to my husband.

A fence reminiscent of Auschwitz surrounds a public elementary school. A sign on the fence reads, “No Trespassing: Public Property.”

I think, very simply, these examples typify the logic of men who have rejected the logic of God. This is what a culture that has been turned over to reliance on its own logic looks like. The scariest thing of all is that so few people are scared. And those who aren’t scared aren’t scared for the wrong reason.

Jesus is the Logos. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). He is the way of salvation; without him, there would be no salvation from sin. He is the truth; without him, there is no truth. He is the life; without him, there is no life. He is logic; without him, nothing would make sense. Illogical life is not life; it is some unendurable variant we were never meant to live as creatures bearing the image of God. The absence of logic is the absence of life.

Dr. Clark (The Johannine Logos, p. 120) reminds us that regeneration must precede assent to God’s logic. This means that people who deny the logic of God are dead. But we are nevertheless obligated to pay taxes to them and on their behalf.

Calvin teaches that there is joy in all of this. The petty buffetings I experience do not begin to compare to “poverty, exile, prison, insult, disease, or bereavement.”

[O]ur most merciful Father consoles us also in this respect when he asserts that in the very act of afflicting us with the cross he is providing for our salvation….Therefore, in patiently suffering these tribulations, we do not yield to necessity but we consent for our own good….From this, thanksgiving also follows, which cannot exist without joy; but if the praise of the Lord and thanksgiving can come forth only from a cheerful and happy heart–and there is nothing that ought to interrupt this in us–it thus is clear how necessary it is that the bitterness of the cross be tempered with spiritual joy. (Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion, III.VIII.11)

God grant that I might strive to remember to let the dead bury their dead and be patient with the buffetings that come from living among them. Patience means raising one’s irk threshold. I listened to a sermon by Earl Blackburn on Justification and Sanctification this week. Pastor Blackburn stressed that we are as justified as we’re ever going to be; our sanctification proceeds in God’s good time. The encouraging thing was that his message was directed to pastors, so I thought maybe I could invoke some civilian leeway.

Calvin teaches patience. Christ teaches patience. Seventy times seven is a rational number.

6 comments:

McBrooke said…
Kind of reminds me of Gadsby 89. Thank you for your blog, Mrs. B. This McKasson is a BIG fan.
12:11 PM  
Mrs. B said…
Mcbrooke, it’s great to see you’ve gone bloggo. As you likely know, I’m rather a fan of your own. I’m honored you would link my humble blog abode to your exciting one; I shall link you, too.The 4th verse of Gadsby 89, for those who don’t have it:

What comfort can a Saviour bring
To those who never felt their woe?
A sinner is a sacred thing;
The Holy Ghost has made him so.

12:56 PM  
Victorbravo said…
Yup, the twisted logic is everywhere. Like the Internal Revenue Code’s “disinterested generosity” to determine if a gift is valid.The scary thing is that the tax code actually makes sense, as long as you understand its presuppositions: you don’t own the money you have.

And I especially liked the public property prohibition. Perhaps the public means somebody besides what we think.

5:26 PM  
Mrs. B said…
I still think “disinterested generosity” is a product of the categorical imperative. If you really want to pay your taxes, then you really shouldn’t. But if you pay them out of pure duty, then you’re a solid Kantian.I can’t stand it.

6:26 PM  
Heidi said…
That is a really wonderful Calvin quote — “Therefore, in patiently suffering these tribulations, we do not yield to necessity but we consent for our own good….From this, thanksgiving also follows, which cannot exist without joy….”I loved your remarks on the illogic of it all as well. Peace frog still has me completely stumped.

8:20 AM  
Mrs. B said…
Me too, Heidi. You didn’t say a word about frogs. I wasn’t even thinking about frogs, in case google reads minds. I refrained from doing a search.I consider myself very impatient. But I could be more impatient than I am. There’s something to knowing we could be worse that calls us to ask to be made be better.

8:32 AM  
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