When it comes to assessing the truth of the major world religions, astute observers can recognize that some of their beliefs seem logically disconnected and even self-contradictory. Some Eastern religions even disparage logic in favor of something that lies beyond logical categories.
But what about historic Christianity? Does it fare any better in terms of systematic connectedness?
Can the great doctrinal truths of historic Christianity hold together as a logical system? If so, how might one connect such systematic theological categories as God, creation, man, Christ, and salvation into an interconnected structure?
As an instructor in logic, I see critical logical connections between these essential Christian categories of doctrine. I’ll outline four brief examples here and invite readers to consider my fuller writings on the topics in the resources below.
1. The Trinity makes the incarnation possible.
The triune nature of God means that God is one in essence or being but three in subsistence or personhood (one God in three persons). So the Father, the first person of the Trinity, sends the second person of the Trinity, the Son, into the world. The Son of God maintains his divine nature and yet also takes a human nature, making him the God-man. So Jesus Christ is therefore a single person with both a divine and human nature.
2. Creation facilitates the incarnation.
As the crown of creation, human beings are made in the image of God. Thus, man uniquely bears the divine image—something not true of the angels and animals. This uniqueness means not only that human beings are like God but also that the second person of the Trinity could take a human nature that was, in effect, especially well-suited for him. God the Son took a human nature that was modeled after him. This unique aspect of creation relating to God’s image in man cleared the way for the future incarnation of God in human flesh.
3. The incarnation makes salvation possible.
In historic Christianity, salvation comes about when sinful human beings are forgiven for their transgressions and reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ. Yet that salvation is possible because Jesus Christ represents both parties involved in salvation. In other words, Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection can unite God and man because the Savior bears and represents both natures and thus both parties. The God-man reconciles God and man.
4. The nature of the incarnate God justifies salvation for believers as well as eternal punishment for nonbelievers.
To sin against an eternal God is to commit an eternal sin. Therefore, eternal punishment is a just accompanying sentence. But to be forgiven of an eternal sin takes an atonement that can only be performed by an eternal being and person. Thus, the nature of the incarnate God (in Christ) makes sense of eternal divine punishment and eternal divine salvation.
Historic Christianity’s systematic categories of God, creation, man, Christ, and salvation illustrate a logical interconnectedness. This consistency is evidence of Christianity’s truth.
Reflection: Your Turn
Which of these points of doctrinal interconnectedness do you find the most engaging?
I write about the logical connectedness of Christian doctrine in these three books:
- Christianity Cross-Examined: Is It Rational, Relevant, and Good? In this book I answer 12 questions about historic Christianity’s truth, relevance, and goodness.
- Without a Doubt: Answering the 20 Toughest Faith Questions: In this book I answer 20 common questions and objections about God, Christ, and Christianity.
- A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test: In this book I address issues pertaining to the Christian worldview and its relationship to competing worldviews.