Tag Archives: Major Premise

Logical Gal – Our major premise affects our eternal destiny

1 Apr

The pastor employed tight logic to make his point about who gets to enjoy eternity with God after death.  A simple 3-component syllogism (2 reasons leading to an assertion or conclusion) could summarize his core teaching.

Eternal life with God

Here is the syllogism with just the minor premise. (When we don’t explicitly articulate any of the 3 parts of the syllogism, we have an enthymeme).

Premise 2 went like this:

P1

P2 – I’ve led a horrible life of evil that would shock you if you knew

C – Therefore, I …….

What I found interesting was that the conclusion would vary depending on the first or major premise!

What possibilities exist?  There might be more than these 2, but let’s look at the polar opposites:

  • All those whose performances and record on Earth meet God’s standard are ushered into heaven with God
  • All those who ‘call upon the name of the Lord’ (Romans 10:13) are ushered into heaven with God

Do you see what I mean?  The pastor’s point was that the one who despairs that his wicked, wasted past has totally disqualified him from a forever life of fellowship with God doesn’t understand the Biblical God.  And if he insists that his past is too dark and unworthy actually puts HIS despair and past in the sovereign place of God as being supreme.  It’s arrogant to insist on one’s ability to trump God.

God has so set up the ‘system’ that only those who accept His offer of mercy as a gift are welcome.  That way, no one can take credit for either

a) being sorry enough for one’s past

b) being good enough to qualify for Heaven

The pastor’s encouraging sermon grew out of this syllogism:

P1 – All those who call upon the name (the character) of the Lord, regardless of their past shall be saved

P2 – Even though I am wicked beyond measure, I am calling on God to save me.

C – Therefore, God will welcome me into His Eternal Kingdom

Easter

May you find rest for your soul this Easter, based on both his sinless life and the righteous work that Jesus did on the cross. He has paid for those evil thoughts and deeds of His children and God and met every standard of righteousness during his time on earth. Therefore, God is just to embrace those who take up His righteous offer of mercy.  Be at peace!

Logical Gal and why your major premise matters

20 Jan

Premise 1 – All exercise benefits the body

Premise 2 – Stretching is an exercise

Conclusion – Therefore, stretching benefits the body

The major premise is the first one listed above, in this example:  All exercise benefits the body

The way deductive logic works is this: if the major and minor premises are TRUE and if the syllogism conforms to rules for correct formation (validity), then the conclusion is both predictable and true. Without going into any further discussion about validity, I want to focus on WHY one’s major premise, in general, can have a weighty effect on one’s conclusions.

Consider a married couple who trust each other.

Let’s imagine a situation where it’s reported to the husband (Bob) that his wife has been seen having some tête-à-tête discussions with a man.  The implication is that maybe the wife (Sue) is having an affair.

Depending on Bob’s major premise about his wife and their marriage, his conclusions will be different.

Possibility # 1:

Overarching presupposition or major premise:

Premise 1:  (overarching major assumption) My wife is faithful to her word and her commitments and loves me completely

Premise 2: (the circumstances) – But she has been seen with another man

Conclusion: since I know that she is a faithful gal and loves me, there must be a good explanation for who that other man is.

Here’s the other major premise and subsequent conclusion

Premise 1: My wife might not be totally committed to me or to our marriage

Premise 2: She’s been spotted talking with another guy

Conclusion: She probably is cheating on me

Do you see how what we do with new information depends on the contexts we hold?  Same circumstance in both cases – the wife is seen meeting with another man.  The conclusions vary due to the original major premise or pre-supposition.  Sometimes we are not even aware ourselves of the assumptions we carry with us.  They are implicit, subconscious.  But they powerfully affect our lives!

Just for fun, what could be possible scenarios that would explain Sue’s conversations with a strange man? Maybe she was talking….

  • with a craftsman to plan a special birthday gift for her husband
  • with a potential care-giver for her aging father
  • with their son’s new soccer coach about his skills

If we move into a more spiritual plane, how might our pre-suppositions about God affect our reactions and conclusions to disappointment, illness or acts of violence we encounter in life? Have you ever met someone who claims that God must not be good or all-powerful if He lets evil happen?

Their major premise probably goes something like this:

God is good and almighty if He answers my prayers according to my desires

Question: Have you ever drawn a conclusion about someone or something that turned out wrong? How did your assumption or major premise impact your conclusion?