Dabney and a lesson in logic

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Flynn, Feb 14, 2006.

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  1. Flynn

    Flynn Puritan Board Freshman

    A few years ago I was reading Dabney and I came across this amazing comment:

    In proof of the general correctness of this theory of the extent of the Atonement, we should attach but partial force to some of the arguments advanced by Symington and others, or even by Turrettin--e. g., That Christ says, He died "for His sheep," for "His Church," for "His friends," is not of itself conclusive. The proof of a proposition does not disprove its converse. All the force which we could properly attach to this class of passages is the probability arising from the frequent and emphatic repetition of this affirmative statement as to a definite object. Dabney Lectures, p521.


    Now, here what he is telling us that one cannot infer a universal negative from a bare positive. A statement that Christ died for someone cannot by used to prove a negative inference that Christ only died for that someone. To infer a universal negation from a simple or bare positive is always everywhere irrational. :) Its never right. And so Dabney notes all these statements can do is sustain emphasis, not negation and exclusivity.

    For example, if Paul were to say, as he does, that Christ died for him, no sane person would conclude that he meant to imply that Christ died only for him.

    What are the implications here? Big. How many arguments for limited imputation/expiation are actually based on a faulty negative inference fallacy? Bunches. :)

    Anyway, I thought that might interest anyone who wants to think about this.

    Take care,
    David
     
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