The Transcendental Argument and The Gospel

One of the strongest arguments for the existence of God is the transcendental argument. I’ve covered elsewhere (see links below), but this all-encompassing argument claims that to deny the existence of the Christian God is to uncut the very meaningfulness of the most important everyday realities we take for granted.

This is all bold and exciting stuff, but so often it can seem distant from the central truths of the Christian faith. It can feel like a far cry from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

But is this true?

I suggest that once we move past that initial sentiment, and reflect among what’s being taught in the transcendental argument, we’ll see that a proper handling of the argument actually creates a bridge, not a hindrance, to the gospel.

So let’s reevaluate the claims of the transcendental argument and see what it tells us about God and man.

What the argument tells us about God. The argument clearly communicates God as the one with whom we have to do. God is there, and he is not silent. In knowing anything about the world we, in fact, know the one true and living God.

Furthermore, we learn…

  • only God accounts for the causation of the universe. This means he has the power to accomplish all that he wants to.
  • God is the very standard of good and righteous behavior mean that he is not passive in evaluating our behavior (whether expressed in thought, word, or deed), and stands against our unrighteousness.
  • God’s existence accounts for rationality and the laws of thought. This means that in our moments of intellectual clarity we reflect God, and when we reason against him we are turning his good gift against him.

What the argument tells us about humanity. But the argument goes further. Not only does it tell about who God is, but it tells us who we are.

  • Man receives God’s revelation of himself through the things God has made.
  • Man suppresses that revelation of God because of his hostility toward God
  • Those who search (in vain) for alternate groundings for the laws of thought are not running toward rationality and logic, but running in the exact opposite direction.

And so if the argument is sound, it pulls back the curtain and reveals what is really going on. God, the true God, is revealed everywhere, in and through every created thing, to every human being. The unbeliever is ultimately not a Christian because they lack information, or require superior rational arguments. They have a deep-seated hostility toward the true God.

This is why the transcendental argument is an incredibly powerful tool in the apologist’s toolbox. It is a multifaceted argument, one that not only argues for the existence of God, but reveals man’s sin, and naturally leads to a biblical solution to the problem: the gospel.

Whereas the revealation of God in the created order is sufficient only to condemn us for our sin, the gospel reveals that the final Judge is also gracious and merciful. The gospel reveals the character of God as generous and forgiving, something the philosopher will search for in vain in their “first principles.” The gospel reveals that God can grant the power to overcome humanity’s rebellion and by the Spirit give him the ability to think God’s thoughts after him.

For more, see

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Posted on March 15, 2017, in Philosophical Apologetics, Presuppositional apologetics, The Gospel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. This is the presuppositional argument. I don’t find it convincing at all. Where is the evidence that God exists at all or that the Bible is the Word of God?

    • Mark, thank you for dropping by. This post does not contain the argument itself, only it’s implications. That is to say that a number of unargued assertions are made that aren’t defended (since they are made elsewhere on the blog). So, if you were looking to this entry as a defense of the transcendental argument, this wasn’t the post for you.

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