Doesn't the TAG argument reason in a circle?

Questions about God, the Bible and the Christian culture

Question: Why does the existence of logical truths require a transcendent being? Is it possible to conclude that this transcendent reality is a being from the transcendental argument for the existence of God?

Answer: If I understand your challenge correctly, you are asking if it’s possible that the proponents of TAG (the Transcendental Argument for the existence of God) are reasoning in a circle because the transcendent being (whom Christians identify as the God of the Bible) was generated by philosophers… but so they might have a target for their argument?

That would be so overtly circular (or question-begging) that even a new-comer to philosophy — let alone those charged with peer review — would not have let them get away with it. But TAG still stands! So, no… it’s not a reasonable possibility that philosophers invented a God just because they had a slick argument to support his existence. But perhaps I am misunderstanding your question. If that’s the case, please re-query.

As to the first part of your question, TAG assumes that the existence of logical truths requires the existence of a transcendent being… but as a properly basic assumption. They affirm that logical absolutes exist… but that they are conceptual by nature. As such, they have no extension in space — and this means that human beings do not generate them in space. Yet physicalists are stuck with that very premise when they insist that there is no mind that is not equal to (or caused by) the physical brain.

Can we test this? Let me ask you, if the physical universe disappeared — and this includes human beings — would logic still exist? Yes. This is what makes it an absolute. But is it the product of human minds? No. Human minds are different one from another, so they are not absolute. Nevertheless, logic exists…  whether or not a mind can come to grips with it.

We do not generate logic. Logic is a tool for our use… and this is where many people get confused. We are wired to use logic… yet many confound that proclivity with the creation of logic itself. But only an absolute and transcendent agent could create such a tool.

Now, nobody seems to argue that logic doesn’t exist… and here’s the thing. There are only two options to account for the phenomenon of logic: either God or non-God — and it can’t be both. So, when one of those options is negated, the other position is validated. The atheist worldview cannot account for logical absolutes. But since logic exists in spite of that, then it must exist via God. We understand God to be an absolute transcendent being, and this conforms to the Christian worldview.

Now, the TAG argument has many more aspects than I could cover today, but my main job was to find out if I understood your question correctly. So, before you write back, please examine the full text of the TAG argument. It deals with your specific point (and many like it) … but in a level of detail that is beyond the scope of this venue.

There are many websites that discuss this argument, but one of our sister ministries, CARM Ministries, has a particularly useful version… and this is the one I suggest you use. Find it at the following link:

I pray that this helped.

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