Cornelius Van Til once said that we must believe in the existence of the Triune God of the Bible because of the impossibility of the contrary. The Bible reveals to us who God is, and He reveals Himself within those pages existing as a Trinity; that is to say, He reveals that He is One God existing as Three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Since God is transcendent, it only makes sense that He would be the one to initiate contact with His creation, and He would need to reveal Himself to us on His own terms, but in a way, we could comprehend.
In other words, when you compare the alternative possibilities to the truths revealed in Scripture, the alternatives prove impossible and absurd. No other Book speaks authoritatively about God’s existence; thus, there is no other God.
Of course, one of the biggest hang-ups that people seem to have with the God of the Bible is that He is eternal, transcendent, and Triune. Sinners are so in love with their sin that they hate the true and living God.
The problem is not a lack of knowledge, but sinners suppress knowledge. Deep down, all people everywhere know that God exists. They choose, however, to suppress that knowledge. They’d rather believe in a counterfeit god or buy the newest and most fashionable lie than believe the objective reality that the God of the Bible exists. To borrow a term coined by Francis Schaefer, they reject “true truth” in favor of absurd lies and fanciful alternatives.
The Absurd and Impossible Alternatives
So, what’s the alternative? That there’s no Triune, eternal, omnipotent, self-existing, and transcendent God of the universe? That we’re cosmic mistakes that only exist because, one day, something appeared out of nothingness in some empty, cosmic void? Impossible! Even a tiny child could tell you that nothing comes from nothing.
What’s the alternative? Buddha? Impossible! He himself admitted at his death that he did not have the answers to life. Buddha, with his dying breath, told us that we must search elsewhere!
What’s the alternative? Hinduism, with its pantheon of nearly an infinite number of gods? How absurd! If there’s an infinite number of gods, then there must be no God at all! Or maybe it’s Brahman? That metaphysically distant, impersonal, unfeeling force of the universe? But, again, how absurd! Such a god has no reason to create.
What’s the alternative? That the Muslims have it right, and Allah is the true god? But, in order for a God to be perfect, as Allah is said to be, he must be unchanging. Any change in one direction or another would constitute an imperfection, resulting in a being that is no longer perfect and no longer God. And, in Allah’s case, love is one thing he could never be before creating the universe.
Consider it: A perfect God must be loving. But Allah is one person. A god that exists only as one person before creation cannot be loving. He may love himself, certainly. He may be a self-absorbed egotistical maniac. Perhaps he needs to create to be loved by others, which would reveal another imperfection because such a god would not be complete or content in himself.
Allah can’t possibly know how to love others. He’d either have to learn how to love and thus no longer be a god or forever be self-absorbed.
Allah is no alternative. Only the Triune God of the Bible answers this dilemma. As Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, He has always been perfect. The Father has perfectly and forever loved the Son and the Spirit, making it His mission to bring Himself glory according to that love for the other two Persons of the Trinity. The Son has perfectly and forever loved the Father and the Spirit, making it His mission to bring Himself glory according to that love for the other two Persons of the Trinity. The Spirit has perfectly and forever loved the Father and the Son, making it His mission to bring Himself glory according to that love for the other two Persons of the Trinity.
When this Triune God created, He did so not out of need but out of an overflow of love amongst the Three Persons. Because the Father has always been a Father, and the Son has always been a Son, we know that they know how to love one another. But to be perfectly loving, He must be Three Persons, or else we could never be sure He would know how to share His love between more than the Two Persons of Father and Son. Thus, the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, reveals the objective perfection of the Godhead.
The Transcendental Argument
Every alternative falls short in its abject absurdity. The impossibility of the contrary forces us back, every time, to the True and Living Triune God as He is revealed within the Bible.
We know God exists. Everyone reading this knows God exists. So, what gives? Romans 1:20-23 makes our problem plain:
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
We suppress the truth. Yet, every day, we simultaneously presuppose the existence of the transcendent, Triune God of the Bible while rejecting Him. Without Him, life has no value or meaning. Laws lose their lawfulness, while logic loses its logicalness.
The Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God, or “TAG” for short, is an apologetic argument that makes the very case I have been making here. The Transcendental Argument (TAG) has a few basic variations, but my own slightly modified version goes something like this:
- Logic, science, language, beauty, and morality depend on the necessary precondition of the existence of a transcendent God, for these are transcendent and universal principles.
- People everywhere—even atheists and non-Christians—hold to and depend on things like logic, science, language, beauty, and morality in transcendent and abstract ways, revealing that—even in their refusal to acknowledge Him—all people presuppose that the Triune God of the Bible exists, or else these transcendent, abstract, and universal realities would be impossible.
- Only the Triune God of the Bible gives meaning to logic, science, language, beauty, and morality because only He is eternal, transcendent, self-existent, good, loving, and perfect.
- Therefore, the transcendent God who gives meaning to logic, science, language, beauty, and morality must exist, and He must be the Triune God revealed in the Bible.
A shorter summary usually goes like this: Logically, God exists because logic cannot exist apart from God.
The fact is that either a transcendent God has imbued the creation with meaning and so transcendent and abstract concepts matter, or these things are merely social constructs with no meaning at all. Either God has created the universe and given our lives purpose and meaning, or life is meaningless and without purpose. Either the Triune God exists, created us, and existence matters, or we might as well eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die! Either what we do matters for eternity, or all of the human achievement will one day be wiped out with none to remember.
The impossibility of the contrary reveals the objective truth and logical reasoning behind this argument. The Triune God of Scripture exists, and transcendent principles matter because He created them. Scripture, of course, not only backs all of this up but reveals it to us in the first place:
- God created everything (Genesis 1).
- God gave us beauty (See Genesis 2:9 for one example: “And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food…” In His divine act of creating, He created beautiful things to look upon and gave us the eyes and minds to appreciate His objective aesthetic values.)
- God gave us language (Genesis 11).
- God gave us His transcendent Laws (Exodus 20; Romans 2:12-16).
- God gave us logic and reasoning because all objective reality and truth find their origin and culmination in Him (John 14:6).
The Triune God of the Bible exists, His Word is true, and He gives life meaning and purpose. All people know this already. But, apart from God’s grace, they will never accept it and continually sin against Him.
But the other good news is that the Bible teaches us that Jesus saves sinners. Let all turn to Jesus Christ, repent of their sins, and trust Him for eternal salvation by faith! Let us hear and obey the Word of the Second Person of the Trinity: Repent and believe the gospel (of Jesus’s death suffered on the Cross for you, of His suffering the full outpouring of God’s wrath for your sins, of His perfect fulfillment of God’s Law in place of you, of His burial, and His resurrection), and be saved! (Mark 1:15).
Jacob Tanner is a husband, father, and pastor, living in Pennsylvania. Holding to the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, Jacob is focused on both evangelism and reformation. He is the founder of the Sound of Truth Ministries, where they have regular podcasts and preaches whenever the opportunity arises. His passion and motto are, “To know Christ and make Him known because He has made us His own.” He can be found spending time with his family or with a book in his hands in his free time.