The Christian Worldview, the Atheist Worldview, and Logic

Can the atheist present a logical reason how his worldview can account for the abstract laws of logic?  I think not.  But, the Christian worldview can.  The Christian worldview states that God is the author of truth, logic, physical laws, etc.  Atheism maintains that physical laws are properties of matter, and that truth and logic are relative conventions (agreed-upon principles).  Is this logically defensible?

I present this outline in hopes of clarifying the issue and presenting, what I consider, an insurmountable problem of the atheistic worldview.  I hesitate to state that this is a proof that God exists, but I think it is evidence of the Absolute Nature of God.

This argument is adapted from the Transcendental Argument championed by Greg Bahnsen.

  1. How does a Christian account for the laws of logic?
    1. The Christian worldview states that God is absolute and the standard of truth.
    2. Therefore, the absolute laws of logic exist because they reflect the nature of an absolute God.
      1. God did not create the laws of logic.  They were not brought into existence since they reflect God's thinking.  Since God is eternal, the laws of logic are, too.
    3. Man, being made in God's image, is capable of discovering these laws of logic.  He does not invent them.
    4. Therefore, the Christian can account for the existence of the laws of logic by acknowledging they originate from God, and that Man is only discovering them.
    5. Nevertheless, the atheist might say this answer is too simplistic and too convenient.  It might be, but at least the Christian worldview can account for the existence of logic itself.
  2. Examples of the laws of logic
    1. Law of Identity:  Something is what it is.  Something that exists has a specific nature.
    2. Law of Non-Contradiction:  Something cannot be itself and not itself at the same time, in the same way, and in the same sense.
    3. Law of Excluded Middle:  a statement is either true or false.  Thus, the statement, "A statement is either true or false," is either true or false.
  3. How does the atheist account for the laws of logic?
    1. If the atheist states that the laws of logic are conventions (mutually agreed upon conclusions), then the laws of logic are not absolute because they are subject to a "vote."
    2. The laws of logic are not dependent upon different peoples' minds since people are different.  Therefore, they cannot be based on human thinking since human thinking is often contradictory.
    3. If the atheist states that the laws of logic are derived through observing natural principles found in nature, then he is confusing the mind with the universe.
      1. We discover laws of physics by observing and analyzing the behavior of things around us.  The laws of logic are not the result of observable behavior of object or actions. 
        1. For example, in nature we do not see something that is both itself and not itself at the same time. 
          1. Why?  Because we can only observe a phenomenon that exists--not one that does not exist.  If something is not itself, then it doesn't exist.  How then can the property of that non-existent thing be observed?  It cannot.
          2. Therefore, we are not discovering a law of logic by observation but by thought.
        2. Or, where in nature do we observe that something cannot bring itself into existence if it does not already exist?
          1. You cannot make an observation about how something does not occur if it does not exist.  You would be, in essence, observing nothing at all; and how can any laws of logic be applied to or derived from observing nothing at all?
      2. The laws of logic are conceptual realities.  They only exist in the mind, and they do not describe the physical behavior of things because behavior is action; and laws of logic are not descriptions of action but of truth.
        1. In other words, laws of logic are not actions.  They are statements about conceptual patterns of thought.  Though one could say that a law of physics (i.e., the angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incidence) is a statement which is conceptual, it is a statement that describes actual physical and observable behavior.  But, logical absolutes are not observable and do not describe behavior or actions of things since they reside completely in the mind.
        2. We do not observe the laws of logic occurring in matter.  You don't watch an object NOT bring itself into existence if it doesn't exist.  Therefore, no law of logic can be observed by watching nothing.
    4. If the atheist appeals to the scientific method to explain the laws of logic, then he is using circular argumentation because the scientific method is dependent upon logic, that is, reasoned thought applied to observations.
    5. If logic is not absolute, then no logical arguments for or against the existence of God can be raised, and the atheist has nothing to work with.
    6. If logic is not absolute, then logic cannot be used to prove or disprove anything.
  4. Atheists will use logic to try and disprove God's existence, but in so doing they are assuming absolute laws of logic and borrowing from the Christian worldview.
    1. The Christian worldview maintains that the laws of logic are absolute because they come from God, who is Himself absolute.
    2. But the atheist worldview does not have an absolute God.
      1. So, we ask, "How can absolute, conceptual, abstract laws be derived from a universe of matter, energy, and motion?"
      2. In other words, "How can an atheist with a naturalistic presupposition account for the existence of logical absolutes when logical absolutes are conceptual by nature and not physical, energy, or motion?"


  1. The Christian theistic worldview can account for the laws of logic by stating that they come from God.
    1. God is transcendent; that is, He is beyond the material universe being its creator.
    2. God has originated the laws of logic because they are a reflection of His nature.
    3. Therefore, the laws of logic are absolute.
    4. They are absolute because there is an absolute God.
  2. The atheistic worldview cannot account for the laws of logic/absolutes, and must borrow from the Christian worldview in order to rationally argue.

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.