There are problems with atheists wanting material evidence of a transcendent God

by Matt Slick

Atheism is a denial of God (yes, even those who lack belief in God are denying him).  With such denial, atheists tend to appeal to science when determining truth about the world.  When it comes to morality they are subjective and/or adopt the ethics of society.  But, the God of the Bible is not discovered by an appeal to science or subjective opinions about morality.  The God of the Bible is transcendent. In other words, he is not restricted to the material world and he is not dependent on atheist's personal opinions for his existence or discoverability. That is why we say in Christian theology that God is "Wholly Other".  That is, he is completely different than what we are.  God is omniscient, we are not. God is omnipresent, we are not. God is transcendent, we are not, etc.

When we say that God is transcendent we are saying that he is separate from the physical realm, that he is not dependent on it for his existence, and that he is not restricted by its natural properties. We Christians say that God transcends our universe. Furthermore, a transcendental god is known, in part, transcendentally, not by observing a repeatable lab experiment. If a regular predictable lab experiment is developed, it can only be said to demonstrate characteristics of the physical world because that's what science is supposed to do. But the atheist has made the mistake of assuming, without verification, that material-based evidence is the proper criteria to determine God's existence.

Transcendental Evidence

Transcendental evidence would be a characteristic of the transcendental God. Transcendental evidence would be phenomena that are not dependent upon the physical realm, or in other words, they would not be merely repeatable and or discoverable through examining the natural world.

If God exists outside of our universe and is independent of time, then his work inside of our universe would exhibit attributes that are independent of our space-time realm. I propose the following as possible examples of transcendental evidence for God's existence

  1. The Laws of Logic which have transcendental properties because they are not dependent upon human minds or physical properties of the universe for their existence.
  2. Moral Absolutes which are moral truth statements that are universally applicable to all people.   they would not be dependent upon human conditions are preferences for their truth values. Such an example of an absolute moral truth would be, "It's always wrong for anyone to torture babies to death merely for their personal pleasure."
  3. Prophecy when you have a transcendental quality to it since prophecy ( that is demonstrated to be prophetic by its fulfillment) would exhibit characteristics of origin outside of our linear time frame.
  4. Miraculous events that cannot be explained through the scientific method such as resurrection from the dead, walking on water, healings, etc.

But, since the atheist denies the possibility of transcendent occurrences (without rational justification), and since he operates from the assumption of "not God", then he has arbitrarily restricted the criteria that would satisfy his need for convincing evidence to be that which excludes the transcendental.  He has, in effect, blinded himself and then challenged God to make him see.  If he refuses the possibility of transcendental evidences, then he has decided that he does not want to be found by God - even though he challenges Christians to demonstrate God exists.

See related article I have not seen convincing evidence for God's existence



About The Author

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