Logic implies God?

I’d normally ignore it as too crazy even for creationists, but I’ve encountered this argument more than once lately. It’s the notion that the existence of “the laws of logic” requires a transcendent divine authority—a version of the eye-roll-inducing “Transcendental Argument” favored by the likes of the late Reconstructionist Greg Bahnsen. For example, as creationist Dr. Jason Lisle puts it:

Laws of logic are God’s standard for thinking. Since God is an unchanging, sovereign, immaterial Being, the laws of logic are abstract, universal, invariant entities. In other words, they are not made of matter—they apply everywhere and at all times. Laws of logic are contingent upon God’s unchanging nature. And they are necessary for logical reasoning. Thus, rational reasoning would be impossible without the biblical God.

The materialistic atheist can’t have laws of logic. He believes that everything that exists is material—part of the physical world. But laws of logic are not physical. You can’t stub your toe on a law of logic.

It’s bad enough that such people misconceive laws of nature as being akin to legislated laws, now they have to go and do the same with logic.

I wonder, actually, if this is one of those instances where argument is futile. Even in general, I don’t like being dragged into the kind of metaphysical mode of argument that many theists favor. Engaging in that sort of thing just encourages pathological thinking, and I don’t care if many respectable philosophers still go for that sort of gamesmanship. But this “logic implies God” type of thing is a particularly nasty example. No wonder I run across it among creationists.

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About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University