The Trancendentals primarily refer to Truth. Beauty and Goodness are pointers toward truth. When we reflect on the beauty of nature of any of God’s creations, we are being pointed toward truth. Our sense of wonder is a part of our nature to long for God. God is not a fearful parent figure judging us from some cloud. Anything in our lives that is not beautiful, comes from our quenching of the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Naturalism or materialism cannot account or explain the phenomenon of truth. It lies outside our minds in the mind of God.

Objective Beauty (Axiological Transcendental)

1) There is objective beauty.
2) Objective beauty is more likely if theism is true than if naturalism is true.
3) So, objective beauty is evidence for theism over naturalism.

“‘How ugly the stars are tonight! How trivial the pounding of the waves on the beach! And is it not crass
to be thrilled by mountains? The rain forest and the wild-flowers are quite repulsive. And as for sunsets…’. If a full-blown relativism in aesthetics was correct, then those responses would be unusual but not in any way improper. But my reaction is that anyone who fails to appreciate the beauty of this universe is defective.” – Peter Forrest

● Phillip Tallon, “The Mozart Argument and the Argument from Play and Enjoyment: The Theistic Argument from Beauty and Play,” in Walls & Dougherty (eds.), Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for God (Oxford, 2018), pp. 321-340.
● Doug Geivett and James Spiegel, “Beauty: A Troubling Reality for the Scientific Naturalist,” in Copan & Taliaferro (eds.), The
Naturalness of Belief: New Essays on Theism’s Rationality
(Lexington Books, 2019), pp. 141-157.
● Eddy Zamach, Real Beauty (Pennsylvania University Press, 1997).

Aesthetic Sensibilities (The Transcendentals)

1) We have natural and sophisticated aesthetic sensibilities.
2) That we have natural and sophisticated aesthetic sensibilities is more likely if theism is true than if naturalism is true.
3) So, that we have natural and sophisticated aesthetic sensibilities is evidence for theism over naturalism.

(The Transcendentals) Natural Beauty as Product of Aesthetic Intent

1) If x is beautiful, x is likely the product of aesthetic intent.
2) The natural world is (in general) beautiful.
3) So, the natural world is likely the product of aesthetic intent.
4) If the natural world is the product of aesthetic intent, it’s the product of the aesthetic intent of a God-like being.
5) So, probably, the world is the product of the aesthetic intent of a God-like being.

● F. R. Tennant, Philosophical Theology, Vol. 2 (Cambridge, 1930).
● Mark Wynn, God and Goodness: A Natural Theological Perspective (Routlegde, 1999).

Natural Beauty as a Gift

1) Natural beauty gives the resilient impression of being a gift.
2) If natural beauty gives the resilient impression of being a gift, we’re justified in believing it is a gift.
3) So, we’re justified in believing natural beauty is a gift.
4) If natural beauty is a gift, it can only be the gift of a transcendent, benevolent giver.
5) So, we’re justified in believing natural beauty is the gift of a transcendent, benevolent giver.

● Peter Forrest, God Without the Supernatural: A Defense of Scientific Theism (Cornell, 1996).
● Ryan West and Adam Pelser, “Perceiving God Through Natural Beauty,” Faith and Philosophy 32/3 (2015), pp. 293-312.

Natural Beauty as a Natural Sign

1) Natural signs justify belief in the reality of what they signify.
2) Natural beauty is a natural sign.
3) Natural beauty signifies concepts of and beliefs about God.
4) So, natural beauty justified belief in the reality of God.

● Ryan West and Adam Pelser, “Perceiving God Through Natural Beauty,” Faith and Philosophy 32/3 (2015), pp. 293-312.

Beauty in Mathematics

1) Mathematical theories inspired by aesthetic impulses often successfully apply to the physical world.
2) That mathematical theories inspired by aesthetic impulses often successfully apply to the physical world is more likely if theism is true than if naturalism is true.
3) So, the fact that mathematical theories inspired by aesthetic impulses often successfully apply to the physical world is evidence for theism over naturalism.

“In a beautiful mathematical theory, there is certainly the inevitable. A theorem marches on towards a conclusion that seems undeniable. But how can something inevitable also be unexpected? The answer lies in the proof of a theorem itself. A beautiful proof has, in its core, ideas that take the reader by surprise, almost like a series of brilliant moves in a chess match. And the surprises, when put in context, become stunningly beautiful. A good poem has that same effect. The pattern of words forms a
symphony that contains many surprises to be sure, but when heard, seems paradoxically inevitable in that it had to be stated the way it was. [According to some], the theories in mathematics most ‘important’ are precisely the ones that satisfy these aesthetic standards.” – Russell Howell

● Wigner and Steiner (op cit.).
● Russell Howell, “Does Mathematical Beauty Pose Problems for Naturalism?” Christian Scholar’s Review 35/4 (2006), pp. 493-504.

Imago Dei (The Transcendentals)

The Transcendentals are central to the doctines of Christianity is that the individual is made in the image of God. As such, they have an inherent value or worth, beyond the animalistic. Imago Dei (The Image of God)

1) Human persons have inherent value/worth.
2) The fact that human persons have inherent value/worth is much more likely if theism is true than if naturalism is true.
3) So, the fact that human persons have value/worth is strong evidence for theism over naturalism.

● Mark Linville, “The Moral Argument,” in Craig and Moreland (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (Blackwell, 2009), ch. 7.
● David Baggett and Jerry Walls, God and Cosmos: Moral Truth and Human Meaning (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), ch. 4.

See also: Metaphysical Arguments for God and Who Made The Watch?