8. God of the Gaps

There is a view among some Creationists that science certainly can explain some things – to a certain extent. But, the argument goes, science cannot explain everything, ie, there are gaps in our scientific knowledge.  These Creationists attempt to bridge the gaps with “God”, ie, God exists in those gaps.  This is sometimes known as a God-of-the-Gaps argument. It should be understood from the get-go that the term God of the Gaps is generally derogatory in nature.  Can’t explain it?  Attribute it to “God”!

The problem with using “God” to explain the unexplainable is this: once an explanation is found, “God” becomes smaller.  As more and more gaps are filled in our scientific knowledge, “God” diminishes.  The danger is coming to the conclusion, “Oh, it isn’t God after all – it’s X.”

It should be mentioned here that some anti-Creationists take full advantage of the fact that some Christians embrace this ideology.  They then take it to its right conclusion, ie, as gaps are filled, humankind will have all the answers and realise there is no “God” after all.

As believers, I think that we should acknowledge that God is in control of everything.  So, this God of the Gaps theory should not be adopted at all.

In Part 7, I shared how a beautiful little silver cross pendant came into my possession.

Now, I am not deluded enough to think that God somehow ‘miraculously’ put that necklace in that safe.  I don’t believe that it appeared that out of nowhere.  I know that there is a rational explanation.  If and when I ever find out how that necklace ended up there, it will not be an earth-shattering moment for me.  I’ll just think, “Oh, so that’s how it happened!”

<< 7. “Why Couldn’t God…?” | Creation/Evolution Page | 9. What ‘Theory’ Really Means >>
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Posted on Sunday, May 30th, 2010, in Creation vs Evolution, Religion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. For now, since you don’t know how that silver cross came into being, it’s a really nice story. Warms the heart. One day when you find out (if you do, that is), you’ll go, “Oh, OK.” But your story here will still be a nicer one to tell. It’s just like how I like to tell people that the tooth fairy used to visit me and give me money AND leave my tooth behind. When actually I know that it was you all along. Truth be told, I NEVER was aware that you would slip money under my pillow. But it’s still a great feeling and a great story which I enjoy telling! So there.

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  2. God of the gaps

    I will begin this article with two postulates: 1) God has created this universe; 2) He has brought man in this universe with some purpose.
    I am not claiming here that these two postulates are true, or that I can prove them to be true. But I want to show here that if these two postulates are true, then God will always be the God of the gaps. Anyone who will be reading this article should not forget that there is an “if” clause in the last sentence.
    Now I will begin with the supposition that God has created this universe. If God has created this universe, then He could have created it in four different ways: 1) He created it in such a way that there was no necessity for Him to intervene in it after creation, 2) After creation He intervened in it, but these interventions were a bare minimum, that is, He intervened only when these were absolutely necessary. In order to clarify my point here, I will say that He intervened only when He found that without His intervention the universe would come to a standstill, 3) He created the universe in such a way that in order to keep it going He had to make very frequent interventions in it, 4) God’s total intervention after creation.
    If it was the purpose of God to keep mankind crippled in every possible way, then He would have adopted either the third or the fourth way while creating the universe. This is because in these two cases man, in spite of his having sufficient intelligence and reasoning power, will fail to unveil the secrets of nature, because in almost every phenomenon of nature that he will decide to study he will ultimately find that there always remains an unknown factor, for which he will have no explanation. For him the book of nature will thus remain closed for ever. But if it were God’s purpose that man be master of His creation, then it is quite natural for Him that He would try to keep the book of nature as much open to him as possible, so that with the little intelligence he has been endowed with man will be able to decipher the language of nature, and with that acquired knowledge he will also be able to improve the material conditions of his life. In that case God will try to adopt the policy of maximum withdrawal from His creation. He will create the universe in such a way that without His intervention the created world will be able to unfold itself. However that does not mean that He will never intervene. He will definitely intervene when without His intervention the created world would become stagnant. In such a scenario man will be able to give an explanation of almost all physical events in scientific language. But in those cases where God has actually intervened, he will fail to do so.
    So I think there is no reason for us to be ashamed of the “God of the gaps” hypothesis. Yes, if God has created the universe, and if God’s purpose was that man be master of His creation, then He would try to keep as little gap in His creation as possible. But the minimum gap that would be ultimately left can never be bridged by any sort of scientific explanation. God will also reside in that gap. Why should we be ashamed of that?
    The whole matter can be seen from another angle. Those who strongly believe that God has created this universe also believe that He has created it alone. Now is it believable that a God, who is capable of creating such a vast universe alone, is not capable enough to keep a proof of His existence in the created world? So I think it is more reasonable to believe that while creating the universe God has also kept a proof of His existence in something created. This proof is open to us all, but we have not found it, because we have not searched for it. So even if it is the case that God has never intervened in the created world after its creation, still then there will be a gap in this natural world, purposefully left by God, for which science will find no explanation. This will be the ultimate gap that can only be filled up by invoking God.
    Therefore, I can conclude this article in this way: If God created this universe, and if God wanted man to be the master of His creation, then God would willingly choose to be the “God of the gaps”.
    So it is quite logical that a God who will create man with some purpose will always prefer to be the God of the gaps.

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  3. The “God of the gaps” argument is that creationists invoke God /because/ there is no natural explanation. However, this is false. Creationists invoke God because there is reason to invoke God, both Scripturally, and because God is the best explanation for the origin of things such as the world, life, etc.

    And evolutionists have their own “evolution of the gaps” argument. They believe a priori that there is no supernatural, so evolution-did-it!

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  4. ‘And evolutionists have their own “evolution of the gaps” argument. They believe a priori that there is no supernatural, so evolution-did-it!’

    Not all ‘evolutionists’ are atheists, so your assertion is incorrect.

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  5. Actually, my assertion is essentially correct, for two reasons.

    One, I did not say that this applied to /all/ evolutionists. But most of the leading ones /are/ atheists, so it was still correct as a generalisation.

    Two, even those who are not atheists, while they don’t believe that there is no supernatural, still often believe that the supernatural shouldn’t be invoked, and therefore they still believe evolution-did-it. You’ve implied this yourself in your Geocentricism article when you asked “what will YECs do as the evidence for Evolution mounts up?”. The inference is that even what the evidence doesn’t yet explain, you still believe that evolution-did-it.

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