God of the gaps

One of the things non-believers I often interact with seem to be fond of saying is, “I don’t know.”

Fine, I guess, there are plenty of things I don’t know and I’m not afraid to admit it; for example, I don’t know how perform open heart surgery. 

The distinction most non-believers either miss or ignore in these discussions though is that there is a big difference between what isn’t known and what can’t be known. While it is indeed true that I don’t know how to perform open heart surgery, it is possible that I could go to school and learn how, there is a mechanism in place and it has been done before.

In other words, I don’t know does not mean I can’t know and that poses a problem for non-believers who tell me that I can’t fill in what I and science don’t know with a made up boogeyman and call it a day. 

“You can’t, James, just make things up to fill in gaps” they tell me as if I only believe in God because I, the world, and science can’t  (or can’t yet anyway) know the real story.

In reality, a belief in God can be derived by means of an objective assessment, rather than the subjective conjecture that may have been the case millennia ago. But many people simply deny what is obvious to them. The Bible addresses those very people: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20). 

The God-of-the-gaps argument is an example of “suppressing the truth” because it relegates God to a “backup” explanation for those things which cannot yet be explained by natural phenomena. This leads some to the faulty conclusion that God is not the omnipotent, omnipresent, absolute Being of whom Scripture testifies.

There is much for which the natural sciences simply cannot provide an explanation, such as the origin of the time/space/matter continuum and the fine-tuning thereof; the origin and subsequent development of life itself; and the origin of the complex and specified information systems inherent in all living things, which cannot (nor ever will be) explained by natural means. Thus one cannot rationally divorce the supernatural from the observed universe, proving once again that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

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Categories: Apologetics, Christianity

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