The Hole In the God of the Gaps Argument

The fact is that all scientists are filling in the gaps with a model of reality they believe best those gaps in light of the knowledge they have. 


Most people who have entertained ultimate questions seriously abut whether God exists are familiar with the “God of the Gaps argument” that is made against the existence of God. It goes something like this: In the past, people couldn’t explain the rain, so they concluded that God must be crying. People couldn’t explain an earthquake, so they thought God must be mad at something they did. People invoked a divine perspective to fill gaps in our knowledge and understanding of how the world works.

From that observation (which is factually true as a simplistic statement), they add in the equally true observation that the progression of science over the centuries has been filling in the gaps and providing knowledge and understanding of natural processes that explain the things we didn’t know without having to resort to the conclusion that “God does it”. Thus, the argument goes, we should stop invoking divine explanations… and stop believing in God.

Scientists realized they didn’t need to invoke divine explanations at all to be able to study the natural world, and so the scientific consensus has concluded over recent centuries that divine explanations are not only not necessary, but not appropriate. Divine explanations are viewed today as anti-scientific. Many who are concerned with the purity of science would deem divine explanations as heretical.

The God of the gaps argument (an argument to prove the nonexistence of God), however, is pretty weak. The fact that we can do science (which is the study of the natural world) without appealing to a supernatural being or explanation isn’t surprising. There is an order to the natural world that we can study and know, but that order doesn’t preclude the existence of a super (other than natural) Being behind it all.

If we resign ourselves to nothing but the study of the natural world, how do we expect to know anything about the possibility of reality beyond it?  If we limit ourselves to naturalistic explanations, we have foreclosed any other possibility.

Frankly, there is a big gap between the fact that the natural world has order that we can study and the question whether anything beyond the natural world exists. I can turn the argument around and accuse the atheist of filling the gap with the conclusion that no God exists.

But all of this really misses the important point. Hugh Ross addresses the God of the gaps argument in a recent interview with Kahldoun Sweis. He says, “In science, there are always gaps. We will never learn everything. We are limited human beings.” However, when we “push back the frontiers of science”, we have to ask ourselves whether the gaps in our knowledge are getting bigger and more problematic? Or are they getting smaller and less problematic?”

Continue reading “The Hole In the God of the Gaps Argument”

What’s In Your Primordial Soup?

 (c) Can Stock Photo / jgaunion
(c) Can Stock Photo / jgaunion

I am reminded of a Farside cartoon when I think of primordial soup. For instance, the amoeba reading a book titled, Primordial Soup for the Soul. The concept of primordial soup isn’t a joke, of course. It is the idea that life began many millions of years ago as chaotic elements churned in the boiling atmosphere and electric charges of a primitive earth – a kind of Frankenstein-like beginning to be sure, but a serious scientific concoction.

The ramifications of the quintessential primordial soup are far reaching. They imply that nothing but natural forces were necessary for the creation of life. For many, the ultimate implication is that God doesn’t exist or we don’t need God (which isn’t quite the same thing). We don’t need God to explain the origins of life because there is a plausible natural explanation.

But is that the case?

For several centuries, people have sought alternative explanations for the origins of the universe and of life as a way of chasing off the specter of God. Richard Dawkins, for instance, asserts that the “greatest achievement” of mankind is the theory of evolution, giving man the power to cast off the shackles of faith in God and allowing man to stand unfettered on his own two feet firmly planted in terra firma against all odds.

Whether God exists, or doesn’t, what is in the primordial soup that seems to explain how life can rise from non-life, without need of a God, without anything other than the basic stuff of an infantile universe? Continue reading “What’s In Your Primordial Soup?”

Random Thoughts on Evolution

Evolution does not satisfactorily explain the big picture, and it seems to me that the forest gets lost in the trees.

sad chimpanzee


I am fascinated by the Theory of Evolution, but it is more of a curiosity than anything else. How can so many scientific people be so religiously attached to one principle?

I am no scientist. I will admit that; at the same time, I note that many rational people are downright dogmatic on this topic. Questioning the theory of evolution as an explanation of for the origin of life is sacrilege in these modern times – so much so that we have laws in the United States that forbid competing theories (like intelligent design or creationism, which are very different models) from even being mentioned in a public school.

When I mention evolutionary theory in this blog piece, I am not talking about the adaptation of species over relatively short periods of time. I think there is sufficient proof of evolution in that sense. I am talking about the big picture, the forest, not the trees. When talking about the evolutionary paradigm as an explanation of the origin of life, it does not satisfactorily explain the big picture, not even close, and it seems to me that the forest gets lost in the trees. Continue reading “Random Thoughts on Evolution”