Why the “God-of-the-Gaps” Arguments falls at the first hurdle

Baba Brinkman

(1) It wrongly and rather arrogantly presumes that we can cosmically quantify everything single scientific thing within the universe that there is to know, that we can quantify what precise percentage of that knowledge there is to know that we fully know and understand and that we can immediately and instantly know that and when we have fully known and understood something. In short, the main question here is how can you know that there is something else, something extra and something new to know if you do not already know it? If you accept this, then it is obviously impossible to in any way cosmically quantify what there is to know and how much we know or understand. The whole argument is almost entirely anthropocentric and viewed and viewable from a largely human perspective. An example of someone not knowing that there was something else to know would be the initial discovery of Pluto. Before telescopes were invented, we had no idea that Pluto existed and we could not have possibly known that it did exist. Therefore, we didn’t understand or know anything about it and we couldn’t thus take it into account when trying to quantify how much there is to know and how much we do or don’t then attribute to God. This is all concisely and comically stated in the hilarious BBC Political Comedy, Yes, Minister:

The fact that you needed to know was not known at the time that the now known need to know was known, and therefore those that needed to advise and inform the Home Secretary perhaps felt that the information that he needed as to whether to inform the highest authority of the known information was not yet known, and therefore there was no authority for the authority to be informed because the need to know was not, at that time, known or needed

(Bernard Woolley in Episode Eight, The Tangled Web, of the Second Series of Yes, Minister)

(2) The second main problem is that the entire presumption and premise behind the argument is that we can and should only attribute to God those things, concepts, laws and ideas which we do not (yet at least) fully know and understand. However, how can you know that you fully know and understand something. Additionally, if God created everything in the first place and is the origin, source, font, ground and constant, consistent sustainer of all existence in general and being in general, as well as the existence of all things and beings in the world in particular and each individual law of nature and the motion of planets, etc…, it would be ludicrous not to attribute things we think we already largely and/or fully know and understand to God. He is and must still be responsible for everything, those things we don’t understand at all, those things we partly understand, and those things which we think we understand. As the “father of microbiology” and the discoverer of vaccination, pasteurisation and microbial fermentation, Louis Pasteur, once stated,

‘The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator’

(Louis Pasteur)

I particularly like the above quotation as it reminds us that the very fact that, only after so many thousands of years, so many people, so much thought and experimentation, have we finally understood something shows us very clearly how complex God’s creation is and thus how wise, intelligent and intricate a craftsman, Creator and sustainer He is and how much praise, awe, worship and glory He deserves. I’ll just finish with something Sir Isaac Newton used to say: he would often say that whenever he discovered something, he was merely rediscovering something which God already knew, discovering after God.

By Ben Somervell

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