“God of the Gaps” Excuse is Circular Reasoning

Skeptics and atheists routinely invoke the “God of the gaps” excuse when faced with arguments for the existence of God. For example the cosmological argument for the existence of God. 1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause; 2) The universe began to exist;  3) Therefore, the universe has a cause;

I like to add because that initial cause started nature it must transcend nature hence it is supernatural.

The skeptic replies along these lines, “That is a God of the gaps argument, simply because we don’t have a natural explanation yet, doesn’t mean we will never discover one, you are inserting God into the gaps of scientific knowledge.”

Jesuit astronomer Guy Consolmagno serves as a  prime example of such a consolmagnoskeptic with his comment,

Consolmagno: Well, when Hawking says we don’t need God to start the universe, he’s right. Anyone who’s trying to use God to explain the things that science can’t explain in the 21st century, is a fool because who knows what science is going to explain in the 23rd century? That’s called the God of the gaps.  (source)

However, I think this is circular reasoning because it assumes that there is a natural explanation forthcoming i.e. promissory naturalism (we do not have a natural explanation yet but one day we will). However, asserting that it is a “God of the gaps” argument, is to assume there is an undiscovered naturalistic cause but, in fact, that is the very thing in question. Invoking the “God of the gaps” label is circular reasoning, it assumes naturalism a priori.

About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.

Comments

  1. Mike Bridges MD says:

    never liked that ad infinitum argument of who created the God that created God If God is light and created light plus presumably spoke it into being ; explain this group of premises with the background of Hebrew which I cannot on several levels. Only if you have time and/or inspiration. Realize your historical place and time limitations. Thanks. CARPE DIEM see Matthew 6:34
    mbmd

  2. David Scott says:

    The argument that we may well discover a natural explanation for the universe supposes that God is not natural. If he did create the natural then he is also natural. He is natural and greater than natural. Natural, in their minds at least, means “without God”. So not only does the “God of the gaps” theory presuppose natural explanation, it also says that even if There were a God, some things would still be labeled “natural”. They won’t ever stop meaning natural as “without God”. Remember, knowing that God exists does not contain ones thoughts to follow that Go’s faithfully. See Cain and Lucifer for examples.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Seems to me you misunderstand the term natural — God is definitely supernatural (above nature). Nature is created, God is eternal.

      • David Scott says:

        In the beginning was the word. The word was both God and with God. And the word became flesh and dwelt among us. Like I said, he is both natural and greater than natural. To deny that is to deny scripture and the essence of Christ.

    • Mike Bridges says:

      Appreciate most notions I can but I think I will pass on following one necessarily , or otherwise , re: Cain and/or lucifer. Presently spending time on the old narratives of good vs evil involving specifically , Genesis 1:4 that I sent to Brother Putnam and Doug Hamp. I seem not wanting to yet desist the notion that evil is possibly a noun. Cris and Doig started this before I got unexpectedly in the fray. It’s just a short verse about dividing light from dark actually in the creation narration , and suggesting to me the noun meaning as between two things that are divided. I had an offer to follow a bit of scholarship money by a Jerusalem university but so for declined due to illness. The point is that both aforementioned compadres , brought to bear their HEBREW language skills in this contest of the past I mentioned. I noted they disagreed but couldn’t totally follow out of my ignorance – you noticed have you?
      So be it and pass now if you so desire but I still enjoy that perplexity and ” mystery ” in Cris’s words. Just got the new geneses of Mr Putnam and Mr Tom Horn , delightedly , entitled ON THE PATH OF THE IMMORTALS. I hope none of you are offended by my , not so sincere , unnecessary diatribes , but I hope you will join me in surveying the works of Cris I so much enjoy. I unfortunately or not , am a respecter of persons, though God is not ; but back to this enjoinment , though somewhat a declension.
      What say ye gents about any or all of this stuff , if you will?
      mbmd

  3. Robert Vroom says:

    I like to call this the naturalist of the gaps argument. The theist is now saying “because of what we know, we think the most rational answer is God.” The atheist is saying “because we might learn something in the future that contradicts current knowledge, we can still assume there is no God.”

  4. Kevin says:

    I’ve always wondered what drives a person to ignore the pull we humans have towards God. You often here it framed as intellectual and brave to rethink God with all of what we now know about ourselves and the universe. But, how do theses smart and brave people cut the cords to God in their mind? They had to create a psychology not like ours. They had to narrow and make the way they think straight and fast. Fast enough not to let any light in – like a fast shutter speed. They pretend to mull over things, but instead they are utilizing their college skill set that they honed when they were twenty.

    They come up with sayings that supposedly negate everything. Just hearing “Occam’s razor” umm “Blind watchmaker” and “God of the gaps” reminds of Hacky Sacks, coffee houses and condescension.

    After thinking about it, I think I have the answer. They didn’t reprogram their minds with textbooks and truth. They are simply not driving their own vehicle.
    I noticed that – – – if you are really for gay marriage, than you are most likely pro abortion – and with that you are probably pro feminist – and with that you are probably pro gay Boy Scout leader – and with that you are probably pro Palestinian – and with that you are probably anti Israel – and with that you are against Christians in Government and with that you are sympathetic to Muslims – and with that you might say “ah, you are one of those that place God into any crevice where your understanding fails. See, you are uneducated. We call your argument the God of the gaps.”
    So, my answer is……
    All of these people have the same master. They repeat each other and laugh at the same assumptions with fresh laughter – like what they are repeating is said for the first time. They nod in agreement and laugh a little more with a strange anger to their smiles. I’m on to it.

    Kevin

  5. (Another) Paul says:

    Consolmagno talks just like an atheist.

    Mind you, so does the Pope these days.

  6. Charles Nagel says:

    Creation is from God, and revealed by God. In the beginning God created heaven, and earth. The heaven is the realm of the pure spiritual creatures that God created, and not space. The earth is not a planet revolving in a solar system; but the unique and immoveable place that God formed and placed man. God did not create other worlds. Just earth. God did not create or make a universe having billions of galaxies, containing billions of suns, with billions of solar systems having planets: or multi-verse universes. God did make two great lights; the greater light to rule the day; and the lesser light to rule the night; and the stars. For which the stars extend to the heights of the firmament under the Heaven. God made only one greater light that we call the sun, and only one lesser light that we call the moon. And God set them in the firmament: And all of the lights he made shine only on the earth. God did allow, and made a firmament, or the whole space between the earth and the Heaven: For which the Heaven is the realm of the pure spiritual creatures that God created and made. Satan and all the spiritual creatures that rejected God no longer have Heaven: And therefore have set themselves subject to death and eternal punishment. God created and made Adam and the woman perfect. Adam enjoyed all things of God to be perfect. Adam and the whole earth did not evolve or revolve. Adam and the whole earth were not subject to decay or death: Rather given perfection and everlasting life. Gods revelation of creation was not subject to wait for man and modern science to tell Him how things are. But man and modern science is subject to Gods revelation to determine what they will tell us. Jesus says: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. Jesus also tells us that Satan the devil that old serpent was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof. I believe in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Truth: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. Thanks and God Bless…

  7. Charles Nagel says:

    There was recently an article about the Vatican being sceptical about close encounters of the third kind. Here is the article….. The recent discovery of an Earth twin has boosted chances there is intelligent life on other planets. But while Pope Francis’s telescope scans the starlit skies, the Vatican is sceptical of ever meeting Mr. Spock.
    On a leafy hilltop near the papal summer home of Castel Gandolfo sits the Vatican’s Observatory, one of the oldest astronomical research institutions in the world, where planetary scientists mix the study of meteorites and the Big Bang theory with theology.
    Boasting a prestigious research centre at the University of Arizona in the United States, the institute has never shied away from asking whether there could be life on other planets and is thrilled with the discovery of an “Earth 2.0”.
    Astronomers hunting for a planet like ours announced to huge excitement last week that they have found the closest match yet, Kepler 452b, which is circling its star at the same distance as our home orbits the Sun.
    Around 60 percent larger than Earth, it sits squarely in the Goldilocks zone of its star, where life could exist because it is neither too hot nor too cold to support liquid water, according to the US space agency NASA.
    The discovery “is great news”, the Observatory’s Argentine director Jose Funes told AFP, despite the fact that scientists suspect increasing energy from the planet’s ageing sun might now be heating the surface and evaporating any oceans, making life difficult.
    However, while “it is probable there was life and perhaps a form of intelligent life….. I don’t think we’ll ever meet a Mr. Spock”, he said.
    The problem is that Kepler 452b is 1,400 light-years away — an impossible distance to cover using mankind’s current technology.
    NASA may have made history this year with a Pluto fly-by, but it took nine years for its probe to get there despite the planet being under six light hours away. The fastest spaceship in the Solar System, it would take some 11 million years to reach the Earth’s cousin.
    Funes, who has a degree in theology and doctorate in astronomy, would not be drawn on whether the Vatican would send out space missionaries to convert alien life-forms to Christianity if extra-terrestrial life was found elsewhere.
    What is clear, he says, is that while God may have created aliens and planets similar to Earth, there can be no second Jesus.
    “The discovery of intelligent life does not mean there’s another Jesus,” he insisted, because “the incarnation of the son of God is a unique event in the history of humanity, of the Universe”.
    Neat in his black cassock and surrounded by the latest astrological publications, Funes, 52, says science and religion co-exist perfectly together, insisting “if there was intelligent life (on another planet), I don’t see that as a contradiction with the Christian faith”.
    “The bible is not a scientific book. If we look for scientific responses to our questions in the bible, we are making a mistake,” he said.
    “It answers great questions, like ‘what is our role in the Universe?'” But such answers can also come from exploring the stars, he said.
    “This type of research, the search for life in the Universe, helps us to understand ourselves….. to understand our potential, but also our limits”. *** Here is my thoughts about this article. Mr. Funes, who has a degree in theology and a doctorate in astronomy was quoted he would not be drawn on whether the Vatican would send out space missionaries to convert alien life-forms to Christianity if extra-terrestrial life was found elsewhere….. *** Oh boy — Mr. Funes who surely graduated from the University of 666….. Also says “I don’t see that as a contradiction with the Christian faith”. “The bible is not a scientific book. If we look for scientific responses to our questions in the bible, we are making a mistake,” he said. *** Man do I agree — The Bible is definitely not like a scientific book; which is (MAN MADE AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE) Mr. Funes. — The Bible is the Word Of God *** And From God !!! … Oh yeah, Mr. Funes friend Guy Consolmagno had this 666 statement to say: “Well, when Steven Hawking says we don’t need God to start the universe, he’s right. Anyone who’s trying to use God to explain the things that science can’t explain in the 21st century, is a fool because who knows what science is going to explain in the 23rd century? ” How 666 is this….. No logic to this statement. He basically tells you what you claim to know today will change tomorrow. This kind of talk originates from 666 himself. These guys are nothing more than 666 agents inside The Catholic Church… Jesus is coming and guess what. That is Truth !!! Thank God !!!

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