Archive for March 26th, 2014

March 26, 2014

God of the Gaps

god is dead

God of the gaps is a theological perspective in which gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence or proof of God’s existence. The term was invented by Christian theologians not to discredit theism but rather to point out the fallacy of relying on teleological arguments (argument from design) for God’s existence. Some use the phrase to refer to a form of the argument from ignorance fallacy (in which ignorance stands for ‘lack of evidence to the contrary’).

The concept, although not the exact wording, goes back to Henry Drummond, a 19th-century evangelist lecturer, from his Lowell Lectures on ‘The Ascent of Man.’ He chastises those Christians who point to the things that science cannot yet explain—’gaps which they will fill up with God’—and urges them to embrace all nature as God’s, as the work of ‘… an immanent God, which is the God of Evolution, is infinitely grander than the occasional wonder-worker, who is the God of an old theology.’ (Immanence here is related to pantheism, the belief that God and the universe are equivalent.)

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