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The Atheist's God of the GapsTuesday, September 27, 2022
Atheists mock the Christian’s “God of the Gaps,” as they term it. Whenever we find a gap in science that we cannot explain, they fault us for quickly attributing it to God.
Carl Sagan wrote in The Demon-Haunted World:
“Hippocrates of Cos is the father of medicine. He is still remembered 2,500 years later for the Hippocratic Oath (a modified form of which is still here and there taken by medical students upon their graduation). But he is chiefly celebrated because of his efforts to bring medicine out of the pall of superstition and into the light of science. In a typical passage Hippocrates wrote: ‘Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. But if they called everything divine which they do not understand, why, there would be no end of divine things.’ Instead of acknowledging that in many areas we are ignorant, we have tended to say things like the Universe is permeated with the ineffable. A God of the Gaps is assigned responsibility for what we do not yet understand” (pp. 7-8).
Sagan makes the logical error of creating a false binary choice: either you can believe that God is responsible for things we don’t understand, or you can believe in science. Obviously, since many scientists also believe in God, these are not mutually exclusive positions. We believe in God who created science!
But the Atheist (who doesn’t believe in a god) must also pay homage to a higher power or principle than what can be directly observed in nature. As he laughs at the “backward” Christian who attributes all things to God’s power, he waves off troubling questions by appealing to his own god of the gaps.
How does the Atheist explain the universe, life, and morality?
Dan Barker once pastored churches and wrote religious music, fully participating in charismatic worship out west. However, in the 1980s he was “deconverted” (as he puts it) to atheism and became a champion evangelist for the anti-god cause. “I am a biological organism in a natural environment, and that is all there is,” he wrote in godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists, p. 42. (Yes, it’s godless with a lower-case g.)
In Barker’s chapter on “Refuting God,” he writes,
“Many or most cosmologists are now convinced that some kind of multiverse is likely. A multiverse is a collection of universes, and there are many scenarios.” (p. 107).
“We have not proved such a multiverse of universes yet. All we know is that they are plausible, and that there is at least one. The important point here is that if there is more than one, then the numerator of the fraction that determines probability rises, making the ‘fine tuning’ of the constants (if they vary) to allow for life by random chance more likely” (p. 108).
In other words, Barker and these theorists use the all-powerful if to increase the odds in their favor. Nothing has yet been proved, but if it were true, it would make the creationist’s “fine-tuning of the universe” argument less powerful. I’m not a certified scientist, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how science works.
Barker answers the creationist’s argument that it’s highly improbable such complex life could have occurred through evolution:
“Using probability after the fact is like a lottery winner saying, ‘It was indeed highly unlikely that out of the millions of entrants I could have picked the right ticket, therefore someone must have caused me to win.’ It is indeed highly unlikely that any particular person can be predicted to be the winner—which is exactly what each contestant is trying to do when he or she obtains a ticket. But it is not at all unlikely that one person will win. In fact, we would consider it a true miracle if no one ever won a lottery.” (p. 110)
Now that is a good example of begging the question! It’s as if to say, “Well, since we are here by the process of evolution, I suppose that defeats your theory.”
The evolutionist must depend upon his god “enough time” in both the past and the future because it turns out he does not know anything. He speaks as if he is in lock-step agreement with all true scientists, and together they have proven these things. But when you dive in, you find suggestions and possibilities piled upon unproven theories. My translation of what the evolutionists are saying goes: “My dear scientifically illiterate Christian, if all the things we have dreamed up really did happen the way we hope they did, then we have explained away all of your points. Given enough time in the past, complex life as we know it today could have come about via evolution. Given enough time in the future, we will have the evidence to prove us right and you wrong. So trust us.”
Barker’s fictitious creationist continues to argue, “Everything has a cause, and every cause is the effect of a previous cause. Something must have started it all. God, who exists outside of time and space, is the eternal first cause, the unmoved mover, the creator and sustainer of the universe” (pp. 114-5).
Barker answers, “The major premise of this argument, ‘everything had a cause,’ is contradicted by the conclusion that ‘God did not have a cause.’ You can’t have it both ways…” (p. 115).
Yes, you can have it both ways if it is true. Just saying “you can’t have it both ways,” doesn’t automatically change reality. We have a book in which God has communicated to us and told us He created everything in heaven and on earth. This is not a theory for us. We did not dream this one up. We know it is true because God revealed it to us, which is the only way we could have known. This divine communication Barker has rejected completely, and now he must come up with all kinds of theories and if-statements and bad arguments blended smoothly so as to appear logical. Barker rejects the above argument as illogical because he has already rejected the premise that anything exists outside of the material universe (unless it’s more universes, of course).
Actually…perhaps I spoke too soon. A few chapters later Barker toys with the idea that something could exist outside the known universe—something that did Not Begin to Exist (NBE, as he termed it).
“But perhaps there could be something outside the natural universe that would be accommodated by NBE, besides God” (p. 133).
“If theists, however, allow the theoretical possibility of an impersonal transcendent object in NBE—and it seems they must allow this, or some other nontheistic hypothesis—and if they have not convincingly eliminated it (or them) from the set of actual items in NBE, then they must remain open to the possibility that the origin of the universe could be explained in a purely naturalistic manner” (p. 134).
“Who is to say that personality could not have arisen from an impersonal cause? The impersonal might be more complex. If this is impossible, theists must explain why” (p. 135).
Notice what he’s doing here. He throws out more wild theories and then tells creationists we have a duty to consider these possibilities. Why should we when we already have the most plausible answer staring us in the face? This man is a loose cannon on a ship—every time it fires, the canon knocks over the crowd behind it and ends up facing another random direction.
Years ago, Darwin looked to the future for validation of his theories of macro evolution. He just knew we would discover all kinds of transitional fossils which would fill in the gaps on his evolutionary tree.
“Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record.” (The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, 1859, p. 220).
Fast forward almost 200 years, and we still have not filled in those gaps. Instead, we have discovered biological complexity far beyond what even Darwin understood, making his macro-evolution theories less and less likely (and evolutionists to borrow more and more billions of years from their god of the gaps to make up for it).
Richard Dawkins, another evangelist for atheism, writes in his acclaimed book The Blind Watchmaker:
“Given infinite time, or infinite opportunities, anything is possible. The large numbers proverbially furnished by astronomy, and the large timespans characteristic of geology, combine to turn topsy-turvy our everyday estimates of what is expected and what is miraculous” (p. 139).
The rest of the chapter Dawkins gives over to wild speculation about how spontaneous generation might have happened and the probabilities involved.
Atheists have their own gods of the gaps. Two are called “enough time” and “if.” It’s actually quite hilarious when you sit back and observe the lengths to which they go attempting to explain reality. You can quickly tell they do not have solid footing. Their house is built on shifting sand. Many of these men brilliantly defend their positions, from the world’s standards of brilliance, and it is a shame they have squandered the gifts God has given them. They bring darkness to the world, not light. They destroy hope in the promised life ahead. They severely limit themselves and all who would believe in their preaching. They believe their thoughts are deep, but by rejecting their Creator they reject true life and true light. Science cannot fill their gaps.
God’s kingdom will overcome all these tiny fiefdoms. May God reign, and may Jesus route and overthrow the enemy of His people.
This Generation's IgnoranceMonday, August 22, 2022
Most everyone believes animals, plants, and humans change over time within species. The kind of evolution I’m addressing here is the theory that billions of biological changes over immense amounts of time produced all living things from a common ancestry. That is the “conventional wisdom” of our day.
Our schools have been teaching this for years as fact, and rarely will you find a biology or earth science show which does not use Evolution as its starting point. Many diet and sociology books depend upon the theory of Evolution as their philosophical starting point. Man has fight or flight instincts that were built into him over millions of years… Man eats plants because of the way he evolved… We are totally and completely a product of billions of years of biological tweaking (unguided, blind, random tweaking) that seems to have produced a rather startling number of positive results.
If Evolution Were True…
If you and I are simply bags of cells with nothing spiritual about us, what is the point in saving the planet? None of the other animals seem to care that much. They are just worried about their own personal survival. Did you know mother kangaroos sometimes drop their joeys when fleeing from predators? They can make another one in a few more months, so why not sacrifice the one they have to slow down their attacker and let them escape?
Male lions kill off all the male cubs in a pride when they defeat another male lion king.
If you want to see an ultimate picture of selfishness and literal animal-nature, observe the elephant seal. The male is sometimes seven or eight times the size of the females, and he lives to bellow at other males, fight, and breed with the 30 or 40 females he protects. Frequently, you’ll find these seals with nasty scars and gashes from these violent males.
Why do humans not live this way? Rather, why do we view humans who do act this way as immoral beasts? Are we better than the animals? In the theory of Evolution, we wouldn’t be here if it were not for those “lower” life forms – those are our evolutionary ancestors. Shouldn’t we look to them for guidance on how best to live? They’ve been doing it longer than we, right?
Why should we care about the poor and weak? An observable fact of nature is the principle of the survival of the fittest. Plants and animals only last if they are the strongest in the environment. The weak are quickly weeded out. The runt of the litter cannot find a teat from which to drink while all his stronger brothers and sisters push him out of the way and hog the food. The weakest and slowest of the herd succumb first to the lions, as the swiftest race away. Why do humans spend so much time and money caring for children born with various maladies, frail folks who cannot defend or feed themselves, orphans and widows who have no family to care for them? If Evolutionary theory is correct, the strongest among us shouldn’t really care about the weak.
If Evolution is correct, human males are the very top of the evolutionary pyramid. Stronger than women, men should be able to take from them whatever they are able. If they want to breed with ten or twenty women, why shouldn’t they?
If Evolution is correct, then racism makes sense. Allowing for an evolutionary chain, it makes sense that some human families are further evolved than others. Does it not follow that the stronger and smarter among us should rule the rest? And if we can convince a whole nation they are the pinnacle of the evolutionary pyramid, perhaps they would be emboldened to either kill off or subjugate the rest of the races around them. Come to think of it, wasn’t Darwin’s theory of Evolution a foundation for Hitler’s “Arian race”? If Evolution is true, why is Hitler remembered with such disgust and hatred? He was only practicing survival of the fittest.
Problems with Evolutionary Theory
We should remember that Evolution is theory; it has never been proven by factual data. In fact, Evolutionists are still searching for Darwin’s hoped-for transitional fossils which would connect his biological tree. Periodically some paleontologist will present some missing link between the apes and humans, but those always tend to be mistakes or fakes. With fossil records allegedly reaching back into the billions of years, scientists expected to find tons of evidence for the gradual evolution of living things. Rather, they continue to find distinct animal groups—no transitions. A passing comment on the “Missing Link” entry on Wikipedia states, “The scarcity of transitional fossils can be attributed to the incompleteness of the fossil record.” Indeed.
As we discover more about the incredible complexity of living things, such as how DNA and cells work, the idea that living things could have evolved one tiny change at a time becomes more and more ludicrous.
Evolution theorizes that all things today proceed pretty much as they always have in the past. The theory overlooks the idea of catastrophism (at least when convenient for the theory).
An amazing event happened May 18, 1980—Mt. Saint Helens blew its top off! Hundreds of vertical feet of strata were laid down in just a few hours or days from this event, which shows that this earth sometimes undergoes catastrophic events which can cause massive changes to the landscape in short periods of time. Evolutionary theorists conveniently overlook this fact; they reject the idea of a world-wide flood and how such an event can explain the incredible strata and fossil record found all over the world.
All things do not happen today as they always have.
Interestingly, Peter considered this in 2 Peter 3.3-6:
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.
These mockers claim all things are as they have always been. They reject events of “biblical proportion” as many dismissively refer to the flood. First, there was Creation itself, in which God did amazing things such as gathering up the land in one place and placing boundaries for the waters. How did He do that? Were there lots of moving parts and placing them just so? Second, there was a global flood which would have radically adjusted the landscape of the time, laid thousands of feet of debris in places, and then washed out massive gullies (canyons) as the waters receded.
The mockers cannot accept these events because it would mean there is a God, and if there is a God they are accountable to Him as their Maker. They must come up with other theories, such as the theory of Evolution, to explain this earth, its billions of organisms, and the universe at large.
Science and the Bible
Despite the world’s “conventional wisdom,” many scientists are also creationists because they do not mock; they accept what they see, and it fits snugly with what the Bible declares in Genesis 1. They accept the Bible, generally, and Genesis 1-11, specifically, as real history given by the Witness who was there at the time.
If you come home and your house has the front door ripped off and your stuff strewn all over the front lawn, what happened? You are observing the evidence before you, but you didn’t see the event. You can come up with several theories for how things got to be the way they are, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if your neighbor came over and said, “I saw what happened, let me tell you”? After you hear the account, you can then fit the details of what you see into that account. Evolutionists do it backward; they have an eyewitness telling them what happened—all they have to do is fit the details of what they see into the history that has been told. Instead, they make up stories that seem to fit the evidence. Speculation may be a fun mental exercise, but it’s rarely the way to truth.
God’s warning stands:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1.18-22)
Let us resolve to hold fast to the word of God. It’s a platform that cannot be shaken. Theories of men come and go as more data arrives. Years ago, the scientists of the day thought the earth was flat and the sun revolved around the earth. But that was way back when we didn’t know as much. Right. And 100 years from now humanity will look back on this generation and shake their heads at this generation’s ignorance and stupidity.