Skeptics of Christianity often assert that Christians only believe in a so-called “God of the gaps.” This is the claim that Christians only believe in God because they see God as the only way to explain the gaps in our knowledge about how the world works. The idea is that if we cannot yet explain something scientifically, then God must have done it. For example, the Vikings attributed thunder and lightning to Thor and his hammer because they did not have the scientific knowledge to understand what caused thunder and lightning. Fortunately for us as Christians, there is excellent positive evidence for believing in God, and God should not be seen as an ever-shrinking gap in our scientific knowledge.
The Room for Doubt website provides a variety of arguments for God’s existence, and these are not based on gaps in our knowledge. On the contrary, these arguments are based on what we do know. For example, the cosmological argument recognizes that all of our scientific evidence points toward our universe having a beginning. Given that things never come into existence without a cause that brings them into existence, the cosmological argument concludes that the universe must have been caused by something powerful that exists beyond our space-time universe. This argument is not based on gaps in our knowledge. It is based on what our latest scientific knowledge does tell us.
Christians should not view God as merely a gap in our knowledge—a gap that is constantly shrinking as science leads us to understand the world better. Christians should instead rejoice that science is pointing toward God more and more as we learn more about the universe and ourselves. There is now impressive evidence for an absolute beginning of the universe. We now understand the complex information that is encoded in the DNA of every living thing. We now understand the incredible fine-tuning of the constants of the universe to allow for the existence of intelligent life. Discoveries such as these increasingly point toward an intelligent Creator who crafted the universe and biological life. The conclusion of intelligent design is based on knowledge, not on the gaps in our knowledge. And this is good reason for Christians to be strengthened in their faith and for others to consider the claims of Christianity!
-Zach Breitenbach, Director of the Worldview Center at Connection Pointe in Brownsburg, IN and the former Associate Director of Room For Doubt