Randy, I thought of you while I was listening. Good to hear of your experience!
I am a bit new in the conversation here, but god-of-the-gaps, isn’t that the same one as God-of-the-miracles?
No, not exactly
‘God of the gaps’ is when people use gaps in scientific knowledge for apologetic purposes, as in “we don’t know how this works, therefore God himself must be doing it”. Not a popular opinion around here
Whereas ‘God of the miracles’ isn’t even a phrase I heard before, but essentially some miracles can be explicable by science, like incredible coincidences, but Christians still accept them as miracles. And unlike gaps in scientific knowledge, miracles are understood to be one off occurrences, unlike something that happens all the time but we just don’t understand it.
I hope this makes sense to you
Dear Marta, thank you. I think that this makes sense. As I understand, a miracle is a one off occurrence that might be a gap in scientific knowledge. But this is allowed since it occurred once. Right?
Different people will understand miracles differently, but ‘one off’ is probably common denominator, I don’t think anyone (at least not here) would call things that happen on regular basis miracles (example would be movement of planets once believed to be pushed by angels)
As to a gap in scientific knowledge… Some miracles may have scientific explanation, for example I once read an attempt to scientifically explain parting of read sea but it wouldn’t matter because the miracle would be in extraordinary timing.
Another point that needs to be made is that most miracles cannot be repeated, therefore no proper scientific explanation can be possible, you either accept them or not.
I wouldn’t phrase it quite that way. The wonderful timing and placing of events in God’s providence do not break any natural laws, but neither does science explain them. Some toss them off as being explicable as just within the realm of probability, but some are way beyond that when there are series of such events and the person and the implicit imputed meaning is particular to that individual. Once again, we have
Particular ones cannot be repeated upon demand of course (God is not a vending machine that we can plug our prayer quarters into and expect the desired merchandise to be dispensed), but God repeats his providential M.O. often enough that it is recognizable!
I agree with that. May be Newton made a joke about the angels pushing planets in their orbit? But for what reason do christians not like god-of-the-gap arguments? For me, it seems to be a strong argument for the existance of God that some aspects of our world are not explained by science. That makes me trust that the atheist worldview is not correct. Are you afraid that all gaps will be closed at some time in the future?
Because the gaps are ever shrinking. And what gaps there are are infinitely more reasonably filled with reason.
Either him or Galileo, I can’t remember
But what if one of those arguments that you currently hold, gets explained away? Besides, why only see God in the gaps? I think it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said that God was either in all of nature, or not at all as a comment to God-of-the-gaps argument, and I think that sums it up really well.
No, not at all.
Is there any particular scientific discovery that scare you, Eric?
There is no gap to be filled before the big bang. A gap presupposes two separate things, so it is not illegitimate to suspect a true beginning. Someone’s rationality is going to object, but it is the same rationality that tries to guilt-trip people for being born. No less a mind than Stephen Hawkins said that it was the beginning of time. That might give you a little difficultly in finding a ‘before’. I for one think that an infinite regress of cats is amusing.
Well, of course, there are common natural gaps that will shrink upon progress of science, but let us think about gaps that are absolutely unique and can’t be reproduced. May be we can call them essential gaps or God gaps. Such as the resurrection of Christ or origin of life. I am rather confident that these gaps will never be filled naturally by science.
I honour Bonhoeffer, but I think that he makes a false contradiction. If God is in the gaps, that will not implicate that He is abscent in the rest of nature. In fact, I think He is in both.
I don’t think that there is a scientific discovery that scares me. Of course, it depends on what you call a scientific discovery. It would scare me, if science had proven that the bible was wrong. I need the bible as foundation for Christian faith.
I stongly agree the value of faith expressed in love. May I question on what evidence your faith is based on? What will occur if that evidence is replaced by common plain natural explanations, delivered by science?
That’s already happened. But yearning remains. The Church is the evidence. Including its earliest documents. The seven consensual letters of Paul for a start. Followed years later by the gospels and Acts. All of which is fully naturally explicable. All. I could write the novel. With all good will. Toward Jesus. And above all to Mary. And despite all that, science, nature, cannot touch the claim of God the robed Levant country carpenter.
I agree about resurrection. But not abiogenesis.
I’m certain that there will be scientific explanation how life started, how can there not be?? I assume you must believe that God himself initiated life on Earth. So what do you imagine actually happened? I promise I’m not trying to trip you up here, this is a genuine question.
That’s good, but you also said
Which sounds like you rely on ‘god of the gaps’, but perhaps you are both not scared of scientific explanations AND use gaps in knowledge for apologetic purposes? I suppose it isn’t mutually exclusive.
I’m not sure how science could prove the Bible to be wrong. The only thing I can imagine is if an ancient document was found that stated that it was all made up for political reasons and Jesus was just some kind of mad man. I’m sure there were some novels (fiction!!!) written about it, just don’t ask me for titles.
You ask me to describe a phenomenon that I believe to be a supernatural act of God. A genuine gap. Of course, I can imagine something. But there is nothing scientific about it. The description of CS Lewis in the cronicles of Narnia are nice. Ashlan singing, and life that appeares out of soil. I very like Lewis’ fiction and non fiction.
But what makes you to think that there is a natural explanation of abiogenesis? What is the reasen that makes you sure that this is not a genuine gap.
God is sovereign over providential timings and placings, including the mutations in kidney DNA, if you remember my nephrectomy account (he is even if you don’t remember it or haven’t seen it ; - ). It is not a real stretch to presume extraordinary timing and placing of prebiotic molecules as well.
It sounds nice, but all I can imagine is molecules arranging…
I think @Dale has already answered that question for me.
I’m not discounting the possibility of a miraculous event. But the way I see it, even if God actually arranged some molecules or whatever to become alive, that will still mean that some kind of process occured that we could analyze scientifically.
I think there are more interesting questions, like for example, how many times did life began on this planet, how long it took to get started once the was ready and so on.
For me, it is unclear how we could analyze this scienfically. The problem is that we don’t know at what stage the supernatural stops and the natural takes it over. It is a unique situation long ago. Take in comparison the resurrection of Christ. At certain time point in the tombe, His body started to become alive. His blood unclotted, His heart started pumping, all billions of dead cells started to re assemble themselves, neurons started firing. He opened His eyes and came out. I don’t think, it is reasonable to try to explain these processes in natural terms. However, in my opinion, the resurrection of Christ is more easily explained scientifically in natural terms than abiogenesis. His molecules were all already in the right place at the right time in His dead body.
I am new here, and I don’t know of your nephrectomy. However, what you write here makes sense. Your argument is that even if science doesn’t see a gap, God is involved. However, in the situation of abiogenesis science shows a gap. A fundamental deep gap. If God is involved then in placing prebiotic molecules in the right conformation, what is the difference with a Biblical miracle?
Ok, I don’t agree with this. It sounds like some kind of zombie awakening, rather than transformation into a different type of physical body.
Yes, agree with this, but it’s because I believe that Christ was completely transformed, rather than just healed up and became alive again like a Frankenstein, THAT could be explained scientifically, at least in theory.
Disagree, because as explained above, I don’t think that the resurrection was a matter of molecules being in the right place, which on the other hand, I (and a lot of scientists and other forum members) believe is exactly what happened with abiogenesis (we could be wrong of course).
For time being, yes. But we do expect that one day there will be scientific explanation. Is it so hard to imagine that one day one of these experiments in the lab will yield positive results?