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Monday, May 18, 2020

The Atheist of the Gap


One of the accusations that atheists often levy against Christians, is that we believe in a so-called “God of the gap.” That is, whenever an evolutionist or other atheist is unable to explain something about creation (of course, in their worldview it wouldn’t be creation, but I digress), the Christian will supposedly step in and claim that “ha, see that proves that evolution cannot account for everything in creation; therefore God must exist.” Thus, the atheist accuses the Christian of believing in a god who can only exist in the gap in human knowledge. Someday, the atheist claims, science will be able to explain the supposed gap, and then what’s going to happen to God?

But let me propose that it is the atheist that is guilty of believing in the gap and not the Christian. Whenever we have some gap in our knowledge, whether Christian or atheist, we usually make use of what Jason Lisle terms “rescue devices.” In other words, we can’t explain something, whether about creation, the Bible, or anything else, so we either seek to guess what the explanation may be, or we say that, although we do not have an answer now, in time it will be found. Whether Christian or atheist, we all make use of such devices. All too often, however, we either don’t know that we’re doing so or we don’t want to admit it.

Here’s where the difference between the Christian and the atheist can be most stark. Although atheists lustily engage in their “God of the gap” accusations, they are at the same time doing the very thing they accuse the Christian of doing. Let me give you some examples. Comets are wonders of creation that visit us every so often throughout the centuries. Just about everyone has heard of Haley’s Comet or the more recently discovered Hale Bopp. What the general public usually does not know is that comets, due to their very structure, cannot be more than 100,000 years old at most. That conflicts very strongly with the theory of the evolutionist who will tell us in no uncertain terms that the universe is 13.5 billion years old, or whatever the age is up to now.
What is the evolutionist’s “rescue device”? The current prevailing theory is that there is an “ort cloud” in existence somewhere in the universe which we have yet to discover that produces newer comets. Thus, the problem is, as if by magic, solved. Conjure up some sort of comet cranking machine against any evidence and presto you have eliminated the problem.

Another issue arises with many of the actions of nature that were proven by the eruption of Mount Saint Helen in the 1980’s, to take place in a very short period of time. Canyons, rock strata, focalization, and other actions took place in a proverbial flash after the volcano exploded. Many of the activities of nature that were believed by the evolutionist to take billions of years to take place, were proven to be able to occur in mere days. So, what is the answer to that conundrum? “Just because those took place in a few days, doesn’t mean that others also took place in that same amount of time.” To a certain extent that is true. One thing does not necessarily lead to the other. But the issue is not that it all must have happened the same way, but that the evolutionist has no reason to believe that any of it took place over billions rather than thousands of years.

And this is where the real issue lies. And it is one of presuppositions. The atheist/evolutionist must believe that all of these processes took billions of years and that there has to be some sort of “ort cloud” and a host of other devices, all brought about by purely natural means. Why? Because he believes that all that is came from all that wasn’t. In other words, all that exists today is the product of purely natural processes that began well, from nothing. Although you won’t usually hear atheists tell you that everything came from nothing, that is exactly what the implications of their beliefs are. If you want to laugh for a bit, go on YouTube and search for Lawrence Kraus speaking about how nothing is really something!

If you’re a believer and you’re reading this, don’t feel superior because you too have your presuppositions. As Christians our primary presupposition is that there is a God and that He has revealed Himself in the Bible. Sure, you’ll hear a lot of Christian apologists who pretend to tell us that they are completely neutral when they approach the existence of God with an unbeliever. But, begging their pardon, it is impossible to be neutral in that way. We can’t help it. Our minds cannot divorce themselves completely from what they have learned and what they have been taught. You will always have some presupposition from which you start your argument. It’s impossible to do otherwise. At the very least, you have to presuppose that the language and logic that you’re using to try to prove your point is not only right, but it is agreed to by both sides.

But presuppositions are not a bad thing, especially when they are based on the truth. And what can be truer than what has been revealed about creation by the only One who was there when it began. The atheist presupposes that there is nothing behind all of creation. A position that is not only illogical, it is also irrational, and against common sense; not to mention unprovable. But the Christian presupposes that there is a God who created all things, and we base our presupposition on eye witness testimony. And don’t miss the fact that the natural creation speaks to the truth of that eye witness revelation. We don’t simply say, “the Bible says so and that’s it.” We also point to creation to demonstrate that what the Bible says about it is true and observable.

The bottom line, however, is that we as Christians do not have to, nor are we called to “prove” the existence of God. The well-known passage in Romans 1 tells us that everyone knows that God exists and that, before they are regenerated by the Spirit of God, they suppress that knowledge. That being the case, we don’t have to go about “proving” God. We have been called to defend the faith (Jude 3). But God does not need our help to prove Himself. He has given all the evidence necessary on that score. And if man does not accept the overwhelming proof of God’s existence, he does so in spite of the evidence and not because of a lack of it. Not only that, but he does so at his own eternal peril!



4 comments:

  1. Very Good! One brief comment. You write: "And don’t miss the fact that the natural creation speaks to the truth of that eye witness revelation. We don’t simply say, 'the Bible says so and that’s it.' We also point to creation to demonstrate that what the Bible says about it is true and observable." Although it is true that there are built-in evidences of God's creation that are discernable in themselves, in actuality God's Word DOES settle the issue of creation, as it settles every other issue it addresses. Therefore, it is not necessary to accumulate natural (scientific) evidences to establish God as Creator. It is settled in His Word. So, in a very real way we can indeed say "the Bible says it and that's it." Is not the authority of God's truth about His creation, like His salvation, sufficient in His Word? I believe it is! "Let God be true and every man a liar!"

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    1. You're absolutely correct! I would add, however, that the Bible is not just the final word on everything, but also the first word. And that is something that far too many Christians forget. This forgetfulness is especially true of those apologists who go about trying to formulate apologetic strategies that appeal to the carnal mind. They work backwards rather than forwards; that is, they take creation, logic, and reason and work backwards from that to the God of the Bible (some don't even get that far for quite some time!). The correct way, instead is to look at what the Bible has to say about the subject, and then move from that to the creation, reason, etc. We hear God speak through His word, we believe it and then we look at everything else that supports that truth. I believe that is what Paul did in Acts 17 and in Romans 1. He didn't go about trying to prove the existence of God. Rather, he presupposed that God exists, no doubt based on his knowledge of the Old Testament, and from that presupposition he then moved forward to point out that the creation is the tangible proof of what the written word says. "I believe in order to know" Augustine. Thanks!

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    2. Great points all. And actually, it isn't just Paul that doesn't try to "prove" God exists. No where (to my recollection) does the Bible seek to prove God exists. Why? Because (as you note) the truth that all men know of God as is displayed in Romans 1 and Acts 17. That which is already realized/known by every son of Adam - that is - that God IS, does not require proof. The cries for proof are disingenuous no mater how rigorously asserted or claimed by atheists. Because if man indeed needs that level of proof, and the truth of Romans 1 is errant - then we must construe that God is a liar or mistaken. Given the choice between viewing atheists or God as mistaken, I think you know where my money is.

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