The phrase God of the gaps refers to a view of God as existing in the “gaps,” or aspects of reality that are currently unexplained by scientific knowledge.
The basic idea (according to skeptics) is that God really doesn’t exist at all. God, in fact, was an idea that was created by mankind to fill in “Gaps” of scientific knowledge. They argue, however, that once these gaps are filled with scientific facts or explanations, God is needed less and less. Thus, once the “gaps” are filled, God becomes useless.
Any time a religious person uses an argument that includes the complexity of something, or discusses our limits of knowledge and attribute that act to God, it immediately gets shot down by the skeptic and the religious person is labeled as believing in “God of the Gaps.”
Just to quickly illustrate what “God of the Gaps” means, here is an example:
John claims that because life is complex and there is little chance it could have developed on its own, it proves God exists. Sammy immediately rejects this notion and claims John believes in God of the Gaps. Sammy says that while not all questions have been answered by science, the gaps should soon be filled with a logical scientific explanation, and God wasn’t behind it at all. Therefore, Sammy assumes John is an idiot and only believes in God because he can’t explain something scientifically.
The example above illustrates a common illustration of God of the Gaps views by skeptics. They also like to mock various religious people and say ‘GOD-DID-IT’ for everything.
Notice also how atheists believe in “atheism of the gaps.” In other words, they don’t know how something works, but “God must not have done it.” They have so much faith in atheism, and so little faith in God.
The Truth Behind God of the Gaps Arguments and an Explanation
The expression “God of the Gaps” is really a pointless, inaccurate, and incomplete view of the religious perspective. I don’t know of one religious person who actually believes in the “God of the Gaps” as proposed by most skeptics. In fact, it is the complete opposite, and when a theist uses an alleged “God of the Gaps” argument for God, they simply mean “I don’t know the scientific process, but I still know God did it all.”
Not a speck of dust moves in the universe with God’s sovereign permission. Any and every natural phenomenon that occurs can directly be traced back to a God who created the laws that govern it. Every single thing in existence is a direct result of God–either by his passive will or active will.
Does the Bible say anything about the God of the gaps? Well, Paul actually argues the reverse:
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
In the passage above, the Apostle Paul argues that all of the people of the world should believe in God–not because of something they don’t understand, but because of what we do understand (ie, the complexity and obvious design of nature).
We shouldn’t believe in God based on things we don’t understand, but what we do understand. We understand a cell is not some simplistic blob of jelly like scientists in history thought. It is dramatically more complex. We live in a beautifully complex, and intelligently designed world.
Conclusion: God of the Gaps Arguments Are Nonsense
Using an alleged “God of the Gaps” (saying God did it) argument by a religious person is perfectly fine in almost any context. God can be attributed to every single thing in existence–either directly or indirectly. It doesn’t matter if there is a complete scientific explanation or not. It all came from God, therefore, God can be attributed to any and all things within our universe.
If I don’t know something, I at least know a God who does know something. I may not know how all of creation works, but I know a God who made creation work.
I can quite accurately say “God did it” for any known phenomena in the world, and I would be accurate. It may not be fully complete without explaining the “how” behind it (using science). But it is still factual and accurate indeed. Not only is suggesting that God doesn’t a closed minded approach, but people have nothing to lose by believing in God.