God of the Gaps | Jim Stephens


This is another excellent WordPress repost of an article originally authored by Jim Stephens at his http://101proofsforgod.blogspot.ca website. I’ve already mentioned that Jim’s site is an excellent source of highly detailed information you wouldn’t ordinarily run into and I just couldn’t help myself on this particular post. If you haven’t bookmarked his website, please do. I specifically picked this one because the “God of the Gaps” argument is a common defence by those who oppose even entertaining that a Creator could possibly be responsible for what science is now discovering. Enjoy!

If you start to share with people some of the recent scientific evidence that points to God or a master designer, you may hear the rebuttal from someone that your evidence is just a “God of the gaps” explanation. It might even be said with some condescension.

There is no need to fear the “God of the gaps” slur and I’ll tell you why. But first, what is “God of the gaps.” The term was actually invented by Christian theologians who were trying to identify a certain strategy for proving that God exists which they assumed is doomed to failure.

If you try to argue for God scientifically by saying that scientists have no answer for something, therefore it must be God behind it, eventually science may discover a materialist process that explains it. If they do, then God is pushed out. Centuries ago, people did not understand thunder and lightning and concluded that it must be the gods fighting in the heavens. Once thunder and lightning were understood, poof, no more gods.

200 years ago, people assumed there must be God because the world was so complex and highly organized that only design could explain it. Then Darwin came along with a materialistic based theory that sounded pretty logical and scientific, and poof, many people who didn’t want a master designer anymore could base their rejection of God on evolution theory and so-called science, developing their faith that it could all happen randomly.

“Because current science can’t figure out exactly how life started, it must be God who caused life to start.” That makes perfect sense to a believer, but to a God-denier and even your average scientist that is a “God of the gaps” statement. They have faith in a different place. They believe that scientists will eventually discover how life started and additionally of course there will be no need for God.

If you are a believer, you will be happy to hear this news. Over the last 50 years of research you would think that the “gaps” would be disappearing one by one and that scientists are slowly proving the case for the materialists. That’s even the way the materialists might be preaching it.

However, actually the “gaps” are getting bigger and bigger. What once seemed to be a small “gap” in materialistic explanations has often, after newer research, turned out to be an even more complex and complicated problem to explain materialistically. Also new “gaps” are being discovered all the time which scientists cannot explain. The evidence for a master designer is getting stronger, not weaker.

Here is a totally mind blowing fact I heard just today. I’m sure it’s going to be very controversial for years to come. It is totally beyond my understanding of how such a calculation could have been made, so I’m only reporting this new research. Here it is. Astrophysicists at UCLA have calculated that the total density of the mass of all the particles in the whole universe is so absolutely precise that changing the density by a single grain of sand would have caused the whole universe to cease to exist. Read that again, will you. Here is the reference.[1] My mind is blown thinking about it. That’s a pretty big “gap” to explain without a designer. Below is a chart. The density of the universe was so precise at one nanosecond after the Big Bang (447,225,917,218,507,401,284,016 gm/cc) that a variation of 0.2 grams would mean no universe. 0.2 grams more and the universe would have imploded after 15 billion years or 0.2 grams less and there would be no stars or planets, just dust.

“Thus the density 1 ns after the Big Bang was set to an accuracy of better than 1 part in 2235 sextillion (i.e. 10(exp 21)). Even earlier it was set to an accuracy better than 1 part in 10(exp59)!” [2]

Here is a different example in another field. Biologists thought for a long time that most of the DNA was useless, left over mistakes along the evolutionary trail. They called it “Junk DNA”. Maybe you have heard about it. But have you heard the latest? They have found that there is no such thing as “Junk DNA.” In fact, all the DNA seems to be used in the best, most efficient way possible to create living beings. They further discovered that some DNA does even double duty in two different processes. One amazing section does triple duty. A new “gap” was discovered. A really big one for evolutionary biologists! There is no known materialistic explanation for this type of DNA evolving because it performs two essential processes for life.

The “gap” for a materialistic explanation for the formation of a single living cell is growing bigger also. The odds of a single functional protein happening randomly are put at 1 in 10(exp180). Scientists currently estimate that 265 to 350 proteins are the minimum requirement for life [3], but more likely at least 500 to 1,500. Still those estimates are only for parasites that live off other living cells. So the estimate for a self-existing and reproducing cell is probably between 1,500 and 1,900 genes for making proteins. So the odds of producing just the proteins for life by random chance are now something like 1 chance in 10(exp 40,000). [4]

Gaps are not disappearing as predicted. They are getting wider. And new gaps are being discovered all the time. Take another example of astrophysics. My last Proof #76, 200 Parameters for Life, lists a few examples from the 200 known requirements for a planet to be hospitable for life. It was first thought there were only 2. It’s a known fact that 200 number will never decrease. Most likely it will continue to grow. These are not “gaps” anymore. They are proven facts. Calculations against natural forces alone creating a habitable planet like ours have been increasing. Hugh Ross optimistically put the odds at 1 chance in 10(exp215) [5]. Remember there are only 10(exp80) atoms in the universe. [6]

All the evidence in the world will not convince some people who don’t want to be convinced. But when the evidence becomes so overwhelming, what can you say about the person who won’t accept it?

Here is an example that I’m borrowing from Richard Swinburne.[7] There was a man who was kidnapped by a terrorist who was intent on killing him. The terrorist rigged up ten machines from a casino that are used for shuffling cards and dealing out one at a time. Each machine had a regular deck of 52 playing cards to shuffle. The terrorist set explosives all around the man and he calibrated each machine so that it would send a signal to set off the bombs if any card were drawn except the ace of hearts. Only one card from out of 52 in each machine would save his life, the ace of hearts. And all 10 machines had to produce an ace of hearts. If any machine dealt a different card, he would die. The terrorist goes a long way away and activates the shuffling machines. No explosion. He comes back to the room and there is the man safely alive and each machine has dealt an ace of hearts. The man totally cannot believe his good fortune. He is alive. How could it have happened? Was it an act of God? The odds of his survival were impossible. He had one chance in 52x52x52x52x52x52x52x52x52x52 = approx. one chance in 144,555,000,000,000,000. He states to the terrorist that surely there is a God or this could not have happened. The kidnapper says that there is nothing remarkable or surprising about this at all. It happened. He would not be alive to observe it if it hadn’t. No big deal. Any other result and he would be dead and not able to see it.

The mathematical calculation of the odds of our being alive in this universe is far, far less likely than the man surviving the bombs above. To those denying a God, our existence is no big deal. The only reality to consider is physical matter. They have decided that science must be limited to material processes only and they have faith it will eventually find all the answers there.

Whether they realize it or not, their beliefs and assumptions are based on faith. Faith in miracles unexplainable by current science and often violating the well known laws of nature identified so far. As each new “gap” in materialistic explanations is discovered, it makes the odds of us being here by accident less and less likely.

There must be God.

[1] Fine tuned density of Universe at time of Big Bang, http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/cosmo_03.htm#FO 

[2] Fine tuned density of Universe at time of Big Bang, http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/cosmo_03.htm#FO

[3] Science Daily, Scientists Find Smallest Number Of Genes Needed For Organism’s Survival, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991213052506.htm

[4] Williams, Peter S., The Big Bad Wolf, Theism and the Foundations of Intelligent Design, http://www.epsociety.org/library/articles.asp?pid=53&mode=detail

[5] Boyle, Tim, Does Life Exist On Any Other Planet In The Universe? Another Look At SETI, http://www.konkyo.org/English/DoesLifeExistOnAnyOtherPlanetInTheUniverseAnotherLookAtSETI 

[6] Villanueva, John Carl, How Many Atoms Are There in the Universe?, http://www.universetoday.com/36302/atoms-in-the-universe/

[7] Swinburne, Richard, “The Argument from Design”, http://mind.ucsd.edu/syllabi/02-03/01w/readings/swinburne-design.pdf


  1. Great article, and yes the gaps are growing, both in size and in number. But even better, when science acquires new explanations of things (filling a gap) those explanations themselves often point to God. This includes most of molecular biology, astrophysics and cosmology.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sy, you’re right but even there, there are those who choose to look elsewhere, anywhere, even to their own imaginary faith in multi-universes etc, rather than look to God. Grace and blessings!


  2. This is amazing information! It reinforces that the whole of creation is proof of God’s power, wisdom, and glory! Thank you for posting about these kinds of discoveries.

    Liked by 1 person

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