No-God of the no-gaps
When something goes bump in the night, you know that a perfectly natural explanation can be found. You certainly don't say that God made it happen. Atheists appeal to the same logic to prove that God doesn't exist. Everything that we see around us, near and far, from quasars and gamma ray bursters, to the exquisite architecture of the “simplest” cell, can be explained perfectly naturally. No need to invoke a Creator God. Unfortunately, many of our forbears made a big mistake — they fell for this logic and so sought to prove God's involvement in creation by pointing to those innumerable mysteries that scientists had not yet unraveled. In these so-called “gaps” in scientific knowledge for which no natural causative agent could be found, they put their confidence.
Only problem is, scientists kept coming up with the answers. The gaps kept narrowing and so God kept getting squeezed out of the picture. More and more mysteries were explained. Atheists felt smug in the brilliance of their oneupmanship. But that was a while ago; believers in creation today have gotten over the embarrassment their earlier colleagues felt as the gaps kept narrowing. Believers today recognize that a mystery explained becomes a marvel to stand in awe of. Today we know what makes the sky blue and don't invoke the proposition that “it is blue because God spoke and made it blue”; nevertheless, the physical laws and phenomena that work together to make the sky appear blue had to come from somewhere. And believers in creation are back where they started — the sky is blue because God created and sustains all the laws and brought into being all the processes that make the world work the way it does. “Natural explanations” are nothing more than the work of an infinitely clever mind and infinitely powerful creator. As John Polkinghorne points out (quoting Taylor),
If we think of a Creator at all, we are to find him always on the inside of creation. And if God is really on the inside, we must find him in the process, not in the gaps. We know now that there are no gaps… If the hand of God is to be recognized in His continuous creation, it must be found not in isolated intrusions, not in any gaps, but in the very process itself (Science and Providence, p. 31).
How true: the universe works the way it does because God made it work that way. Knowing how a car works doesn't obviate the need for a “causative agent” (a designer and a manufacturer).
But hang on a minute. There's more. Are we creationists now a bit too quick to acquiesce to the claim that all the gaps have been plugged? We shouldn't be. It's time we turned the tables on the no-Godders by a reversal of the logic they held like a cocked gun at our temple for so long. Many of their natural explanations are proving to be duds. They are having to constantly go back and rewrite their brilliant proofs of no-God. Of course, they are keeping this fact quiet.
An example; the origin of life. For a long time, scientists of a humanistic bent (the majority) felt they had all kinds of clever natural explanations about how life arose on earth. Fossils of fully “alive”, “primitive” (they love that meaningless word) cells had been found in rocks about 800 million years old. These cells had had plenty of time in the previous almost three billion years to gradually evolve from the various almost-alive precursors speculated to have thrummed in primeval soup. But in 1980 a remarkable discovery was made — life was at least 3 1/2 billion years old! There it was — in rocks dug up in the remote and inhospitable reaches of northern West Australia was the unmistakable proof of life. But what is really embarrassing about it for evolutionists is the nature of the life forms presented. Let Newsweek magazine explain it:
Perhaps more startling was the variety of the cells. The researchers specifically identified five different types. “This tells us that life was diverse, abundant and, judging from the chemistry, really quite advanced,” said group leader William Schopf of the University of California, Los Angeles. Since these cells lived a mere one billion (or one and a half billion, depending on your scheme) after the earth formed, scientists had expected the organisms to be much simpler (June 30th, 1980, p. 44).
The lack of sufficient time created a huge, inexplicable gap for origin-of-life theorists. But they weren't going to let on. Conveniently, "no one has found rocks on earth old enough to contain physical evidence of more ancient organisms, but scientists have not given up hope: there are a great many more stones still left to turn" (Newsweek). That was written in 1980. In 2006 we are still waiting. Sure, theories still abound about what could have preceded these organisms — miraculous snippets of self-replicating RNA, microspheres and microcells and the like. But the simple fact is that prior to these earliest-known fossils, planet earth simply was too hot and inhospitable for any of them to have survived let alone learnt amazing new tricks. Scientists are confronted with a gap — between theoretical precursors and living things — they cannot fill in. Hang on — now some say life must have come from space.
Another example. In the last five years, astronomers have been stunned by the discovery of 86 previously unknown moons in our solar system. These moons are called “irregular” partly because their orbits are highly elliptical, and tilted with respect to the equators of their mothers. Their numerous strange features mean that, “These bodies are not well explained by standard models, and a wave of fresh theoretical work is under way” (Jewitt et al, The Strangest Satellites in the Solar System, Scientific American, August 2006, p. 24). These moons just don't fit into standard “natural explanations” for the evolution of our solar system. Back to the drawing board. The no-gap has become a gap. Atheists would be well advised to ruminate on Einstein's truism — knowledge is like a ball of light; the bigger it becomes, the more darkness it comes in contact with. To God be the glory; He alone can fill in all the gaps.