Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions

2013 Edition
| Editors: Anne L. C. Runehov, Lluis Oviedo

God of the Gaps

  • John R. Albright
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8265-8_592

Related Terms

 Argumentum ad ignoratiam;  Deus ex machina;  Intelligent design

“God of the gaps” refers to the argument that gaps in scientific knowledge are evidence for God’s existence and direct intervention. One example of the God of the gaps argument is the argument from ignorance or argumentum ad ignoratiam. The argument goes as follows: If a proposition has not been disproven, then it cannot be considered false and must therefore be considered true. If a proposition has not been proven, then it cannot be considered true and must therefore be considered false. However, this argument is a fallacy, because it says that true things can never be disproven and false things can never be proven but this implies that true things can never be proven and false things can never be disproven.

Today, the God of the gaps argument comes in two variants, namely, an epistemological and an ontological one. The former represents a lack of scientific explanatory power; in other words, more...

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References

  1. Dembski, W. A. (1999). Intelligent design: The bridge between science and theology. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press.Google Scholar
  2. Henry, D. (1894). The ascent of man. New York: James Pott & Co.Google Scholar
  3. Polkinghorne, J. (2001). Physical process, quantum events, and divine agency. In R. J. Russell, P. Clayton, K. W. McNelly, & J. Polkinghorne (Eds.), Quantum mechanics: Scientific perspectives on divine action. Vatican City State: Vatican Observatory Publications.Google Scholar
  4. Pollard, W. G. (1958). Chance and providence: God’s action in a world governed by scientific thought. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  5. Tracy, T. F. (1995). Particular providence and the God of the gaps. In R. J. Russell, N. Murphy, & A. R. Peacocke (Eds.), Chaos and complexity: Scientific perspectives on divine action. Vatican City State: Vatican Observatory Publications.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lutheran School of TheologyChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Purdue University CalumetINUSA
  3. 3.Florida State UniversityFLUSA