Defining GOG

Allan Harvey (
Tue, 16 Dec 1997 08:47:43 -0700

In an off-list discussion about Phil Johnson, a question has come up
about what exactly we mean when we talk about "God-of-the-gaps" (GOG)
theology. A correspondent and I have somewhat different understandings,
so I am soliciting other input.

I think I will phrase this in terms of 3 statements that people might
make about gaps (where I think we all know more-or-less what we mean by
"gaps" so I won't try to define that precisely), with the question being
which of these qualify as GOG theology:

(A) Gaps in nature appear to exist, and this is evidence for theism.

(B) Gaps in nature appear to exist, and this is foundational to my faith.

(C) If theism is true, there must be gaps in nature (corollary: lack of
gaps implies lack of God).

It is my opinion that both (B) and (C) above qualify as GOG theology, but
that (A) does not (though it can easily lead to GOG by mutating into
(B)). The commonality being that the truth of theism is made wholly or
largely dependent on the gaps. That is my understanding of what GOG
means, but I am willing to have my terminology corrected.

I'd add that, whether or not GOG is an accurate label, I hope that we can
all at least agree that (B) and (C) are *bad* theology for a Christian,
regardless of what one calls them.

| Dr. Allan H. Harvey | |
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