Re: Van Till's Ultimate Gap

From: Terry M. Gray (
Date: Sat Sep 06 2003 - 18:14:10 EDT

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    Josh wrote:

    >Just a quick thought that I'd like some feedback on. Many on this
    >list have expressed dismay over IDers usage of God's "hand-like"
    >action as a magic wand to use whenever scientists don't understand a
    >particular phenomena. I agree that it is fruitful to point out that
    >God never ceases to act in sustaining Creation and that such
    >rhetorical strategy implies unintelligent creation when natural
    >mechanisms are found to account for such phenomena. However, I
    >wonder if this same problem exists for the fully-gifted creation
    >viewpoint? What makes us think that the origin of space time and
    >the derivation of matter, energy and all of the universe is simply a
    >gap in our understanding that some future naturalistic discovery
    >won't elegantly explain, again making the "God Hypothesis" obsolete?
    >Perhaps I should remember some discussion of this in some article,
    >but its not coming to me. I don't care to defend my idea by trying
    >to give any explanation for a naturalistic origin of space-time.
    >Besides for those here, isn't it sufficient enough to hypothesize
    >that a naturalistic explanation is out there awaiting our discovery
    >instead of "jumping the gun" and prematurely attributing creation to
    >the act of God before all explanations are fully explored? The Big
    >Bang Hypothesis is younger than evolution isn't it? I'm not looking
    >for a drawn out debate, just some thoughtful considerations.


    I know this is a bit late, but, as usual you people all seem to have
    more time for this conversation than I do.

    I'm a bit puzzled by your question because I think the answer is
    already in your paragraph above when you say "I agree that it is
    fruitful to point out that God never ceases to act in sustaining
    Creation..." (and I would add in governing creation).

    God's role in the universe is not just limited to the filling in of
    the so-called ultimate gap. This is why I often will object to the
    whole concept of "naturalistic". There's no such thing as a world out
    that there that doesn't work without God--even if properties,
    descriptions, theories, laws, equations, etc. explain them. At no
    point is "the God Hypothesis", at least Biblically speaking, obscured
    by having some kind of "secondary cause" explanation for some

    Why isn't a naturalistic explanation of "creation" in the same
    category as other scientific theories--it's the explanation in terms
    of "secondary causes" and properties of the universe (or multiverse)
    itself. Why would such explanations make God obsolete?

    I think I'd say that "creation" is a theological concept and not a
    scientific one. Thus your question confuses categories. Let's suppose
    that cosmologists are able to explain the origin of the universe (or
    multiverse). Such an explanation assumes that there are some
    features, properties, capabilities, etc. of that nothing from which
    the something occurred to allow such somethingness to arise out of
    nothingness. To think that we're talking about the same thing suggest
    to me that we haven't really grasped the radical discontinuity
    between God and creation. (And those with a process theology leaning
    have rejected such a radical discontinuity even if they have grasped

    I think we should stop trying to make apologetic hay out of science
    (by what it can or cannot say--either for or against Christianity).
    That's not what it's for. As I've said often, the end of Paul's
    argument in Romans 1-3 is not that general revelation brings people
    to know Him, but that, even though He is evident in everything,
    knowledge of God is suppressed by the sinful heart, and there is none
    who seek after God, no not one! I believe in the fingerprints of God
    all over creation because I'm a believer (by God's grace accomplished
    through Christ and applied by the Holy Spirit). I'm not a believer
    because I see the fingerprints of God all over creation.

    I'm willing to let the chips fall where they will with respect to all
    sorts of scientific questions: evolution, origin of life, big bang,
    many worlds, etc.

    So, no, I don't think that the problem you describe exists for the
    "fully gifted creation" viewpoint.


    Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist
    Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
    Fort Collins, Colorado  80523
    phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801

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