God of the gaps

by Andrea Elizabeth

I caught a little of Star Talk on Sirius XM yesterday where a caller asked if the Big Bang could have been started by God. Neil Degrasse Tyson said that physicists like Isaac Newton and Ptolemy ascribed to the God of the Gaps belief where God exists in what we don’t understand. He said, as did Dietrich Bonhoeffer, btw, that with that belief, scientific discoveries make God smaller and smaller. Bonhoeffer added to the explanation, however.

“how wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know.[5]

Dr. Tyson doesn’t like the idea of God winding up an ordered clock either because bad things happen and our bodies aren’t as capable or protected as they should be. He probably doesn’t like the explanation of the Fall causing pain and suffering.

He also mentioned the idea that if you knew where every particle was as well as its motion you could predict the future history of the universe. EXCEPT that quantum mechanics changes these predictions from certainties to probabilities. Perhaps this is why meteorologists can’t accurately predict the weather. This unpredictability to me isn’t all about lack of equipment and formulas, but about acts of God, not that they won’t be better explained later. I’m waiting for the equipment that can detect a soul leaving the body or a “spontaneous” energy impulse that can scoot a hurricane over a mile or two.

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