God of the gaps

Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, appeared on Tucker Carlson Unfiltered recently, to discuss intelligent design and evolution.

Collins, who is a Christian as well as a geneticist, said this here very interesting thing about intelligent design:

I think intelligent design sets up a god of the gaps kind of scenario. … [W]e haven’t yet explained this particular feature of evolution, so god must be right there. If science ultimately proves that those gaps aren’t gaps, after all, then where is god? We really ought not to ask people to do that.

I’ve said this before. Many Christians would state that if science can’t currently find a natural cause for a certain phenomenon, the only possible explanation must be supernatural–that is, God. Any gaps in our knowledge must be filled with God–hence, “God of the gaps.”

Yet, as Collins points out, that view limits a Christian’s conception of God–for as natural explanations emerge, there’s less need for supernatural ones.

A more logical stance for a Christian might be to say, well, all things in the natural world have a natural explanation, and we’ll eventually understand most of those explanations, but we still hold that, ultimately, God is the power behind it all–and the ways in which God moves Creation remain among the great mysteries of our faith.

That is actually where Collins stands:

I’m what’s called a theistic evolutionist. I believe god had a purpose that involved you and me as individuals, people that he wished to have fellowship with. I believe that the way he decided to do that creative step utilized the mechanism of evolution.

Now, I personally don’t think God had anything to do with any of it, but I at least respect the consistency and rationality of Collins’s faith. I’ll end with this–a beautiful statement of faith by Francis Collins:

I do think that a thinking person can both be one who believes that science, rigorous science, is the way to understand the natural world and that god is the way to understand the spiritual world. And when you marry the two together, as I get to do, your appreciation of science, of a new discovery, takes on a new meaning because it’s a glimpse of what god knew all along and at that moment it’s a moment of worship.

[via Panda’s Thumb]

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2 thoughts on “God of the gaps

  1. I wonder whether Collins is specifically a Catholic Christian – I’ve checked the Unfiltered web site but they don’t say. His views expressed here are similar to the official Catholic teaching on the matter.

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