God of the Gaps Arguments

I see the phrase “God-of-the-gaps” (GOTG) argument used a lot in the blogosphere, but people rarely define what they mean. I think GOTG arguments all look something like this.

1. X happens or exists.

2. We have no naturalistic explanation for X, i.e., we have no way to explain X without God.

3. Therefore, God exists.

I feel too lazy to track down an actual GOTG argument used by a theist, so for this post, I’m going to make one up to use as an example. (If this happens to match an actual argument, then so be it.)

1. Life exists.

2. We have no idea how life could have arisen / emerged from non-life through purely naturalistic mechanisms.

3. Therefore, God exists.

With GOTG so defined, I think it’s clear that many of the arguments used by theistic philosophers and apologists are not GOTG arguments. They may have their flaws, but being a GOTG argument isn’t one of them.