Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bonhoeffer on Christianity, Science and a God of the Gaps

Bonhoeffers comments about the dangers of a God of the gaps strike me as prescient in light of the Bruce Waltke brouhaha (see here, here and here):
Weizäcker's book . . . has brought home to me how wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. For the frontiers of knowledge are inevitably being pushed back further and further, which means that you only think of God as a stop-gap. He also is being pushed back further and further, and is in more or less continuous retreat. We should find God in what we do know, not in what we don't; not in outstanding problems, but in those we have already solved. This is true not only for the relation between Christianity and science, but also for wider human problems such as guilt, suffering and death. It is possible nowadays to find answers to these problems which leave God right out of the picture. It just isn't true to say that Christianity alone has the answers. In fact the Christian answers are no more conclusive or compelling than any of the others. Once more, God cannot be used as a stop-gap. We must not wait until we are at the end of our tether: he must be found at the centre of life: in life, and not only in death; in health and vigour, and not only in suffering; in activity, and not only in sin. The ground for this lies in the revelation of God in Christ.

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison (London: SCM, 1953), 103-4.


Rich Griese said...

The thing is that you see from this statement a DESIRE to find gods. This is a position very different than the scientist or general student of the Englightenment that we should gain our knowledge from reason.

What you see in this and other writings like this is a realization that "god is dead" so to speak, but a wish that he was not. The looking around for some way to make gods and supernaturalistic ideas relevant after we realize that these supernaturalistic ideas have been shows past their time.


d. miller said...

Hi Rich,

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with Dietrich Bonhoeffer's life (and death). See the following for more details:

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