Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Stephen Hawking's Universe

Last night I watched renowned physicist Stephen Hawking being interviewed by ABC News' Diane Sawyer. I stand in awe of the mind of this great physicist. His intellect is said to equal Einstein's and Newton's. I read his book "A Brief History of Time" and scratched my head at an intelligence that can come up with ideas like warp space, warp time, and alternate dimensions.

But when it comes to God, Stephen Hawking doesn't know squat. Listen to his take on theology: "[One] could define God as the embodiment of the laws of nature. However, this is not what most people would think of as God. They make a human-like being with whom one can have a personal relationship. When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant an accidental human life is in it, that seems most impossible."

When Sawyer asked if there was a way to reconcile religion and science, Hawking said, "There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works."

Hawking knows science, but he doesn't understand religion. From his wheelchair he may be able to peer into the origin of the universe, but he doesn't know the Originator of the universe. He is an expert in the questions "What?" and "How?" but he is clueless when it comes to the question "Why?"

Sawyer asked him if he could ask the universe one question and have it be answered, what would it be? He replied, "I want to know why the universe exists, why there is something rather than nothing." Hawking has no answer. Hawking believes in aliens, but not in God. Why?

God is too obvious. Hawking has a superior mind, but it is not mind that apprehends God. It is soul. Hawking has a great mind, but the mind is a very limited instrument. It is very good at deciphering the complex and difficult. It is stymied at the blatant and obvious. The presence of God is so obvious that it is easily missed. But when one becomes aware of God, this awareness is the most obvious fact of the universe.

Hawking exists in God; that is why he can't see God. In God we live and move and have our being. God is too close for any electron microscope to see. That is why Hawking can't see him. He is the Knower; that is why Hawking can't know him. He is Subject and cannot be perceived as an object.

Hawking expects God to be observable by science. But science is too limited in its scope. He is expecting a God who can be understood; but such a god would not be God. He is looking for a being, but God is Being.

For my understanding of the physical dimensions of the universe I will still look to Stephen Hawking. But when it comes to theology, Hawking's universe is too small.

1 comment:

Maria Belyea said...

I cannot help but wonder if Hawking dismisses God because of the illness that has destroyed his body. It must be hard for him to reconcile a God that loves with a God that would leave him in such a dependent and physically challenged state. If he chose to believe in God then he would have to accept that God chose to leave him in his current physical condition. His rejection is understandable, but it also a tragedy, because he has used his bitterness to poison the minds of so many against their creator.