Stephen Hawking Meets the Creator of Everything
This past Wednesday morning Britain’s famed theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, passed away. He was well known for his quest for answers about the universe. Suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, he spent most of his adult life in a wheel chair and communicating with a synthesized voice. He had written several popular books.
Stephen Hawking claimed, “I’m an atheist.” However, some have been confused about whether he was really an atheist. He said, “God is the name people give to the reason we are here. But I think that reason is the laws of physics rather than someone with whom one can have a personal relationship. An impersonal God.”
Just what is this impersonal God? Hawking said, “Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe.” He also wrote, “God may exist, but science can explain the universe without the need for a creator.” Just how is this possible? The explanation can be found when he answered other questions about the origin of the universe. “The question is: is the way the universe began chosen by God for reasons we can’t understand, or was it determined by a law of science? I believe the second. If you like, you can call the laws of science ‘God’, but it wouldn’t be a personal God that you could meet, and ask questions.” While Hawking did not believe in a personal God or Creator, he was more of an agnostic than a true atheist. An atheist claims there is not a God. An agnostic is someone who does not know if there is or is not a God. Hawking fits Paul’s description of those who are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7).
The existence of the universe, Hawking believed, was due to the laws of nature, such as, the law of gravity. “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. It is not necessary to involve God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.” This point brings on the need for answering a couple of questions which come to our minds. Like, who made the law of gravity? Is the law of gravity eternal or did an Intelligent, Eternal Designer (GOD) make the law of gravity? How can gravity exist without the universe? Perhaps this little verse might help shed some light. “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (Hebrew 3:4). This popular scientist, like so many in Hawking’s field, believed in evolution. “We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star.” The Bible exalts man far above animals. “Then God said, ‘let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).
“Some people would claim that things like love, joy and beauty belong to a different category from science and can’t be described in scientific terms, but I think they can now be explained by the theory of evolution.” This is how Hawking attempts to debunk a logical argument for God. Can the laws of nature explain such things as love apart from God? “God is love” (1 John 4:8). “For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight” (Eccl. 2:26a). “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end” (Eccl. 3:11a).
Stephen Hawking asked, “why are we here? Where do we come from? Traditionally, these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead.” Yet the Bible says man came from the Creator and is here to fear and obey him. “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth..Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 12:1,13,14).
Not only is philosophy dead according to Hawking but so is theology Theology is the study of God and His relationship to the universe and man. Hawking says, “Theology is unnecessary.” However, he asked, “What was God doing before the divine creation?” He was planning for man’s salvation (Eph. 3:1-11). He planned a kingdom before the very foundations of the world were formed (Matt. 25:34). He loved before the foundation of the world (John 17:24). He determined salvation in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). Yet Hawking claimed, “There is nothing bigger or older than the universe.” Even the term “universe” contradicts this idea. It is a compound term from the Latin words meaning “one” and “verse.” Indeed, one verse says it all: “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
In the concluding paragraph of his book A Brief History of Time Hawking wrote, “However, if we discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable by everyone, not just by a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God” (193). The only way man can know the will or mind of God is to read the Holy Spirit revealed Word of God, the Bible (1 Cor. 2:10-12; Eph. 3:1-7).
Hawking argued against a beginning and thus there is no need for a creator. “So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator. But if the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or degree, it would have neither beginning or end: it would simply be. What place, then, for a creator?” This makes matter (the universe) eternal instead of an Intelligent, Eternal Mind (God). At the same time Hawking argues that the universe began by laws of science. “What I have done is to show that it is possible for the way the universe began to be determined by the laws of science. In that case, it would not be necessary to appeal to God to decide how the universe began. This doesn’t prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary” (Der Spiegal (17 October 1988).
“I believe that universe is governed by the laws of science. The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws,” says Hawking. He therefore would reject the idea of a miracle which is a supernatural event where God “breaks” one of His laws. Hawking wrote, “concept of scientific determinism, which implies that … there are no miracles, or exceptions to the laws of nature” (Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design (London: Bantam, 2010), pg. 34). By rejecting the possibility of miracles he strips away the evidence that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. John wrote at the end of his Gospel, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31).
Hawking was married and divorced twice. Despite his drive to question and his capacity to search for the answers concerning the universe, he admitted that he could not understand the human female: “Women. They are a complete mystery.” He also said, “while physics and mathematics may tell us how the universe began, they are not much use in predicting human behavior because there are far too many equations to solve. I’m no better than anyone else at understanding what makes people tick, particularly women.” The Bible not only says we can understand women, we are commanded to understand them in order to treat them as God wills. “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
Concerning death and the afterlife, Hawking wrote: “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” Now that he has died, Hawking knows that “the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7). “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27).
Many tributes have poured in around the world for the contributions made by Hawking as a genius and a great mind of modern science. However, the Psalmist said, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1a). He spent his life in search of the theory of everything and in death he has meet “God, who made the world and everything in it” (Acts 17:24).
– Daniel R. Vess