Physicist Stephen Hawking died this week. He was well known for his 1988 book A Brief History of Time. He also had ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and spoke via sophisticated electronic circuitry designed to enable him to communicate. Hawking tapped into a larger popular audience than academia normally affords. His voice is even heard on the Pink Floyd song, “Keep Talking,” on their 1994 The Division Bell album. I remember reading Hawking’s book a few years back. Though my academic background is in philosophy/theology and literature, I read Hawking’s book because of the theological and philosophical assertions he made. He wrote about design in the universe. He wrote about morality. He wrote about purpose. Yet he was a committed materialist. He rejected the idea of a transcendent God who created the universe, the laws of nature, and the laws of logic. He rejected the one who sustains the creation by the word of his power.
In a 1988 interview with Der Spiegel, Hawking said, “We are a just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the universe. That makes us something very special.”
Interesting how a man who spent his life studying the cosmos, the origin of the universe, the complexity of information in the universe, the existence of mind and matter, etc. rejected the author of all this. An “advanced breed of monkeys” does not encourage me to place credibility in your “thought.”
It reminds me of Richard Dawkins in his 1996 book River Out of Eden. Dawkins wrote, “DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.” Dawkins, too, is referenced in popular music, but this time it is via the Eagles, not Pink Floyd. In the song, “Long Road Out of Eden,” from their 2007 album of the same name:
Silent stars blinking the blackness of an endless sky
Gold, silver satellites, ghostly caravans passing by
Galaxies unfolding and new worlds being born
Pilgrims and prodigals creeping toward the dawn
And it’s a long road out of Eden
Hawking and Dawkins both taught we’re random collocations of atoms, here by chance, for nothing, going to nothing, and our values are subjective and foundationless, ones we choose. What else could values be if there’s no God? As Dostoyevsky wrote in The Brothers Karamazov, if God doesn’t exist, everything is permitted.
But is that all? Is it possible that Hawking and Dawkins stepped out of their lanes as physicist and biologist respectively?
What if God has spoken? What if “the heavens declare the glory of God,” as Scripture says in Psalm 19:1?
What if human life is created in the image of a loving and sovereign God (Psalm 139), who knows the very hairs of our heads (Matthew 10:30)?
What if there is a sovereign superintending creator who has “determined allotted periods and the boundaries of [our] dwelling place, that [we] should seek God, in the hope that [we] might feel [our] way toward him and find him” (Acts 17:26-27)?
Ask yourself: Is that (the world described by Hawking and Dawkins) all there is?
If we are intellectually honest, I would argue there is much evidence for God—not against him.
Materialists (like Hawking and Dawkins) chose to suppress that evidence by attributing it to natural law while denying the cause of those laws. They caricatured God.
Rather than admitting all of the evidence for him, they created red herrings and used non sequitirs. The universe itself, our consciences, objective moral values, mind, language, laws of logic, etc. bear witness to God.
An empty tomb in Israel does, too—so powerfully, in fact, that even stones cry out to the reality of the God who is (Luke 19:40).