Stephen Hawking: Key to the Cosmos
Published: 21 August 2012 (GMT+10)
This is a Discovery Channel TV program shown under the banner title of Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design, and narrated by him.1 Other Stephen Hawking programs shown have been Did God Create the Universe? and The Meaning of Life. For our response to these, see Curiosity: Did God create the universe? and Stephen Hawking: Is there meaning to life?
Much of the material presented by Stephen Hawking has appeared in the 2010 book, The Grand Design by Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.2
Unfortunately in this and in his TV narrations, Hawking’s scientific views are contaminated by his determination to exclude God from any rational involvement in the universe. For a thorough review of this book by CMI’s Dr Jonathan Sarfati, see Hawking atheopathy: Famous physicist goes beyond the evidence. Page numbers in brackets in this article refer to this book.
In Key to the Cosmos, Hawking begins by tracing the development of scientific laws by Newton, Maxwell, Einstein, and Kaluza, the concept of quantum mechanics, the idea that electrons obey the laws of chance enunciated by Feynman, and Michaelson and Morley’s experiment which showed that the hypothetical luminescent aether does not exist (although see God’s mighty expanse by Dr Russell Humphreys).
Readers are obviously meant to make the mental jump: No miracles = no God, even if we’ve lost the origin of the laws of nature in the process and have to resort to string theory to get them back.
Hawking then tells us what he believes about quarks. These are proposed invisible particles inside neutrons and protons. According to him, quarks exist only insofar as they remain the best explanation of protons.3 Many creationist physicists agree—for example, see Has the ‘God particle’ been found? by Dr Jim Mason. And from there he makes a huge leap by launching into string theory:
“Quarks are themselves made from something we physicists call strings, which are ever-more intricate distortions of space and time. … Just as a violin string can vibrate to produce different musical notes, each subatomic string also vibrates, producing a different kind of fundamental particle. These tiniest particles give shape to the universe around us. … String theory suggests that the vibrations of the strings produce tiny distortions in space/time at a microscopic scale. And they do so in a mind-boggling ten dimensions.”
Hawking explains this further in The Grand Design book as follows:
“According to string theory, particles are … patterns of vibration that have length but no height or width. … String theories … are consistent only if space-time has ten dimensions, instead of the usual four” (p. 148).4,5
Back to what Hawking says in the TV episode:
“If the string vibrates in one way, it produces a certain kind of fundamental particle, say a quark. And if it vibrates in another way, it creates a neutrino, which is another kind of particle. String theory has the potential to explain why these particles interact with each other in the precise way they do—just like the harmony in a piece of music.
“And this is where the laws of physics come from—the laws that control everything in the universe, from the behaviour of black holes to the life and death of stars, and something as simple as a roll of paper falling to the floor, or the flickering of a magnetic compass needle—the simplest and most fundamental of actions—all governed by the rules of string theory.”
However, string theory has many problems (see Is ‘string’ the next big thing?)—we have cited before an editorial in New Scientist lamenting: “But these equations tell us nothing about where space and time came from and describe nothing we would recognize.”6
Source of the laws of nature
For someone who goes out of his way to deny the existence of God and hence God as the creator of the laws of nature/physics, Hawking is quite vague as to his alternative source of these laws. His alleged simile between string theory and music is hardly proof of anything, and in fact he offers only “the potential” of string theory. Then on p. 107 of The Grand Design he says (without elucidation): “the laws of nature in our universe arose from the big bang”. In chapter 6 Choosing our Universe, on p. 183 he writes: “The results described in this chapter indicate that that our universe itself is also one of many, and that its apparent laws are not uniquely determined.”
This inability to provide a cogent replacement for God as the source of scientific law is hardly surprising. Once you dismiss the concept of a Creator God who is not only a living supernatural being, but one who is also omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, it certainly is difficult to contrive an adequate substitute. His ‘multiverse’ idea is ad hoc—see also below.
Hawking is not nearly so vague about his denial of miracles. Three times in his book he refers to this:
(1) “A scientific law is not a scientific law if it holds only when some supernatural being decides not to intervene” (pp. 43–44).
(2) “This book is rooted in the concept of scientific determinism which implies that … there are no miracles, or exceptions to the laws of nature” (p. 48).
(3) “These laws should hold everywhere and at all times: otherwise they wouldn’t be laws. There could be no exceptions or miracles. Gods or demons couldn’t interfere in the running of the world” (p. 215).
Readers are obviously meant to make the mental jump: No miracles = no God, even if we’ve lost the origin of the laws of nature in the process and have to resort to string theory to get them back. Hawking, of course, is entitled to his axiom that God does not exist;7 at the same time we are entitled to our axiom that God does exist. So which axiom better fits the observable data? Let’s examine this.
An airplane flies when lift overcomes gravity, and thrust overcomes drag. Credit: iStockphoto
Consider an airplane. There are two forces operating on an airplane that keep it from flying. These are: (1) gravity (which tends to keep it on the ground), and (2) drag (which tends to stop it going forward). So how does an airplane fly? It flies when lift (generated by the angle of attack of the wings) overcomes gravity, and when thrust (generated by the propeller(s) or jet engine) overcomes drag. So when an airplane flies, there are (in this simple illustration) four forces acting on it, not just two. All four forces are valid. What happens to the airplane is determined by which forces are stronger at any time. Thus science is not violated because there are more than two forces in play.8
Applying this to Hawking’s (il)logic:
(1) It would obviously be nonsense for anyone to claim that the law of gravity is not a scientific law because there are times when lift can intervene and counteract it.
(2) Lift is not an exception to the laws of nature. There is a force of gravity and there is a force of lift. Both forces operate together on an airplane in flight: otherwise the airplane would shoot up to the edge of space.
(3) Forces which balance other forces do not interfere in the running of the world. It is not a matter of there being no other laws than the ones Hawking defines; it is the One he denies that falsifies his premise.
The Christian philosopher Norman Geisler stated:
“Natural law is a description of the way God acts regularly in and through creation (Psalm 104:10–14), whereas a miracle is the way God acts on special occasions. So both miracles and natural law involve the activity of God. The difference is that natural law is the regular, repeatable way God acts, whereas a miracle is not.
“Natural law describes the gradual activity of God in the world, whereas miracles manifest his immediate actions.”9
There is thus no basis for disallowing miracles, unless you could prove that God doesn’t exist, but you can’t prove a universal negative. Contrary to Hawking’s wishful thinking, in any situation God can certainly bring other forces into play without violating science. Indeed, seeing that God is the author of scientific law, a better conclusion is that God does intervene in the world when He wants to for His purposes, and in fact we should even expect Him to do so.
Hawking’s error is that he confuses law with agency. He fails to understand that science can only describe things which are observable and repeatable; it cannot prescribe what cannot happen. Treating scientific laws as the cause of observed regularities is like claiming that the outline of a map is the cause of the shape of a coastline. It is therefore unscientific for Hawking to claim that God does not exist and that He cannot perform miracles. See also Miracles and science.
M-theory and multi-universes
In the TV episode, Hawking introduces us to the concept of multi-or parallel universes. He informs us:
“Currently there are several different versions of this string theory, which all together I call ‘M-theory’. Nobody seems to know what the ‘M’ stands for; it could be ‘master’, ‘miracle’ [Oops! how did that term get in there?—Ed.] or ‘mystery’, or perhaps all three. … M-theory is making one remarkable prediction—that ours is not the only universe … there should be hundreds of billions of billions of other universes, perhaps more universes than there are stars in the known cosmos.”
In The Grand Design book, Hawking says that M-theory “allows for 10500 different universes, each with its own laws … only one of which corresponds to the universe as we know it”.10
Note: 10500 is 100,000 billion billion billion … (and so on to 55 times). So according to Hawking there are 100,000 billion billion billion (55 times) universes and 100,000 billion billion billion (55 times) different laws of nature therein respectively. This would seem to require 100,000 billion billion billion (55 times) different sources, since the various sets of laws of nature postulated are all different. Hawking has given us (his) one source for the laws of our universe—strings. But Prof. Hawking, please tell us what are your 100,000 billion billion billion (55 times; less 1) sources for all the others? Rather than science, this sounds more like presumption times 10500, that is: presumption 100,000 billion billion billion (55 times)!
And even his former collaborator, Sir Roger Penrose,11 says that Hawking has constructed a huge house of cards resting on an unproven theory: “ … ‘M-theory’, a popular (but fundamentally incomplete) development of string theory. … M-theory enjoys no observational support whatever.”12
Hawking’s Grand Design
In case you are wondering ‘so what?’ to all this, Hawking’s purpose is to provide an answer to the problem that frustrated the great Albert Einstein, who sought in vain to construct ‘a theory of everything’. That is, a supposed theory of theoretical physics that fully explains and links together all known physical phenomena, and predicts the outcome of any experiment that could be carried out in principle.
In the TV episode, Hawking says:
“Let’s return to the idea that the strings of string theory are like the notes played by a string quartet. Each vibration of the strings gives rise to a fundamental particle and to the forces of nature, which between them make up everything in the universe. But of course the quartet may just as well be playing a different tune with different vibrations. Mathematically, a different tune would produce different particles and different forces of nature, meaning a different universe. Change again, and that’s another universe.
“But just as there are an endless number of possible tunes, so our universe must be just one of billions of universes. We can’t see them because they are beyond the limits of our own universe, each with their own history and properties. Some are unstable and collapse back to where they came from. Some will produce no stars or planets. and so be dark and cold. Others will expand and go on to produce stars and galaxies, like ours.
“As we ponder this, we should not be surprised to find ourselves in a universe that is perfect for us. Our very presence means our universe must be just right. So the search for the key to the universe has had one unexpected result; we have found the key to every other universe too. It seems that M-theory is the system of laws that governs everything—the Grand Design.”
So there we have it: Hawking’s theory of everything, it seems, is M-theory. Yet Hawking himself belatedly recognized that a theory of everything is logically impossible, because of Gödel’s Incompleteness Proof. That is, in any theoretical system as complex as arithmetic or above, there would always be true statements that cannot be proven within the system.
Not so according to Hawking’s big-bang buddies
Appealing to everything in general to explain something in particular is really no explanation at all.
Prof. Paul Davies, one of the most eloquent and vociferous promoters of the big bang theory over the years, asks:
“How is the existence of the other universes to be tested? … more and more must be accepted on faith, and less and less is open to scientific verification. … Indeed, invoking an infinity of unseen universes to explain the unusual features of the one we do see is just as ad hoc as invoking an unseen Creator. … Appealing to everything in general to explain something in particular is really no explanation at all.”13
See also the Sir Roger Penrose quote, above. Then too, there is Occam’s (or Ockham’s) Razor, otherwise known as the law of parsimony, economy or succinctness. It is the principle that if we have competing hypotheses, we should select the one which makes the fewest assumptions. See Occam’s Razor and creation/evolution.
Finally, there is one other major fallacy with Stephen Hawking’s atheistic reasoning—apart from the fact that a simile is not a proof. Did you spot it? For a violin string to produce music, somebody must play the violin. And for a string quartet to produce “an endless number of possible tunes” four intelligent musicians are needed to create the harmonies.
String theory, M-theory, and multi-universe theory are ideological attempts to explain the universe we live in. Unfortunately many of those postulating these ideas have an additional agenda—to discount the appearance of design in the universe we live in, and hence to explain the universe without God, who for them does not exist.
During the 20th century quantum mechanics and general relativity emerged as twin pillars of modern physics. Both have tremendous experimental support. Now, string theory is being promoted in the 21st century as the next great idea in physics. Williams and Hartnett comment:
“To explain something means to describe the unknown in terms of the known. … Cosmologists endeavor to explain the unknown—in their case the origin of the universe. In so doing, string theorists have developed 10- or 26-dimensional models to explain the four-dimensional universe. So they have not explained the unknown in terms of the known. They have appealed to further unknowns (dimensions that we don’t know about) to explain the existing unknown (the origin of the universe) so it does not qualify (at this stage) as an explanation. If they turn out to be correct and one day we discover that there are strings and 26 dimensions, that will mean that the universe is unimaginably more complex than it appears to be now.”14 (Emphases in original.)
In the same way, 10500 universes are much harder to explain than one—the one we live in. And lest any readers think that we are myopic with respect to anything additional to our own universe, we refer them to The Gospel in time and space. We further suggest that Stephen Hawking et al, could find wisdom in pondering the following description by the Apostle John of Jesus Christ, whom we Christians worship as God:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. …
“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Gospel of John 1:1–5, 10–14).
- Shown in Australia on July 2012, and repeated in August 2012. Return to text.
- Hawking, S., & Mlodinow, L, The Grand Design, Bantam Press, London, 2010. Return to text.
- In ref. 2, Hawking writes: “Quarks … are a model to explain the properties of the protons and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom” (p. 65). And “ … according to model-dependent realism, quarks exist in a model that agrees with our observations of how subnuclear particles behave” (p. 66). Return to text.
- This means that string theory requires the existence of at least six extra dimensions of space, in addition to the three normal spacial dimensions and one of time that we are familiar with. Return to text.
- Note: Williams and Hartnett write concerning the dimensions required by string theory: “10 dimensions if we include both forces and matter, or 26 dimensions if we only deal with forces.” Williams, A., & Hartnett, J., Dismantling the Big Bang, Master Books, 2005, p. 104. Return to text.
- Ideas needed—The hunt for a theory of everything is going nowhere fast, New Scientist 188(2529):5, 10 December 2005 (emphasis added). Return to text.
- An axiom is an assumption made for the purpose of argument. Return to text.
- And many centuries before the Wright brothers flew the first airplane, or Sir Isaac Newton wondered why an apple fell down instead of up, Australian Aboriginals were using yet another force that made a thrown boomerang come back to the thrower if it missed its target. Namely the twist imparted by the maker to the blades of his boomerang. But note that not all boomerangs come back; some are designed to fly straight on, again determined by how the maker shapes his weapon.. Return to text.
- Norman L. Geisler, Miracles and the Modern Mind (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1992) p. 111. Return to text.
- Ref. 2, pp. 151–152. Return to text.
- Sir Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking were jointly awarded the Wolf Foundation Prize for Physics in 1988 and also the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1975; Penrose was awarded the Albert Einstein Medal in 1990. Return to text.
- Penrose, R., review of The Grand Design, Financial Times (UK), 4 September 2010. Return to text.
- Davies, P., A Brief History of the Multiverse, The New York Times, April 12, 2003. Return to text.
- Ref. 5, pp. 104–05. Return to text.
I wonder how long it is going to be before some scientist tells us that a universe with a young earth, all life appearing in 7 days and a book explaining exactly how it happened, is exactly what we would expect to see according to the multi-universe theory :-)
He seems to not understand what “supernatural” means when he says “A scientific law is not a scientific law if it holds only when some supernatural being decides not to intervene.” Doesn’t the “super” in “supernatural” mean “above, over, on the top (of), beyond, besides, in addition to”? So, a “scientific law" / natural law does only hold when a supernatural being decides not to intervene. A supernatural being would be supernatural and could intervene.
Yes, what a great tragedy that with such an amazing God-given intellect he cannot feel the truth and beauty of the Scriptures.
ET: No-where in the book does he say there is no God, he is saying that, for a scientific law to be a scientific law, no God can intervene. That he is an atheist is nothing to do with what he is saying, and his arguement could easily coincide with the idea that there is a God.
Dr Jonathan Sarfati replies Hawking is evidently philosophically clueless about miracles, as shown in Miracles and science. It’s somewhat disingenuous to claim that Hawking’s own dogmatic atheopathy has no connection with his illogical atheism-serving claims.
ET: In fact, the idea that a God cannot intervene makes more logical sense than one who can and chooses not to, or one who causes suffering because it “works in mysterious ways”.
JS: Evidently you have not bothered to read our material on death and suffering, including this booklet. We also have a forthcoming book called Christianity for Skeptics that has a chapter on this.
ET: Quoting a Christian philosopher and using his words as an argument against an atheist is a flawed arguement, as Christian philosophy relies upon belief in a God, which Hawking, as an atheist, does not have.
JS: But quoting an atheist in an argument against a Christian is fine, is it?
ET: I find it astonishing that a Christian can so readily believe in a God and then completely dismiss String Theory (as there is no clear evidence I am sceptical about both).
JS: Ipse dixit; see for example my book By Design: Evidence for nature’s Intelligent Designer—the God of the Bible.
ET: I am even more astonished that you can so easily shun your own beliefs in an attempt to destroy another’s. One of the commandments is “Love thy neighbour” and this is completely the opposite.
JS: In reality, love is shown by refuting false beliefs with dire eternal consequences. If someone was driving towards a bridge over a ravine, and the bridge had collapsed, would it be ‘unloving’ to warn him and others?
Would you please state the logical refutation of 2 of the most materialistic claims:
- That the laws of nature are necessary which cannot but exist.
- That the properties , constants—say electron mass , charge … etc.—are intrinsic facts which just exist as a physical necessity.
There is no logical necessity for any that. They are contingent properties of the universe. But there is nothing in materialism that would lead to the notion of “natural laws” in the first place, as in regular, repeatable phenomena of nature. This is an axiom for them.
But science was founded in the first place when believers in the biblical world view deduced this idea from the biblical teaching of a God of order. So for Christians, the idea of “natural laws” can be considered a theorem deduced from more foundational axioms: the propositions of Scripture. See Why does science work at all? You might also like Has the ‘God particle’ been found?
“In The Grand Design book, Hawking says that M-theory “allows for 10500 different universes, each with its own laws … only one of which corresponds to the universe as we know it.”
Obviously, Dr. Hawking pulled this number out of his hat.
For his view, it would rather be an infinite number of multiverses.
Otherwise there must be some Thing that must limit the number of universes.
What a great display of blind faith by Dr. Hawking.
Good comments … everyone!
Steve needs Love, One Word from God will change everything around for him.
Though an axiom is “an assumption made for the purpose of argument”, I say with much respect and affection that Hawking is not “entitled to his axiom that God does not exist” any more than a kidnapper is entitled to the weapon and chain that allows him to retain a victim. This axiom being manifestly false from nature (Romans 1) is without validity even on its own terms; Hawking has an axiom, and therefore he exists, yet without aseity he requires a cause. We are not arguing against a simple alternative view, but against a negation of view itself, a negation of the very concept of being. Materialism means that there are no beings, just objects, some with the illusion of being, just as the objects have the illusion of design. Similarly his random words have the appearance of being rational and being axioms, but under his views they are not, nor can they be anything but sounding gongs and clanging cymbals. Among ourselves we do not grant the non-sense of those who deny God. And I question whether granting it even “for the sake of argument” isn’t abandoning the field to the detriment even of our foes. They don’t get a pass from their own principles just so that they can be allowed to skip steps and blaspheme.
Indeed, there is no doubt that Hawking operates under a false axiom. All the same, in my Logic and Creation article, I provide an example where Jesus takes on a false presumption He knows to be false for the sake of refuting it:
Another good example is Jesus’ statement in Matthew 12:27:
And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.
I doubt that any Christian would claim that Jesus was asserting that He drove out demons by Beelzebub! He was showing that if His opponents were right in their accusation, then the accusation would equally apply to their own people. Jesus’ argument is an example of reductio ad absurdum.
I have allowed myself to imagine parallel universes and similarly inhabited planets like our own, and contemplated some of those imploding only to begin the cycle all over, relying on the same chance occurrences to produce the source of intellegence without ever knowing that some thing existed before, and find myself asking, “what would be the point ?” Existance would be … to use a biblical term … vanity all is vanity … (meaningless). How sad to see men like Hawking spend their lives trying to prove their existence is meaningless.
The quote “A scientific law is not a scientific law if it holds only when some supernatural being decides not to intervene” is a nasty piece of equivocation. ‘Supernatural’ is supposed to mean above the natural, but Hawking has put the natural (science) above the natural.
By definition, natural scientific laws are completely unable to be enforced on the supernatural, so Hawking’s statement is a categorical falsity. Unfortunately many people fall for this deception as they have put their faith in man, not in God.
It is a tragedy to see the physical afflictions of Stephen Hawking. One can understand to a point his rebellion against God. I have tried to put myself in his position and imagine what his life must be like, but it is a greater tragedy that he has not responded to the Gospel and believed for his healing as well as for his salvation. Jesus heals today just as He did 2,000 years ago. … [Reference deleted as per feedback rules, because CMI can’t endorse or oppose specific ministries outside our mandate.]
It is certainly a tragedy that Dr Hawking has been so badly afflicted. We agree that Jesus can heal. But we also believe from the Bible that healing is not a right, something guaranteed to believers if they have enough faith (so logically if they are not healed, then they lack sufficient faith), but under God’s sovereign control. See the section Can God heal today? in From Shadows to Light: Dr Carl Wieland’s new book Beyond the Shadows uniquely addresses both intellectual and emotional issues.
It’s also notable that Hawking has already lived 45 years beyond the doctors’ prognosis at the time (see the section Marriage in Hawking atheopathy: Famous physicist goes beyond the evidence.
Wow! That’s Good, very Good indeed!
Stephen Hawking is physically weak & we all feel compassion. Steven is mentally weak, unsound, confused and lacks Godly wisdom and we all feel more compassion. Stephen is spiritually weak, in darkness, lost and undone and we all feel great pity. Satan’s tactic is to make us weak, he curses us, exercising all manner of evil forces against us. He preys on the weak. He cannot defeat what is stronger than himself, he cannot defeat Christ, Christ has defeated him already and he goes about already defeated, seeking whom he may devour. He cannot devour who has already beaten him, there is no round two, a KO, down and counted out and he didn’t walk away with the belt, the championship, and the fight is over. And he believes God and trembles. But he can still go after man and does, those weaker than him. We have Christ & in Him, we are the strong man, the robber enters not the house, the house is swept and filled with the Holy Spirit in Christ. We are become far more powerful than every enemy including death. We have none to fear, no credible enemy, no worthy challenger, there is no equal to those in Christ Jesus. But the weak house, the enemy enters to steal, kill and destroy. Steve is a weak house. But he doesn’t have to be, not a minute longer. It is his choice. There is One who sticketh closer than a brother. We are overcomers, we overcame them by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our Testimony, which is Jesus. Steve is not alone, untold millions are outside the fold. That’s the reason we preach and do what we do, not to glorify ourselves or for any accolades of man. The reason CMI works to usurp the lies of the enemy is that the world may come to the Knowledge of the Truth of Salvation in Jesus Christ. There is no hidden agenda. The lost don’t speak life, their words are lifeless & exhausting. …
Excellent article by Mr. Grigg! It speaks volumes of our present culture that someone who confuses their daydreams with science is heralded as a great intellect by the media. It also speaks volumes of the pathetic state of science and academia that daydreams and fantasies have replaced the rigors of the scientific method. Hawking's imaginings do not come close to qualifying either as philosophy or science.
It is sad to see a man, touted by many as an “intelligent scientist”, go down such a foolish path. I know it has been done many times but I feel compelled to quote Psalm 14:1–3 & 53:1–3:
The fool has said in his heart, there is no God …
Notice this fact, believing in God is not a matter of the intellect, it is not a matter of the mind, how smart you are, but of the heart. You see, nature itself cries out that there is a God, so it is not that they can’t look at the evidence and come to the right conclusion, it is a matter of the will, they don't want to believe in God.
And these verses that say ”There is no God” would be better translated in the Hebrew, as “No God”. Thus, we can read the verses in this manner, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘No God.’” You see, he is not necessarily saying there is no God, but he is saying no to God. He is rejecting the evidence that is out there.
Let me share with you what two learned men, two very intelligent men with degrees after their names, have to say regarding this issue.
The first is Dr. Wald (November 18th, 1906 – April 12, 1997) who was one of the foremost Biologists in his country. And listen carefully to what he said. He said:
Spontaneous generation was totally disproved 100 years ago by Louis Pasteur … That leaves us only one possible conclusion. That life arose as a supernatural creative work of God. I cannot accept that philosophically, because I don’t want to believe in God. I choose to believe that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation arising to evolution.
You see, for Dr. Wald, it was not a matter of intellect, but of the will, of the heart. He chose not to believe what the evidence is showing, that there is a God. He is saying "No" to God! And many, many, many others follow right along with his example, they choose not to believe, even though the evidence says otherwise.
Henry Morris (October 6, 1918 – February 25, 2006), was a Christian scientist and debated many evolutionists on college campuses, said this in regards to a statement one professor made who was listening to his debate. He said to Henry Morris regarding creation and evolution:
You may well be right, special creation is probably the truth and evolution is wrong. Nevertheless, evolution is science, and creation is religion, so only evolution should be taught in schools.
Again, the professor was saying “No” to the evidence that is out there, he was rejecting God from his heart, and turning his back to the evidence. You see, it is not a matter of the intellect, but of the heart. He chose not to believe.
Folks, the truth is out there, it is before their eyes, but they reject the truth, they suppress the truth, and in doing so they are believing a lie. Paul, in Romans chapter 1 dealt with this issue. He said starting in verse 18:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man; and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:18–23).
Nature testifies that there is a God, but man does not want to acknowledge that truth, but suppress it. And Paul says that they may profess to be wise, but by their actions they are showing themselves to be fools for rejecting the truth that God has revealed to them. The Amplified Bible translates Psalm 53 in this manner. “The [empty-headed] fool has said in his heart, there is no God …”
And yet the evidence is out there for all to see. Job said in Job 12:7–12:
But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; And the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know That the hand of the LORD has done this, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind? Does not the ear test words And the mouth taste its food? Wisdom is with aged men, And with length of days, understanding.
Nature is crying out that there is a God! Dr. Hawking and all other evolutionist scientists would be wise to accept the truth that the evidence we see all around us is shouting out. That there is a Glorious Creator. God! Who reveals Himself not only in His wonderful creation, but also in His Word, The Holy Bible. May all who seek Him find Him.
Some very good points here, which is why the above was well worth publishing despite its length. I would just caution about reading too much into the word “heart”, which in the Bible was usually the seat of thinking and intellect. See Loving God with all your mind: logic and creation.
I give thanks to the great Stephen Hawking for giving me confidence in the biblical account of creation, for his admission regarding the extremeness of a most unlikely universe, assuming a Godless hypothesis requiring un-testable ideas and lacking observational support, exposes Hawking’s theories as a brilliant yet sci-fi flavored ‘Rescue Hypothesis’. Every time I spot a rescue hypothesis, I wonder how many others miss it. Everyone invents a rescue hypothesis now and then but are atheists the only ones allowed to invoke a rescue hypothesis in the origins arena? If it’s a rescue hypothesis, can it still be labeled ‘science’? Everyone should learn how to spot a 'rescue hypothesis', some are surprisingly easy but sometimes we need CMI's help.
A grand design does indeed allow the strong inference of a grand designer, because of what logic shows us.
I made a sculpture the other day, and it is basically a small shaped blob. By comparison, a real-life bird has contraflow lungs, hollow bones, bilateral symmetry, aerodynamic efficiency, immense DNA density, information programming and aesthetics thrown in.
IF, by reason, the infinitely cruder and inferior sculpted blob requires a designer without the possibility of a random explanation, how much MORE, logically speaking, does an infinitely superior design, require a designer?
Think about it. That blob I sculpted must have a designer, even though it is incredibly simplistic, just a few shapes with a discernible body and head, with basic facial features.
To get that sculpture by chance is not possible. Something close to as sophisticated, might be possible, but the odds are pretty astronomical, and this is just for a simply sculpture with no functions.
As I came to the end of this marvellous article, the verses that came to mind were
from Paul’s letter to the Romans: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” Romans 1:18,19 Stephen Hawking is working very hard to suppress the knowledge of God, and lead many along to follow his ‘god’, that is, himself. Thank you, CMI for your encouraging work.
Hawking claims in his book The Grand Design that philosophy is dead and that scientists not philosophers are now leading the way in the search for knowledge. But The Grand Design is more a book about philosophy than science! I am surprised that a man as smart as Hawking can’t see this.
Hawking is certainly not the best at philosophy. He only belatedly caught up with Gödel’s 1931 Incompleteness Proof. As you say, the book is really more about philosophy than science. Even his attitude you summarized in your first sentence is a philosophical one, since one can’t test it in the lab! At the very least it is meta-science, if we don’t want to dignify it as a philosophy.
Oh yeah. You know Hawking is going to grab media attention. A genius denying the existence of God? You know that has to be big news. I just wonder;though, would he or an equivalent intellect get as much media attention if he professed to be a theist?
Most unlikely. How many times does the media, with its demonstrable anti-Christian bias, acknowledge that the founders of science that Hawking admires, such as Newton and Maxwell, were creationists? Did these Geniuses for Genesis get much media attention?
The only way would be if the theist concerned compromised with evolution. For example, leading geneticist Francis Collins, founder of fanatical theistic evolutionist organization BioLogos, denies a historical Adam and Eve. And he was once praised by an atheist because he “strives to keep his Christianity from interfering with his science and politics.” (cited in The tyranny of ‘tolerance’).
It is a sadly obvious matter that Mr. Hawking bears a grudge against his Maker the Lord. Considering his condition, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Likewise Darwin. Darwin had grievances because his dearly loved daughter died an untimely death at the age of ten. Also, concerning his beloved father he wrote “…men who do not believe, and this would include my father, brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.” If one looks a little closer, one can see that all the so-called trend-setter atheists bear grudges against God and their bloated egos want to get even.
What an unspeakable tragedy this is when otherwise quite capable men are allowing Satan to exploit their sorrows and turn them against God.
Mr. Hawking is torturing his brain to squeeze out yet another absurd speculation and when his peers disprove it, he forces his brain again to yield another even more cockeyed story. His stories are clothed in mathematical gobbledygook to shield their vanity from the public eyes. What a waste, what a squandering!
I cannot say for sure, but I can imagine that with less than one percent of the energy of what he and his comrades exert on this kind of intellectual acrobatics they could say: Lord I repent, have mercy on me, and then “… the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you and guard you from the evil.” (2Th 3:3)
Every sound they make, every letter they write and every shake of their puny fist at God prove that there is a Creator, who said two thousand years ago “… in the last days perilous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” (2Ti 3:1-4).
Indeed, and that is why it is so important that Christians can present the true biblical picture of the origin of death and suffering. See for instance The famous ‘Eden on bones’ illustration has a new stable mate, ‘Thorns before sin’, doubling the impact and The apostasy of Charles Templeton (1915–2001). Conversely, the widespread belief in the church of God creating over billions of years undermines this picture.
Did Stephen Hawking slip up? The fact that the title of his book contains the phrase “The Grand Design” must imply there is a Grand Designer. Has he finally given up his ridiculous notion that God does not exist? No, I suppose it’s more like he’s lost the plot. Poor man. Perhaps one day when he faces the Lord he will change his mind. On the matter of the various theories, such a string theory and M-theory, as you say they do not explain where everything came from and how. In some cases they don’t even describe the real world correctly, which should instantly make them false. The most damming part of all this is he and others keep searching for the “final theory”. It’s as if they want to make up as many theories as possible to increase their chance of being right, which by definition means his past and existing theories must be wrong. Strange how a supposedly intelligent person refutes the existence of a God yet keeps coming up with alternative theories that have no basis of truth or proof. He is such a mixed up and confused man. Sad really. I do hope one day he wakes up to the truth.
Sensational piece. Gödels’ incompleteness theorem is greatly under-appreciated, and string ‘theory’ isn’t even a hypothesis because it doesn’t have enough known parameters.