Know Him Better!
Stephen Hawking once wrote, “Science seems to have uncovered a set of laws that…tell us how the universe will develop with time, if we know its state at any one time. These laws may have originally been decreed by God, but it appears that he has since left the universe to evolve according to them and does not now intervene in it.” 1
Professor Hawking was a brilliant scientist. 2 He thought in terms of quantum mechanics and the Theory of Relativity, explored spatial expansion and black holes, and wondered about the universe and the space-time continuum. His book A Brief History of Time gives insight into the mind of God, not by what the author included, but by what he ignored.
Carl Sagan noted in the introduction, “Hawking is attempting…to understand the mind of God. And this makes all the more unexpected the conclusion of the effort…a universe with no edge in space, no beginning or end in time, and nothing for a Creator to do.” 3 What makes this conclusion unexpected are Hawking’s own comments.
God is not a thing or an it, but a person.
“[The delicate balance of an explosion of energy, infinitely high temperatures, extreme gravitational fields, and mass re-collapsing upon itself] means that the initial state of the universe must have been very carefully chosen indeed if the hot big bang model was correct right back to the beginning of time. It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.” 4
Hawking went from a God involved in His creation to a Creator with nothing to do. How he made that leap is significant for each of us, who he called the ordinary people. For throughout his argument he made a fatal error—he ignored the person of God.
People such as Hawking believe if God exists, He’s merely the guy who flipped the switch, setting laws in motion which govern everything in an ordered pattern. They claim not to be concerned with “What the universe is” as “Why the universe is”. But that’s not true. It is not the Why they want to know, but the How. So God becomes little more than a mathematical formula using given data to achieve certain results. He is not a person who thinks, plans, desires, loves and hates. He is a thing…an it.
Faith rests on God’s power, not our wisdom.
Hawking rejected both Biblical Creation and The Big Bang Theory. “So long as the universe had a beginning, we suppose it had a creator. But if the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, it would have neither beginning nor end: it would simply be. What place, then, for a creator?” 5
Why should we read such arguments? Because they help us understand the significance of the birth of Christ. History is filled with God’s interventions. He moves, challenges, disciplines, leads, teaches, and saves His people. But whether or not we find Him actively involved in our own lives depends on if we see Him as a person or a GATWOT (“Great Almighty Thing Way Out There”).
God knew we would have problems seeing Him as a person. He knew the Hawkings of the world would desire only to know the How, rather than understand the Why. God knew we could be amazed by a million stars on a clear, dark night, yet not wonder about the One who made them. In the world, How did you make that beautiful galaxy? is more important than, Why did you want me to see it?
Hawking concluded, “If we find the answer to [why we and the universe exist], it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we would know the mind of God.” 6 But Hawking was wrong! God is not interested in the ultimate triumph of human reason. He does not care if we figure out the physical theories and principles that set the universe in motion.
He wants us to better understand Him, to know He is a person and not some inanimate force in space. So He came to us in the most helpless, humble form we would never have expected…a poor baby. But why? As Paul said, …so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. 7
Look to the child, and know Him better!
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to sharing God’s encouragement and teaching others how to “encourage one another as long as it is called Today!” He is also an author, speaker, teacher, and encourager. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. You can learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org.
Footnotes: The original version of this Note of Encouragement, May God bless you this day…to know Him better!, was published December 13, 2010. (1) A Brief History of Time, by Stephen W. Hawking, Bantam Dell Publishing Group, 1988, p. 122. (2) Stephen Hawking (1942–2018) was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author who was director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge. (3) Carl Sagan (1934–1996) was an American astronomer and science communicator. The quotes for Footnotes (4), (5), and (6) A Brief History of Time. (7) Read 1 Corinthians 2:5.
Pictures: Banner: A Brief History Of Time, photographer unknown. (1) Stephen Hawking, photo by Jaime Travezan (2014), London, UK. (2) God Loves the World, photo by Chris Barbalis. (3) My Thoughts are not your thoughts, image created by WhyIsThisHappening.org (2019).