God & Stephen Hawking

There’s a very interesting article at Christianity Today that conjures up the age-old tension between science and theology. In it, Christian physicist Karl Giberson (Prof. Eastern Nazarene College) discusses the spiritual implications of Stephen Hawking’s theory that our universe had no beginning – popularized by his 1988 book A Brief History of Time.

Giberson seeks to bridge the divide between science and theology by making the argument that the two need not be mutually exclusive.

(Hawking) has misled (his readers) about the religious implications of science and the apparent motivations of scientists; he has made bogus claims about theology; he has juxtaposed science and theology as if they compete to explain the same things. Hawking’s enthusiasm about doing away with God does not reflect the views of the scientific community, where there is widespread belief in God, and widespread disinterest in using science against religion.

Can science and theology coexist? Do scientific discoveries, especially those pertaining to the origin of the universe, work to discredit the faith? Or, is science for you something that helps to unlock our understanding of the mystery, wonder and brilliance of an awe-inspiring God?


7 thoughts on “God & Stephen Hawking

  1. Science is merely man’s journey to discover and understand the universe around us. Science is full of theories and is always in flux. If God is truth than an honest search for truth will always lead to God. In that sense, science is a search for God.

    I think that we are very limited by the scientific method. We can only understand what we can qualify and measure. However I don’t feel as if science and faith are mutually exclusive – some of the the theories in science are educated guesses which take faith to believe.

  2. science has to be scientific, i.e. based on observation. and theology has to be theological, i.e. based on God. both seem to get away from those simple definitions frequently. it bothers me to no end that the “i.e.” & “creationsim” crowds feel the obsession of limiting God, stating that he has to create in a way that makes sense to them. we can’t limit God. if God chose to create in a way that appears to be backed up by science/archeology/cosmology, i.e. more in step with a macro-evolutional way, then why could he not do so?!?! he’s God! science & religion are not at odds, people in both realms are, and imo, needlessly.

  3. Woah, Shane posts a story about one of my favorite people.
    I love Hawking and have read his books. I think that theology and science are different ways of explaining the same thing. When you have the analytical and/or disenfranchised, science–definatley theorectical physics and cosmology which are Hawking’s speciality, give you a chance to explore what God is from a differnt point of view. Hawking’s been looking for a united theory of everything combining quantum mechanics with general relativity, there isn’t a physist yet to come up with a solid theory to incorporate gravity. Hawking doesn’t talk about doing away with God, he’s trying to find God in everything, to discover the wonder in the smallest quark.

  4. Freaking Moe! Great to see you around! BTW – I live in the city now, you still working at that comic book store? Where was it again?

    I found this quote in the article to be really interesting:

    He speaks of a time when everyone might understand such a wondrous theory, allowing us to all “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 would know the mind of God.”

    Those of us in the Christian faith would argue that the mind of God – along with the questions of “why” we exist – are knowable. God has revealed himself not only through the Scriptures, and the witness of generation after generation of those who have walked with him, but also through “creation.” (see Psalm 19:1-6 and Romans 1:19-20)

    Science, to me, is essentially the study of creation, her many depths and layers. Not only the earth and universe, but gravity, molecular structure, biology, etc. It’s amazing to me how close the study of science and theology truly are once you clear away petty arguments about the “real” age of the earth, and whether it was created in seven literal days, or if those “days” could be ages through which the evolutionary process took place (as Lord Eddard Stark alluded to).

    Either way, to me, as science progresses it helps peel back the layers of an amazing, complex and awe-inspiring God. It nearly always strengthens my faith and belief in God. It rarely ever rattles it.

  5. I like to think of things in terms of dimensions. Like a 2 dimensional being that can only see line, has no capability of depth, and could not possibly understand the complexity of a cube, that is how we humans are. We use science as a method to interpret the information around us. But just because we “name” these laws does not mean that we created them. We could not possibly understand the complexity of the universe and God in their entirety… EVER. We’re all familiar with such familiar arguments such as “A design demands a designer” (ie, a chair came from someone’s mind and did not pop up out of nowhere), or The second law of thermodynamics (entropy), and so on… These concepts just reflect that science ultimately DOES point to God (Blessed be His Name!). I don’t think I’m answering the question. Hmmm, I see it very much like the guy that made the second comment. And I agree with Shane, the more I study science (and it’s been A LOT lately! …as I move toward a bachelor’s of science), the more I am drawn to God. My relationship with Him is strengthened as I realize His wonderous and imaginative mind, as revealed through nature, the universe and our very own bodies.

  6. Great stuff Marietta! I remember one of the first conversations your brother and I ever had about God, when we were like 12 or 13, was talking late at night about where dinosaurs came from, and how God fit into all that. I don’t think either one of us could have speculated then that Joe would be on the other side of the world working to translate the Scriptures to people who didn’t even have a written language. Amazing.

    Where are you studying? Are you out in Arizona?

  7. I quit the comic book store last September. I work at a doctor’s office in Brighton now–a real grown up job. The comic book store is in Village Gate though.

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