It is rare when someone from the field of science–especially the kind of science that is almost impossible to understand–becomes a pop culture icon. But Stephen Hawking has long been known far outside the academic community as the Tiger Woods of science, meaning there are many who are fans of his but don’t much know what he stands for.
Until now, that is. His latest book, “The Grand Design,” takes on the likes of historical scientists from Newton to Darwin to any of those who’ve claimed that God had something to do with the creation of the universe. An L.A. Times review cites it as a work which “ponders the numerous theories that explain our universe, scientific and otherwise.” But make no mistake, its claims have a clear purpose in mind.
“Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” he says in an excerpt from the book published recently in the London Times. “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper [fuse] and set the universe going.”
The Times’ excerpt has generated quite a bit of varied feedback.
Hawking’s book attempts to adress what it calls “the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything,” borrowing from the cult science fiction book, “The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” by Douglas Adams.
Now, call me old fashioned, but here’s where it gets crazy. I’ve always felt that it requires faith to believe in how the earth–and ourselves as people–came into being. Now a scientist is claiming to be able to prove how we got here. And somehow that is called science but not faith. That is a full circle mind meld that I’m not quite ready for. I think it certainly requires faith to believe the Bible’s launch words, “In the beginning, God created….” But I submit that it requires equal faith to believe in Hawking’s “M-Theory, which says that 11 space-time dimensions with “vibrating strings, … point particles, two-dimensional membranes, three-dimensional blobs and other objects that are more difficult to picture and occupy even more dimensions of space.”
A CNN article sums up his work as purposed to “banish a divine creator from politics.” This is a book that is important for our culture, regardless of where your faith journey has taken you.
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