Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stephen Hawking and the Faith Imperative: or Christians and the brightest physicist may have more in common than you thought

I was in college when I read Stephen Hawkings book, "A Brief History of Time."
I thought Hawkings was brilliant and his book very accessible
I still do.

I was watching a documentary yesterday (made in 2008) that was updating Hawkings' work twenty-five or so years later. It was talking about the "M Theory" and "The String Theory" and other theories that are trying to get at a "theory of everything."

In other words: one theory to explain all that happens in the universe.

It was about ten years ago that I was introduced to Quantum Physics and The String Theory by a wonderful friend of mine who was on a journey to find God and that maybe God was more than our finite human constructs.

Now, I don't pretend to get everything about Quantum Physics or The String Theory. But, I do have a small general knowledge of those subjects.
Enough to be intrigued and curious.

So, I watched the show.

What you have to know is that physicists believe that prior to the Big Bang, the universe was a tight, little, dense, symmetrical dot of matter; and that in the nano-seconds following the explosion the forces that shape and work in the universe came into being.

Including gravity.

Gravity gives physicists all kinds of headaches
Because it seems weaker than all of the other forces.

How do you explain that?

Physicists, like Hawking, have spent their whole careers trying.

Let's digress for a moment.

We have been taught that science is about verifiable fact and religion is about faith in Someone who cannot be verified or observed scientifically and so the twain shall not, indeed cannot, meet.

In fact, I have been put off more than once by arrogant people who claim that my faith is silly, naive, ignorant and irresponsible blather because it cannot be scientifically proven or verified.

So, imagine my surprise when I hear Stephen Hawking say that they "hope to one day find the symmetry in the universe that they believe is there but have never observed."




The host of the documentary went on to say that physicists have a lot of great theories
which exist
on paper.

Physicists have spent a lifetime
constructing a truth that exists only on paper
to try to explain something they believe is there
but they have never observed.

Does that not sound an awful lot like religion?

I have faith in a God I have never seen with my eyes but have experienced in many ways.

Stephen Hawking has faith in mathematics.

I am not knocking his faith.
And, I kind of like having something in common with Stephen Hawking.

in something
we have never observed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think Hawking (or anyone else) can give a scientific explanation for the cause of the big bang.