Stephen Hawking says he is an atheist, which means Mr. Hawking believes that God does not exist. The God who does exist, and is not silent, has responded to say that Stephen Hawking is a fool. Psalms 14:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”
Why Mr. Hawking would say that God does not exist, and why God would call Mr. Hawking a fool, is a compelling narrative, from the perspective of each person, for God is a person according to Biblical theology. In fact, God created Mr. Hawking, so in the initial tit for tat there is the irony that the creature is denying his own Creator.
In Romans 1 the apostle Paul explains why men such as Mr. Hawking deny their Creator. Simply put, individuals like Mr. Hawking know that if they acknowledge the existence of God they must submit to His sovereignty and bow before His will. Rather than submit to an authority greater than themselves, individuals suppress the truth in order to remain autonomous and remain in a position to exalt their own views and egos. In essence, it is a matter of pride.
Mr. Hawking insists that science offers a “more convincing explanation” for the origins of the universe, and that the miracles of religion “aren’t compatible” with scientific fact. “Before we understood science, it was natural to believe that God created the universe, but now science offers a more convincing explanation,” the celebrated physicist said in a video posted by Spanish newspaper El Mundo. “What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God is we would know everything that God would know if there was a God, but there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”
It is important to observe that Mr. Hawking basis his epistemology, or belief system, on the presupposition that God does not exist, and that if God did exist men would know everything that God would know. Such thinking is not science, but religion. The religion of Stephen Hawking is atheism, and the authority for him to speak is his own autonomy. The appeal to science is but a clever cover presupposing that science has or can have omniscience. Notice how Mr. Hawking gives divine essence and personality to science.
Mr. Hawking’s remarks came in response to a question from the El Mundo journalist Pablo Jauregui, who quizzed Mr. Hawking about his religious leanings in the lead-up to this week’s Starmus Festival in the Canary Islands. The “mind of God” reference was Hawking’s effort to clarify a passage in his 1988 book A Brief History of Time, in which he wrote that scientists would “know the mind of God” if a unifying set of scientific principles known colloquially as the theory of everything were discovered.
The “if” of Mr. Hawking is a big “if” because even “if a unifying set of scientific principles known colloquially as the theory of everything were discovered” there is still a big problem and that is: “How did the laws of science come into existence, and what caused them to operate?”
That natural laws exist is beyond dispute. That the universe is organized by design demands a Designer just as a good Swiss watch demands a watchmaker. Knowing the mechanics of the universe is not the same as knowing how or why they were put into motion. That is a metaphysical inquiry and not a scientific one.
A scientist, such as Mr. Hawking, cannot explain anything, including natural law, without first borrowing from the Christian’s presupposition, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” The Christian argues that God is the “Theory of everything”. “God is the Creator of natural law.” “God is the Unifying Principle of all that is or ever shall be.” Science is the product of the universe, not the originator of it. Science, the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena, tells what is, but not how things came to be or why things are.
As NBC News reported, this is not the first time Stephen Hawking has spoken about his religious beliefs.
In 2011, he told The Guardian that he did not believe in a heaven or an afterlife, calling it “a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” In 2007, he told the BBC that he was “not religious in the normal sense,” adding, “I believe the universe is governed by the laws of science. The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws.”
I find in Mr. Hawking’s comment something that touches my heart. He may not be as much of an atheist as he pretends to be, for he leaves the possibility that, “The laws may have been decreed by God.” As a Christian I say to Mr. Hawking, “Not only may God have decreed natural law, God did decree natural law.”
Mr. Hawking is a man who will soon meet the Creator he denies. I can pray that he will repent of his godless epistemology, or world view of atheism with his false presuppositional thoughts and concede that science is forever limited intrinsically in what it can discover. Science is not God no matter how many divine attributes are ascribed to it.