Sunday, June 26, 2011

God and Stephen Hawking Review

God and Stephen Hawking
Author:  John C. Lennox

I’m a scientist at heart.  To me, the world is biology and chemistry and physics all created by God.  So, when Stephen Hawking, a world-renowned physicist, claimed that physics shows there is no God , I was troubled.  Not because I worried he’d convince me, but because I knew that many who recognize his name put a lot of credence behind what he has to say even if they don’t understand it. 

Reading John Lennox’s book, God and Stephen Hawking, allowed me to better understand Hawking’s view and the inherent flaws.  Why listen to John Lennox? His credentials are on caliber with Hawking – primarily being that he’s a mathematics professor at Oxford.  I’m certainly no quantum physicist, so having concepts explained in lay man’s terms helped me to see what Hawking is saying and why it is inaccurate.

Hawking offers that the “laws of physics themselves brought the universe into being.”  Can a law create anything?  In order to be a law, there have to be observable circumstances that consistently fall within defined parameters, then you have a law.  A law that is identified because of the consistency of something cannot create that something from nothing.  Confusing?  You bet.  This is a small book, but a big read.

I’ve never really understood the tension between science and religion.  Why must one exist without the other?  Why must we be asked, as Hawking does, to choose between one or the other?  God created everything; therefore, the scientific laws and principles that humans have identified are by design.  No conflict there. 

According to Lennox, Hawking uses the ideas of a multi-verse, M-theory and the impossibility of miracles to demonstrate there is no God.  However, the multi-verse (or is it one giant created universe?) and M-theory are just that, theoretical.  Some would argue – so is God.  However, when we take other aspects of knowledge like history, archeology, and literature we can find evidence for God.  None for the M-theory.  And miracles?  Well, yes, that requires a belief in God.  Sure there are laws that are immutable here on earth, but an omniscient God is not subject to these laws, he makes the circumstances that we define as laws.  If he chooses for Jesus to raise from the dead, that is certainly within his power.  The fact that there are numerous documented eye-witnesses is the proof we seek for resurrection and therefore the existence of God.

While put in lay man’s terms, this book is still a difficult read.  Not surprising when refutation of a quantum physics scientist’s theory is the purpose.  Be prepared to go slow and really think through each section.  I would have liked to have seen a little more breadth and depth in the book – the author admits there’s so much more to cover.  However, if the purpose of the book is to help those of us not steeped in mathematics and physics understand why Hawking is inaccurate, then I feel it fulfills that objective.

***  I received this book free of charge from LitFuse for my honest review.

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