Journal Topics

Stephen Hawking on Science and God

Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, in their latest book The Grand Design, claim that science has now progressed to where it can explain everything, even including “The Big Bang” by which the universe was created.  Thus there is no longer need for a Creator God to explain the existence of the universe.  Even before the book was released this past September, these claims generated instant worldwide controversy and a rush to judgment.

My article, featured in the latest issue of the Christian Research Journal, attempts to take a different approach.  Although I strongly believe in the Creator as the cause and reason behind the existence of the universe, I believe a book by someone of Hawking’s stature deserves careful study before forming judgments.

I find The Grand Design, as a book on the progression of scientific thought written by two eminent scientists, to be exceptionally informative and worthwhile reading.  It describes the progression of scientific thinking from Aristotle to quantum physics, and how it may eventually result in a unified theory explaining the behavior of everything from subatomic particles to celestial bodies.

But where the authors go too far, I believe, is in claiming that the origin of the universe was governed by principles of modern science.  They observe that in the first tiny slice of time in its existence, the universe was particle of subatomic size.  And since the behavior of subatomic particles is governed by quantum physics, it follows that the birth of the universe was governed by quantum physics.  Thus we no longer need a Creator to understand the universe’s origin.

In rebuttal, I contend that although the universe was a tiny particle for a tiny instant, the universe in that first tiny instant was actually in extremely rapid transition from absolute nothingness to something immeasurably huge, still expanding 13.7 billon years later.  Rather than being governed by laws of quantum physics, I think it is far more likely that the Big Bang was an utterly unique event, one not “governed” by any “laws” other than those known to the Supreme Maker.

What is YOUR view on “science versus religion”?  Will science eventually be able to explain everything?  Or is God the cause and reason behind the creation, and science a significant means by which we discover the mysteries He wrought?  If such questions intrigue you, I think you’ll find this article very worthwhile. 

A Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics, Stephen Howe retired from his career in Aeronautical Engineering in 2006, and has since been engaged in full-time independent studies and writing in Christian theology.