Stephen Hawking was a brilliant theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author who died in 2018. Since 1963 he courageously battled ALS, spending many of those years in a wheelchair and using a computer voice synthesizer to speak. He was, and remains, one of the most famous and admired scientists of our time.
Dr. Hawking believed that the universe exists on its own, that there is no need to believe in a creator/sustainer. Most of what he said and wrote indicates he was an atheist. He believed that the universe came into being on its own, that it created itself and that the law of gravity made this possible. Hence, no need to postulate the existence of God. It’s interesting that centuries ago Newton discovered the law of gravity and, unlike Hawking, believed in God!
Not all great scientists and thinkers agree with Dr. Hawking that there is no God, such as Dr. John Lennox who was educated at both Oxford and Cambridge and is Emeritus professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford. He observes that “statements by scientists are not always statements of science.” So true. Stephen Hawking’s comments about God are outside his area of expertise, science, and are only about his own religious beliefs. Hawking stated, “In my opinion, there is no aspect of reality beyond the reach of the human mind.” Hawking was right, this was his opinion.
Hawking saw a belief in God as being in conflict with science. However, people who believe in God see no conflict and see science as revealing astonishing things about the universe God created! For many, it makes more sense to believe that God, who exists apart from and outside of space and time, created the cosmos rather than to believe the universe came into being on its own. Dr. Lennox says the idea of the universe creating itself, as Hawking proposes, is nonsense. His words: “Nonsense remains nonsense even if scientists are talking it.”
Dr. Hawking was intrigued with the question as to whether there is other intelligent life in the universe. He said, “It is important to know if we are alone in the dark.” Dr. Hawking wanted to believe that there is extraterrestrial life and was open to the possibility, but was unwilling to hypothesize (take a step of faith) that there might be an ultimate extraterrestrial being who exists outside time and space, who made it all and sustains it all, and who is God!
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1