Understanding God

Understanding God

Stephen Hawking is the Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge University. Debilitated for many years with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), he has nevertheless done much to make theoretical physics accessible to general readers. His A Brief History of Time defied all odds by becoming a worldwide bestseller despite the technical subjects it covered. He clearly is a gifted scientist and communicator. A frequent figure on documentaries, Professor Hawking has again been in the news lately with the release of “The Theory of Everything,” a movie based on his life with first wife Jane Wilde. But what most caught my eye in recent weeks was not the movie publicity, but a NBC report of his interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.[1] During the course of that interview Hawking clarified a comment made in A Brief History of Time, where he had said that discovering the unifying scientific principles known as the theory of everything would enable scientists to “know the mind of God.” In the El Mundo interview he made it clear that this statement was not to be understood as his believing there actually is a God:

 “Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation. What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.” In that same interview he also said,

“In my opinion, there is no aspect of reality beyond the reach of the human mind.”These are astonishing statements. Professor Hawking is indeed a brilliant theoretician, but the hubris reflected in these words is nonetheless staggering. The Bible makes it clear that not only is there a God, but his ways are incomprehensible to us. Consider these passages:

 As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number. (Job 5:8–9)

Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? It is higher than heaven—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know? Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea. (Job 11:7–9)

Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand? (Job 26:14)

 God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend. (Job 37:5)

 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. (Psalm 145:3)

 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)

 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (Romans 11:3)

 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:11)Advanced degrees and impressive scientific learning do not ensure that we know or embrace the truth. As the Apostle Paul makes clear, our minds are hardened and veiled unless Christ intervenes. It is only when we turn to the Lord that the veil is removed (2 Corinthians 3:14–16). Otherwise the sobering words from the opening chapter of Romans remain true for all who have not experienced this gracious, sovereign intervention on God’s part:

 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:21–22)May we humbly fall down and worship such an unfathomable God, glorying that he would make it possible for our sins to be forgiven so we can be in his holy, resplendent presence forever! –Pastor Greg [1]http://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/im-atheist-stephen-hawking-god-space-travel-n210076. Accessed December 17, 2014