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Today, on the front page of China Daily Online, I saw the photo of the world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking, as he enjoyed "weightlessness" on his space flight. |
Seeing his photo reminded me of some things I've been reading recently from Hawking's book A Brief History of Time and also from some of his lectures that can be found on his website.
It seems that Hawking's physics research points to the fact that the universe is not infinite, but it had a definite beginning, (and also, he believes, a definite end). Hawking refuses to be labeled an atheist (one who believes that there is no God) because he believes that if the universe had a beginning, it must have a creator (God).
"So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator"
(Hawking, "A Brief History of Time")
At the end of his book, as he completes his discussion on boundaries and so forth, he says, "However, if we do discover a complete theory. . . then we would know the mind of God"
Can one "know God" or know the "mind of God" through Science? Two thousand years ago, Paul wrote, "Ever since the creation of the world, God's eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things He has made" (Romans 1:20).
Hawking seems to wonder if there is SOMETHING behind it all: "Even if there is only one possible unified theory [here he's talking about the unification of quantum mechanics with an understanding of gravity], it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?"
Hawking also admits that there are things that science cannot explain: "When one goes back to the real time in which we live, however, there will still appear to be singularities . . . ," he wrote. "In real time, the universe has a beginning and an end at singularities that form a boundary to space-time and at which the laws of science breaks down"
When asked whether he believed that science and Christianity were competing world views, Hawking replied, "...then Newton would not have discovered the law of gravity." He knew that Newton had strong religious convictions.
Hawking then goes on to say: "It is difficult to discuss the beginning of the universe without mentioning the concept of God. My work on the origin of the universe is on the borderline between science and religion, but I try to stay on the scientific side of the border. It is quite possible that God acts in ways that cannot be described by scientific laws, but in that case, one would just have to go by personal belief."
[ Last edited by karenb at 2007-4-28 08:38 AM ]