Yeah, I figured that headline might get your attention just as it got mine Sunday night as at least six TV channels (including Discovery, Science, Animal Planet and The Learning Channel) all simulcast the same program in Disovery’s “Curiosity” series. The premier episode was titled “Did God Create the Universe?”
In it, the man considered by many to be the world’s greatest mind since Einstein, Steven Hawking, sat in his wheelchair and stared right into the camera while his computer-generated voice said that not only is there no supreme being but there is no afterlife. He says it’s a fairy tale for those afraid of the dark. Hawking, who has lived much of his life battling a deadly neurological disease which has left him withered and confined to a wheel chair, bases his conclusions on years of studying the universe which he now says was created by an enormous black hole where time doesn’t exist. Therefore, he says, in a place where there is no beginning or end, the universe spontaneously created itself; The big bang simply happened out of the blue..or should I say out of the black.
That’s quite a leap even for Hawking who in the past has had to re-think a couple of his other black hole theories.
It was pretty clear going into the program that those who believe in God or a higher power (over 90 percent of us) were going to come out on the short end of the scientific stick when it kept referring to the church’s long history of persecuting early astrologers like Galileo; attempting to squash any form of scientific experimentation of the cosmos which contradicted biblical accounts of creation.
As far as I know, the church doesn’t try to jail or behead astrophysicists for heresy anymore. Religion and science may still be worlds apart on many important issues (evolution) but scientists, for the most part, have been careful not to intentionally ruffle the feathers of believers because they still can’t explain the greatest mystery of all time; how did the universe begin?
I’m afraid I fall into that crack of Christians who have a hard time accepting everything in the Bible as fact. Sorry, but there it is. The Old Testament, especially, is loaded with symbolism and stories that challenge our sense of reality; The Earth’s age, Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, miracles of the Exodus etc. How can we, through blind faith, deny archeological evidence of our planets 4 billion year history? A planet that was once home to all sorts of strange and exotic creatures great and small that roamed about the earth millions of years before us?
What I DO believe, though, is that there are laws of nature and one of them is that everything has a beginning. It has to start somewhere; and, to me, it is easier to believe that “In the beginning, it was God, who created the heavens and the earth,” than it is to accept Dr. Hawking’s theory that the universe simply created itself.
Of course, we’ll all know the truth soon enough, but I think, unlike Steven Hawking, our minds are more than computers which will just shut off when we die. I believe there has to be a reason that we, unlike any other living thing, have been given a spark; the power of consciousness; the ability to think and reason; to love, hope, dream and be curious about the universe..and, yes, to worship.
Dr. Hawking has apparently never had an encounter with someone of faith who has witnessed or personally experienced a divine intervention in their lives or has had a glimpse of heaven after a close call with death. He has never met anyone who has seen a ghost because there are no such things. If he is right than we are simply freaks of nature and when our time’s up the light is switched off and it’s nighty night forever.
Now that Hawking is on record and making headlines as the world’s most noted atheist, I do think it’s time for church’s to face up to some of these questions concerning biblical interpretation and scientific facts.
I’m pretty sure that the God who masterminded all creation can probably stand up to the examination and ace the test.