An article from August 2010 announces Stephen Hawking’s publication, The Grand Design. It is outrageous insolence. His disdain for any notion of the divine reaches a new level among fellow scientists:
“When it came to the creation of the Universe, God just wasn’t necessary.”
The article points out that:
Scientists, including Albert Einstein, generally did not rule out the involvement of a higher being when it comes to the creation of the universe. Even Hawking did not exclude the possibility in his earlier book, “A Brief History of Time.”
Isaac Newton, who developed the theory of gravity, historically argued that his science could only explain so much of the universe’s behavior, but not its creation. “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion,” he wrote.
In my earlier post, “Are Science and Religion Really At War?” I chase this notion:
As Colin Russell tells it in his book Cross-Currents: Interactions Between Science and Faith, the idea of a war between science and religion is a relatively recent invention–one carefully nurtured by those who hope the victor in the conflict will be science. In late nineteenth century England, several small groups of scientist and scholars organized under the leadership of Thomas H. Huxley to overthrow the cultural dominance of Christianity–particularly the intellectual dominance of the Anglican church. Their goal was to secularize society, replacing the Christian worldview with scientific naturalism, a worldview that recognizes the existence of nature alone. Though secularists, they understood very well that they were replacing one religion by another, for they described their goal as the establishment of the “church scientific.” Huxley even referred to his scientific lectures as “lay sermons.”
(from The Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy by Nancy R. Pearcey and Charles B. Thaxton. Corssway Books, Wheaton, IL 1994.)
(Interestingly, Hawking capitalizes the “U” on universe in excerpts featured in London‘s The Times the same way believers capitalize the “G” on God.)
So can science really speak about faith without reaching beyond its boundaries? Science teaches us what is the case about the natural world. Can it also teach us about the immaterial world? Consider that Sam Harris himself recognizes the limits of science. This is from my book review of Sam Harris’ “Letter to a Christian Nation” & “The End of Faith“:
The Clash of Science and Religion:
In this section of his letter, Harris begins by citing the National Academy of Science. In brief, “science is a way of knowing about the natural world. It is limited to explaining the natural world through natural causes. Science can say nothing about the supernatural. Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral.” This is the most incriminating bit of the entire discussion. He presents the argument that decay and disorder in the cosmos reasons that there is no God. As we might imagine, he quotes the NAS so that he can disagree with it. He states, “even the NAS has declared the conflict [between Science and Religion] illusory.” He feels that the release of this statement was done in “raw terror of the taxpaying mob” from withholding their funds.
- The Creator God is not concerned with how much we understand about the origin of the universe or what our interpretation of a true society should look like today. He is concerned with whether or not we know Him. Are we truly known by Him. Is our knowledge of Him evident in our relationships? Do we love others?
- The primary concern of man is not to establish a perfect society or to find immortality. It is to recognize that both are brought about in acknowledging contingency upon the Creator God rather than autonomy from Him.
- True knowledge does not lead to true faith. That’s backwards. True faith leads to true knowledge and true knowledge leads to complete peace, wholeness, and true life–a perfect society.