Meanderings of a Minister

Shaking Your Fist in the Face of God
April 18, 2013, 8:27 pm
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Ever Been This Angry?

This last week, Stephen Hawking, renowned theoretical physicist and cosmogonist (studier of the origin of the universe) gave a talk at the California Institute of Technology in which he declared that his version of the Big Bang did not require God.  In that same speech, he quipped, “What was God doing before the Divine Creation?  Was he preparing Hell for people who ask such questions?”  He made some other remarks about being glad that he was not being called before an inquisition for his study of the moment of creation as Pope John Paul II had told him not to dare to study such a holy moment.

While the crowd to which Hawking communicated cheered and laughed at his comments, how should the rest of us respond?  How do you respond to someone that wants to denigrate or ridicule God?  Our first reaction might be to get angry.  It might be to want to wish that Hawking would meet God soon and find out how wrong he has been.  I might want to suggest another reaction.

First, we need to recognize what is going on.  An unsaved person, who is observing his world, is behaving in an unsaved way.  This means that he is doing what his nature dictates, which is rebel against the God Who made him. This is no different than any other believer, before they became a believer, or non-believer.  How are we to treat people who don’t know Jesus?  With anger?  With animosity?  With a smug reaction of, “I hope they get what is coming to them?”  Hardly!  Luke 19:10 says Jesus came to seek and to save what which was lost.  We ought to love him and pray that he will come to knowledge of God before he meets Him.

Second, we need to understand what Hawking is doing.  He has looked at his world.  He has attempted to understand his world without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.  Beginning with the assumption that there is no God (which seems to go against the idea of a scientist allowing the results to determine the theories), he has attempted to explain things as best he can.  Since creation of the universe is not reproducible in a laboratory, he is left with forensic science, logic, and theoretical mathematics.  He is making his best guess.

Third, not only do we realize that he is acting according to his nature, with the technology available to him, in accord with the methods afforded his situation, based upon the premise with which he started, we must also realize who Hawking is.  He is a brilliant man, by the standards of his fellow man.  He has a lot of education and a quick mind.  He has a lot of time to contemplate and theorize because of his position, but he also has some limitations.  His limitations include the environment in which he works.  If he came to some other conclusion, like there is a God, then he could not be published and would not have a job.  His limitations also include his natural mind.  He cannot understand Spiritual truth (1 Corinthians 2:14).  He is also fighting a debilitating illness, which would tend to make one question the goodness of God, even if they knew Him.

When you put all of this together, how should we react to his outburst and attack upon the Church, God and Creation?  With sympathy, knowing we were once there as enemies of God (Romans 5:8).  With sadness, knowing that, if God does not intervene, his intellectual prowess will not prove enough to keep him from the place where all will go whose names are not written in the Book of Life.  With prayer, asking God to save him.  With understanding, knowing he is simply hoping to find a loophole that will allow him to escape the death and judgment he is sure to face.

When you go to prayer today, pray for Stephen Hawking.


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