His mind has been brilliant, despite its imprisonment within a body ravaged by Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Even with his challenging disabilities, he has had an outstanding career as a physicist, even holding the same position at Cambridge University that Isaac Newton once held some centuries ago. He is even considered to be in league with Einstein, if not maybe more intelligent. While all of this is commendable, a key reason I also respect Stephen Hawking is the fact he isn’t willing to wipe God out of the picture when it comes to exploration like a lot of scientist are more than eager to do. But in his pursuit to “know the mind of God,” as he once put it, could he be overlooking some things?
Having recently started an attempt at reading Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time, some thoughts struck me within the very first chapter. This is a book where the physicist attempted to share the theories being explored by him and his colleagues with the common people. He wanted to present the “basic ideas about the origin and fate of the universe” in a form that “people without a scientific education can understand.” It apparently was a success as the book was a bestseller for over a year after its publication. In it, he leaves mathematical equations out, with the exception of Einstein’s, in hopes that average folks like me would not get overwhelmed or completely lost. I will say it was the equations alone that made my basic physics course in college dreadful. However in my attempts at tackling this reading material, I do have to put it down more frequently for a mental break. Yet it is still an interesting reading experience.
Like I said, thoughts began hitting me in the first chapter. Hawking mentioned how scientists use two partial theories to describe the universe: the theory of relativity (which describes the large aspects) and quantum mechanics (which focuses on the very small pieces). If the reader wants to explore these two areas more, I advise them to read the book. The physicist proceeds to go on and say while these two theories do allow scientists to make accurate predictions in most situations, they are still “inconsistent with each other,” which means “they cannot both be correct.” The overall goal of physics today, according to Hawking, is to bring these two separate areas together into one unified theory of gravity that will explain the origin, fate, and current physical laws of the universe. He ends the first chapter with these words: “Today we still yearn to know why we are here and where we came from. Humanity’s deepest desire for knowledge is justification enough for our continuing quest. And our goal is nothing less than a complete description of the universe we live in.” This is what he meant when he said he wanted to “know the mind of God.”
Now I know the Bible is not meant to be a scientific manual, but to pursue understanding God, I would think it would be critical to investigate some as well. It might lead to answers. As I pondered on that day I read the first chapter of A Brief History of Time, I couldn’t help but to think about love. Colossians 3:14 portrays love as a binding force. A Christian scholar and good friend of mine, Joel, once pointed out that 1 John 4:16 states simply that “God is love.” Joel said that as a result of that, we could get a better understanding of God alone by going to 1 Corinthians 13, the “love chapter” of the Bible, and in verses four through eight, simply replace the word love with God (example: “God is patient, God is kind,”etc). After all, God is love, and love is a binding force that can unite and hold things together. In Genesis 1 and 2, this love formed the heavens and the earth, also known as the universe. This love is driving the created universe even today, and again, God is love.
As I can see it so far, it was love that drove God to create the universe. It is simple as that, yet it is still so complex, we do not understand it (as Hawking himself even admits). It was love that led God to give humankind free will and to allow everything, including evil, to have a chance to get right. Yet, this love has went ahead and made it right for us and it is what will ultimately be the cause of victory because there is no force greater than it (after all, it is the thing binding this seemingly endless universe together, from the smallest piece of an atom to the largest star). Yet, it most likely won’t be a scientific discovery that leads us to this “complete description of the universe” the physicists are craving to find. Love will portray it when the time is right, as stated on verse 12 of 1 Corinthians 13. Only when the time of perfection comes will we be able to see it clearly and “know the mind of God.” What is even more awesome, is despite the fact science seems to think the universe could end, love is too great to do that. Love is so great and infinite, it can’t be confined in a mathematical formula. It will drive the universe into a perfect eternity. Love is the missing ingredient that scientists may never discover; at least on their own.