Thursday, September 02, 2010

Stephen Hawking versus John Calvin


Stephen Hawking, in his new book, finally pushes God out of his universe. No surprise really and not a surprise to John Calvin either.

Eureka magazine of The Times of London quotes Hawking as saying, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist... It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going." See the report here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/7976594/Stephen-Hawking-God-was-not-needed-to-create-the-Universe.html

A blow, perhaps, to Science as well as Creation-Science. Truth is (as Calvin has been saying all along) that...

"To nothing are we more prone than to tie down the power of God to those instruments the agency of which he employs. The sun and moon supply us with light: And, according to our notions we so include this power to give light in them that if they were taken away from the world, it would seem impossible for any light to remain. Therefore the Lord, by the very order of the creation, bears witness that he holds in his hand the light, which he is able to impart to us without the sun and moon." John Calvin, Commentary on Genesis One

Science and now Hawking, by "proving" that God is not necessary for creation falls into the trap that Calvin and Genesis One makes clear: human beings assume that creative power (all power really) must be tied to created things. Calvin, however, shows that it is God and not the sun who gives light its "lightness". The same can be said about gravity or electricity or biological systems.

Creation Science also falls into the trap of "needing" to find evidence of God or at least a Designer in created things. While such evidence may exist, Calvin's comment on the creation of light before the sun shows that finding evidence is not necessary to prove God's hand in creation and that find it may distract us from God's intent in creating... "that he holds in his hand the light, which he is able to impart to us with out the sun and moon."

So where Hawking's thought moves towards a universe that must explain everything by natural processes, and Creation Science moves towards a universe that can only be explained by God's "fingerprints" being all over it, Calvin would say that beyond evidence or non-evidence for God in the world creation firstly teaches that God is not dependent on creation to reveal his glory but instead chooses to reveal himself through his Son by it.

"The work, such as we now see it, was approved by God. Therefore nothing remains for us, but to acquiesce in this judgment of God. And this admonition is very useful. For whereas man ought to apply all his senses to the admiring contemplation of the works of God, we see what license he really allows himself in detracting from them." John Calvin, Commentary on Genesis One

Taken with Calvin's thoughts on God (not the sun) as the source of light, this second statement's implications are profound... we all, Stephen Hawking included, are asked to declare with God that the universe is good, not neutral, but good. Proving "design" or disproving design actually morally neutral but our response is not.

"The heavens declare the glory of God..." (Psalm 19:1) not so that we might find God, but so that we might be given opportunity to respond to that glory in the same way that God responds to what he has created and declare it good. This response is, in fact, how the Psalm ends... "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord." (Psalm 19:14)

That he doesn't see God in the universe anymore as Hawking has now shown us, is not as eternally dangerous, it turns out, as whether his heart is responding to God's creation acceptably. These cards he still hold close to his chest and we pray that God would give him and all of us a heart that meditates on and is drawn to the Glory of which God's good good creation declares.

1 comment:

Tomara said...

I saw that Hawking excerpt this morning right after reading an article from Answers in Genesis about the "weird" sciences. It still all boils down to God vs. No God.