Stephen Hawking was an inspiration to me and many millions of people. I’m sad to hear of his passing on Albert Einstein’s birthday. I wrote this about Hawking after seeing the movie of his life, The Theory Of Everything.
Did Stephen Hawking think about the concepts in the best-selling book, A Brief History Of Time, or was the book just a result of a physiological data processor called a brain? Hawkins believes that the Universe (and everything in it) is the result of a series of merely physical processes that can be explained in one mathematical formula — the Theory of Everything.
Thus Hawking believes that there is no non-material reality, nothing spiritual, no God, gods, or god. However, his inspirational life glaringly contradicts his beliefs.
The Theory of Everything is also a beautiful, 2014, British movie about Hawking, directed by James Marsh and adapted by Anthony McCarten from the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by his exwife Jane Wilde Hawking. His remarkable life is vividly portrayed in the film.
Hawking is considered to have the best living mind in the world. He has had the terribly crippling and fatal disease, ALS, since he was 21 . . . (Talk about an ice bucket challenge!). His girlfriend married him after the diagnosis and after being told that he would only live for 2 years. She devotedly took care of him for many years. They had three children. Stephen became “the world’s greatest living physicist” and wrote a book that has sold more than 10 million copies.
So many things in Stephen Hawking’s life cannot be explained by his purely materialistic belief system: his astounding courage; his determination, his hope, his creativity, his sense of purpose, his tenderness, his positive attitude, his awe of the Universe, his persistence, his genius, his suffering, his gratitude, his intuitive insights, his love for his family, his mental health, his self concept, his human consciousness, his passion, his curiosity, the love and devotion of his wife, her sacrifice, her compassion, her loyalty, and even his survival for more than 50 years with a fatal disease.
In the January 7, 2012 issue of Scientific American, Katherine Harmon asks the question: “How has Stephen Hawking lived past 70 with ALS?” Harmon writes: “Like his mind, Hawking’s illness seems to be singular. Most patients with ALS—also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, for the famous baseball player who succumbed to the disease—are diagnosed after the age of 50 and die within five years of their diagnosis. Hawking’s condition was first diagnosed when he was 21, and he was not expected to see his 25th birthday. What’s happened to him is just astounding. He’s certainly an outlier.” (Outlier is an intellectual term for a sign and a wonder.)
Sorry to tell you this, Stephen Hawking, but your life clearly demonstrates to me that some things cannot be explained by physics or by a mathematical formula! For example you say: “Where there’s life there is hope.” However, you also say that you don’t believe there is a God because you can’t prove His existence by science alone and your naturalistic view allows for no causes but materialistic ones. Applying the same presuppositions that you use about God to hope, you can’t prove hope either. So why do you live by and boldly proclaim something you can’t prove — the existence of immaterial hope?
(I believer that Stephen lived by hope because he experienced faith that contradicted his belief system and that faith gave him hope. For a book that gives hope beyond religion and beyond church click on this link.)
Stephen and I both went beyond church. He went beyond church to materialism. I went beyond church to Christian mysticism. (For more on my journey click this link.)
Some mystical quotes by a beautiful man — Stephen Hawking:
“One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”
“The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?”
“It surprises me how disinterested we are today about things like physics, space, the universe and philosophy of our existence, our purpose, our final destination. It’s a crazy world out there. Be curious.”
“My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus.”
“However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.”
“We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful.”
“Although I cannot move and I have to speak through a computer, in my mind I am free.”
“So Einstein was wrong when he said, “God does not play dice.” Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can’t be seen.”
“ You cannot understand the glories of the universe without believing there is some Supreme Power behind it.”
“It matters if you just don’t give up.”
And here’s a naturalistic quote from Hawkins that contradicts the way he uses his mind!
“If there really is a complete unified theory that governs everything, it presumably also determines your actions. But it does so in a way that is impossible to calculate for an organism that is as complicated as a human being. The reason we say that humans have free will is because we can’t predict what they will do.”