Blog July 21st – Is there a conflict between Science and Christianity? Part 6


“My Beloved King” featuring Chloe Brokenshire as Mary sister of Martha and Lazarus – from Risen!- The Musical CD recorded and produced by Joffy Girling

I have named some famous scientists who are Christians – Isaac Newton for example and I have also said that others like Albert Einstein would be better described as agnostics. I have also mentioned Brian Cox and Richard Dawkins who are atheists but what about Stephen Hawking, arguably the greatest living scientist?

In his book “Searching Issues” Nicky Gumbel writes that Stephen Hawking makes the point that

If the density of the universe one second after the Big Bang had been greater than one part in a thousand billion the universe would have re-collapsed after ten years. On the other hand if the density of the universe at the time had been less by the same amount the universe would have been essentially empty since it was about ten years old. How was it that the initial density of the universe was chosen so carefully? Maybe there is some reason why they universe should have precisely the critical density.

Gumbel continues to say that although Hawking does not believe in a creator God his own theory would seem to point in that direction.

Back in 1988, in his book A Brief History of Time, Hawking said, “If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God.” However now he is saying that God didn’t create the universe but instead “Nothing created everything.” This statement has caused some to say his statement has violated the basic laws of science. “It is embarrassingly unscientific to speak of anything creating itself from nothing. Common sense says that if something possessed the ability to create itself from nothing, then that something wasn’t nothing, it was something — a very intelligent creative power of some sort.”

One thing is for sure and that is Hawking’s first wife Jane Wilde is a strong Christian. She tells of how she once received a phone call from a hospital in Switzerland letting her know that he was close to death.

“Please Lord, let Stephen live,” was the prayer she recalls saying.

The doctors said that there was nothing else that they could do, and asked her for permission to turn off Hawking’s life support, but Wilde refused.

“Turning off the respirator was unthinkable. What could be more shameful then for such a heroic struggle for life to end! It would negate everything that I too had fought so hard for,” she said.

My response was instant: Stephen should live.

Due to the critical situation at hand, doctors had to perform a tracheotomy on Hawking, which succeeded in saving his life, but left him unable to speak and requiring the electronic voice synthesiser that the world now associates with him.

Wilde is now 70. She married Hawking in 1965 after meeting him through his sister at a party when he was 23, a year after he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

Wilde wrote the book “Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen” from which the award winning film “The Theory of Everything” was adapted.

I have a story about that to share with you next week.