Stephen Hawking has concluded that there is a scientific explanation for the making of our world, thus no god was required. His argument is generally aimed at the fairly popular teleological argument for the existence of God. That argument goes something like this: the order of creation suggests a creator. After all, chaos does not naturally progress toward order. Hawking is arguing that the vastness of creation provides enough room in probability for creation to occur without a creator. In simple terms, the teleological Sunday School teacher says, “If you explode a dump truck full of bricks, it will not create a 7-11.” Hawking suggests that it may very well do just that, if you have an infinite number of dump trucks.

As expected, various religious leaders are scrambling to answer Stephen Hawking. That’s an intimidating task for two reasons. First off all, when it comes to physics, astrophysics, and anything of the like, Hawking is an expert and certainly not one that the average pastor wants to debate. The thought puts me in a panic, much like the dream of showing up for a class only to learn then that its exam day. The second reason is that Hawking is revered in popular media as the most intelligent person alive. This seems to lend instant credibility to his conclusion. I’ve seen this recently with people quoting Richard Dawkins. “He’s a scientist,” is often stated as though it’s a trump card. Dawkins thrives on it. It’s the only way his illogical statements hold up among his fans. Hawking hasn’t gone the way of Dawkins. He sticks to science usually, so his conclusion will have some credibility.

Does that mean the case is closed? No. It means we need to understand what science has and has not accomplished. There is a common misconception that science only operates in cold, hard fact. That is not the case. With a finite field, science uses evidence to deduce conclusions. With an infinite field, science uses evidence to induce a conclusion, or show what is most probable given a set of evidence. Hawking has induced that given the evidence he has, there are probably conclusions to the origins of creation that preclude a creator. To take such and induction and then conclude that there is no god requires belief. Yes, atheism is a belief. It is a matter of faith just as any religion. One must say, I believe that these conclusions are most probable, and I believe that there is no god. These are ultimately belief statements, based on evidence that must also be believed to some extent.

The response I usually get from this is, yes, but this is the most likely; the most fact-based conclusion to believe in. Ok, for how long? Hawking dismisses conclusions from Einstein and Newton. How long before another scientist dismisses Hawking. I am not arguing against science, but simply pointing out that even these seemingly most probable conclusions are subject to change based on evidence at any given point in time.

Hawking writes “Ignorance of nature’s ways led people in ancient times to postulate many myths in an effort to make sense of their world. But eventually, people turned to philosophy, that is, to the use of reason—with a good dose of intuition—to decipher their universe. Today we use reason, mathematics and experimental test—in other words, modern science.” Yes, people took what they knew of the world and came up with a theory to explain it. Science does the same thing and people will continue to do the same thing so long as we remain ignorant of any given subject. Hawking is not the final word by a long shot. His is just one more in a long, long line.

In all of this, no one has stepped out of the realm of faith. Even when Christ presents Himself, people will accept or reject Him. Fact will remain a runner up to faith. If we are to try to look at this in fact, I still see no place where chaos has progressed toward order, except in my own life, where Christ as most assuredly brought life from death, hope from hopelessness, and order from a mess. With that evidence, I’ll believe in Christ.

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