, , , , , , ,

Makes for a good headline, but not much else. Steven Hawking, renowned astrophysicist, has written a new book due out in a few weeks.

In it, he pretty much discards God as a necessity in creation. Everyone is all excited about the M-theory which describes the actions of fundamental particles and forces that are now believed to be the “causation” of the universe.

It all comes down to rather elegant mathematics, which many scientists have long speculated would give the answers to “life, the Universe and everything.”

But does it?

Hawking certainly seems to think so. Of course, as with all scientific things, experimentation will or will not tell the tale. That is why there is always so much to do about the Large Hadron Collider, which can whiz around atoms at closer and closer the speed of light until they are smashed and broken into their sub-particles.

Many of these sub-particles have so far not been “found.” Yet the math predicts them, and physicists are apparently confident enough in the math that they are pushing for yet a bigger collider to be built in the future.

Much excitement revolves around the search of the Higgs particle, also named the God Particle (more for publicity than for any other reason). It is one of those predicted. If found, it apparently would do much to confirm the math and tell scientists that they are indeed on the right track.

People like Richard Dawkins approach the issue from the opposite end, claiming that evolutionary biology makes it clear that no God has been the instrument of our creation.

Yet, it seems that none of this really can answer the question, or perhaps completely and utterly destroy the argument for God and faith. For in reality they are, as the latest analysis of Hawking’s arguments suggest, merely talking about two different kinds of proof.

Science, by it nature demands proof by replication in experimentation. There is no such requirement in theology. Ultimately it comes down to faith. And neither Dawkins nor Hawking can deal the final blow to that. For, even if Hawking is correct that  the laws of the universe necessitate and dictate exactly the universe we have, that but begs the question of where the laws came from.

Indeed, there is a real argument that in elevating science as the be-all and end-all of our existence, scientists who take this approach do no more than create science and human intellect as their gods. In effect they have taken the words of  Psalm  8, “making us little less than God” and raised it to an equality at least.

Paul Tillich talks about our waiting in hope. We wait in hope, hope that our faith is real. We do not know, and if we claim we do know, than we have crossed over into idolatry of that which WE have created. Faith is not knowing, but believing anyway.

As Tillich says, when we claim to possess God, we enclose him within our theology, or our book, or our institution. It is not God, but merely our creation of God. Our faith is real precisely when we do not do this, but wait in hope that our belief is real. We choose God, and we wait.

When we wait in hope, we are unsure, we struggle with our disbelief, and we surely don’t and can’t have any desire to impose some “defined” God upon others. For our God is not defined. We leave that to fundamentalists of all traditions and their idol worship.

It is precisely for this reason that science will never “disprove” God nor prove that God is unnecessary to creation. They don’t accept the parameters of the discussion. They demand verifiable experimentation, and we have none to offer.

It would simply be blasphemous to try.