Last Sunday I referred to Diane Sawyer’s interview with Stephen Hawking on ABC news. Check it out:
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Stephen Hawking. He is an amazing individual with a brilliant mind. He is passionate and deeply committed to gaining and sharing knowledge about the universe.
One of the challenges of preaching through a book like Genesis in 2011 is that many people agree with Hawking. According to Stephen Hawking,
There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.
What he means is that science works without the authority of God. It is possible to explain the universe without belief in God. In fact it often feels like “life works” without God too. We can experience some great times in life without belief in God.
Near the end of the interview Hawking shares some advice that he’s passed on to his children:
First, remember to look up at the stars and not at your feet.
Second, never give up work. Work gives you purpose and meaning and life is empty without it.
Third, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is rare, and don’t throw it away.
What’s striking to me is how un-scientific his advice actually is. His advice truly is beautiful because it sounds more like poetry than scientific method.
Earlier in the interview Diane Sawyer’s asked:
If the universe gave you a giant gift tomorrow, an answer, what’s the answer you’d most want?
I’d want to understand why the universe exists, why there is something rather than nothing.
Hawking’s advice to his children comes from his belief that there is a reason why we exist; why there is something rather than nothing. According to Hawking, we exist to gaze at the stars, be productive in work, and fall in love. His advice does not come from his scientific discoveries about the origins of the universe; it comes from faith.
As interesting and important as the how questions in life are, it is the why questions that really inspire us, give us hope, and make our lives meaningful. We cannot answer why questions through scientific observation, but only through reasonable faith.
Science will not win over religion because science and religion are not at odds with one another to begin with. To say that Science will win over religion is like saying that the San Francisco Giants will win over the San Francisco 49ers.
The beauty of the book of Genesis is that it is most concerned with answering the question of why we exist. Genesis is ultimately the beginning of God’s story of grace and salvation extended to all people in Jesus Christ. When we understand this, it changes the way we read the book. To really deal with the integrity of Genesis, we need to deal with Jesus.