NINTH INNING SCORE: PRIDE 1, HAWKING 0
Albert Einstein once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand."
That's an interesting statement. Think about it for a moment. He is saying that knowledge is amassed, yet imagination exceeds it in importance. No matter how much knowledge might exist, without imagination, it does one little good. But what is imagination if not transcendent? It cannot be measured. Something that is transcendent is, by definition, supernatural, as Einstein's statement seems to be imply. And, If imagination isn't supernatural, then how can it be of greater importance than any amount of knowledge? In Einstein's words, how could it "embrace the entire world" of knowledge?
Science has no way to measure some things that we all agree exist, such as love, a sense of justice, imagination and creativity. Even a human thought cannot be measured -- we are only able to measure its effects. But, did Einstein ever resolve the source of imagination or intelligence? Not that I am aware of. Did he look? I would guess he must have considered it. He was also a musician, an accomplished violinist. I wonder if he ever tried to imagine what might be the source or inspiration for a musical creation. Surely, he must have. It would be fun to sit with him to discuss such things.
Einstein also said, "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." At least, Einstein apparently recognized the value of having faith... in something. At the least, a scientist has faith in himself and in the laws of science. But, many highly intelligent and well-qualified scientists also believe in the existence of the supernatural, even though they are unable to measure it. They do this using logic, which also isn't measured by the cupful. Logic and the ability to reason are also transcendent, not natural or physical things.
Thirdly, Einstein said, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
I fully agree. One must be able to think outside the box in order to see the very limitations of the box, in order to excel and move beyond the problems and solutions it holds. For the same reason, one must be able to look beyond the natural in order to fully understand the limitations of the natural. One cannot measure infinity using tools created in a finite universe. But, that doesn't mean that the infinite, or the supernatural, doesn't exist.
So, to move outside the box, to go beyond the finite, we circle back to our need for imagination and intelligence, to which Einstein has alluded. A fair amount of reasoning ability helps, too.
Does that mean we are stuck, not being able to see beyond the natural in which we exist? Can we not see out of our own 'box' of a universe? Einstein said that imagination is greater than knowledge. From where does imagination arise, if not from somewhere beyond what knowledge can measure or ascertain? How could imagination or inspiration be anything but supernatural? How can one measure imagination if one cannot measure a thought?
PREMISE #1: IMAGINATION AND LOGIC EXTEND BEYOND THE NATURAL WORLD.
Logic seems to pick up where Science leaves off. As an example, let's examine the number Pi. Is there an end to the number Pi? We've searched, having found so far more than 10 trillion decimal places. Special computer operating systems have been developed to help, yet we haven't found its 'end' and our most advanced technological use doesn't exceed about 40 decimals, so why do mathematicians still look for more digits? Does it seem rational to continue looking? For what purpose? Curiosity? Pride?
Speaking of pride, did Einstein ever speak about it? I can find very little of such discussion. Did he speak of its power? Not that I know of. But I believe it was his own pride that kept him from fully accepting the possibility of God as more than an uncaring creative force. He is said to have believed in the possibility of a god as creator, a god of order, but not as a person. By definition then, something that caused the first natural thing to exist -- our universe of energy and matter -- was not subject to the laws of the universe and thus, was supernatural. That just happens to be part of the definition of God, who is both eternal (existing without time) and infinite (existing without limit).
In a word, Einstein's limitation in his thinking was caused by his pride. Einstein understood that imagination is more important than knowledge but he didn't really talk much about pride. The issue of pride fits more with the philosopher's palette of tools than with a scientist's.
A philosopher might consider this a weakness of Science, that it won't allow itself to consider the value and power of the parts of the human mind and existence that have little to do with knowledge and more to do with emotion. Yet, science understands that both logic and emotion are products of human brain activity. It just doesn't have a way to measure them on the same scale.
PREMISE #2: PRIDE IS MORE POWERFUL THAN INTELLIGENCE.
So, apparently pride is more powerful than intelligence, and more stubborn than logic. Which brings me to Stephen Hawking.
Stephen Hawking says that God doesn't exist because he couldn't have existed without time. His video (linked below) goes to great lengths to conclude just that, but among his numerous considerations, he fails to address the fact that the word 'infinite' actually means without limit, which means that an infinite creator is capable of existing outside of time and space.
This isn't such a logical leap -- Hawking is certainly capable. But, even a man of Hawking's mental stature has pride, so he refuses to make that leap. Of course, the word infinity is part of the definition of the word "supernatural." Maybe Hawking's understanding of language is lacking, but I sincerely doubt that. Instead, I believe his limitation is neither logic, nor language; it is his ego, his pride.
From the video by Stephen Hawking, "Did 'God' Create the Universe?", to quote Hawking, "You can't get to a time before the Big Bang because there was no 'before the Big Bang.'
"We have finally found something that doesn't have a cause, because there was no time for a cause to exist in. For me, this means there is no possibility of a creator because there was no time for a creator to have existed.
"Since time itself began at the moment of the Big Bang, it was an event that could not have been caused or created by anyone or anything. So, Science has given us the answer we set out to discover, an answer that took more than 3,000 years of human endeavor.
"We have discovered how the laws of nature, acting on the mass and energy of the universe, started a process that would eventually produce us, sitting here on our planet, pretty pleased at having worked it all out.
"So when people ask me if a god created the universe, I tell them that the question itself makes no sense. Time didn't exist before the Big Bang so there is no time for God to make the universe in. It's like asking for directions to the edge of the earth. The earth is a sphere, it doesn't have an edge, so looking for it is a futile exercise.
"We are each free to believe what we want, and it's my view that the simplest explanation is there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization: there is probably no Heaven and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that, I am extremely grateful."
FOUR QUESTIONS FOR HAWKING
Given the chance to address Hawking, I would ask these four questions of him that he fails to address in his full-length video:
1. If, as Hawking believes, time began at the Big Bang, why does he assume that nothing could have preceded that event? Even his canned "M-Theory" answer falls short. Having multiple universes still doesn't answer the question of what caused them to exist. An emotional choice must be invoked in order to override the logical conclusion that the first cause was supernatural. His primary basis for argument against this possibility is his own pride. He simply refuses to consider it.
2. The number Pi was mentioned earlier. Thus far, it seems that Pi may be an infinite number though, if it is, we will never be able to prove it. Infinity is a theoretical number agreed upon by all mathematicians and routinely used by theoretical physicists in their formulas used to attempt to describe the properties and laws of the universe. Yet, Hawking denies that infinity exists as more than a theoretical number? He has no basis in fact, no evidence for that, which makes his an unfounded theory, otherwise known as an opinion. So, in spite of his 'reasoned' argument, his conclusion is irrational, because he hasn't included all of the factors available to him. That would be due to pride.
3. At the conclusion of the video, after he pridefully says he has proven that God doesn't exist (a logical fallacy, by the way), Hawking says he is "grateful" for the opportunity to live in this universe. Grateful to whom or what, I wonder. What is gratitude? Does he not realize that gratitude is directed toward some object? One may be grateful that there is sunshine, or gravity, or fresh water, but grateful to what or whom? This is simple language, not rocket science. So, Hawking is grateful toward what? Random chance?
It would be quite illogical to be grateful toward random chance if random chance is all that exists. So, in effect, he deceives himself to say that he is grateful, unless it is just that he means he is grateful to himself and to his own abilities... every one the result of random happenstance? After all, he states that he has come to a "profound realization." Profound? Says he. That, again would be pride.
4. In his theory that no god exists, Hawking admits that he has a weak assuredness of the conclusion of his unfounded theory, in his closing statement he concludes with, "... there is probably no Heaven and no afterlife either." He says, "probably?" Probably? That's his 'good enough' answer for his own existence? Hawking is obviously quite intelligent. Why would he settle for so little in something that determines where he will spend eternity?
Maybe all that matters to him is his emotional decision that there is no such thing as eternity. After all, he admits that he has no way to prove it, while at the same time admitting that he has spent quite a lot of effort and time thinking on this issue. His investment of time and effort are, no doubt, reasons to be emotionally attached to his conclusion, even if it isn't fully rational.
Again, we see a demonstration that emotion is greater than, i.e., more powerful, than rationality or logic. The emotions of fear and love, as two more examples, are obviously more powerful than logic. One doesn't even need to provide examples since they are so plentiful that everyone can think of them in their own lives. Who hasn't asked of himself at least once, "Oh, why did I do that..." or "Why was I so afraid of such and such?" No doubt, an emotional decision was the cause.
If nothing else, Hawking would at least benefit from concluding as rationally as did the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal, who noted this:
"Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists."
But, I suppose Hawking's pride would prevent him from accepting Pascal's Wager, no matter how logical.
Some of the smartest and most intelligent people I've met are Christians. Yet, of those I've met who consider themselves to be among the smartest and most intelligent of people, all are Atheists. This is not coincidental. It is simple, testable evidence of the power of the human ego, which the Bible calls pride.
Thus, using Hawking and Einstein as examples, the Bible is true about what it says about human pride, that it is man's biggest stumbling block. Pride is what separates man from God; it is what prevents an Atheist from acknowledging the possibility of God's existence. Pride is what causes dissension, fighting, and wars. Pride causes greed and most crimes. So, pride is no small matter, yet Hawking apparently doesn't even see his own pride, which provides all the more evidence of the real problem.
So, in summary, it appears that Hawking is a prideful man who lives without the acceptance of the power of God, by whom his own intelligence exists, and by refusing to believe in God, thus cannot be helped to overcome his pride because his own admitted free will prevents it from happening. To me, that is especially sad, believing as I do that, in Heaven, Hawking would have a perfectly functional body to go with his exceptional brain, the one that God has given him.
It does seem as if Stephen Hawking has closed the door to God, so the fate he accepts is one of his own choosing, which is what makes it so sad. I would have enjoyed an opportunity to meet him and speak with him in Heaven, but from what he has revealed of his own thinking, that isn't likely to happen, because he won't be making that trip... unless something in this thinking -- his pride -- changes.
PREMISE #3: WISDOM IS GREATER THAN IMAGINATION AND KNOWLEDGE.
Socrates said, "Wisdom begins in wonder," which is to say that wisdom begins with a desire or curiosity to know something. But, apparently there is more to it than just wanting it. Socrates didn't specify a source for wisdom. What is the source for wisdom? God is the source of wisdom, and wisdom allows us to gain the knowledge of God.
Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."
James 1:5-6 says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."
The source of wisdom is God, and God grants wisdom to those who ask of him. From wisdom come greater things than knowledge brings.
In spite of Stephen Hawking's many great achievements, Hawking hasn't yet found God, or I should say, hasn't allowed God into his life. Jesus knocks at the door but leaves it to us to answer. And too often he finds us raising our palm to say, "Talk to the hand." Psalm 14:1 calls foolish those who claim that God doesn't exist. But others don't need to make the same mistake a Hawking or Einstein makes, we can learn from those who have gone before us, even from those who have reached to the limits of natural knowledge without acknowledging the God who has enabled their accomplishment in the first place.
I have been praying for Stephen Hawking, that he will lay down his pride, his personal emotion, to allow his spirit to be awakened by God, so that God's truth and wisdom will be revealed to him so that God might use him in a much greater way.
VIDEO excerpt from The Grand Design: Stephen Hawking
Eternity is Not Forever: An Argument for Theism
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