Monthly Archives: March 2018

Stephen Hawking, The Genius Who Lacked Wonder

stephen hawking

Stephen Hawking, the world renowned physicist, told us about really big things like black holes, but seemed to lack wonder for the small.

It must be one of the worst deficiencies of all to have such a small amount of wonder. Regardless of whether you are an atheist, agnostic or theist (hopefully the Christian kind), there must be something in you that sees the whole show of life as a miracle. Even if science explains some of how the universe works, surely there is still a place for wonder and awe instead of contempt. Let me illustrate with one well known quote from Stephen Hawking by which he reminds us humans of how insignificant we really are in the grand scheme of things.

“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star.” — Stephen Hawking (1942-2018)

“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys…”

Based on my Twitter feed I suspect in many ways that monkeys are often more reasonable and civil, but I don’t see them supplanting humans to have dominion (Genesis 1:26-28) – despite what is depicted in Planet of the Apes. The word “just” seems very telling. Since Hawking and many others are convinced we are “just” advanced monkeys, maybe that explains why so many treat their fellow humans with so little dignity. If one person believes another person is simply an advanced monkey, why would that person treat the monkey-person much better than the monkey from which they came? Beliefs have implications.

“on a minor planet”

Size is not the deciding factor of significance. Since we know of no other planet that sustains life, I am going to say earth is a pretty major deal.

“of a very average star.”

Quality is not always defined by size, but by the impact an object makes on what is available to be impacted. Think of the millions of stars that have little significance other than to be seen from earth – at least as far as we know and can tell from our special little blue, green and brown rock. If a star is one-hundred times bigger than our sun, but sustains no life, what good is its size? Except to be marveled at by those who were created to live on a “minor planet” with an “average star?”

Hawking was a brilliant man, but brilliance without the proper perspective leads to “minor”, “average” and wonder-less conclusions. Ultimately it leads to undervaluing the miracle that is life and the systems that sustain it.

And to top it all off, I am convinced Hawking is now bowing before the One who created every star and planet, both small and large (Phil. 2:9-11 and Isaiah 40:26).

Stephen Hawking died this day (03.14.2018). I wonder if  he is now regretting his little statement before the God who created a massive universe?