1 John 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
Yesterday the world lost a very amazing man, perhaps the poster child for the strength of the human spirit. "Stephen W. Hawking, Cambridge University physicist and best-selling author who roamed the cosmos from a wheelchair, pondering the nature of gravity and the origin of the universe and becoming an emblem of human determination and curiosity, died early Wednesday at his home in Cambridge, England," according to Dennis Overbye, New York Times. I read the article and discovered much about this fascinating man. In 1963, he discovered he had ALS and was told he would only live 3 years. Somehow the disease was arrested to some degree and he lived an additional 55 years. However, the disease reduced his bodily functions to the flexing of a finger and voluntary eye movements except that his mental faculties were untouched. Through a computer apparatus he has been able to communicate and live beyond his disabilities. In 1988 he wrote a book, "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes." The book chronicles his work concerning black holes in the universe. In the book, Dr. Hawking concluded that "if we do discover a complete theory (of the universe), it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists." He added, "Then we shall all, philosophers, scientist and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of why it is that we and the universe exist." "If we found the answer to that," he continued, "it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason--for then we would know the mind of God."
In a later book, "The Grand Design (2011)," written with Leonard Mlodinow, although he had spoken previously about God, he made this statement: "It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue torch paper," referring to the British term for a firecracker fuse, "and set the universe going." My question would be, how can you have a grand design without a grand designer? There are many things I could say about all of this, but I'd like to continue on to the heart of the matter. That same year, in an interview in The Guardian, he further stated: "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." (Perhaps I'll comment on this in tomorrow's post.)
Anyway, of his work in studying black holes, he discovered they weren't really black at all and that they would eventually fizzle, leaking radiation and particles, and finally disappear over the eons. This energy was termed The Hawking Radiation. He said of black holes, "if we send someone to jump into a black hole, neither he nor his constituent atoms will come back, but his mass energy will come back. Maybe that applies to the whole universe." Of his discovery, nobody at the time believed that particles could be coming out of a black hole. "I wasn't looking for them at all," he recalled in an interview in 1978. "I merely tripped over them. I was rather annoyed." "That calculation, in a thesis published in 1974 in the journal Nature under the title 'Black Hole Explosions?,' is hailed by scientists as the first great landmark in the struggle to find a single theory of nature. . ., " wrote Overbye.
Following Hawking's death, his children (yes--he even had children!) Robert, Lucy and Tim released this statement: "We are deeply saddened that my beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years. His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world. He once said, 'It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love.' We will miss him forever." And I would submit to you, my friends, that perhaps this very statement might be his greatest discovery, one he also tripped over, which might just be the very secret of the universe! A loving Father created this universe for his children He lives to love!