Thursday, March 15, 2018

Stephen Hawking & God

The world was informed of the death of Stephen Hawking, the remarkable astrophysicist who advanced the theories of the "great outie," the Big Bang, and the "great innie" Black Holes. He accomplished this while living on borrowed time for half a century -- how is that for a mystery of space and time? Along the way he become an improbable media celeb, with guest appearances on The Simpsons and, yes, The Big Bang Theory. Here is what I wrote about Hawking and faith after seeing the excellent biopic about him three years ago.

I saw the film The Theory of Everything yesterday and was totally surprised by how religious it was. Well, it is the story of Stephen Hawking, scientific theorist extraordinaire, and his wife Jane. It is a love story, and one of remarkable faithfulness, even though they did stay together as a couple. It is also a story of hope, because Hawking was given two years to live when diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease in the 1960's. He is still alive and still in the news, having commented on artificial intelligence this past week.

The religious part is intriguing. In the film Stephen and Jane meet at a university party and he introduces himself as a cosmologist. When she asks what that is, he quips that cosmology is a religion for atheists. She is a Christian though, or at least Church of England, which is still a Christian church last time I checked.

The sub-theme of the tension between his staunch atheism and her firm religious convictions continues throughout the film. I found it quite moving, and loved a scene where he speaks of black holes and she quotes from the opening verses of Genesis. Jane even joins the church choir to deal with the stresses of caring for three children and an increasingly disabled husband.

I really enjoyed this film, and the acting of Eddie Redmayne as Hawking is remarkable. Have any of you seen it yet? Is it on your list? Did any of you actually get through A Brief History of Time?

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