Book Review: “God and Stephen Hawking. Whose design is it anyway? By John C. Lennox

Posted: March 21, 2011 in Problems, Theology, Uncategorized
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There have been many discussions and debates about Evolution and the existence of God, that many Christian writers had declared war against the scientific genius’ of the 20th and 21st Century.  Alistair McGrath has written a book called ‘The Dawkins Delusion’ to contradict Richard Dawkins book called the ‘God Delusion’. Dawkins is trying to convince the world that God doesn’t exist, and if he does, we don’t need him!  McGrath responds that Dawkins is a hypocrite of science and reason, because he can’t except that God does exist.

John Lennox is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford; and he has debated against Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens in many situations, but he now concentrates on Stephen Hawking.

 He has written this light read to explore and to expose the falseness in Stephen Hawking’s new blockbuster, ‘The Grand Design’. Stephen Hawking is trying to promote the ‘New Atheism’ by claiming that the laws of physics themselves brought the universe into being rather than God.   Hawking’s says “Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch-paper and set the universe going”

Lennox takes a closer look at the logic behind Hawking’s theory.    

Lennox writes 5 tidy Chapters with a rounding conclusion; and his style is easy to read, so you don’t need a 1st class honours degree in Physics or Theology to understand the main points.

Chapter 1: The Big Questions 

Lennox is trying to establish the big questions that Hawking’s wants to answer in his book. He highlights that Hawking is trying to answer philosophical questions by using scientific explanations rather than Philosophical reasons. Lennox argues that the questions Hawking is trying to answer are specifically philosophical questions that can only be answered from a philosophical point of view.  

Chapter 2: God or the Laws of nature

This is Lennox attack against the theory of Hawking.  Hawking argues that it is by gravity that the whole cosmos came to be, but Lennox argues that in science, you need a substance in order to get a process and result so, who created gravity? Hawking’s fails to answer it.

Chapter 3: God or the multiverse?

This is where Hawking looks like a fool, because he says that there are many universes, and he believes that we have an identical universe somewhere in space. This is not a debate about the existence of God. God could create another universe if he wanted to, but Hawking here doesn’t deny God, but questions his own logic.

Chapter 4: Whose design is it anyway?

Hawking is trying to prove that the universe was created by the force of gravity, and that gravity is the grand designer. Like in chapter 2, Lennox argues that Hawking forgets that he needs to explain where gravity comes from. This makes his argument invalid. There is only one creator and that is God.

Chapter 5: Science and rationality

Lennox describes in this chapter, the existence of God. He highlights Hawking’s misuse of science. He explains that there is more proof about the existence of God outside of science than science can disprove God. Hawking forgets that a fundamental characteristic of God is that he is a personal God, and that he can’t be exposed from every individual because that is impossible!!

Lennox concludes the book briefly by saying “I hope that for many of you this investigation of Hawking’s atheistic belief system will serve to confirm your faith in God… that it will encourage you not to be ashamed of bringing God into the public square by joining in the debate yourself”

This book is a must read if you want to continue with the live debate that is going around the world today. Get yourself equipped to face the atheism in your area/street, and be a living warrior to defend the faith we all believe and live in.

  1. brown jesus says:

    holy christ, come on si.. where do i begin? it would take an article in itself to point out everything that’s wrong with this .. my favourite part was where you called stephen hawking a fool .. i mean come on, that’s beyond arrogance.. coming from somebody who actually understands hawkings’s hypotheses and modern ideas in physics, it would have been arrogant .. coming from you, i don’t know what to say about that.. ..

    now as for gravity, and a probable reason why professor hawking would have kept quiet on that point: it’s not a substance that can be brought into being (well we’ll have to wait and see about whether they’ll ever discover the ‘graviton’ but for now, gravity isn’t something that exists on its own) .. gravity is what happens when matter warps space time, and some bodies warp it more than others and this is, in the simplest possible terms, the post-newtonian explanation for why things fall towards each other.. it might make sense to say that matter, for instance, couldn’t have come about on its own, but gravity doesn’t work that way and lennox is talking bollocks..

    o yea, and most importantly, lennox isn’t even a physicist, so i don’t know why he thinks he’s qualified to take on stephen hawking.. he’s a mathematician and a philosopher, and while modern physics wouldn’t work without those two fields behind it, being an expert in them doesn’t necessarily make you an expert in any other field

    and then there’s the antepenultimate chapter there, where you start talking about how there’s proof about something ‘outside of science’ .. i don’t even know what this means, you can’t prove anything outside of science.. either there is a god, and scientists will eventually discover enough evidence to form a coherent theory about it, or there isn’t, and they won’t .. to say that something is ‘beyond science’, or that it’s ‘impossible’ to back up a claim scientifically, is equal to saying that that claim is meaningless nonsense .. as a man of the church, i’d think you should probably try to avoid that kind of blasphemy

    • ministry-trainee says:

      Well, you make valid points, but you don’t understand the purpose of the book. This book is NOT for academics, but for those who want to know what is going on between science and religion. Lennox here is not calling Hawking a fool in his interlectual capacisty, but a fool because he doesn’t believe in God. It is biblical language to identify those who don’t believe/ understand; (Matt 22:18; 22:29, 23:13+23+25+26+29) The Pharisees were people who are like Hawking in many respects. That reason alone, he will never understand!!! It’s logical. The process of science is: Matter, process, result. You need matter; where does that matter come from? It comes from God. Just because Lennox isn’t a physican; it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t know the truth.
      I’m sorry if this offends, but the truth hurts! There is one God, 3 persons, and science came from God. Science had to be created!!! That is the purpose of science. Everything has a begining! Everything comes from God. That is the truth, accepted or leave it, its up to you. Don’t underestimate the power of God!

  2. John Kuras says:

    Hmmm… Well, I’m neither a theologin, philosopher, nor a physicist. I’m just a simple minded retired aerospace engineer who spent his career working on practical problems. I have not read either of these books, but based on the above review, I think I get the main ideas behind both arguments. I need to make a trip down to my local library to see if they have a copy of Hawking’s book so that I can verify what I expect he is saying. What I expect is that he is caught up in a common delusion of many theoretical physicists: Namely, it sounds like he has forgotten where we get our mathematics from and why we use it to describe physical processes. I have worked with many physicists over the years and this problem was quite common among them: Mathematics was invented to describe (and thus predict repeatable experiments involving) observable physical processes. Counting was invented so that we could know when we have lost some sheep; geometry was invented to help solve architectural (engineering) difficulties, the calculus was invented to describe problems involving time, acceleration, and distance: initially used for catapult design, and later to explain planetary orbits. Mathematics can only be relied on to interpolate between observable phenomena. It should not be used to extrapolate beyond what can be observed. That (in my opinion as an engineer) would be pure foolishness. Extrapolation beyond what can be observed (and repeated) in our physical world rightfully falls into the realm of the philosopher and theologian. Too bad so many excellent (theoretical) physicists can’t see this. Mathematics is not God. Mathematics is something that man invented to describe what we see. It’s a shame that a wonderful, gentle, intelligent man such as Hawking does not see God when he looks out his window. God has so much love to offer.

  3. MANEESH says:

    I suggest that you 3 are so wrong in your thoughts. You may be free to believe what you want but it won’t give you the complete freedom to insult Stephen Hawking in a personal sense.I feel pity for that. I don’t believe in god but still so far I did not have huge issues with the men of god. It is our curiosity that keeps us in search for truth.You may seek the help of Bible,Quran or Bhagvath Gita to prove your point. The fact is You never will prove that god exists. You can believe in what you wish but don’t indulge in our concept of disproving the need for a god.Science will win because it works. There is no need for religion or holy books if You are intelligent enough to think in a broad sense.

  4. ministry-trainee says:

    Well I take your point, you may go on in life being comfortable with your own desires and feelings and you might think that God doesn’t exist and its your “curiosity” that comforts you. Why don’t you tell that to someone who has lost someone close to them? Tell them that the answers to their problem is science. Tell them that there is comfort in experiments, with no human felling or concerns. What a lovely thought! The reason why you are curious is that you are afraid to commit to the truth. The problem is YOURSELF! but you will be brought to account one day.There are 3 ways in which we know things in life (epistemology) and Mr Hawking is missing the key component in this logical diagram.

    1. Normative perspective (Rationalism): We know things because they were there before we experience them.
    2. Situational perspective (Empiricism) :We know things by sense-experience.
    3. Existential perspective (subjectivism): We know things because by our own interpretation of the truth and our own subjective criteria.

    Now if you are a science buff, then you are obviously a Empiricist, because you discover things by fact, experiments, observations and measures. There are so many problems, so Science won’t win. and they are this:

    1. Verification: Do we know things because we have checked them ourselves? Have you yourself checked that God doesn’t exist? We know many things in this world without Science, and that will not change.
    2. Verifiability: How can you check something that is discovered in science, with science? It need to be verified outside of the logical sphere. Not everything in this world is logical.
    3. Deception: Our senses deceive us regardless of your IQ. You ain’t got a perfect sense of touch or sight, so how can you be comforted by these problems?
    4. The science method: every scientific experiments use tools and instruments to gauge their readings. It’s all down to expectation. They believe in expectant things, and that doesn’t come form science but also religion.
    5. Empiricism…Too limited: we can’t justify a general presupposition like “All men are mortal” unless one being of a perfect mind goes around and checks 7 billion people on earth who are born and die at “unexpected” times.
    6. We look to ourselves: We create our own knowledge of things, and that means we never agree because science wants to generalize everything into categories. That will never work because it is never accurate enough and we try to make our own decisions about what something is.

    I could go on but I want to make this crushing point: God will never reveal himself to you unless you believe in him. He is not stupid! If you think that God is some being that is out there to be found like a hide and seek game, then your knowledge of God is frighteningly arrogant. He is to fear and upheld. All I can say is, just come to know Christ (if not then judgement will come to reality in the end. Science will NEVER win! For you depend on God by every breathe you breath. Can science create air? Can science create rocks? Can Science create? Yes from elements, but where did those elements come from? God. The more you doubt, and don’t believe the more you become arrogant of the facts and I plead with you to come and know the truth before it is too late. Yes God did appear, but you are not broad enough to see that he came in the form of a man on this earth, in the person of Jesus Christ. Why don’t you read a gospel and find out the real truth?

    • jollygreen98253 says:

      IIt sounds to me like this thread is getting unnecessarily personal. There is no reason to imply anyone is less intelligent than anyone else. Belief in the Christian God (or deism for that matter) has nothing to do with intelligence. Some of the most intelligent people in the past 2 millennia have been Christians; as have some of the least intelligent. The same can be said for deism. A person will either believe or not believe. It is not our job to make people believe. All we are required to do is speak the truth. It is up to God to work on the unbelieving heart.

  5. ministry-trainee says:

    I’m sorry if I come across as being personal about this issue, but having faith in Christ means to me to defend the truth. This involves correcting and rebuking those who don’t and I fully accept that God knows who will come to faith, but we don’t. We are not told to sit back and watch, but to spread God’s word to as many people as possible. The issue I have is not about intelligence, but about faith.

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