Why I’m Taking Exception to Stephen Hawking
Renowned physicist and author Stephen Hawking, perhaps the most famous ALS sufferer after Lou Gehrig, had his final book posthumously published on Oct. 16. In “Brief Answers to the Big Questions,” one of the answers Hawking offers is that there is no God.
If Hawking was correct, the implications would be enormous for people with ALS. Imagine the ensuing outrage and despair in discovering that we’ve been arbitrarily assigned to spend our final years, prior to oblivion, wandering aimlessly in a prison cell of ever-shrinking walls, with ALS strapped to our backs. I believe that Hawking got that answer wrong.
For many, faith in God is simple. Some steadfastly believe without requiring empirical evidence. Some summarily dismiss concepts like salvation and eternity out of fashion or incredulity regarding the necessity and possibility, respectively.
Others are “sunshine” believers. When fortune is shining on them, a wise God exists. However, when the clouds of life interrupt their plans, the reality of God is questioned. Perhaps that was part of Hawking’s rationale. From this perspective, no ALS patient would acknowledge God, much less worship Him. Yet many of us do.
Another option, though more involved, is personal due diligence. It takes some effort, but ample information exists to be investigated. I did it. Perhaps had Hawking followed this course, genius that he was, he’d have had the same realization as I did.
I totally believe in God. I cannot fathom staring down ALS without that belief. It is a source of sustaining energy. The many people who offer succor to me are gifts from God, reminders that I’ve not been abandoned. The words that He puts in my brain, allowing me to share them with others, enable purpose. The countless times He has rescued me from calamitous outcomes provide courage. The awareness of His miraculous interventions yields hope.
Hawking wrote that, “I prefer to think that everything can be explained another way, by the laws of nature.” The application of science is, for me, cementing proof of God, as it illustrates that nothing in the universe is random. If we allow it to, science draws us nearer to God and His Divinity. It partially unveils his work. As Albert Einstein opined, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
To again quote Einstein: “When I am judging a theory, I ask myself whether, if I were God, I would have arranged the world in such a way.” I believe that the confluence of elements of God’s divine design coupled with His exquisitely pristine timing are the recipe constituents that cure disease. For ALS to be arrested during my lifetime will require such a miracle.
Please join me in praying, to whatever your flavor of God is, for that miracle. If you are religiously unaffiliated, l urge you to earnestly petition your version of a higher power. And if you number yourself among the population who are atheistic, please on a frequent basis, wish that a cure for ALS to be imminent.
In the Christian Bible, the following passage may be found in Acts 16:25: “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Contextually, Paul and Silas were in prison, shackled to the stocks by their feet, after being flogged and beaten with rods. That is what ALS often feels like. For me, even if ALS swallows up every other purpose, I’ll still have prayer. I will still be able to communicate with God. And by His grace, I have hope that my soul will sing for eternity.