Moses and Paul knew the difference between passing theories, which Hawking himself revised and that shall be revised again and the truth as it is in Christ. Moses and Paul engaged the theories and philosophers of their day. After all, they were aware of what had been theorized by the various philosophers and scientists of “this age.” Moses had done spiritual battle with the scholars and magicians in Pharaoh’s court. By him Yahweh did things that they could not replicate, that they could not explain, that defied their paradigm. Finally, Yahweh, Moses’ God crushed Pharaoh’s army and his gods not only in the plagues but in the Red Sea (or the Sea of Reeds, I do not much care which). Moses’ God, Yahweh, we know to have been God the Son, who became incarnate, Jesus.
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside” (Isa 29:14).
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Cor 1:18–25; NASB).
Stephen Hawking, the brilliant, great, and famous Cambridge physicist died yesterday aged 76.
Hawking is regarded as one of the great scientific minds of the late modern period. In the latter part of his storied career, he sought a “theory of everything,” a unified theory that explains what is. Under the influence of Hawking’s work we have come to see the world as more wonderfully complex than we thought it to be under the influence of Einstein’s work, who himself had demonstrated the marvelous complexity of the world.
We should celebrate Hawking’s remarkable life and career. What he accomplished would have been extraordinary for someone who was perfectly healthy but he did it with ALS, which is astounding. Further, he demonstrated a grace and humor about his condition that is remarkable. His work and personality made him a celebrity in popular culture. Those whose scientific interest is limited to The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory know who Stephen Hawking was.
Nevertheless, like all mortals, Hawking has died. When I read the news last night my mind turned immediately to Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 1 (above) and 2:
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away… (1 Cor 2:2–6; NASB).
Hawking was not the first person to seek a “theory of everything.” The pre-Socratic Greek philosophers and scientists also had differing theories of everything but by the time the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians to explain the “mystery” of Christ (1 Cor 2:7), they had all died.
Indeed, when Moses wrote Genesis the Egyptians, by whom he had been educated and among whom he lived and governed Egypt in the royal family before his exile, also had theories and scientists. Doubtless there was great learning among them but they too died as did Moses. Paul himself died on a highway outside of Rome at the hands of a Roman soldier.