Well, I have made a lot of comments on Hawking’s book. I have really enjoyed reading it and interacting with it but I am aware it is very easy to question someone else’s worldview without declaring your own. I had a bracketed bit in the last post where I stated my world view but it ended up too long so I thought I would make it a separate post, a sort of post script to the stuff on the book as it’s not really about the book per say.
The view that seems to come through in the book is that everything is determined by natural laws and that we need look no further for an explanation of the “hows” and “whys” than these natural laws. They simply exist and everything from magpies to morals, quails to quarks, penguins to persons can be reduced to the outworking of these laws. Somehow (in a way I do not understand) “we” can observe the universe and realise that behind it is a system of natural laws. That said, we can never know what is really there as all we can experience is sensory input that leads us to make mental models of a supposed reality.
So what do I think?
I think that God has always existed and is the ground of all personhood and truth and everything else. He made and ordered the universe and he made us in it as personal agents, in his image, able to comprehend and understand it. The beauty of Mathematics, including number theory and string theory, stem from the fact that they are from him, his nature and his mind. Rules both moral and material exist in a mind and are meaningful and comprehensible because of that. God has given us the intrinsic ability to investigate and understand but he also reveals truth to us. In one sense everything we know is by his revelation. He helps us see and understand gravity and he helps us see and understand morality. There is much I can know but as I turn away from God shutting my heart to his revelation of himself, my thinking becomes faulty. It may take a few generations before the full force of this is felt but it must come.
I accept God’s self disclosure in the trinity. That he is at heart relational, and loving, not alone and isolated. For this reason I see love, as well as person hood, to be even more fundamental than the laws of physics and certainly not reducible to them. I see God as perfectly good and so morality is not to be defined simply in terms of evolutionary theory but as a revelation of his God’s. I see death as being linked to our moral failure and relational break down with God. Life is not purely physical, but spiritual and relational. In the person of Jesus Christ I see a God who loves us so much that he deals with our sin and separation, making a way through death for us to eternal life, complete with a new body that will last forever.
Life is not just DNA dancing or fundamental forces interacting. Death is not simply part of the carbon cycle. Life is about a relationship with God and death of the body can be a doorway to an unending life in his presence or a dreadful eternity without him. Each person will have their day in court. The beauty of a sunset, prime numbers and romance, are but tinny shafts of glory from the unsurpassed excellence of the God who sacrificed himself for me, saving me from my sin and shame and adopting me into his family forever.
A theistic world view saves me from ultra skepticism. I spent most of my university years working through the idea that we cannot know objective reality and that we only have models of models of models in our head. I didn’t know the label “Model Dependent Reality” but I thought through and experienced its ideas. The belief that we are separated from truth and can never know it leads to a very dark place indeed. How could I even know my own thought process were valid? Or my thoughts about my thought? Even my own existence was not something that I could know for certain. Thankfully I no longer believe that to be a correct or a healthy worldview.
I guess my world view could be summed up in two words. “Christ Jesus”. Nothing makes much sense to me without him. Everything was made by him and through him and for him. Take him out of the equation (or only think in terms of equations) and there is no beginning, no end and nothing in-between. Since Christ is the Greek for the Hebrew “Messiah”, I guess I do believe in M-theory after all.