A celebrated physicist and author made headlines earlier this week when he relegated Heaven to the same realm of fiction as Neverland, Narnia and the planet Krypton. “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail,” Dr. Stephen Hawking told an interviewer. “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers. That is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” Although his books and articles have famously made reference to the design of the universe or “the mind of God,” those are simply Hawking’s metaphors for completely natural forces like evolution or spontaneous combustion. He insists there can be no God.
I am under no illusion that my intelligence or comprehension of science could ever approach the intellectual wattage of Dr. Hawking’s brain, but even I can recognize circular reasoning when I hear it. The analogy of the human brain as a broken down computer begs the question. Let’s ignore all human experience and concede that over several billion years, pieces of metal, plastic and silica randomly scattered all across the Earth could someone drift into the same general area, ingeniously assemble themselves, and become a highly evolved Macintosh Computer. Even having positioned themselves correctly without the benefit of a designer or IT, the world’s first and only Mac would still amount to nothing more than a sleek but worthless machine. Who would generate the electricity to power it? Who would construct the outlet and plug it in? And who would produce the software to actually enable it to operate and do work?
Granted, anything is possible if anything is possible. But scientists insist we live in a universe with severe limits. If a Coke bottle suddenly appears in a remote jungle somewhere in Zaire, only the most primitive cave man would suppose that it arose spontaneously from vines, quicksand and lizard blood. Educated people reading about the discovery would instantly recognize the wayward soda bottle was designed by intelligent minds, produced in a factory, and dropped from a helicopter flying overhead.
Dr. Hawking’s real fallacy is not his conclusion that a broken computer does not get shipped to Heaven. You and I could agree. Rather, his reasoning stumbles long before that when he asks us to believe that zero + zero + zero = one trillion! There has never been a computer that did not originate in a highly intelligent mind. Rocks happen when natural forces shatter boulders or wear away at mountains. The idea of flesh and blood laptops and smartphone self-generated over time through erosion, decay or spontaneous combustion is just a fairy story for people afraid of God.
That’s so obvious it should not even require discussion. Likewise, it’s apparent that arguing against Heaven is an example of the weakest logical position: a universal negative. To say something might exist somewhere in the universe, you only need produce one nugget of evidence. But to insist that something doesn’t exist in any condition in any place, you must prove it’s not found on the earth or our solar system; that it’s not found in the cosmos; that it’s not invisible to the eye; that it is actually subject to human measurement. Arguing for the evolution of frogs from non-living matter is a pretty daunting task in itself. Making the case that unconscious structures evolved over time into fully conscious, even self-conscious human beings, is an even greater stretch. But dismissing Heaven altogether is a universal negative; impossible to prove and, therefore, silly to argue.
Romans 1:20-22 anticipates the blindness which afflicts some of our most brilliant minds in the realm of science today: “For since the creation of the world, His insisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God, nor were thankful; but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools…”
Dr. Hawking feels so wise and self-assured that he can debate a universal negative. The breathless voices of the media hail him a visionary. The Lord just calls him a fool.
Lift up the Cross!