Sunday Morning Musings: It has been quite a week – even though I have about the furthest thing from a scientific mind, I was moved like many others to learn of the physical death of Stephen Hawking. Like other great people with the thirst for knowledge and understanding, Hawking may have originally hesitated to speak of a connection between science and spirituality, but he was also willing to search the mystery. (I used the word spirituality” instead of “religion” because they often become confused in any discussion with science.)
Far be it from me to even begin to understand the full extent of the connections, other than to say that I admired Hawking greatly for the simple reason that he chose to explore and think beyond himself. I have been told that to constantly ask questions is a sign of my lack of faith. I admit that I do lack a faith at times, but it is not in what I call “God”, but in those that try to tell me or anyone that they have all the answers. Even the Bible that is a record of man’s experiences and their attempt to describe such encounters throughout history is limited.
To limit the recording of these encounters to a time frame of six or seven thousand years is beyond incredible to me. It doesn’t take a mindful-genius like Hawking to realize that the universe was present millions of years ago. Nor does it take any stretch of my imagination or mind to realize that God was, is and will be a part of it all.
The difficulty arises when we try to put God in a box, no matter the size of that box. God is beyond time and space, beyond matter. God is both “singularity” and in all things, both nothingness and everything. Will some great mind ever fully understand this paradox? Even Stephen Hawking whose physical life was fifty years longer than most expected was still searching for answers.
One of the most admirable features of Hawking for me was that he never gave up (and those who loved him never gave up on him) his learning and seeking for understanding. To me, that is faith. One of my favourite Hawking quotes has to do with a somewhat controversial idea within religious groups as well as outside them. Hawking is quoted as having said: I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.
Besides the implications of which he spoke, his sense of humour was incredible. Despite the hand that he was dealt, he lived his life fully. When I begin to feel sorry for myself and the situation in which I am at that time, I find people like Hawking very inspirational. As I mentioned above, I am far from him intellectually, but I believe Hawking would be the first to remind us that searching is the key. I have always felt that “if I have all the answers, then I haven’t asked all the questions” and the journey continues.
As the title of the movie about Hawking’s life reminds us: The Reason for Everything, we all are part of something greater than what we see and even know, and it is our calling to keep asking the questions. Yet, the great paradox in this search also involves learning how to “let go”. Which is likely a good topic for further musings.