/ James Faris

Hawking, Maxwell, and the Creation of the Universe

The following is a guest post by Dr. Ram Rao. Ram became excited about physics and mathematics while a student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India. He came to saving faith in Jesus Christ while studying Electrical Engineering at Caltech. Ram has a Ph.D. in Computer Science and has worked for several decades as a software engineer in the computer industry in the US. He is married to Asha and is the father of four adult children. Ram is now retired and living in Bengaluru, India where he is a member of Anugraha RPC.

The recently deceased prominent physicist Stephen Hawking once said: "Before we understood science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe," implying that science has proven that God did not create the universe. While Hawking's views are widely reported in the media they are by no means universal among scientists. James Clerk Maxwell, a 19th century physicist of greater stature than Hawking, would have strongly disagreed. Based on reading his biography and writings, one may surmise his response to Hawking would likely have been: "Because we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe."

So who is this James Clerk Maxwell, that I bring up? He is a Scottish physicist, that many would consider to be the greatest physicist who ever lived. His most well known contribution is his set of four equations which explain pretty much all of the science of electricity, magnetism and light. This is just one of his many major contributions to science in his short 48 years of life.

What does Stephen Hawking say about Maxwell?

Maxwell is the physicist's physicist

How about Albert Einstein? Speaking of his best known work (on relativity), Einstein said,

The special theory of relativity owes its origins to Maxwell's equations of the electromagnetic field.

Einstein all along acknowledged that he stood on the shoulders of Maxwell.

Having seen Maxwell's tremendous standing in the community of eminent physicists, let us understand his views on God and science. As one reads Maxwell's biography, one is struck by struck by his awe of God's creation. The wonders of his scientific discoveries filled him with awe about his Creator God spurring him on to explore more of the marvels of creation. While at Cambridge University, he founded the Cavendish Laboratory (which has produced 29 Nobel laureates) to further research of God's creation. At the entrance to this world-famous laboratory (picture on the right), he had the words of Psalm 111:2 inscribed: "The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein."

The following prayer written by Maxwell, found in his notes after his death, asks God for wisdom to study His creation:

“Almighty God, Who hast created man in Thine own image, and made him a living soul that he might seek after Thee, and have dominion over Thy creatures, teach us to study the works of Thy hands, that we may subdue the earth to our use, and strengthen the reason for Thy service; so to receive Thy blessed Word, that we may believe on Him Whom Thou hast sent, to give us the knowledge of salvation and the remission of our sins. All of which we ask in the name of the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.”

Maxwell was a contemporary of Charles Darwin. He strongly opposed Darwin's theory of evolution, believing that the speculations involved in evolutionary thinking contradicted scientific evidence. In a published paper, he wrote:

“No theory of evolution can be formed to account for the similarity of molecules, for evolution necessarily implies continuous change…. The exact equality of each molecule to all others of the same kind gives it … the essential character of a manufactured article, and precludes the idea of its being eternal and self-existent.”

Unlike Stephen Hawking, there are many scientists, like Maxwell, who being fascinated by the results of their exploration of the universe, can't help but marvel at the works of the Creator God.



James Faris

James Faris

Child of God. Husband to Elizabeth. Father of six. Pastor of Second Reformed Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ordained as a pastor in 2003.

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