Stephen Meyer’s new book, Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe, is not only of scientific and theological but emotional interest. One of its themes is an engagement with the ideas of physicist Stephen Hawking. In turn, what makes Hawking so fascinating is the poignancy of his life: the heroic, uncomplaining years under the power of a crippling disease, and the increasingly frank avowal that the God Hypothesis was unneeded to explain the cosmos. As Meyer recounts, Hawking came to be seen as in a league with the New Atheists. He also grew apocalyptic in his forecasts about humanity’s future. It’s not hard to imagine the psychological portrait that future science historians will draw.
After Hawking died, a posthumous book was released, Brief Answers to the Big Questions. As Meyer says, it was as if the great man “spoke from beyond the grave,” confirming directly his view that quantum gravity could substitute for the work of a creator. Yet he failed to see that his own work showed otherwise, which may be the saddest thing of all. Meyer comments: