The Stephen Hawking Bible… round two.

Well, people may have thought Hawking had the first and last word after his episode on the ‘fairy tale heaven’ the other day (see my other post) but the Washington Post has published a new article in reply to Hawking’s statements.

The article is a defence from no other than N T Wright, Bishop of Durham and renowned Biblical Scholar. N T Wright is well known for speaking on various matters, and for answering difficult topics.

In an age where hyper atheism is having a louder voice, it is important that Biblical Scholars and well informed Christians have their say too. Here is Wright’s conclusion on the whole thing:

Hawking is working with a very low-grade and sub-biblical view of ‘going to heaven.’ Of course, if faced with the fully Christian two-stage view of what happens after death — first, a time ‘with Christ’ in ‘heaven’ or ‘paradise,’and then, when God renews the whole creation, bodily resurrection — he would no doubt dismiss that as incredible. But I wonder if he has ever even stopped to look properly, with his high-octane intellect, at the evidence for Jesus and the resurrection? I doubt it — most people in England haven’t. Until he has, his opinion about all this is worth about the same as mine on nuclear physics, i.e. not much.

Wright further says that it is a shame that Hawking’s mind isn’t being used to it’s full potential to study Christianity properly and to weigh up evidence in favour of Jesus and everything the he stands for. Until then, he cannot make sweeping statements about Christian doctrines and theologies which he doesn’t understand.

At least there are Christian scientists who are willing to engage in complicated matters.

What do you think of Wright’s response?


Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @

  • a thought

    I think that wright has the right idea, and that he engages with Hawkins on the right level critiqing his argumeant not the man himself, your other article was critical of Hawkins which tackled the whole issue on the wrong level. Wright does it better pointing out the flaws in his argumeant, a lot can be learned from him in how to critque such things. Also it should’nt jsut be left to christian scientists to look into these things, all christians need to be willing to do it and engage properly, not simply attack indivduals.

    • Thank you for the comments ‘a thought’ 🙂 Keep em’ coming!

  • Eva

    Sorry, my comment is going to have nothing to do with Hawking, but just with this:

    “first, a time ‘with Christ’ in ‘heaven’ or ‘paradise,’and then, when God renews the whole creation, bodily resurrection”

    So is that how it is? Interesting! I have always been very confused by the Christian view of what happens after death, and I think I’ve been surrounded by people all my life who didn’t get it either. I mean, I’ve been surrounded by this all my life and for 12 years of school but always got confusing messages. It was always either you go up to heaven or you wait around for bodily resurrection and I always saw people saying one or the other but never integrating it like this.

    Maybe I am just not that bright and really everyone knew this, but I don’t understand why in “Religious Studies” (read: Christian studies) we learned about silly things that made me think the whole thing was stupid and not important things like this.

    That’s why I have great respect for people who I run across who have taken the time to learn what they are talking about.

    • Yep- that is the case Eva 🙂 I mean, there are other opinions, and the whole ‘nuts and bolts’ of the afterlife isn’t all that important. But I think NT Wright has it. The new physical body comes after the end of the world, but if one dies before then, then there is a time with Christ (just the soul).

      Really glad you’re learning stuff. Religious studies CAN be silly. And people can just make things up 😛

  • Cez

    Religion and science don’t necessarily have to conflict though, which is a common misconception and obviously one which Hawking has, unfortunately, presented an argument for.
    There is no undermining his intelligence from a scientific point of view, however, I believe God created everything we know; everything we have discovered, from genetics and DNA to the unimaginably large universe.

    ‘Every time we build a telescope, God is willing us to create a bigger and better one – he always has more to show us’.

    • Thanks for this, Cez ; completely agree with you. I think it’s definitely important for Christian Scientists to show this compatibility.