"The Theory of Everything": A God-Haunted Film | Very Rev. Robert Barron | CWR blog
Why would a scientist assume there is or is even likely to be one unifying rational form to all things, unless he assumed there is a singular, overarching intelligence that has placed it there?
The great British physicist Stephen Hawking has emerged in recent years as a poster boy for atheism, and his heroic struggles against the ravages of Lou Gehrig’s disease have made him something of a secular saint. The new bio-pic “The Theory of Everything” does indeed engage in a fair amount of Hawking-hagiography, but it is also, curiously, a God-haunted movie.
In one of the opening scenes, the young Hawking meets Jane, his future wife, in a bar and tells her that he is a cosmologist. “What’s cosmology?” she asks, and he responds, “Religion for intelligent atheists.”
“What do cosmologists worship?” she persists. And he replies, “A single unifying equation that explains everything in the universe.”
Later on, Stephen brings Jane to his family’s home for dinner and she challenges him, “You’ve never said why you don’t believe in God.” He says, “A physicist can’t allow his calculations to be muddled by belief in a supernatural creator,” to which she deliciously responds, “Sounds less of an argument against God than against physicists.”
This spirited back and forth continues throughout the film, as Hawking settles more and more into a secularist view and Jane persists in her religious belief. As Hawking’s physical condition deteriorates, Jane gives herself to his care with truly remarkable devotion, and it becomes clear that her dedication is born of her religious conviction. Though the great scientist concluded his most popular work with a reference to “knowing the mind of God,” it is obvious by the end of the film that he meant that line metaphorically.
The last bit of information that we learn, just before the credits roll, is that Professor Hawking continues his quest to find the theory of everything, that elusive equation that will explain all of reality. Do you see why I say the entire film is haunted by God?