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Scientists and the Cosmological Arguments

QUESTION: Prominent Scientists and the Cosmological Arguments


Here’s what prominent scientists are saying about the Cosmological Arguments in their respective fields of discovery:

George Smoot, the team leader from the Lawrence-Berkeley Laboratory, regarding the 1992 observations from COBE (the NASA satellite Cosmic Background Explorer): "It's like looking at God."1

A somewhat more “sober” assessment of the findings was given by Frederick Burnham, a science-historian. He said, "These findings, now available, make the idea that God created the universe a more respectable hypothesis today than at any time in the last 100 years."2

Stephen Hawking described the big bang ripples observations as "the scientific discovery of the century, if not all time."3

George Greenstein (astronomer): "As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency - or, rather, Agency - must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?"4

Arthur Eddington (astrophysicist): "The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory."5

Arno Penzias (Nobel prize in physics): "Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say 'supernatural') plan."6

Roger Penrose (mathematician and author): "I would say the universe has a purpose. It's not there just somehow by chance."7

Robert Jastrow (self-proclaimed agnostic): "For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."8

Stephen Hawking (British astrophysicist): "Then we shall… be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason - for then we would know the mind of God."9

“It is quite possible that God acts in ways that cannot be described by scientific laws, but in that case, one would just have to go by personal belief."10

When asked by a reporter whether he believed that science and Christianity were competing world views, Hawking replied, "...then Newton would not have discovered the law of gravity." He knew that Newton had strong religious convictions.

"Even if there is only one possible unified theory [here he's talking about the unification of quantum mechanics with an understanding of gravity], it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?"11

When asked why he didn't believe in quantum mechanics, Einstein would say things like, "Well, God doesn't play dice with human beings". Hawking's response is that God not only plays with dice, He sometimes throws them where they can't be seen.12

"The idea that God might want to change His mind is an example of the fallacy, pointed out St. Augustine, of imagining God as a being existing in time. Time is a property only of the universe that God created. Presumably, God knew what He intended when He set it up."13

"I thought I had left the question of the existence of a Supreme Being completely open. . . It would be perfectly consistent with all we know to say that there was a Being who was responsible for all the laws of physics."14

Frank Tipler (Professor of Mathematical Physics): "When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics."15 Tipler since has actually converted to Christianity, resulting in his latest book, The Physics Of Christianity.

Alexander Polyakov (Soviet mathematician): "We know that nature is described by the best of all possible mathematics because God created it."16

Edward Milne (British cosmologist): "As to the cause of the Universe, in context of expansion, that is left for the reader to insert, but our picture is incomplete without Him [God]."17

Arthur L. Schawlow (Professor of Physics at Stanford University, 1981 Nobel Prize in physics): "It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious. . . . I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life."18

Wernher von Braun (Pioneer rocket engineer) "I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science."19

Frank Tipler (Professor of Mathematical Physics): "From the perspective of the latest physical theories, Christianity is not a mere religion, but an experimentally testable science."20


Compliments of Steve J. Williams. Rendered with permission from the book, The Skeptics’ Guide to Eternal Bliss (2nd ed), Steve J. Williams, Lulu Press, 2009. All rights reserved in the original.

1 Thomas H. Maugh, II (April 24, 1992). "Relics of Big Bang, Seen for First Time". Los Angeles Times: pp. A1, A30.

2 The Los Angeles Times, Saturday 2nd May 1992.

3 Smoot, George, Wrinkles in Time, 2007 edition , cover.

4 Greenstein, G. 1988. The Symbiotic Universe. New York: William Morrow, p.27.

5 Heeren, F. 1995. Show Me God. Wheeling, IL, Searchlight Publications, p. 233.

6 Margenau, H and R.A. Varghese, ed. 1992. Cosmos, Bios, and Theos. La Salle, IL, Open Court, p. 83.

7 Penrose, R. 1992. A Brief History of Time(movie). Burbank, CA, Paramount Pictures, Inc.

8 Jastrow, R. 1978. God and the Astronomers. New York, W.W. Norton, p. 116.

9 Hawking, S. 1988. A Brief History of Time. p. 175.

10 White and Gribbin, Stephen Hawking; A Life in Science, p. 167.

11Hawking, Stephen,A Brief History of Time,p. 174.

12Schaefer, Henry, Science and Christianity,p. 59

13 Ibid, p. 60

14 Ibid, p. 61

15 Tipler, F.J. 1994. The Physics Of Immortality. New York, Doubleday, Preface.

16 Gannes, S. October 13, 1986. Fortune.p. 57

17 Heeren, F. 1995. Show Me God. Wheeling, IL, Searchlight Publications, p. 166-167.

18 Margenau, H. and R. A. Varghese, eds. Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo Sapiens (Open Court Pub. Co., La Salle, IL, 1992).

19 McIver, T. 1986. Ancient Tales and Space-Age Myths of Creationist Evangelism. The Skeptical Inquirer10:258-276.

20 McIver, T. 1986. Ancient Tales and Space-Age Myths of Creationist Evangelism. The Skeptical Inquirer 10:258-276.

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