A Spiritual Answer to Scientific Atheism


dear ones Can you give your response to the following from Stephen Hawking who is quoted from his new book as saying, "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," and "It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going,"

If there is such a revolution in theistic philosophy, such as arguments for the origin of the universe as you maintain, how can physicists make these statements? Doesn't this show that theistic arguments don't hold much weight with current paradigm in physics?


—jon, norway


Dear Jon,

There is a little conversation in Autobiography of a Yogi concerning this point:

A noted chemist once crossed swords with Sri Yukteswar. The visitor would not admit the existence of God, inasmuch as science has devised no means of detecting Him. “So you have inexplicably failed to isolate the Supreme Power in your test tubes!” Master’s gaze was stern. “I recommend an unheard-of experiment. Examine your thoughts unremittingly for twenty-four hours. Then wonder no longer at God’s absence.”

Science can never capture God, proof Him or disproof Him. So given that, there will always be scientific minds which believe in God as the cause of everything, and others who don’t.

Since ancient times there have been these two opposing philosophies: one is “materialistic”, the other is “spiritualist”. Materialists sees matter as the basic foundation of creation, and consciousness growing out of it. For them, if matter disappears, all life is gone. The “spiritualists” on the other hand say the cause of creation is not at the bottom (matter) but above: consciousness, idea, or God. Religion, true Yoga, and some philosophers (Socrates, Plato) and scientists (Copernicus, Kepler, Galilei, Newton, Einstein) are in this camp. They say that everything evolves from above (God/consciousness/ idea) downward. They would ask Hawkins: “But where does the law of gravity come from? Out of nothing?”

The “materialistic” philosophy results in a mindset that nothing in the world has any real meaning, or purpose. It’s all a big coincidence. Values therefore are man-made.

The “spiritualistic” philosophy answers that everything has deep meaning, behind everything that happens to us there is intelligence and a reason, there is a Great Mind behind it all, there is a sense to this world and to your life.

Some modern Quantum Physicists take an opposite position to Stephen Hawkins, saying: Not only is matter condensed energy (as Einstein proved), but behind energy there is thought, and we can prove it. Creation seems a big thought. Everything in it is connected by thought, by consciousness, like a web. One crucial question of course at a certain point becomes: “What is God?” I think many scientists, maybe Hawkins too, simply balk at the old definition of a human God with a grey beard judging the world. But if God would be explained to them as an intelligent, vast, living consciousness out of which everything evolved, maybe they could open up to it.

At any rate, I think the discussion between these two groups will go on forever, because for every rational argument there will be its opposite argument. As I said, nobody can really proof or disproof God with the mind (or with science), as both groups have vehemently tried for ages.

Back, then, to what Sri Yukteswar said above: “I recommend an unheard-of experiment. Examine your thoughts unremittingly for twenty-four hours. Then wonder no longer at God’s absence.” If we make the correct inner experiments – working on purity in the heart, meditation, prayer – God reveals Himself bit by bit. He will never reveal Himself to the doubter, to the “prudent and wise,” as Jesus said, but to “little children.” And once you know Him even a little bit, you really do know, not in the mind, but from experience. Then, Swami Kriyananda explains, “belief” grows into “faith.”

Science has done a great job in de-throning an old unscientific religion. However, if it loses itself in a meaningless atheism it would be a tragedy for society, which listens to science. But if science leads to an enlightened, undogmatic, free spirituality – an inner science – it will become a powerful torchlight for our future.

Joy to you,