The Theory of Everything, 2014. [PG-13]
“Look what we made”
I spend more than my fair share of time contemplating and discussing matters of faith, science, naturalism, and metaphysics, so no doubt, Stephen Hawking gets quite a bit of air time in my head space. However, while many people of faith, I’m sure, would like to focus on the overt denials of the divine that come with a feature such as this (or perhaps the moral indiscretions), I feel that other significant themes get completely missed as attention is given more toward the scientific apologetics (or moralisms). As an example, a local church did a “Summer at the Movies” teaching series last year in which this film was featured in one of its sermons. Its main focus was on the argument of “God” in the midst of the scientific method and process. Here is what else needs to be discussed:
- The emergent properties of consciousness, and love, in a world governed by physics.
- The human drama of disease, and suffering.
- The impossibility of ignoring transcendence in sacred moments.
- The missteps of dogmatic faith in the realm of post-enlightenment scientific inquiry.
- The limits and challenges of human emotions in coping with tragedy, loss, and disappointment.
In other words, these, and many more “Christian themes” don’t get the attention that “the brute arguments for God’s existence” do. And this, to me, is the tragedy. The Theory of Everything, is, in my mind, a true double entendre. It is both about the mathematics of a unified physical theory that explains everything, and one man’s quest to discover that truth. And, it is also about the human experience, the “anthropological phenomenology” by which we all traverse in this life. There is no escaping those two distinctly different and yet very real properties of our existence.
While there are excellent Christian philosophers who can speak deeply and intelligently to the scientific proofs and arguments of a variety of theological ontologies, it is my hope that the Christian endeavor, the Biblical narrative, and the Way of Jesus, will be valued as being able to speak powerfully and unapologetically to the unfolding human drama found in love, pain, angst, and hope, no matter what particles may be driving it forward.