Did God Give Stephen Hawking ALS?

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On March 14, 2018, renowned theoretical physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking passed away. (You can read AiG astronomer Dr. Danny Faulkner’s response to Dr. Hawking’s passing in his article “Stephen Hawking 1942–2018”). After seeing the news reports sharing this sad news, Answers in Genesis president and CEO Ken Ham tweeted the following text, along with a news report:

This post and the accompanying post on Facebook quickly garnered dozens of responses. Many were from skeptics, some accusing God of giving Dr. Hawking ALS (often called Lou Gehrig’s disease in the United States), the motor neuron disease (#MND in the below tweet) he suffered with nearly his whole life.

It was nice of God to give him #MND Nice God.

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I imagine the professor’s first question might be why this loving god [sic] gave him a debilitating disease for nearly his entire life.

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Did God Give Hawking ALS?

Those who make such accusations don’t have a biblical worldview of suffering, or likely death for that matter. The Bible teaches that God created a perfect world:

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)

This original creation was free from death and suffering. There was no death or ALS or any of the other illnesses we experience in our current world. But everything changed when Adam rebelled against God. Because death is the just penalty for sin that God warned Adam about (Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23), Adam’s willful actions brought death into creation. The reason Dr. Hawking died, and the reason we all will eventually die, is ultimately because of sin.

But Adam’s choices didn’t just bring death into creation. Because of sin, creation was broken and cursed. Our world now groans because of sin (Romans 8:22), and, as believers, we eagerly await the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23–24) because these bodies are subject to the Curse.

ALS and other terrible things like it are a consequence of sin and the Curse.

ALS and other terrible things like it are a consequence of sin and the Curse. They aren’t God’s fault—they are man’s fault! We sinned in Adam, and we continue to sin (Romans 5:12). Our world reflects the consequences of humanity’s collective rebellion against God.

But the good news is that God hasn’t abandoned us to this cursed and broken world! Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, stepped into history as a descendant of Adam. He died on the Cross, in our place, taking the penalty of death that we deserve. He then rose from the grave and offers the free gift of eternal life to all who will put their faith and trust in him.

Because of Christ’s sacrifice, those who trust him will live forever with Christ where there will be no more pain, death, crying, or curse (Revelation 21:4, 22:3)! That is wonderful news if we will only trust and believe. Sadly, as far as anyone knows, Dr. Hawking chose to reject this truth and the ultimate healing the Lord offers.

What Will Our First Question Be?

Many people mistakenly think when they finally see God face to face, they’ll have some questions for him. But we won’t be asking the infinite Creator of the universe anything when we first see him. We will be bowing down and giving him the glory, honor, and praise due to him alone!

In Scripture, when anyone saw even a glimpse of God’s glory, their immediate response was either fear or a realization of their own unworthiness and sinfulness.

I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. . . . And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:1, 5)
And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” (Judges 13:22)
So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” (Genesis 32:30)

None of us will be asking or accusing God of anything when we finally stand before him. We will be too busy bowing and confessing Jesus Christ as Lord (Philippians 2:10–11). Our prayer at Answers in Genesis is that many will recognize their need of a Savior and receive Christ as Lord on this side of eternity and have their names recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27).

Learn more about the gospel in “The Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

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