I read Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” about a decade ago. I am still impressed by how he made the theories of quantum physics and astrophysics well blended. He made equations like e=mc2 and Bohr uncertainty principle accessible to a layman like me.
At the first glance of the “Briefer History” in a bookstore, I thought it was a brief or summery of the classic one. In fact in the “briefer” one, Hawking has displayed a shift of his view of God.
In his previous book, he argued that if there were God, the God is doing nothing but throwing dice. If there is any origin of what’s happening now, the origin is a pure randomness. However, by using the known present and previous states of the universe, scientists can calculate backward to the ultimate starting point – the point right after the big bang. And from the starting point and calculate forward to predict the future. If that theory stands, then the mathematical equations can determine whether the God exists. Further, if He exists, the equation can locate where the God lives.
In this “briefer” book, Hawking has taken a humbler view on what the God is doing. Instead of throwing dice, Hawking opted the God is developing the universe in a completely arbitrary way and make everything evolves in a very regular way. The regularity implies the existence of some equations that permit us to determine the origin of the universe and predict the future.
It seems Hawking has explored something in the years between the two books. The new findings have shifted his view of God and his understanding of the universe. All in all, the core belief is still sticking to the existence of the universal equation.