Einstein and God: It doesn’t take a genius

EinsteinOver the past few years I repeatedly run into to arguments between Theists and atheists over Einstein’s belief in God, as if it makes any difference to anyone but him. The atheist view is that Einstein’s use of the label “God” (as in “God does not play dice with the universe.”) simply referred to whatever mechanism originated the universe and/or holds it together.  A quote often cited is, “I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings” (in response to Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein’s question about Einstein’s beliefs).

Einstein actually said a number of things about God, some of which seem to conflict others. It’s not that surprising, as we all have thoughts about things—even about God—that change over time.

A couple of things are pretty certain: He was never a Christian (he was Jewish by birth), and he was not an atheist. At times he referred to himself as agnostic, meaning that he didn’t claim to know. He did, however, at least believe at one point that there was an intelligence behind the universe:

I’m not an atheist, and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist.

We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written these books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations.

– Albert Einstein (Time Magazine Interview, cited in Einstein and Religion,
Max Jammer [Princeton: 1999] p. 48.)

Personally, I don’t think it takes a genius to come to this conclusion. Without God revealing himself in more specific ways (Heb. 1:1-2), this is about all we can know. But, as the writer of Hebrews states, we do have more specific revelation (thank God). It doesn’t take a genius to recognize this—but it does take wisdom (He who has ears to hear, let him hear).

(Thanks to The Poached Egg for this quote)

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