Biographer: Einstein Struggled with God

Voices: Walter Isaacson Says Physicist’s Religious Beliefs Informed His View of Science

April 8, 2007 — – Walter Isaacson, the biographer of Ben Franklin and Henry Kissinger, is tackling Albert Einstein in his new book, “Einstein: His Life and Universe.” According Isaacson, Einstein, arguably the greatest scientist of the 20th century, struggled with God.

Isaacson: You know, he was at a dinner party once in Berlin and everybody assumed he was an atheist and he said, “No. I have a deep feeling of faith, a deep religiosity that comes from my appreciation of the way the Lord made the universe,” and everybody was stunned.


He said he was like a child walking into a library, and you see the books and you know somebody must have written them, and you see them ordered and you know somebody must have ordered them, and there’s a sense of awe that’s manifest in that, where you kind of understand that there’s an order underlying everything and the more you appreciate it, the more humble you become in the face of it, and the more you have a sense of what he called cosmic religion.

In some ways, his belief in God, that God had created an orderly universe, informs his science. He believes that underlying everything, there are laws. He would always repeat, when he saw something that violated his laws of causality, he’d say, “Well, God doesn’t play dice with the universe.” Niels Bohr once responded to him and [said], “Einstein, quit telling God what to do.”

Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures

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10 thoughts on “Biographer: Einstein Struggled with God

  1. One comment that stands out to me in this blog is Einstein’s quote ““Well, God doesn’t play dice with the universe.” which he said in relation to violating the laws of causality (the relation between a cause and its effect). It would be like us playing around with or not taking God’s commandements seriously. I am not sure we understand(or want to understand) the seriousness of this. There are repercussions for not following God’s laws/commands. I think Needles hits the nail on the head in her comment on Sara’s blog “Study with Sara”. She said ‘commitment/obedience and disobedience/rebellion certainly go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.’ Now that is a law of causality. Deut 28 clearly shows blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience to God’s laws.

  2. The Lord says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways for as the heavens are higher than all the earth, so are MY thoughts and MY ways..”{Is. 55:8-9 (paraphrased)
    Never unto infinity can men figure out WHAT & WHY GOD has done something or HOW He does it.
    Deut. 29:29 says, ” the secret things belong unto the LORD OUR GOD but those things which are revealed (manifested) belong to us and our children that we may do well the WORDS of God’s Law.
    The manifestation of an ordered universe is a gigantic revelation of a creative GOD. This is revealed to us so that we can observe and partake and know of a marvelous Creator and we may worship Him in our hearts. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest for GOD has shown it unto us. For the invisible things from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, that is His eternal power and GODHEAD. So now men are without excuse. Because that when they see the creation and what HE had made and yet do NOT glorify Him , nor are they thankful for His creation, they become vain in their imaginations and their foolish hearts become darkened.” Rom.1:19-21.
    The denial of an orderly, created universe by a Sovereign Creator and touting a BIG BANG theory is as implausible as taking a ROLEX watch apart, throwing it up in the air and having it fall to earth with all the parts in perfect order.

  3. Hebrews says, “Thou, Oh Lord,in the beginning has laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hand. Even they shall eventually perish but THOU remaineth. They shall wax old as an old garment and THOU shall fold them up and they shall be changed…BUT THOU art the same forever and THY years shall not fail.” Heb.1:10-11
    God the Great Creator of the universe is the same, yesterday, today and forever. The works of His hands are eternally unique. Man can copy cat a lot of things but they cannot CREATE DNA; Soil;etc. Man cannot create anything that was not already placed upon this earth. Man cannot create molecular and atomic structure that the LORD GOD did not place here first, in the CREATION of the Universe.
    “HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD HOW GREAT IS HIS NAME!!!
    AH LORD GOD THOU HAST MADE THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH BY THY GREAT POWER
    AH LORD GOD THOU HAST MADE THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH BY THINE OUTSTRETCHED HAND.”

  4. Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
    Romans 1:20 “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”

  5. Thanks Needles, these scriptures certainly make it clear enough for all to see there can be no justification for not knowing. You can see why such a God as this ‘informs’ Einstein’s science.

  6. This reminds me to sing:

    All things bright and beautiful,
    all creatures great and small,
    all things wise and wonderful,
    the Lord God made them all.

    Each little flower that opens,
    each little bird that sings,
    he made their glowing colors,
    he made their tiny wings. Refrain

    The purple-headed mountain,
    the river running by,
    the sunset, and the morning
    that brightens up the sky. Refrain

    The cold wind in the winter,
    the pleasant summer sun,
    the ripe fruits in the garden,
    he made them every one. Refrain

    He gave us eyes to see them,
    and lips that we might tell
    how great is God Almighty,
    who has made all things well. Refrain

    1848. Alex­an­der is thought to have writ­ten these lyr­ics at Mark­ree Cas­tle, near Sli­go, Ire­land.

  7. Oh thank you Sara for thinking of this song and posting it! I ran to get out my guitar and sing along. It was my mother’s favorite and is also one of mine. So beautiful and uplifting.

  8. True, Needles, there is no excuse for not knowing God and one can even look at ones body and know that there is a God for Psalm 139 14-16 says I will priase you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well..my frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them…”…no excuse each breath of air that fills our lungs and with each heart beat there rings a clear sound that says …no excuse..God is…and we either accept or reject the truth of it…..I love the Hymn Sara wrote of …”who has made all things well”….dj

  9. MG, you are right God’s order really is in all things as we look around and there is not much we can do about it.

    Wonder why we continue to want to bring chaos to cosmos?

    Aristotle said “That which is impossible and probable is better than that which is possible and improbable.”

    Dorothy, thanks for encouraging with one of my favorite scriptures “we are fearfully and wonderfully made. If we can just remember that at all times it would save a lot of heartache. I guess I should say if we would just believe it.

    Nice seeing you on The Daily Lily and encouraging us daily as the Word of God instructs us to do.  Hebrews 3:13…”exhort (encourage) one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”  Looks like beach vacation has propelled you to ‘draw near to Him and He would draw near to you.” James 4:8  This looks like a Biblical vacation to me, take Him with us to the beach and to the ballpark.  As your quoted scripture goes on to say”… marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well..my frame was not hidden from you…”

    May you and Sherman be blessed with the thoughts and ways of heaven as you walk with Him daily.

  10. Sara You are right we need to keep before us that we are not our own but that we belong to Him who made us and that we difinately are not a coincident…but created and born from above…..dj

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