Albert Einstein is the rockstar of the scientific community. How many other scientists can be found on posters with pithy quotes decorating dorm rooms around the world? And why shouldn’t he? He was was a genius, had a memorable image with wild hair and a coy smile, and was known to speak beyond the scope of science making interpretive claims about the nature of the universe and the meaning of life.
But his famous theory of General Relativity was mired with a false assumption about the cosmos. Einstein believed the universe was eternal and static. He worked hard to keep his theory from pointing the opposite direction, towards a universe that had a beginning. But in the end, in April of 1931, Einstein admitted he was wrong: the universe was expanding.
Skeptics and Christians can often be found in a tug-of-war battle over the beliefs of Einstein. He certainly was no traditional theist, but claims that he was an atheist are unsubstantiated as well. His famous head nod to the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza is informative as he seemed to find some form of pantheism attractive, a belief that Nature and the Divine are one in the same.
But on this day, the anniversary of Einstein’s death in 1955, we celebrate a brilliant man who made massive contributions to science. A man whose theory points to an expanding universe which winds back to a creation event. A man whose formula that energy is equal to mass times the speed of light squared makes me think of the claim of Moses in Genesis that something outside of mass and energy created everything with the words, “Let their be light.”