I respect Einstein’s intellectual accomplishments. The combination of his intellectual brilliance and imaginative abilities led to marvelous scientific breakthroughs. What I find fascinating is that Einstein did not conduct scientific experiments in the sense that we are familiar with. He did not formulate and test hypotheses. Instead he used Gendanken or thought experiments. Thought experiments are those where people imagine what the outcome would be. His scientific laboratory was his own mind. Only recently have people begun to confirm his ideas with actual experiments.
When someone with immense intellectual skills comes along you can’t help but wonder what they think about God. Einstein was first an atheist but then loosened up a bit and declared himself to be agnostic.
In one of the recently auctioned letters he wrote what he thought was wrong with believing in God. It appears he had problems with the kind of relationship that would be required if God were real. I find it fascinating that the very thing he found problematic is actually an accurate portrayal of what our relationship to God should be like.
"I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one."
In other words he suggested that believing in God requires us to recognize Him as our father and us as His children. The logical extension of this father-child relationship is that we humble ourselves before him and submit to His will as a little child submits to his or her parents. Although he tended to reject this idea, it is indeed fascinating that one of the most brilliant scientific minds understood that accepting God required that we approach Him as a child, with submissiveness and humility.
He was right!
Einstein was not without humility. He wrote in a letter: “I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.” To his credit, when non-believers acknowledge the greatness of nature and recognize their limited understanding of nature, they are, in a way, reverencing the Creator. And when they marvel at the existence of humankind and at our capacities, they are also, in a way, reverencing the Creator.
But alas, what grand cosmological insights might have come from Eniy if he had only believed in God! One can only imagine what he might have conjured up if he had read and accepted the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the teachings of Joseph Smith and other latter-day saints like Brigham Young and James E. Talmage. I, for one, wonder what he might have said about the Light of Christ, that power that emanates from the presence of God, letting Him know, at an instant, what we say in our prayers, how many hairs are on our heads, and what is happening throughout all His creations.