Riffing on Stephen Hawking among others, Mark Vernon wonders if cosmology could be the new theology?

Cosmology is so popular, not just because of the science, but because it allows us to ask the big questions where we come from, who we are, where we’re going. It’s metaphysics by other means. If the Scholastic theologians of the Middle Ages liked to speculate about the number of angels on the heads of pins, we today like to speculate about the number of dimensions wrapped up in string theory. The activities are similar insofar as they feed the delight we find in awe-inspiring wonder.

(Photo: Picture of The Milky Way taken on June 14, 2010 over Balgowan, South Africa, near the base camp of Paraguay's football team during the 2010 World Cup. By Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images.)

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to