Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Stephen Hawking: God's Existence?
"One can't prove that God doesn't exist," professor Stephen Hawking told ABC News. "But science makes God unnecessary. "The laws of physics can explain the universe without the need for a creator," he added.
This week the world's most famous scientist releases his latest work, The Grand Design, co-authored with the American physicist and best-selling writer Leong Mlodinow. The book has already stirred one of our deepest debates: Did God create the universe?
According to Hawking, something can indeed be created from nothing. He believes our universe was created from nothing. Hawking writes in his latest book: "It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going." (Nick Watt, "Stephen Hawking: 'Science Makes God Unnecessary,'" ABC News, Good Morning America, September 7 2010)
In an extract of The Grand Design, which is published in Eureka magazine, Hawking said: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.” (Laura Roberts, "God Was Not Needed To Create the Universe," Telegraph.co.uk, September 2 2010)
Now, let's assume that Stephen Hawking is the greatest living scientist with the greatest scientific mind. In the centuries to come, most assuredly, his work and theory will be challenged by numerous other genius investigators. Science, by its very nature, is often theoretical and certainly subject to change. In fact, Hawkins, himself, is not claiming to have discovered the "Complete Theory of Everything," and he admits it could take centuries for practical physicists to prove or disprove his latest controversial pronouncement.
And, Stephen Hawking is selling a book. This alone makes his findings biased. To set the facts straight, Hawking had theorized previously that "belief in a creator was not incompatible with science." ("Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe," BBC News, September 2 2010) So, maybe Mr. Hawking has altered his beliefs to create controversy and a greater market for his work. Is he using God as a marketing technique?
Maybe we would be better served by saying that new scientific discoveries may be just propositional insights about how God works. Regardless of the "Big Bang," items like the origin of matter or the origin of the space occupied by the universe seem to be missing in Hawking's theory. Don't "matter" and "space" require creation?
One might also wonder that if there were nothing but a vast void, where did enough gravity appear to draw sufficient materials into one place to create the big bang since gravity is related to the mass of the object or objects. Did "gravity" create itself? Clearly, the creator is not absolutely denied His work.
I hardly think that Hawking's book is reason enough to believe God was not required for the formation of the universe. Anyone could argue that a Creator with a master plan was the ultimate architect of the universe and use just as much theoretical support as does Hawking.
John Muir, the great naturalist and author (1838-1914), once stated, "There is that in the glance of a flower which may at times control the greatest of creation's braggart lords." The same words may ring true today about the greatest scientists.
Ralph Waldo Emerson spent only the one day with Muir, although he offered him a teaching position at Harvard, which Muir declined. Muir later wrote, "I never for a moment thought of giving up God's big show for a mere profship!" This is the perspective many choose to accept and to adapt to their lives on earth. Given the choice of the pursuits of scientific proof or God-given mysteries, many, like I, prefer to accept the "big show" of God's handiwork and not the "big bang" of so-called scientific certainty.