Artist’s illustration of how a black hole system could look. Image Credit: Dana Berry, NASA
World-famous cosmologist Stephen Hawking’s newly released book Brief Answers to the Big Questions, compiled from years of speeches, interviews and essays prior to his death, is a fascinating read.
In the very first chapter he tackles the big question of, “Is There a God?” Ultimately, he concludes that the laws of science are such that the universe didn’t need a God to create it. “If you accept, as I do, that the laws of nature are fixed, then it doesn’t take long to ask: what role is there for God?” he queries.
Furthermore, he argues that because it can be shown that time did not exist prior to the Big Bang, there was no time for a cause and, therefore, no God: “For me this means that there is no possibility of a creator, because there is no time for a creator to have existed in.”
He proposes, consequently, that it’s scientifically “possible that nothing caused the Big Bang. Nothing.”
Now, to establish up front, there is a tendency for some people of faith to try to villainize people like Hawking for daring to speak such notions – or to arrogantly try to “shut them down” by proving how ignorant that person really is.
I have no such intentions. I hold the greatest amount of respect for Mr. Hawking and recognize the amazing contribution he has made not only to science in general but to me personally in helping provide a greater understanding of our universe and how it works. I also do not pretend to even come close to holding the intellectual prowess and knowledge that he has.
On his own part, Hawking confesses that he doesn’t “have a grudge against God” and has “no desire to offend anyone of faith.” To me, he is merely attempting to speak truth as he sees it.
That said, I do believe he is ultimately incorrect in his assertions on God’s existence because he, like the rest of us, is the victim of false assumptions about God – many of which have been purported for years by theologians and scientists alike.
The following are the reasons his conclusions fall short: