Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
So, I have this terrible bump on my forehead today; and, “no,” it’s not because my wife clobbered me… good guess, though! Actually, I was doing a little home improvement construction project and this one board seemed to have conspired with gravity, or maybe I should say antigravity, to literally jump up and smack me in the head… I know, that’s all very strange; but, that’s my story and I’m stickin to it!
Speaking of “gravity,” as reported in The Guardian (Gibbet, 2010):
“In the new work, The Grand Design, Professor Stephen Hawking argues that the Big Bang, rather than occurring following the intervention of a divine being, was inevitable due to the law of gravity. In his 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, Hawking had seemed to accept the role of God in the creation of the universe. But in the new text, co-written with American physicist Leonard Mlodinow, he said new theories show a creator is “not necessary”. The Grand Design, sets out to contest Sir Isaac Newton’s belief that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have been created out of chaos. Hawking states, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” He also says, “Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.”
Wow – wow, wow, wow… So, I guess if the venerable Stephen Hawking said it, it must be true, right? Now I know that Hawking’s theories have been somewhat simplified for meager folk like me, so that we can, perhaps, grasp at least the general gist of what he’s saying. But, I did a little bit or research just to try to understand a little clearer what Hawking is talking about. And here is what I learned: The actual scientific/mathematical formulas he is working with are probably associated with the Hartle and Hawking no-boundary proposal in which they propose a method for computing the “wavefunction of the universe” using Feynman’s path integral to assign probability amplitudes to three-metrics on a three-surface (Sigma Sigma) bounding a Euclidean spacetime (Mu). In his lectures, Hawking describes an explicit example where (Sigma Sigma) is a three-sphere and the Euclidean manifold (Mu) is a four-ball. “On the other side” of the bounding three-sphere (Sigma Sigma) is Lorentzian de Sitter space. This model is proposed as a model for a spontaneously created de Sitter universe, and he makes the statement:
“Unlike the black hole pair creation, one couldn’t say that the de Sitter universe was created out of field energy in a preexisting space. Instead, it would quite literally be created out of nothing: not just out of the vacuum, but out of absolutely nothing at all, because there is nothing outside the universe.”
Well, I read all that from Stack Exchange – Physics (2011) and I think to myself, “well, that helped me… not at all.” According to The Guardian (2017) Hawking also says, “The fact that we human beings – who are ourselves mere collections of fundamental particles of nature – have been able to come this close to an understanding of the laws governing us and our universe is a great triumph.” I’m like, excuse me? “A great triumph?” “For who?” Because I’m not getting it… Hawking’s theory of a gravitational cause for the existence of the universe still sounds like circular reasoning to me. It’s still something from nothing, in my mind, and it doesn’t seem to bring me one step closer to explaining the fundamental existence of the universe. But, I’ll admit, I’m probably a bit denser than the average collection of fundamental particles!
Gravity, hunh? So, we no longer need God, we’ve got gravity now! And, according to Hawking, if I’m understanding this correctly, gravity does not require any mass to act upon, or by which to be influenced in order to exist! Gravity apart from any mass, can spontaneously arise out of nothing and then act upon nothing, to produce something? Wait, what am I missing? Aren’t we rewriting the law of gravity, here; and, isn’t this still just SOMEthing from Nothing?
Sooooo, if Hawking is right, then there is no rhyme nor reason to the universe, or anything in it? No creativity behind the creation? No artistry behind the architecture? No intelligence behind the design? Even Hawking uses the word “design,” but doesn’t “design” demands a Designer? From the atheist’s viewpoint, it’s all just one big material / biological / physiological and, I guess we could say even, psychological accident? Just happenstance? I’m sorry, but I just can’t go there. If the universe still existed as just one big massive blob of un-orchestrated matter and energy… you know, “without form and void” as Genesis describes it in the very beginning, then, “yeah, okay, maybe!” But, to my mind, there is too much sophistication, too much artistry, too much intelligence evident in the creation for it all to have happened by accident. Even the math involved in determining the probability of it all occurring as it has by accident and without a guiding intelligence refutes the claim of a purely accident universe.
You know, recently, I had a “troll,” you know one of those “internet trolls” (maybe it was a friend) who left me a message on YouTube saying that I should be thankful for the atheists, and for atheism, because a hundred years ago I probably would have died from this cancer that I’ve had already. And I’m shaking my head and thinking, “What?” “How can anyone be so illogical and short-sighted?” But that’s how these people are. They don’t know you, or much of anything about you, they just go online, look at the title of a video, maybe watch a little blip here, or blip there, enough to think they have something to comment on, and then they leave some of the stupidest comments.
Like, really, I owe my life to the atheists… like only “atheists” think scientifically or have been involved in facilitating modern advances in medicine and technology. Like, there are no people of faith involved in the sciences, in research, in medicine, in education – why the world of science is chocked full of “believers” who have done and are doing every bit as much or more than those who profess to be atheists to help make this world a better place through science and technology.
By the way, I’m kind of wondering if Stephen Hawking has, perhaps, changed his mind since his death in 2018?
Gabbatt, A. (2010). “Stephen Hawking says universe not created by God.” The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2010/sep/02/stephen-hawking-big-bang-creator
Kaplan, S. (2017). “Quantum entanglement, science’s ‘spookiest’ phenomenon, achieved in space.” The Washington Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/06/15/quantum-entanglement-sciences-spookiest-phenomenon-achieved-in-space/?utm_term=.f4662cf92030
Rothstein, D. (2016). “Is the universe expanding faster than the speed of light?” Ask an Astronomer. Available at: http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/about-us/104-the-universe/cosmology-and-the-big-bang/expansion-of-the-universe/616-is-the-universe-expanding-faster-than-the-speed-of-light-intermediate
Stack Exchange. (2017). Physics – “Stephen Hawking says universe can create itself from nothing, but how exactly?” Available at: https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/13013/stephen-hawking-says-universe-can-create-itself-from-nothing-but-how-exactly
Copyright © 2022 Philip R. Stroud
All rights reserved