Stephen Hawking, God, The Grand Design and a Simple Layman
Stephen Hawking is a genius. You may have heard that before; it’s not a groundbreaking observation. However, does any level of genius allow a person the ability to more fully understand or explain a notion or concept that is based on faith?
I wanted to try and get a clearer view of this question by reading Hawking’s new book, The Grand Design, which has many religious folks quite up in arms. It is important to point out that I am a very simple layperson when it comes to anything scientific, but I plodded through the reading as best I could, an online dictionary always at the ready.
Excerpt from Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design
There is a telling portion of chapter one of The Grand Design that is both interesting and requisite of a few reads to absorb. The book was co-written by Hawking, along with Len Mlodinow. Hawking and Mlodinow explain that the “M-Theory” is a combination of several theories about existence and the beginning of everything we humans know as our reality.
I don’t have permission to excerpt the book directly, so I will instead quote the paragraphs from an ABC news article online, which does have those permissions:
We will describe how M-theory may offer answers to the question of creation. According to M-theory, ours is not the only universe. Instead, M-theory predicts that a great many universes were created out of nothing.
Their creation does not require the intervention of some supernatural being or god. Rather, these multiple universes arise naturally from physical law. They are a prediction of science.
Is Stephen Hawking Saying that God Doesn’t Exist?
Actually, no. What Stephen Hawking is detailing is that his studies in physics have led him to the conclusion that something can be made from nothing. In other words, a Divine Deity would not be necessary to have created our galaxy, as the process that did create it has worked its magic many times, creating a rather impressive number of universes.
While it may be the splitting of some pretty fine hairs to reason that saying God isn’t necessary for creation doesn’t mean that God doesn’t exist, it bears pointing out that at no point do Hawking and Mlodinow assert that a Divine Being does not – or could not – exist.
Is Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design Definitive Proof of how the Universe was Created?
In a couple of words:
There seems to be very little about this M-Theory that significantly strengthens science’s long-held beliefs in how the universe was created. It should be noted that it is entirely possible that I am only not sharp enough of mental aptitude to understand the complex differences between the M-Theory and its predecessors, but my abilities are the only standard I have available to conclude. To say that the proper mix of existing theories into one encompassing theory legitimizes all of them is quite a leap.
The concept of creating something out of nothing doesn’t hold water, as it is still not a case of absolute nothingness becoming something. Whether it is a matter or a concept of time and space, everything is something and didn’t –as far as we can prove – originate from absolute nothing.
So, is it Confirmed that God Created the Universe and Stephen Hawking is Wrong?
This could be answered with a simple pair of rather familiar words:
Belief in a Divine Being creating the universe is a question of faith. Scientific rationale is not necessary or even desired. If a person believes in God, then no further explanation of who he is or from where he came is necessary. If a person doesn’t believe in God, no attempted explanation of who he is or from where he came will suffice.
Science is in the unenviable position of having to put up hard facts to substantiate their findings. Religion, on the other hand, needs only to say “You must have faith”.
Could there be an Ulterior Motive for Stephen Hawking in The Grand Design?
Let me interject with a personal disclaimer before answering this: I am a huge fan of Mr. Hawking, and believe him to be a brilliant, fascinating man who has contributed unimaginable knowledge and goodwill to our planet.
That said, as mentioned earlier, Stephen Hawking is a genius. Would a genius level aptitude even be required to understand that bringing in the lack of a need for God would create controversy and certainly sell books?
The Grand Design is a fascinating book even if, like me, it is hard for you to comprehend every detail, as the two brilliant minds that wrote it exists on a different level of pure brain power than the very vast majority of the world. The M-Theory is a fascinating scientific breakthrough in physics. However, the fact that this theory illustrates the lack of necessity of a Great Being to create the universe is indeed a selling point. Taking advantage of that fact makes no one disreputable at all. It just makes that person a smart marketer.