I continue to be a little confused by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow’s book, The Grand Design.
Following from their work in this book Stephen Hawking uses their theories to explain why it’s possible for the universe to have begun spontaneously, created from nothing. From this basis Hawking postulates that being able to use the laws of physics and nature to describe how the universe could have sprung into being is sufficient to explain that it could not have been created by God.
I’ve long had a problem with this idea because it seemed to ignore the questions of what came before and how this could be. Yet I figure out a way to explain why it wasn’t sitting right. I understood what my issues with the theory were, but I couldn’t find appropriate language to explain it.
I recently read a response by Gerald Schroeder which I feel goes a long way toward explaining why I felt something was seriously wrong with Dr. Hawking’s conclusions. The paradox is that Mr. Hawking has demonstrated very eloquently that the laws of nature must have existed prior to the big bang and the creation of the physical universe. In my view, there is no difference between “laws of nature” and God. The “laws of nature” are God and God is the laws of nature. Thus, Mr. Hawking has provide us with a theory supporting the existence of God (nature) by showing us how nature (God) could have caused the physical universe to spontaneously spring into being.
In “The Big Bang Creation: God or the Laws of Nature” Schroeder explains it best…
The Grand Design breaks the news, bitter to some, that … to create a universe from absolute nothing God is not necessary. All that is needed are the laws of nature.
there can have been a big bang creation without the help of God, provided the laws of nature pre-date the universe. Our concept of time begins with the creation of the universe. Therefore if the laws of nature created the universe, these laws must have existed prior to time; that is the laws of nature would be outside of time. What we have then is totally non-physical laws, outside of time, creating a universe. Now that description might sound somewhat familiar. Very much like the biblical concept of God: not physical, outside of time, able to create a universe.
My opinion is simply stated. Being physical, we know and relate everything to our physical world. God is alien to us in this regard. Being spiritual and not physical we cannot and should not try to fit the experiential possibilities of God into the constraints of our physical world. Understanding this, it follows that if we can track the evolution of our physical world back in time to a singular point where it all began, and we base our understanding of this beginning on the laws of nature and physics that we observe to govern our physical world, that we must conclude that something occurred to bring about the laws of nature and physics and were necessary to bring about the physical world. If the laws of nature and physics are not physical in and of themselves, perhaps we can think of them as spiritual. If the laws of nature and physics are spiritual then perhaps we can think of them as God.
What do you think?