Stephen Hawking Proves That God Created the Universe(s)!

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.

That is…

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?

What is the image of God?

In his book, We Make The Road By Walking, Brian McLaren writes…

An image is a small imitation or echo, like a reflection in a mirror. So if we bear the image of God, then like God, we experience life through relationships. Like God, we experience love through our complementary differences. Like God, we notice and enjoy and name things — starting with the animals, our companions on the Earth. Like God, we are caretakers of the garden of the Earth. And like God, we are “naked and not ashamed”, meaning we can be who we are without fear.

I would suggest that we also echo God in that like God, the essence of our “selves” is spirit not flesh. We exist in flesh due to God’s miracle of creation. But we also exist in spirit. Like God, there is a part of us that is not bound by the constraints of the physical world, and instead is ordered by the bounds of a different dimension — a different creation, also of God.

The small, insignificant, and easily over-looked reveals God’s glory

– every teaching Jesus had about how God creates something glorious starts with something small. Never once did Jesus say the Kingdom of Heaven is like a Fortune 500 Company with super happy shareholders. It’s always something small, insignificant, easily over-looked…these are the things that reveal the glory of God. I mean, after all, in Corinthians Paul says that God’s strength is perfected in our weakness, yet so often we act like weakness is something to be ashamed of, to try and make up for, to try and pretend isn’t there.  — Nadia Bolz-Weber

Nadia’s Blog

When your day unfolds in such a manner that you need a somewhat harder core dose of reality, turn to Nadia.  Check out her blog and follow your way to her church and you may find yourself bathed in the wonder and joy of hard core truth.

When I read (and listened to) the above quoted statement that Nadia made I couldn’t help but to be struck about the pure TRUTH of it.  God reveals his glory in the small, insignificant and easily over-looked.  I think this is one reason why we’re so blessed to be witnesses to the unfolding truth of quantum physics.  As science manages to dive ever deeper into reality and examine the physical world at ever smaller and more insignificant levels, we find that majesty that reveals the glory of God! Particles that can only exist when they are being observed, things that exist in more than one place at the same time – not here, then there – but here AND there – at the same time!  Things that by their very physical nature defy the “laws” of physics that we human know-it-all’s have defined.

Listen to Nadia with an open mind and you might find yet another modern disciple carving out a new path to understanding our Lord and the Kingdom that he has established for us Here and Now.

The Data Says So … Doesn’t it?

The Data Says So … Doesn’t it?

The paradox of alternate realities

Be careful out there!  It’s been a very long time since I slogged through my social statistics classes as an undergraduate Sociology major.  But, one thing I learned that stuck with me is a simple truth.  If you’re good with the math you can make the data say whatever you want it to.

Case in point…

The ongoing, regular and constant conversations about disparity in gender and race amongst the ranks of elite classical musicians in American orchestras.  When you look at the data you see a world dominated by white Anglo Saxon men.  Sure, you can debate and argue nuances involving the rise in the numbers of Asian men and women, or whether or not you should make distinctions between western and eastern European origins.  But why bother?

The fact is – most American orchestras have been practicing blind auditions for decades.  This means that auditions are held behind a curtain.  The path to the performance spot on the stage is carpeted to avoid the sound of heals on wood.  The applicant is not allowed to speak to avoid exposing their gender through the sound of their voice.  The applicants audition is judged on artistic merit only.

Yet, the numbers aren’t wrong.  Facts are facts.  So, the pundits go on and on about the glass ceilings that cause the social inequity that is enumerated by the data.  But, they make a very common mistake.  They confuse correlation with causation.  The data certainly correlates.  But that doesn’t mean that one thing causes another.

For example – the number of African American women is disproportionately low compared to the general population, and the magnitude of the difference is statistically significant.  There is a data correlation.  Many may assume that there is a social barrier that exists that must be influencing the balance which results in the data we see.  But, it’s equally possible that the real culprit is not a negative limiting factor, where one group is actively excluding another.  It’s possible that the root cause is sociological and a result of a simple fact.  The underrepresented group has less desire to be counted among the group being measured.  They exclude themselves because they have no interest in being included.

Of course, we can debate why this is so, and I’m sure someone will propose that the reason they don’t aspire to be among elite classical musicians is because some other group in society oppressed them systemically which resulted in a shifting of cultural values that plays out as a lack of interest in the classics.

As you see, we can paint the picture any way we like using the existing data if we’re clever and committed to proving our position.

Outside the realm of data analysis and statistics we often see that this same phenomenon holds true.  Reality is dependent on the perceptions of the observer.  Multiple people can behold the same object or event yet ascribe completely different meaning to it.  Much like elusive quantum particles that can only be detected when observed – the act of observing disturbs and influences the particle – reality can be disturbed by observation.

Multiple possibilities.  Multiple observers.  Multiple realities.  All in conflict with one another, yet all correct.

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