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.

Hear, Hear, Mr. Mclaren!

I often wander.  In the cyber sense.

I have done my share of wondering in the physical sense as well, but those are different stories for different times.  Back to my recent cyber-wandering.

I was recently discussing the relevance of the need to have an understanding of the Old Testament Hebrew world in order to frame the stories and accounts of the New Testament world.  During this discussion I wanted badly to quote Rob Bell, who I incorrectly remembered as having written a book about Old Testament exodus experiences and why they are so important to framing the intent behind the words we read in the New Testament.

I first searched my bookshelves at home for the book which in my creative imagination was called Exodus.  I had a picture of a green cover with a pattern of multiple shades of green checks across one quarter of the cover.  Either the top left or top right.  Under that pattern was the word “Exodus” in all caps with the leading letter in a larger typeface.  Under that and left justified it said “Rob Bell”.

I’m telling you – I saw that book in my minds eye.

Weeks went by.  Months.  I never did find it on my bookshelf despite looking at every book.  I look through my ebooks on every device I’ve used in the last year.  Even those I was certain I’d never read an ebook on.  I Googled it and found no reference.  I checked Wikipedia, and Rob Bells own web site which seemed to have an exhaustive listing of his publications.  I couldn’t find it.

Then… I decided to give it one more try and bingo!  I found it!  In 2006 Rob did a study series at Mars Hill called Exodus.  It was in four parts.  When I saw the post I realized that was it.  I’d stumbled across it on the Mars Hill site at some point, downloaded, and listened to the series. There was very little chance I’d find those downloads again so I coughed up a few bucks and downloaded them again.  Whew!  Found at last.

But that’s not what this story is about.

This story is about an article I came across while doing that Internet search.  It was written by Brian Mclaren as a rebuttal to an article entitled “We’ve All Seen this Before”.  A criticism of Rob Bell’s book Love Wins, published by prominent Southern Baptist leader, Dr. Albert Mohler.  In Mr. Mclaren’s rebuttal was the following paragraph which I quote here.  In an attempt to provide some context – Mr. Mclaren was addressing the motivations that compel those of us who sometimes question the things we’ve been taught we need to believe…

We’re seeking – imperfectly at every turn, no doubt – an incarnational theology, a theology that brings radical good news of great joy for all the people, good news that God loves the world and didn’t send Jesus to condemn it but to save it, good news that God’s wrath is not merely punitive but restorative, good news that the fire of God’s holiness is not bent on eternal torment but always works to purify and refine, good news that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.

— Brian Mclaren

Hear, hear, Mr. Mclaren!

Wrath? Really?

Wrath?

Really?

God has wrath and it’s directed at me? I read this again today in John 3:36. Just a couple of dozen verses after one, if not the most quoted verse in the bible. A verse that stands as a testament – the testament – regarding the enormity of God’s love for me.

A foundation for understanding God’s grace.

Then, 20 verses later… A reminder that turning down His Grace subjects me to His wrath.

Paradox!

Ultimate Grace from a God who is love.
Angry wrath from that same god.
Both together. At the same time.

How is that possible?

Perhaps I’m misunderstanding His wrath. Maybe His wrath isn’t a judgement that I receive for sinning and failing. Maybe it’s the life I already live.

When I fear incurring God’s wrath I have to start from a position of having done something sinful. But all of my life is sinful. I’m bound by my sin. That’s why I need His Grace.

When John speaks of incurring God’s wrath he does by framing it through the absence of Grace. If I reject Christ and God’s grace I’m left to live in this world as it is. Hateful, violent, selfish… A worldly life, experiencing wrath.

However, when I accept His love and Grace, entering into loving relationship with him I’m able to transcend the wrath of the world.

Hmmm….

I have more pondering to do.

The Art of Disruption

An excerpt from Rob Bell’s Drops Like Stars

There’s a phrase we use when we’re describing something we consider new and unexpected.

We say it’s “out of the box.”

The problem with the phrase is that when something or someone is judged to be in or out of “the box”, it reveals that “the box” is still our primary point of reference.
We’re still operating within the prescribed boundaries and assumptions of how things are supposed to be.

“Out of the box” is sometimes merely another way of being “in the box”.

And then there are those (…) who come from a totally different place.

They ask another kind of question:

“There’s a box?”

Paradox Validated

As I walked from the office to the train this evening my mind began to compose. This happens to me on a fairly frequent basis. Typically, my morning musings bear the fruit of more shareable ponderings, but tonight I feel that my evening stroll through that odd blend of mind and spirit was worth pondering further. Especially in light of the face that as soon as I sat down on the train and opened my email my thoughtful wanderings were validated by today’s Bible in One Year article by Nicky Gumbel. The title was Turning the World Upside Down and the three main section headings were God can bring success out of apparent failure; God can use you in spite of your circumstances; and God can make the ‘worst of times’ the ‘best of times’.

I had begun my evening walk thinking about the book of Revelation in preparation for my Monday evening study group’s impending discussion. It occurred to me when I began thinking about it, that the biggest difficulty with the book is the question of its source and purpose. Some would say that John’s images were written as he observed them, that the telling of them has been preserved through the ages, and that we can expect those things to play out much the way that he describes. Others would have us believe that all that was written in his book (and in many others for that matter) is subject to interpretation. When we read it we need to read it with an understanding that it was written at a much different time in history, for a vastly different culture, and with a very purposeful motive in mind.

As is so often the case, I was bothered by a feeling that I should choose between these positions. Literal reading or interpretive…

It didn’t take long for me to come to the conclusion that it’s not only OK – but correct – to accept both opposing views at the same time.

As I’ve written before I believe that we exist in a world of paradox that is paradoxical by design. The examples are uncountable and go back as far as the creation of humans ourselves, regardless of how you may feel it happened. ( Of course I think it was a combination of purposeful Devine creation and evolution – what else would I think?).

My thinking goes sort of like this…

I was born both physical and bound by the finite realities of this world. I was also born spiritual, transcending the physical limitations of this place.

Both at the same time.

Opposing truths.

A variety paradox.

Perhaps John writes about what he saw in his visions. And in the process of trying to share a spiritual experience he uses the only tools at his disposal. He uses physical, worldly images to describe a spiritual vision of a coming spiritual experience.

Perhaps some of what he writes about are dreams of what might be in the physical world.

Perhaps John couldn’t tell them apart.

Perhaps he lived in a place and time where the distinction between a physical and spiritual reality was much less important than it is to us today.

Perhaps he lived in a time when it was acceptable to use language that relates to the physical world to describe a purely spiritual experience.

Perhaps, if we keep a really big picture in mind, it ends up not really mattering which truth is real. We begin to understand that we can accept both versions as true and real at the same time.

When I opened Nicky’s email I received a form of validation for my strange musings!

Jesus turned the world upside down!

By dying on the cross in the manner he did, he experienced an unimaginably humiliating defeat. At the same time; by dying on the cross in the manner he did, he experienced an unimaginably stunning victory.

Defeat and victory in one act.

Both true.

Both not.

A paradox.

I can’t count the number of times it’s happened in my life as well.

I failed.

But then – out of that failure – success.

Both failure and success.

True and untrue.

A paradox.

Then – when I think I’m not in any kind of position to do God’s work here on this earth – something happens.

I respond without thinking.

I do what I was placed here to do.

And somehow, a circumstance is altered in a significant way.

Often not for me – but for someone else.

I help them without intending to.

One action ends up being something else entirely.

Victory from defeat.

All that from John through his most bewildering book.

Imagine that!