Stephen Hawking Explains it All (or maybe not)

Posted: September 7, 2010 by pastorerichann in Apologetics

In his recently released book “The Grand Design” respected thinker Stephen Hawking has allegedly claimed to have proven there is no need for any metaphysical explanation for the existence of the universe. I have not personally read his new book yet, but what I’m gathering from sources is that this is really nothing new from what he previously proposed in his book “The Brief History of Time.” Still, here’s an article pertaining to this. My initial thought response to the article bites was very simple:

Let’s see… “because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”  

Um… hmmm. I thought we were talking about creation from “nothing.”

 So… there are pre-existent “laws” which just… exist? Where did these “laws” come from, and “why?” Do they exist eternally? How are we defining “nothing” (?). Even if we’re categorizing “laws” within the realm of the abstract apart from science (though the need to consider philosophical abstracts is something Hawking says is obsolete), I can’t help but recall that C.S Lewis’ entire introduction to “Mere Christianity” asks the question why certain abstract concepts exist intrinsically, apart from a creator (how/why are there laws, without a law-giver?). Perhaps for Hawking, these “laws” are impersonal, eternally existing “god(s)” of some sort (?).   

This is essentially the same dialogue that’s taken place for centuries. I can personally recall numerous previous conversations I’ve had with people down these lines. I once asked a young man – a professing “atheist” college student (and science major, who was pressing some issues with me – mockingly) about the ultimate origins of existence. He proceeded to describe what happened to various “elements.” I kept saying, I meant “ultimate” origins – in other words, where did the elements come from? He said, there were only “compounds.” I asked, where did the compounds come from? He said “there was only energy.” I said, where did the energy come from? From there we graciously parted in silence agreeing to consider these questions at a future date.

Pushing back the dilemma (even to alternate universes, aliens – etc) doesn’t delete it. If there were (pre-existent? or eternally existent?) “laws of gravity” it’s not true there was “nothing” – unless we’re using a different definition of “nothing.” Also, changing terminology does nothing to help the cause for the necessity of a meta-physical “other” when explaining ultimate origins. 

I’ll let someone  more versed in this area of thought explain it to you, along with several other thought-provoking questions:

Audio link: William Lane Craig – Questions for Stephen Hawking

Also, here’s an article written by one of Hawking’s Oxford peers (Professor John Lennox) in response to Hawking’s latest book.

-Pastor Eric Hann

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