Stephen Hawking says the universe was not created by God
According to an article on the BBC website, Stephen Hawking, who is arguably Britain's most famous living scientist says that M-theory, a form of string theory, can explain the existence of the universe. The Big Bang, rather than occurring following the intervention of a divine being, was inevitable due to the law of gravity.
Hawking also says that:
"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing."
"Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist."
"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."
And most astonishingly of all he writes that, "The fact that we human beings - who are ourselves mere collections of fundamental particles of nature - have been able to come this close to an understanding of the laws governing us and our universe is a great triumph."
However, not all scientists agree with him. For example, Professor John Lennox writing in the Daily Mail says that "As a scientist I'm certain Stephen Hawking is wrong. You can't explain the universe without God."
Lennox goes on to say, "Unfortunately, while Hawking's argument is being hailed as controversial and ground-breaking, it is hardly new."
Lennox points out that physical laws can never provide a complete explanation of the universe. Laws themselves do not create anything, they are merely a description of what happens under certain conditions.
We have to agree with Lennox and disagree with Hawking.
Not least because Hawking's science cannot actually tell us whether or not God exists. As with all scientific theories Hawking's theory of the-origin-of-everything-from-gravity can only be tested to see if it is adequate to explain the universe, and while it continues to survive the tests, it will remain in contention. However, one suspects that this theory is as untestable as string theory from which it is derived. These theories are essentially mathematical constructs and no-one has yet been able to test them experimentally. Even if this problem can be resolved that still does not prove the non-existence of God.
There are at least three things for which Stephen Hawking will have to provide adequate explanations. First, where did the force of gravity come from? Secondly, how does the force of gravity produce the amazing complexity that we see all around us? Finally, how does Hawking's theory explain our minds which ask why there is a universe, and how is it that we can understand anything about it?
So has Hawking finally put the last nail in God's coffin? We think not! If we are looking for an explanation for the universe, it would appear that we have a choice that science can do little to help us with.
If Hawking does not invoke a cause for gravity then he is saying that gravity is eternal. So we return to the same philosophical problem, "is there an eternal multi-verse or is there an eternal creator God?" In order to answer the question we have to look at all the evidence, not just scientific but historical and philosophical evidence, before we can decide which is the most adequate explanation - the eternal God or eternal gravity.