Stephen Hawking's Emphasis on Universe Without God

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Stephen Hawking, perhaps the most famous physicist since Einstein, has again emphasized that the universe didn’t need God to get things rolling.

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In a new book, The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking and coauthor Leonard Mlodinow lay out the case for a universe that began without any divine spark—one step beyond even those who accept the big bang but see it as God’s handiwork. To the authors, the big bang was the unavoidable result of the laws of physics at work. “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” they write.

Among the authors’ arguments is that the discovery of extrasolar planets—those that orbit stars other than our own sun—shows that “the coincidences of our planetary conditions . . . [are] far less remarkable and far less compelling as evidence that the Earth was carefully designed.” However, nearly all extrasolar planets (or exoplanets) discovered to date appear to be extremely inhospitable.

The book also raises the possibility of multiple universes, a theory commonly invoked to explain, without the need for God, how life could have arisen in our universe. Turning the usual argument on its head—and begging the question, in a way—the authors argue that the existence of multiple universes would be “redundant” if God was trying to create mankind and are therefore another evidence against God.

The Times report (subscription required) includes a quotation from atheist biologist Richard Dawkins, who admitted tellingly that he had “always assumed the same thing” even before Hawking’s book was released.

Also quoted was Oxford University theoretical physicist Frank Close, who incisively points out, “Given the vast numbers of stars in our known Universe, God’s efficiency may already be called into question: if the sole aim was to create you, me, and Stephen Hawking, would not one solar system have been enough?”

Reacting to the news, Answers in Genesis astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle noted, “Progressive creationists claim that the big bang is God’s method of creation. But here we have the most respected astrophysicist in the world saying that the big bang is a replacement for God. It’s not God’s method. It’s what you are supposed to believe in instead of God.”

It’s what you are supposed to believe in instead of God.

But debating whether God or no one created the universe leaves out a third possibility, argues University of Sussex astronomy fellow John Gribbin in a Telegraph column this week. “[O]ne possibility has been almost ignored,” he writes, “—the idea that the universe around us was created by people very much like ourselves, using devices not too dissimilar to those available to scientists today.” Gribbin is referring to such devices as the Large Hadron Collider.

Sadly, while Gribbin declares, “The universe is comprehensible to the human mind because it was designed, at least to some extent, by intelligent beings with minds similar to our own,” he steadfastly insists that he “do[es] not mean a God figure, an ‘intelligent designer’ monitoring and shaping all aspects of life.” Whether the “creators” are the inanimate laws of physics or a race of beings with “roughly our level” of intelligence, mainstream scientists seem to do all that they can to avoid the conclusion that the universe was designed.

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