The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stephen Hawking: God Isn't

Physicist Stephen Hawking has assured the world (and the universe) that it can forget about God, at least as Creator. In his latest book, The Grand Design, Hawking apparently believes that the multitude of theories that form his view of the universe confirm his notion that there are countless universes. But since you and I exist in only one of these universes, we're deceived into thinking it is unique. According to Hawking, though, it's nothing special. It's just one of trillions of universes and therefore requires none of the fine-tuning that our limited human perspective here on little old earth thinks it needs. It requires no God to create it. It can just pop into being on its own, purely as a result of chance.

Hawking also claims he has killed off philosophy. Since his theories explain everything, there's no need for speculative thinking of any kind. Hawking, of course, is wrong, and not just on his belief that philosophy is no longer needed. He's also wrong about creation, since all his theories, all his multitude of universes, all his speculation (those theories are, after all, still just theories), all his attempts to kill philosophy by philosophizing, still cannot explain how something like the universe (the only one for which we have any evidence) can come into being from nothing. That, you see, is something that only God can do. It is also something we mere humans will never fully understand because we cannot know the mind of God.

Science can tell us a lot about our material word, but it has its limits. And Stephen Hawking has come up against those limits. We will always need philosophy to ensure that people like Hawking don't jump to conclusions for which there is no real evidence. Indeed, I believe there is far more evidence supporting the existence of God than there is for Hawking's M Theory of a countless multitude of universes.

As my grandchildren prayed before lunch this afternoon, "God is great, God is good, let us thank Him..."



  1. Prof. Hawking had the same 'religious' message in his book 'Brief History of Time'. There's a few things to note, one you have spotted which is that the proclamation of the death of philosophy is of course philosophising... And another one is his use of the word "universe". We can absolutly have multiple galaxies but can we have multiple universes?

    I have blogged on this in more detail, quoting the wonderful words of Fr.Jaki who reviewed Hawking's previous book.

  2. Hawking also said in 'A Brief History of Time' that science isn't in the business of disproving God. I would transcribe the complete quote but I don't have the book in front of me.

    If there are more than the three dimensions we are aware, then yes, it is quite possible to have multiple universes. After all, a universe is simply the entire body of existence that we perceive.