Much as been said about Stephen Hawking’s new book “The Great Design” and that he basically says the universe does not need God to exist. In his new book he writes a detailed explanation of his new equation proving that indeed matter can come from nothing. Forget ex nihilo nihil fit since his equation indeed shows that out of nothing matter can spontaneously arise. Hard to argue with the mathematical proofs he provided and of course as a brilliant physicist he would use the scientific method to prove his case. Someone devoted to science as he is wouldn’t venture into philosophy to make his case.
Oh wait – that is what he did. And as many atheistic philosophers before him he is a much better physicist than philosopher and makes rather simple philosophical errors. Intelligent Design is often critiqued as a non-science since it is not using the scientific method and arises with a volitional explanation. Though when Stephen Hawking’s does the same thing and enters the realm of philosophy and not repeatable experimentation I somehow doubt we will hear the same complaint. Only a very educated man could say something like “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” and think that the statements means anything. Though I do believe in a spontaneous creation of BS. Fr. Barron replied to this statement.
Well, first of all, which is it: nothing or the law of gravity? There’s quite a substantial difference between the two. If Hawking is saying that the universe, which is marked in every nook and cranny by stunning and mathematically describable intellegibility, simply came forth from Nothing, then I just throw up my hands. The classical philosophical tradition gives us an adage that is still hard to improve upon: ex nihilo nihil fit (from nothing comes nothing). Any teacher worth his salt would take a student to task if, in trying to explain why and how a given phenomenon occurred, the student were to say, “well, it just spontaneously happened.” Yet we are expected to be satisfied with precisely that explanation when it comes to the most pressing and fascinating question of all: why is there something rather than nothing? In my dialogues with atheists, I often come up against this total non-explanation, and I can only smile ruefully. Apparently, the affirmation of God involves far too great a leap of faith, yet the assertion that the universe just popped into being is rationally compelling!
It was scientist and Catholic Louis Pasteur who debunked the widely accepted myth of spontaneous generation and it is rather sad to see someone of Stephen Hawking’s status to advance a spontaneous generation of the universe out of nothing.
I also wonder if the title of his book was intentionally ironic. A book that in part denies God’s existence is called “The Grand Design”? I guess that would be spontaneously designer-less design. Really from the materialistic worldview shouldn’t it be named “The Random Happenstance”, “Inferring meaning on the universe for no reason”, or “Nothing Matters: How nothing spontaneously produced matter.” I really have to question his seeming first cause of the law of gravity existing and thus the universe can exist. Hmm, was there a originally just a chalkboard with the law of gravity written on it that exploded into the big bang? Someone smarter than me – and that doesn’t take much – can hopefully explain to me how gravity could exist without matter? We infer a scientific law based on observations, I didn’t realize that the law itself could create the matter we observe.
I do think the Stephen Hawking could do with the same reply that God gave Job and his friends in Job 38.
 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind:
 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
 Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me.
 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.
 Who determined its measurements — surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?
 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone,
 when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
- Stephen Hawking should first consult a young child, then a dictionary, then…
- Stephen Hawking & More Tiresome Atheism
Update: Jimmy Akin reviews the book in the first of two posts on the subject and offers a good critique and the fact that the book does not deny the possible existence of God.