That Stephen Hawking is a brilliant scientist is beyond dispute. That he has the capacity to make definitive statements about the reality or work of God, however, is certainly open to debate.
This week, Prof. Hawking came out with his perspective that we really don’t need to postulate a Creator-God for the existence of the universe. The article contains an impressive mix of physics and philosophy. He postulates the likelihood of spontaneous creation and the potential existence of a multiverse to try to deal with the fact that such a precisely calibrated universe/planet as ours could exist.
Whenever you encounter a dense (and I mean that with respect, not derision) and complex argument such as this, by digging to the foundation, you can find the key presuppositions. And make no mistake – in cosmological discussions of this magnitude, there will ALWAYS be one or more unprovable core “doctrines” (either stated or implicit) that shape the entire argument.
Hawking’s is found at the end of the third paragraph: “Everything in the universe follows laws, without exception.”
Think about that for a minute. It sounds appealing. It sounds convincing. But it is an assumption of faith. How does Hawking know this? How does anyone come to this dogmatic conclusion?
If you postulate that, you can then rule out God. All you have to do is dig into all the details of the various “laws” you see in the universe, then come up with theories as to why they are there – and how they got there without being created by an external force or intelligence. That is what Hawking attempts to do. And he has to spawn a theory of essentially infinite universes (multiverse) to allow for the percentages to work out that we’d exist.
Now, as the Old Spice guy would say, look again at Hawking’s faith principle. Now look back here. If he is right, there is no God as the Judeo-Christian tradition would define Him, because He would be subject to something greater than Himself – natural laws. But if God is the Creator, then He has made the laws – and He does not have to follow them. He can let the laws He put in place run on the rails of predictability for 99.99999% of the time. Does that mean He cannot switch the track, however?
The laws do not bind the lawmaker. I may choose to set up the automated mechanism to start my coffeemaker at 5 am every morning (as I do!) And, you may observe me every day for 5 years with that very same pattern, to the point where you conclude that the coffeemaker actually determines my schedule.
Then one day I set it for 7 am. Because I can. And I’m the one that originally set it up in the first place.
As the Author of the universe and the laws that run it, God can intervene in what He made, and do miracles. Including the miracle of creation. And the miracle of designing intricate physical laws.
So, all we have to do is make a small change in Hawking’s doctrine: “Everything in the universe follows laws, with one exception.” That exception is the One who created the law-filled universe.
The science community wants to present its case as inevitable and intellectual and evidence-based. And it is based on observation and evidence, up to a point. But don’t be fooled – there are always foundation stones of assumption, and faith, and presupposition. Everyone fills in the rest of the sentence: “In the beginning, _______________ the heavens and the earth.” And what you put in that blank is the core of your belief system, not scientific fact.