Friday, 29 October 2010

Created Out of Nothing - God and Creation

Dr. Stephen Hawking's new book, “The Grand Design,” makes the bold claim that the universe “created itself from nothing” based on physical laws such as gravity, making God unnecessary for a self-created and self-unfolding model of the universe.

Br Guy Consolmagno, SJ
Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ, an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory, who has visited the Diocese in the past, says rather that the preconditions for the universe's unfolding and operations were not a form of “nothing,” as Hawking considers them to be. Rather they are the conditions created by God for the ordering of the world. In opposition to Hawking he believes God is the reason why space and time and the laws of nature can be present for the forces to operate that  Hawking talks about.

Hawking's dismissal of God, Br. Consolmagno says, is based not only on his incorrect designation of physical laws as “nothing,” but also on a failure to grasp the notion of God's transcendence. As such, he concluded, Hawking was really dismissing a kind of “god” in which Christians do not believe. In fact for Br. Consolmagno God is the reason why existence itself exists.

Fr Andrew Pinsent
Other philosophers and theologians who challenge Hawking are the American Jesuit, Robert J Spitzer SJ in his book 'New Proofs for the Existence of God' (available from the Dabcec Bookshop) and our own diocesan priest Fr Andrew Pinsent who is an assistant Priest in St Joseph's, Epsom and Research Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at Oxford. Fr Andrew has recently written an article for The Universe newspaper as part of its new apologetics section on reasons for belief in God's existence. He is also closely involved in the new Maryvale Institute MA in Apologetics which is to launch in January 2011. Concluding his article on proofs for the exisitence of God he says "at this particular time in history, God seems to have made it rather difficult to believe in His non-existence."

Some of this article is drawn from a Catholic News Agency article on Hawking's book.

1 comment:

  1. In "The Grand Design" Hawking says that we are somewhat like goldfish in a curved fishbowl. Our perceptions are limited and warped by the kind of lenses we see through, “the interpretive structure of our human brains.” Albert Einstein rejected this subjective approach, common to much of quantum mechanics, but did admit that our view of reality is distorted.

    Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity has the surprising consequences that “the same event, when viewed from inertial systems in motion with respect to each other, will seem to occur at different times, bodies will measure out at different lengths, and clocks will run at different speeds.” Light does travel in a curve, due to the gravity of matter, thereby distorting views from each perspective in this Universe. Similarly, mystics’ experience in divine oneness, which might be considered the same eternal event, viewed from various historical, cultural and personal perspectives, have occurred with different frequencies, degrees of realization and durations. This might help to explain the diversity in the expressions or reports of that spiritual awareness. What is seen is the same; it is the seeing which differs.

    In some sciences, all existence is described as matter or energy. In some of mysticism, only consciousness exists. Dark matter is 25%, and dark energy about 70%, of the critical density of this Universe. Divine Essence, also not visible, emanates and sustains universal matter (mass/energy: visible/dark) and cosmic consciousness (f(x) raised to its greatest power). During suprarational consciousness, and beyond, mystics share in that essence to varying extents. [quoted from my e-book on comparative mysticism]