Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 10 years ago

As Stephen Hawking said “It would be very hard to explain why the Universe should have begun in just this way,?

except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us”, is that why he’s opted for the very hard explanation of creation out of nothing, by nothing, at no time?


Yes, Gazoo, I do know the man is an atheist, and I do know the quote is from his book, which explains his view, but no - I am not making an argument. I'm asking a question.

For those who found the actual question a tad elusive, I'm picking up on his phrase about it being very hard to explain the Universe except by an act of God. I then wonder if his alternative explanation is not even harder to explain (given the lack of scientific proof for it.)

And Kuma, it would be wonderful if we could all just reflect on the fact of our Universe without first trying to eliminate God from any processes involved in its existence. After all, scientists keep telling us they are working backwards, to the Big Bang. But they cannot say what caused the Big Bang, or how the immensely condensed atomic particle came about (let alone suddenly 'decided' to expand!). Wouldn't it be refreshing if scientists just said, "We don't know further back than that. We've reached our limit"?

Update 2:

Everybody! Do read Martin T's answer on page 2, starting with "The quote is from...." It's a very balanced over-view of the subject! Thank-you, Martin.

39 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favourite answer

    That’s a quote from his book, “A Brief History of Time”, and it’s led to him saying emphatically that God did not create the Universe. Well, it’s not much of a surprise, an atheist saying that!

    What IS surprising is how ruling out a Creator has forced the Professor to adopt the stance that the only viable alternative is that of untold billions of parallel universes (for which there is no empirical evidence of course) – the multi-verse theory which is supposed to explain away the exquisite fine-tuning of our Universe so that life can abound on planet Earth. The complexity involved in this idea is mind-blowing and vastly eclipses the Genesis account with regard to imponderables.

    I read a book by another atheist where he made a good attempt to explain the multi-verse theory, plus myriad other theories that are currently doing the scientific rounds. It remains to be seen which ones get blown out of the water (for they all cannot be right!) But this other author was reduced to admitting that:

    “The superior beings who created our universe inhabited a universe not greatly unlike our own. They were not only intelligent but intelligible, and were perhaps similar to our distant descendants who might also create universes. How these superior beings created our universe and how their own was created now becomes comprehensible issues open to inquiry. The intelligence required to do the job may be superior to ours, but it is a finite intelligence reasonably similar to our own, not an infinite and incomprehensible God… 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… There is no puzzle about the cosmic coincidences after all. The Universe was indeed set up to provide a home for life; but once the Universe got started, life evolved through a process of natural selection with no need for outside interference. It isn’t so much that Man was created in God’s image, but that the Universe was created in the image, more or less, of the universe of the Designers.”

    My word! How the word ‘God’ sticks in the throat of some people! They want to credit unknown (and unknowable) intelligent designers in other universes, somewhere ‘out there’, but they will not credit an almighty God even with self-existence, let alone creation!

    Well, let the Professor and Mr Gribbin get as close as they dare to invoking godless intelligence in the astounding fact of one planet in the universe having such diversity of life, Christians are not fooled. Stephen Hawking is only telling us that we all came from nothing, without nothing, by nothing. It is the ultimate string theory of nothingness. Christians believe that all human beings are made in the image of God – logikos – logical with the ability to reason and think, as well as feel. Let anyone who feels angry at such a biblical idea check out the link below (from which I obtained some of my comments).

    Source(s): In Search of the Multiverse by John Gribbin, page 198 (Allen Lane/Penguin 2009)
    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 10 years ago

    Time is liner, or perhaps, WE are only able to see time as being liner. Currently scientists cannot explain the exact origins of the universe indefinitely. Why? Because we were not there to eye witnesses it and currently there is no ironclad theory going around that explains it. However, does this mean that we should 'create' a God to explain it? No. The mistake in doing this is that you are filling in the blanks with guesses, and not even an educated guess at that. And when the real answers come around, people that believed 'God' did it will refuse to accept the new truth found. There are theories out there now that are gaining momentum. String theory is the most studied that might be able to explain everything.

    Throughout history man has created Gods to explain the mysteries that existed, as we learned more about our world there was less and less need to have a God. We have no use for Poseidon because we understand how the tides come and go because of the gravitational pull of the moon.

    Everyone is free to believe as they like, I am learning about something called The Many Worlds theory, it doesn't make sense to me, but scientist smarter than me and more educated think it is possible, I believe Steven Hawking too. However, since it is not proven, I am not going to believe in it dogmatically. There is also a surprisingly theory accepted by many scientists, or at least given consideration called Quantum immortality. Hard to comprehend stuff, but very interesting.

    I do believe our brains are capable of more comprehension and evolving into higher consciousness so that many one day the human race will be able to comprehend concepts of the universe and different dimensions that our 5 senses don't allow us to pick up on. But I will never know probably, although you'd be amazed at how far science has come in the last decade alone. They just created the first completely synthetic genome organism in May. The same people responsible for decoding the human Genome. We could be opening a Pandora's Box, or perhaps taking the next step in human evolution. Only the future can tell us.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 3 years ago


    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 10 years ago

    The quote is from "A Brief History of Time", which he wrote in 1988. It refers to the situation that would arise if time had a beginning. If there was a point when time began, then it would be hard to avoid the conclusion that there was a creator God. However, he goes on to argue that time does not have a beginning, so it is not necessary to assume a God. He makes the same point in his recent book "The Grand Design" and explains it a lot better.

    At one time the big bang was the end point of physics, but now many scientists are pushing past that limit. This is unsettling for the Vatican and many religious believers who had decided that God lived just before the big bang, Atheists often dismiss such ideas as 'the god of the gaps'. For several hundred years people have been claiming that God was to be found in the gaps of the latest scientific theory. The trouble with this is that every now and then science suddenly enlarges its scope. In medieval times God was just a few hundred miles above our heads - by the 20th century he had been exiled 13 billion years back in time. Now Stephen Hawking and others are pushing him further away.

    I am inclined towards Pantheism, so I do not find this so unsettling. It seems that this entire universe jumped into being from nothing. This strikes me as compatible with the view which is common in Eastern religions that existence arose from the void. This void can be touched in states of mediation. It is not just an absence, rather it is a potential. However, Stephen Hawking knows nothing of this and when he says 'nothing' he means 'nothing.

    Actually, Hawking does not claim to have proven that there is no God, merely that it is not necessary to assume a God to explain the laws of nature. It would be entirely possible to accept all of his scientific ideas - and still believe in God.

    To theBerean: If you read up on quantum mechanics, you will soon come across virtual particles. The experimental evidence for them is very strong. The term 'virtual particle' is unreasonable – but the existence just refuses to fit in with our common sense ideas of how things should be.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • 4 years ago

    Moving out into space doesn't necessarily mean contacting aliens. Let's say the closest habitable planet for humans is "x" miles away. It would be most likely that an alien planet is "x squared" miles away, so we probably won't come across aliens even if we tried. They would have to contact us unless we find some technological breakthrough. They found a planet, Gliese 581c, that seems habitable for life and it isn't TOO far off. We certainly won't be able to reach it now, so we're practicing on how to get to Mars first. I saw a documentary on this, and a group of scientists believe they can beam a shuttle to Mars in eight minutes with their technology, but it will take a long time to build the machines they need! If 2012 is real then we won't have a chance LOL. But if it is just another lie, then we may be able to survive the climate change and pollution long enough to research this technology. I just don't know. It doesn't matter much for me because I'll be dead by the time they figure it out :D

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 10 years ago

    Awesome Q! Look at it a few more times. It's really

    well worded.

    First, let's get over thinking that everything out here in

    the material realm is 'solid'. There's nothing solid about

    it at all except that it keeps moving all the time. That's

    the only solid thing.....

    With that being said, then whatever Hawking's perceived

    or stated focus of belief is, that too is not solid. Any

    more than any of us have attained 'perfection' [solidity]....

    A person with genius and yet with such appearance of

    physical limitations as Hawking's....what a dichotomy

    to be living in - no wonder he phrases his statements

    the way he does. He's caught on the horns of a dilemma

    within himself and he's working it out in front of all of us

    who care to read about it or listen to him.....I am not saying

    anything bad or against the man. I'm just observing and

    watching and listening. And I was raised in the intellectual,

    mathematical and scientific arena....I'm not against quantum

    physics, but they've got something askew, that doesn't allow

    them to get to the finish line....and that's why Hawking is

    basically wallowing in his own confusion, that he so brilliantly

    is trying to make sense of, and shows us quite clearly that

    even with the genius God gave him, unless he chooses to

    focus differently, he will always come up empty and shouting

    about that to the world, who may or may not understand that

    this is actually what is going on.....

    How are we any different?

    thanks for the very pertinent Q :)

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • ?
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    Either the universe was created out of nothing or your god was created out of nothing. Which is more likely to be true? Well . . . it does seem obvious that there is a universe.


    EDIT: There is a lot of "I don't know" in science. Less than a hundred years ago, science didn't know that there were galaxies. Now, I deny that the above answer is trying to eliminate God. What I asked is where does God come from, and, if you are at all a honest person, you must answer, "I don't know," because you simply don't. Now you might say that God has always been here, but then you would be just guessing. Back in the 1950's, Hoyle taught that the Universe was always here, but with the discovery of red shifts, that theory bit the dust. Please do not assign motives to people that you do not know. It simply isn't nice.

    And your suggestion that science should just stop looking for answers to questions, is just plain (excuse me) dumb. We don't know why or what forms the first cancer cell. This is because there has to be around a million cells before we are able to notice them. We are working to get this number smaller and smaller as we zone in on the first cell. If we can find the answer to why the first cancer cell in a human is formed, we will be well on our way to saving millions of people from dying extremely painful deaths. But you say that :

    "Wouldn't it be refreshing if scientists just said, 'We don't know further back than that. We've reached our limit'?"

    To which I answer, "No, it would not be refreshing. It would be a tragedy beyond imaginings, and YOU are in favor of it."

    When will you people ever learn that ignorance is NOT a virtue?

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • riam
    Lv 5
    10 years ago

    The sentence "It would be very hard to explain why the Universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us". This sentence introduces God in Stephen Hawking's equation and makes a strong assumption that God created beings. He is being led to look at God as a strong possibility in the creation theories being thrown around.

    Source(s): me
    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 10 years ago

    Stephen Hawking is, I believe, agnostic and has completely changed his view on the origin of the universe recently, in light of new information about the laws of gravity. I admit, I have a hard time getting my head around the concept of one of nature's laws spontaneously creating nature at a time when none of nature's laws are believed to have existed but that is largely due to the subject being too large for my small head. I wasn't gifted with a brain the size of a planet as Mr Hawking was. There comes a point in science when things cannot be absolutely verified, such as going back in time to observe the universe's origins so scientists have to make their best logical assumptions based on what they discover about the way things work.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • Tony B
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    God is the only 'explanation' put forward at this time, but that, being speculative, is not necessarily the right answer. It makes as much sense as the 'something out of nothing' hypothesis of the Big Bang. The disadvantage is that believing in 'god' means that we HAVE all the answers we need, and probing, researching, studying, experimenting and finding out are redundant from the outset. That is not the way of Human Beings. We HAVE to be certain, and we can only accept certainty by probing and finding out and PROVING! We can't do that with the universe at this time, with or without religion. So we keep asking questions. Except the believers, that is, who already have all the answers.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 10 years ago

    If you look at the context of the quote he is explaining what the state of the universe according to our knowledge would be if we didn't have quantum mechanics.

    In other words its a false scenario that he set up to contrast with our knowledge now.

    Quantum mechanics gives us a broader view than before about the state of reality, you may not like it as it pushes God further into the 'God of gaps' situation but that's not the problem of science, it's your bug bear.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.