Sunday, 12 September 2010

BBC News - Stephen Hawking: God did not create Universe


There is no place for God in theories on the creation of the Universe, Professor Stephen Hawking has said.

He had previously argued belief in a creator was not incompatible with science but in a new book, he concludes the Big Bang was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics.

The Grand Design, part serialised in the Times, says there is no need to invoke God to set the Universe going.

"Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something," he concluded.

It is interesting that Prof. Hawking’s attitude to religion is highlighted in reports on his new book because he is as convinced that the physical sciences have made philosophy just as redundant. The emphasis on religion reflects perhaps the current rabid drive on the part of the neo-atheists to rid the world of believers. But philosophers?

It depends on how you define philosophy I suppose but if philosophy is thinking about how we think about the world then he has just made a philosophical statement and needs the context of philosophy in which to make it and to give it meaning; ergo, philosophy is not redundant.

With regards God, he has made the familiar mistake of assuming that the more science can discover the less need have we for God to explain this world. This is an argument directed at a particular view of God popular in certain fundamentalist circles but fails completely to address what the Bible has to say. It addresses the infamous “God of the gaps” error but not the God of the Bible.

While it is popularly believed (believed, now there’s a loaded term) that the more we have of science and reason the less our need of God, the biblical view is the more we have of science and reason the more we fulfil the creation mandate. In the creation account man is commanded to have dominion over the earth, to replenish it and fill it (Gen.1:28)

This has been interpreted by some as licence to exploit but this is quite wrong. Man’s dominion was to bring glory to the God who made everything and, acting as steward over God’s creation, he was to care for the world. What we see today as exploitation is the fruit of the fall when man’s “dominion” was diminished and lost but…

Hamlet declared, “What a piece of work is man…in apprehension how like a god!” Never a truer word was spoken. Not that man is, or will become a god, but that man was made with godlike qualities, what Christians call God’s communicable attributes. Those attributes of God that, in his wisdom and grace, he has shared with us, his creatures.

An expression of those attributes, albeit marred by sin, is still seen in mankind’s concern for and curiosity about our world. A steward of God’s world, far from being ignorant of his or her charge and duty, is industrious in learning and growing in knowledge of this world. Hence science, far from making God redundant, is, even unknowingly, obeying a godlike instinct to know, understand and responsibly steward the creation.

A Christian has no need to fear science and should rejoice in the knowledge that, even when some in the scientific community are determined to dismiss God, yet they fulfil God’s purposes and will in the end, like everyone else, see God either as their saving Father or as their judge.

BBC News - Stephen Hawking: God did not create Universe

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