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God, the universe and Stephen Hawking

Since I’m out of commission at the moment here’s a piece by a friend of mine, Prof. David McKay:

“Stephen Hawking has done it—he’s proved there is no need for a God to explain the existence of the universe. Forget Richard Dawkins and the rest of the amateurs. Here is one of the greatest living physicists stating definitively that ‘It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going’. In his latest book The Grand Design, he considers the great questions ‘Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist?’ His response is that a vast number of universes spontaneously created themselves out of nothing and, with so many universes on offer, one happened to have exactly the conditions necessary for the evolution of human beings.

Hawking’s explanation is ‘M-theory’. Don’t ask what ‘M’ stands for—even proponents of the theory don’t know. I would try to explain M-theory to you, but the spectacle of the blind leading the blind is not edifying, and ditches are a constant hazard. The bottom line for Hawking is this: ‘According to M-theory, ours is not the only universe. Instead, M-theory predicts that a great many universes were created out of nothing. Their creation does not require the intervention of some supernatural being or god. Rather, these multiple universes arise naturally from physical law’.

Don’t be fooled, M-theory may sound impressive and complex, but is as full of holes as a block of Swiss cheese. It’s worth noting that other world-class physicists have raised serious doubts about M-theory, and Frank Close, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford, has stated, ‘I don’t see that M-theory adds one iota to the God-debate, either pro or con’.

Irony of ironies, M-theory itself is not and, it is admitted, may never be open to testing. The multitude of universes of which it speaks cannot be observed, but we ‘know’ they must be there. Haven’t Christians been lambasted for speaking of God in such terms? In fact M-theory doesn’t qualify as science, even on the definition of Hawking. A hypothesis that cannot be tested is not science.

Dawkins and Hawking’s disciples say, ‘Religion is a matter of faith, science is a matter of fact’. Yet a theory that asks you to accept multitudes of undetectable universes springing into existence spontaneously sounds very like a demand for a blind leap of faith, and a bigger leap than belief in a personal Creator. Also, scientific laws describe what happens, they don’t make anything happen, not even the spontaneous creation of universes.

The fact is that such theories are simply ways of avoiding what is staring every human in the face: the universe is a testimony to the existence of a Creator. The apostle Paul wrote: ‘what may be known about God is plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse’ (Romans 1:19-20). Physicists, cosmologists and others are seizing on M-theory and similar proposals because otherwise the evidence for fine tuning and design in the universe could suggest the hand of a Creator. Much better to opt for the unprovable and untestable than to submit your mind to divine revelation and lay aside your rebellion. M-theory – more nonsense on stilts.”