I’m not going to pretend that I understand all of what Stephen Hawking is talking about in this interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson.
However, Hawking is clearly saying that there was nothing prior to the Big Bang. What that means, of course, is that the universe came from nothing.
I imagine atheists, among whom Tyson and Hawking are counted, are stroking their chins and saying, “Hmmm. Why, yes, of course! That makes perfect sense,” in much the same way Tyson is nodding his head and offering the occasional, “Mm, hmm…” to what Hawking is saying, as if he understands what he’s talking about. (Maybe he does, but he looks as stupefied as I am trying to decipher Hawking).
As I said, Hawking clearly says that, before the Big Bang, there was nothing. This can be interpreted in two ways:
- The universe came into existence from nothing as a result of natural processes. This is how, I suspect, most atheists, including Hawking and Tyson, interpret it. Of course, this statement is categorically absurd, but that never seems to bother the people who propose it. In the book Hawking wrote with Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design, Hawking proposes that the universe came from nothing. The laws of physics, being what they are, required that the universe come into existence because of how the laws of physics work. This, too, is absurd. The laws of physics do not bring anything into existence. They only describe how physical things that already exist interact with each other. The laws of physics, for instance, describe the fact that a baseball thrown from a pitcher’s mound will, because of air resistance, gradually lose velocity as it approaches home plate, so that a baseball traveling at 104 mph at the moment just after being released by the pitcher will be traveling at, say, 98 mph by the time it crosses home plate. But, the laws of physics don’t create baseballs, air, home plate, or pitchers. Simply put, if there is nothing, then there are no laws of physics. So, how is it that the way the laws of physics work require that the universe come into existence from nothing. Atheists usually try to get around the absurdity of this claim in two ways: A) they accuse people who claim that the above is absurd of being too stupid to understand what’s going on (this is the strategy most often employed by internet atheists, either in their blogs or in comboxes) or, B) they change the definition of nothing from “nothing” to “something” (this is the strategy employed by Lawrence Krauss, who authored a book and lecture entitled, A Universe from Nothing). I haven’t read Krauss’ book, but I listened to his lecture, and in that lecture he literally says, “Nothing isn’t nothing, anymore.” Krauss claims that, what Christian philosophers mean by nothing is “empty space.” But, Krauss says, we now know that empty space isn’t empty at all, but is filled with particles that are merely too small for the eye to detect. The problem, of course, is that Christian philosophers have never defined nothing to mean “empty space.” Rather, Christian philosophers have always defined nothing to mean, … well, … “nothing”! No particles. No physical matter. No matter. No space, even. Nothing means “nothing,” and can never mean “something.” Given this, we ought to be able to see why a universe that emerged by natural processes from nothing because of how the laws of physics work is absurd. Nothing means no universe, no natural processes, no physical bodies or physical matter of any kind, no laws of physics. Again, not pretending to understand all of what Hawking is talking about in this brief segment of an interview, but it sounds like he is making the same mistake Krauss made, and that he himself made in his book, The Grand Design. He is re-defining nothing to mean “something.”
- The universe came into existence from nothing as a result of having been created by a Creator. This is the most reasonable conclusion based on Hawking’s claim that, before the Big Bang, there was nothing. Indeed, in order for Hawking to reject the existence of the Creator and get from, “Before the Big Bang, there was nothing,” to the existence of the universe, he must deny his previous ascertain that, “Before the Big Bang there was nothing.” Hawking knows that nothing comes from nothing. An infinite amount of time would not bring something from nothing. Even time would not exist where there is nothing! So, Hawking’s conjecture about “imaginary time” itself is a contradiction of his claim that, “Before the Big Bang there was nothing.” Clearly, Hawking has a definition of nothing that is not the same as the classical Christian philosophical definition of nothing. He changes the definition of nothing from “nothing” to “something.” Which obviously begs the question, “Where did this something come from?” The bottom line is: nothing comes from nothing. So, if there is something, well, from where did that something come? The most reasonable and cogent and sensible answer to that question is: a Creator.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.