That’s not me saying that; it’s Stephen Hawking, in his new book which will be released next week. Or, at least, it’s what CNN says Hawking is saying:
Hawking says in his book “The Grand Design” that, given the existence of gravity, “the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” according to an excerpt published Thursday in The Times of London.
“Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” he writes in the excerpt.
“It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper [fuse] and set the universe going,” he writes.
Hawking also, according to this CNN piece, refers to the argument made by some people that since the laws of physics that govern our universe make possible a planet like Earth, where life can exist, that means God must have created the universe in such a way that human life could develop. Hawking responds with string theory and the possibility of multiple universes, which of course would mean there is nothing special about our universe. But I don’t see how the physics of our universe, or whether our universe is the only one or only one of many, affects the existence of God. Why would God’s existence be less likely if the universe we live in is not the only one, or if the planet we live on is not the only planet with intelligent life, even in this universe?
In a way, Hawking is accepting the validity of the very arguments he says are false in order to deny the existence of God: If those are the arguments people make to prove God exists, and then if those arguments are false, that must mean the existence of God is false as well. To me, though, it’s just as illogical to claim that you have disproved God’s existence by disproving the arguments made for God’s existence as it is to argue for God’s existence using illogical arguments to start with.
Obviously, even using words like “prove” or “disprove” to argue for or against the existence of God is a bit ridiculous, since by definition one can never do either one. How can you prove or disprove the existence of something without a definition of the something? The answer to any conversation that begins with the question, “Do you believe in God?” should not be “Yes,” “No,” or even “I don’t know.” It should be “Define God, and then I’ll tell you if I believe that thing exists.”