I am fascinated by cosmology and astronomy. They can be awesome subjects and sometimes provide real challenges to religious thinking. I also really enjoy dialoguing with atheists and agnostics.
Professor Stephen Hawking’s previous book “A Brief History of Time” was a best seller. Millions bought it, but I was one of the minority who actually read it! A friend told Hawking that the original draft was too complicated for the intelligent reader and had to be simplified. I read the “simplified” final version and it certainly taxed my brain which is predominantly theological, not scientific.
I’m not naive, I’ve written several books and I know that publishers like publicity. To lift a very controversial quotation – indicating that a very famous scientist disproves God, and to give that to the news-hungry media at the end of the August silly season is good PR. The book may prove to be much more reasonable than the media hype.
The book isn’t published at the time of writing but I’ve read a long extract. Hawking is saying that the universe could have created itself spontaneously out of nothing. But his reason is that he believes in the multiverse theory, namely that there are many universes, so one was bound to develop that suited creatures like us. Maybe so, but there is no proof of the multiverse theory. So Hawking is saying: ‘You don’t need belief in God which is an ‘unproven’ theory because of my unproven theory about the multiverse!’ The question remains: why is there something rather than nothing? As for spontaneous creation of the universe out of absolutely nothing, (without a divine agent) – that seems to me to be dangerously close to “believing what you know ain’t true.” Hawking seems to be saying it happened because there is a law of gravity. But why is there gravity? And so we can go on.