According to a recent BBC report, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking’s soon to be released book claims:
Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.
Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.
It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.
Wow. What a surprise. (Yawn.) One week before the Pope visits England, Hawking’s new book is to be released in order that all the citizens of the Queen can know where Britain’s leading and most famous scientist stands on the question of God. Purposeful or accidental, the timing couldn’t be more choice for a culture more in line with Masonry than with the doctrines of Catholic Christianity. Let’s see if we can do the math: Britain’s leading scientist suddenly and publicly rejects God; therefore, all Britain is eager to receive a person who claims to be the representative of God’s eternal Logos become human? Yes, England and your media: the rest of the world — at the other end of your nose from which you look down upon us — gets your subtle welcome of the Pope… and we’re hoping for your change of heart.
This seems a teaching moment to offer Dr. Hawking a reminder. He ignored a tremendous philosopher and theologian once beholden to English universities, a man of extraordinary genius who destroyed Hawking’s reasoning 700 years before a theoretical physicist could even say “Theory of Everything.” Of course this genius of his epoch is not studied much in England anymore because of a certain former Catholic King who had some difficulties with Christ’s teachings on marriage… serial difficulties, to say the least. Or maybe I’m just looking to give Hawking a little wriggle room for why he could be ignorant of Thomas Aquinas’ ancient position on the relation of physical theories to doctrines of creation. That is to say, why Hawking’s speculations against God are invalid to any lover of wisdom.
How did Aquinas Already Silence Hawking?
A noted Thomist philosopher, William Carroll, draws-out Aquinas’ thought in order to set the record straight on false opposition between creationists and evolutionists, etc. In his article “Creation, Evolution, and Thomas Aquinas” Carroll observes:
Aquinas saw no contradiction in the notion of an eternal created universe. He thought that it was a matter of biblical revelation that the world is not eternal. He also thought that reason alone could not conclude whether the world had a temporal beginning. But even if the universe were not to have had a temporal beginning, it still would depend upon God for its very being, its existence. The root sense of creation does not concern temporal origination; rather it affirms metaphysical dependence. For Aquinas, there is no conflict between the doctrine of creation and any physical theory.
Theories in the natural sciences account for change. Whether the changes described are cosmological or biological, unending or finite, they remain processes. Creation accounts for the existence of things, not for changes in things. An evolving universe, just like Aristotle’s eternal universe, is still a created universe. No explanation of evolutionary change, no matter how radically random or contingent it claims to be, challenges the metaphysical account of creation, that is, of the dependence of the existence of all things upon God as cause. When some thinkers deny creation on the basis of theories of evolution, or reject evolution in defense of creation, they misunderstand creation or evolution, or both.
Regardless of theories of quantum gravity, M-theory, Super-Symmetry, etc… etc… the same reasoning applies to Hawking’s never ending speculations. Whatever the latest theories and processes uncovered, whether we dwell in a universe or a multi-verse, whether CERN rewrites the Standard Model or not, these descriptions do not answer the metaphysical issues of the contingency of being. Only a transcendent and uncaused cause, only “I AM,” answers the question; and he has actually spoken in Jesus Christ.
Humans are Theological Beings
Look, let’s be honest with one another. Western culture is falling apart and attacks on God’s existence are not helping anyone to become less selfish. The attacks are just leading more and more people to self-indulge in meaninglessness, drunkeness and relativism. Such false individualism hardly protects what the human race holds in its heart to be true, good, and beautiful. The process of cultural disintegration was summarized best by John Paul the Great: as man loses the sense of God he also loses the sense of who he is. For man, male and female, was made to the image and likeness of God.
We have always been theological beings, oriented to realizing ourselves only in the light of God and dependent on his revelation of his inner life in order to know ourselves. We came from the Trinity, a mystery of Love and eternal self-giving. The purpose of creation is to enable us to live in freedom so that we might choose to love as God revealed in Christ and so ourselves become sharers in eternal life. Belief just in “God” is not enough for man to realize his identity. The mystery of the one God as Trinity is necessary to preserve authentic human freedom. God can only truly be love because from all eternity there was a mystery that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have always surrendered themselves to one another in perfect communion… one in being… a mystery of Love.
The one God is Triune. If God were only one person then he would not have always lived as a gift for another from all eternity; and, therefore Love would not be his nature. Human love is called to grow — in our living for one another, not just for ourselves — so that we, made in God’s image, may enter the communion of God. The Trinity is that foundation and model of love — for how to live as a gift to others — which Christ, God, revealed to man and empowers man to become. For this reason we call Jesus the Way.
Jesus reveals man to himself. The doctrines of Islam distort authentic love with a vision of God as Master and not loving Father. It cannot engender human freedom because it is modeled after the master-to-slave relationship. Islam’s view of God distorts truth and freedom because it misunderstands the oneness of God and why God is love… not just Master. Wake-up! Nature abhors a vacuum. The experience in the West is that Islam replaces former Christian cultures and eventually treats Christians as less than human when Islam becomes a majority. It cares less about Enlightenment ideas of freedom which steal from the past charity of a Christian vision. Islam preserved Aristotle and good philosophy until the Christian West could update it with Thomas Aquinas. It would be a shame if Islam must rule and preserve England before England can again do good philosophy and be a light to the nations. Jesus is the true light which enlightens every man.
Pressing the Reset Button
We Yanks are as boorish as you Brits and just as secretly atheistic at heart as Hawking. The entire West has succumbed to this malaise. It has even wreaked havoc in our religious institutions. We seemingly can’t get enough money, sex and drugs (including alcohol) to distract ourselves from having to face ourselves and our own selfishness. Do we really have to wait until we totally destroy ourselves in immorality before we realize how we have squandered the opportunity to build a civilization of love? We are unwilling to be faithful to our marriages or live for our own children and yet we think we can solve the world’s problems? We are not spiritually sick? Lord, have mercy.
If anyone has a reset button, it’s time to press it and give Christianity a second chance within liberal democracies. We need to press that reset button before radical Islam finds more buttons to press.