Rome, Italy, Sep 3, 2010 / 14:50 pm
Dr. Stephen Hawking's new book, “The Grand Design,” makes the bold claim that the universe “created itself from nothing” based on physical laws such as gravity, making God unnecessary for a self-created and self-unfolding model of the universe. However, two Catholic scholars trained in physics say his remarks misconstrue the real relationship between God and creation.
A Jesuit priest and scholar, former president of Gongaza University Fr. Robert Spitzer, says that Hawking's dismissal of God in favor of physics reflects fundamental confusions about the Christian concept of God, as the creator of all that exists-- both the physical universe, and the laws of physics which apply to it.
When this is understood, Fr. Spitzer said, Hawking's basic confusion becomes clear. Although Hawking talks about the universe “creating itself from nothing,” he is presupposing that this “nothing” somehow involved gravity and other fundamental laws of physics, Fr. Spitzer explained.
But principles such as gravity are not irreducible or self-evident axioms. Rather, they are non-physical laws which govern the ordinary operations of the physical world. Thus, the Jesuit priest stated, there is no comparison between a creation which unfolds and develops according to laws followed by matter, and Hawking's proposal of “spontaneous creation” from “nothing.”