Curiosity, Did God Create the Universe

I just endured the show "Curiosity, Did God Create the Universe" and saw a battle between the religion of science vs. superstition and nominalism, not a show about science or religion at all.

One quote that was telling was that time began at the big bang and this precludes any cause existing prior to this event, thus no God, stated as: "For me this means there is no possibility of a creator, because there is no time for a creator to have existed". This is merely their own "creator", not the One that exists outside of time and is the Self-Existent Being.

The hubris of defining a concept and subject using ones own reasoning and refuting it is seemingly where the religion of science has come, quote: "Sitting here on our planet, pretty pleased at having worked it all out". Enough said. Anyone else see this silliness?

I couldn't believe I wasted 56 minutes listening to the whole story, and then the last four listening to the guy say, "Ya..well..there's no Creator since there was no time for a Creator."

:mad:

[quote="Earnest_Bunbury, post:1, topic:251300"]
I just endured the show "Curiosity, Did God Create the Universe" and saw a battle between the religion of science vs. superstition and nominalism, not a show about science or religion at all.

One quote that was telling was that time began at the big bang and this precludes any cause existing prior to this event, thus no God, stated as: "For me this means there is no possibility of a creator, because there is no time for a creator to have existed". This is merely their own "creator", not the One that exists outside of time and is the Self-Existent Being.

The hubris of defining a concept and subject using ones own reasoning and refuting it is seemingly where the religion of science has come, quote: "Sitting here on our planet, pretty pleased at having worked it all out". Enough said. Anyone else see this silliness?

[/quote]

I saw it on the Discovery Channel and also endured a little of the following show with Stephen Hawking on the Universe and the Big Bang Theory. There was one theologian on the panel, who dissented from the others, while still accepting science as a means of understanding G-d. Really, these immense questions can hardly be discussed at all adequately in only a half-hour; and why was David Gregory the moderator?

I just caught bits and peaces of the hour program - was peeking in to see if I wanted to record it later (it's on again at 11 EST). I also watched most of the 1/2 hour debate.

Can't say I was particularly impressed with any of it.

To me the bottom line is that all the scientists have done is "push back" some boundaries of what we can know and/or say about God - but they never even come close to proving there is no God, ore even that God isn't "necessary".

To me it was a big fizzle and I won't even bother recording it....

Now next week they are suppose to talk about "are we ready for an alien invasion....That could be interesting....:D:hypno::takeoff:

Peace
James

[quote="Earnest_Bunbury, post:1, topic:251300"]
The hubris of defining a concept and subject using ones own reasoning and refuting it is seemingly where the religion of science has come, quote: "Sitting here on our planet, pretty pleased at having worked it all out". Enough said. Anyone else see this silliness?

[/quote]

Well that's not the silliness.
The real question is why an omniscient, omnipotent Being, perfectly complete in Himself would create the angels, us and whoever else we might not know about.

The Catechism says God made us "to know Him, love Him and serve Him". Huh? It's not like He was lonely and needed friends.
One-third of the Angels immediately rebelled and some very large percentage of humans are going to Hell as well (if you refuse to believe that you think Jesus is lying).

So why create anything at all, or at least anyone with immortal souls to be lost?

This program started with some very promising deep-space artwork and a sonorous voice-over. But when they panned over to 'master theologian' Stephen Hawking and my dog started to whine, I decided that a better use of my time would be to walk behind the puppy and pick up whatever she deposited on the lawn. My suspicions were justified as I came back in the house and the Voice declared, as Earnest pointed out, that before the Big Bang, there was no time for a creator to have existed..... My time was indeed better spent scooping up after the dog. So I switched over to the Yankees/Red Sox game..GoSox!
Hawking may be a phenomenal intellect, but absent any faith in a Higher Power, the name given to Moses "I Am Who Am" would mean nothing to him.

[quote="meltzerboy, post:3, topic:251300"]
Really, these immense questions can hardly be discussed at all adequately in only a half-hour; and why was David Gregory the moderator?

[/quote]

Because to many elites and those in the media, Gregory represents the middle ground, and they view him as unbiased.

[quote="didymus, post:5, topic:251300"]
Well that's not the silliness.
The real question is why an omniscient, omnipotent Being, perfectly complete in Himself would create the angels, us and whoever else we might not know about.

The Catechism says God made us "to know Him, love Him and serve Him". Huh? It's not like He was lonely and needed friends.
One-third of the Angels immediately rebelled and some very large percentage of humans are going to Hell as well (if you refuse to believe that you think Jesus is lying).

So why create anything at all, or at least anyone with immortal souls to be lost?

[/quote]

Why? because the smallest movement toward God is accepted by His Mercy, and we then share in His life and perfection in the eternal now of eternity. This is worth someone totally rejecting Him, from His standpoint, and our seeing this as an imposition on us is not in accords with the true nature of eternity, life, creation, love, truth, or God.

God's Spirit is the Truth of reason and our union with this Spirit allows us to correctly see this Truth, whereas our refusal to accept this union abounds with the human reasoning justifying ourselves and our untruth before God. Humble acceptance that we may not be seeing things correctly will lead us to Him, to Truth, and to eternal life.

From what I got out of the show, Hawking seems to think of God as a being among beings. How exactly would an omnipotent being, be subject to the gravitational pull of a black hole? The whole show seemed to be attacking this straw man version of theism. Looking back, I don't even remember God be properly defined in the program. I was hoping there would both theistic & atheistic philosophers giving arguments kind of like Closer to Truth, but the show just seems to be Hawking giving his "opinion" with no real argumentation backing it up. But then again, "philosophy is dead" according to him.

Most respectfully, I feel compelled to clear up some of the misconceptions about what Stephen Hawking was presenting in "Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe". For clarity's sake, I think that it would be best if we present Hawking's arguments in proper form so that may see exactly where, if any, disagreement may be had.

Hawking's Argument for the Spontaneous Universe (Three Parts)

Part 1
1. The universe is made up of positive energy (electromagnetism, mass, nuclear forces, etc) and negative energy (quantum potential energy of a vacuum).
2. Both the positive and negative energies of the universe, if added, are equal to zero. This is not to hard to believe if we recognize that an atom is mostly empty space, a solar system is mostly empty space, and the universe is overwhelmingly empty space.

3. Therefore, there is no need for any energy to be added or subtracted to create the universe since the total is equal to zero.

Part 2
1. According to Big Bang Theory, the universe began from an infinitely dense and infinitely small state, referred to as a "singularity".
2. This singularity is similar to black holes since both share the characteristics of being infinitely dense.
3. In a black hole, the closer you get to the event horizon, the more time slows because of relativity. At the center of a black hole time stands still because the gravity well created in the time-space continuum is infinitely deep.
4. In a singularity, the entire time-space continuum is contained within the singularity so time does not exist before the Big Bang.

Part 3
1. At the quantum level, subatomic particles like bosons and mesons may spontaneously come in and out of existence.
2. The singularity of the Big Bang is very similar to these elementary particles.
3. Therefore, the singularity could have come into existence without cause.

With this, Hawking's makes his case for a universe that does not necessitate the creation nor the causation of a god. However, this says nothing about the existence of a god, which may exist if your definition of it does not depend upon it creating the universe.

Does anyone have the full quote of the conclusion of the presentation? I also just watched the show, and I am looking for the words that were said at the conclusion all together.

Thanks

[quote="GoodGuyGreg, post:10, topic:251300"]
Most respectfully, I feel compelled to clear up some of the misconceptions about what Stephen Hawking was presenting in "Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe". For clarity's sake, I think that it would be best if we present Hawking's arguments in proper form so that may see exactly where, if any, disagreement may be had.

Hawking's Argument for the Spontaneous Universe (Three Parts)

Part 1
1. The universe is made up of positive energy (electromagnetism, mass, nuclear forces, etc) and negative energy (quantum potential energy of a vacuum).
2. Both the positive and negative energies of the universe, if added, are equal to zero. This is not to hard to believe if we recognize that an atom is mostly empty space, a solar system is mostly empty space, and the universe is overwhelmingly empty space.

3. Therefore, there is no need for any energy to be added or subtracted to create the universe since the total is equal to zero.

Part 2
1. According to Big Bang Theory, the universe began from an infinitely dense and infinitely small state, referred to as a "singularity".
2. This singularity is similar to black holes since both share the characteristics of being infinitely dense.
3. In a black hole, the closer you get to the event horizon, the more time slows because of relativity. At the center of a black hole time stands still because the gravity well created in the time-space continuum is infinitely deep.
4. In a singularity, the entire time-space continuum is contained within the singularity so time does not exist before the Big Bang.

Part 3
1. At the quantum level, subatomic particles like bosons and mesons may spontaneously come in and out of existence.
2. The singularity of the Big Bang is very similar to these elementary particles.
3. Therefore, the singularity could have come into existence without cause.

With this, Hawking's makes his case for a universe that does not necessitate the creation nor the causation of a god. However, this says nothing about the existence of a god, which may exist if your definition of it does not depend upon it creating the universe.

[/quote]

I personnaly dont' find any problem with those points. And you are right that the definition of 'god' is a serious issue. Unfortunately Hawking does not seem to realize it. He seems to assume that his understanding of 'god' is the same for everyone. If he had started out by looking up various understandings of 'God', I am sure he would have learned something. Fr. Barron have good ideas on youtube in his 'Faith seeks understanding' series of clips.

[quote="GoodGuyGreg, post:10, topic:251300"]
Most respectfully, I feel compelled to clear up some of the misconceptions about what Stephen Hawking was presenting in "Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe". For clarity's sake, I think that it would be best if we present Hawking's arguments in proper form so that may see exactly where, if any, disagreement may be had.

Hawking's Argument for the Spontaneous Universe (Three Parts)

Part 1
1. The universe is made up of positive energy (electromagnetism, mass, nuclear forces, etc) and negative energy (quantum potential energy of a vacuum).
2. Both the positive and negative energies of the universe, if added, are equal to zero. This is not to hard to believe if we recognize that an atom is mostly empty space, a solar system is mostly empty space, and the universe is overwhelmingly empty space.

3. Therefore, there is no need for any energy to be added or subtracted to create the universe since the total is equal to zero.

Part 2
1. According to Big Bang Theory, the universe began from an infinitely dense and infinitely small state, referred to as a "singularity".
2. This singularity is similar to black holes since both share the characteristics of being infinitely dense.
3. In a black hole, the closer you get to the event horizon, the more time slows because of relativity. At the center of a black hole time stands still because the gravity well created in the time-space continuum is infinitely deep.
4. In a singularity, the entire time-space continuum is contained within the singularity so time does not exist before the Big Bang.

Part 3
1. At the quantum level, subatomic particles like bosons and mesons may spontaneously come in and out of existence.
2. The singularity of the Big Bang is very similar to these elementary particles.
3. Therefore, the singularity could have come into existence without cause.

With this, Hawking's makes his case for a universe that does not necessitate the creation nor the causation of a god. However, this says nothing about the existence of a god, which may exist if your definition of it does not depend upon it creating the universe.

[/quote]

Is this accurate? I took a quantum mechanics this past semester, and though it was just introductory, I can't understand this. It would make more sense to me for fermions, as opposed to bosons, to spontaneously pop into and out of existence, but like I said it was only introductory.

But anyways,

He clearly said in the show that God does not exist. He made this view absolutely crystal clear. Did you watch the show? You're giving him way too much credit for modesty. Even the non-theologian scientists in the discussion panel said it was too bold and arrogant of a conclusion.

His concluding argument was nicely summed up in the later half hour discussion program as "there was no time before the Big Bang, therefore God does not exist." This conclusion is hardly coherent. From my Christian perspective, God created time. It makes sense to me that there was no time before the Big Bang. How the heck does that indicate there is no God? I don't think Hawking has an understanding of what the Judeo-Christian God is to His people.

Simply because we cannot fathom a state of being in which time does not exist does not mean such a state of being is impossible. Ants can't fathom a state of being characterized by our state of consciousness, but we certainly exist.

A big gripe I had with the discussion panel was even the theologian shied away from the idea that God intervenes in the Universe. Why shy away from that? Science will never be able to answer that question. How does a chemical reaction proceed? By the spontaneous transfer of energy (or by an ignition source). I can certainly believe, as a Christian, that God's hands hold all engery, and when we detect the transfer of energy, God is perfectly waving his hands. This is not testable, and will never be testable. A physical observation used as an explanation for phenomena does not dismiss a higher meaning behind what we observe. We can only observe energy in motion. We can say that the Universe has set up laws to keep this going infinitely, but I can believe that God is doing all these things while we speak by employing certain modes such as gravity, nuclear fusion, etc. I can believe that gravity is just one of God's many hands.

We'll never know, and that isn't even essential to faith, but my point is simply that science as a paradigm is incapable of supporting or falsifying belief.

Hawking did no more to disprove the existence of a god, than religion does to prove one! I personally believe there is a "God" but have trouble believing in religion. Religion is as imperfect as the men that wrote it. The same way science will always be subject to attack when it is based on theory. Both lack the ability to ultimately prove the other wrong.

[quote="vittz5484, post:14, topic:251300"]
Hawking did no more to disprove the existence of a god, than religion does to prove one! I personally believe there is a "God" but have trouble believing in religion. Religion is as imperfect as the men that wrote it. The same way science will always be subject to attack when it is based on theory. Both lack the ability to ultimately prove the other wrong.

[/quote]

I think that there is some truth here...

I've always said that God speaks to us in ways that we can understand at the time. Science really does the same thing. Neither can prove 100% of everything 100% of the time. One only need to realize how much science has changed in the last 50 years. I mean I'm 56 and when I was in grade school in the 1960's the theory of plate tectonics was unknown - or at least not widely accepted yet.

Likewise, science often times uses analogy to explain concepts that are difficult to grasp. A very simple example would be where the Solar system is "scaled down" to the size of a football field and Jupiter is a basketball while the earth is a pea and such like things...

Now in both cases, Science and Theology/Spirituality there will come along great minds who see things more clearly than 99.99% of anyone who lived before. They investigate, they write, they deduce and those who come after them try to understand all that these "great thinkers" gave us.

Thomas Aquinas is one such in the field of theology. Steven Hawking is one in Science.

But neither, no matter how clear their "vision" or their discoveries, remain limited and later generations may make new discoveries, new ways to relate to the universe and to God.

I feel sorry that Steven Hawking is an Atheist. god has given him such a great gift and, for the most part, he has used it well. I can only hope that as he eventually approaches the end of his earthly existence, he will doubt some of his own infallibility and perhaps accept the mercy of God without trying to define it.

Peace
James

I’m honestly unfamiliar with any actual work Hawking has done to contribute to the scientific community. Not that I’ve looked for any of his papers or anything, but I think his current status is more so “celebrity” than it is “scientist.” Even if he did influential work in his youth, what has he done lately besides stand on a public soap box and spew out philosophy?

As a science student, I get pretty irritated when people refer to the likes of Hawking and Dawkins as the typical “scientist.” I’ve done research, I’ve worked in labs, I’ve worked with REAL scientists who work their butts off doing what they do, publishing hundreds of papers throughout their careers. Hawking and Dawkins are nothing more than celebrities to me. I admittedly know little of Hawking, as my field isn’t physics (anymore). But in biochemistry I have yet to find ANY significance in ANYTHING that Dawkins has done in his professional career as a scientist. The guy has a few publications of value, but your typical science professor at a University near you has probably done as much or more in his or her professional career. I will NEVER come across Dawkins’ name in research for the rest of my career, I can promise you that.

I apologize sincerely, but I must correct you, and my previous post, on a few points.

The quote you cited was not taken directly from the program, at least, from when I watched it again to look for it; perhaps it is a paraphrase? Hawking’s actual quotes concerning his conclusion were:

“So when people ask me if a god created the universe, I tell them that the question makes no sense. Time didn’t exist before the big bang, so there is no time for god to make the universe in. It’s like asking for directions to the edge of the Earth. The Earth is a sphere, it doesn’t have an edge, so it is a futile exercise.”

He then goes on…

“We are each free to believe what we want, but it is my view that the simplest explanation is there is no god. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate.”

This addition may be seen as an elaboration of his conclusion (first quotation) or merely an addendum expressing his wider view on divinity. I think the case to be made for the latter is strong since he prefaces his declaration with “We are each free to believe what we want,” and this puts his following words on separate footing from his conclusion.

As for your ant analogy concerning existential epistemology, it doesn’t quite hold up to scrutiny. Correct me if I’m wrong but it sounded like your argument was

  1. Ants cannot understand that human consciousness exists.
  2. Human consciousness does exists.
  3. Therefore, the existence of human consciousness is independent of whether or not ants know of it?

This argument kind of muddles the question of “Can we know if god(s) exist?” and “Can we know what god(s) is(are) thinking?”. If you were to use this analogy, you would be better off structuring it like this:

  1. Ants exist in a specific physical, temporal “world”.
  2. Ants can only “know” the existence of concepts in the specific physical, temporal “world” they exist in.
  3. Humans exist in a specific physical, temporal “world”.
  4. Ants and humans both exist in the same physical, temporal “world”.
  5. Therefore, ants can “know” the existence of humans.

If you want to understand Hawking’s inference, you have to understand that his deduction is similar to above:

  1. Humans exist in a specific physical, temporal “world”.
  2. Humans can only “know” the existence of concepts in the specific physical, temporal “world” they exist in.
  3. God(s) may exist(s) in a specific physical, temporal “world”.
  4. Humans and god(s) may exist on separate physical, temporal “worlds”.
  5. Therefore, humans can not know of the possible existence of god(s) unless he/she/it/they enter our physical, temporal “world”.
  6. (Hawking) There is no evidence of nor necessity for god(s) having existed in our specific physical, temporal “world”.
  7. Therefore, Hawking concludes that there is no god.

So Hawking is saying that because we can only know about concepts within our universe, it is futile to try and understand anything that may lie beyond our realm of rational inquiry. And since many Christians profess to believe in a god that exist outside of time and space, Hawking is simply retorting that it is impossible to ever inquire about such a thing. In fact, I think he understands pretty well how people perceive their god(s).

Also, I need to correct what I said about subatomic particles. It is virtual particles and particle/antiparticle pairs that are observed to come in and out of existence spontaneously.

. Not that I've looked for any of his papers or anything, but I think his current status is more so "celebrity" than it is "scientist." Even if he did influential work in his youth, what has he done lately besides stand on a public soap box and spew out philosophy?

As a science student, I get pretty irritated when people refer to the likes of Hawking and Dawkins as the typical "scientist." I've done research, I've worked in labs, I've worked with REAL scientists who work their butts off doing what they do, publishing hundreds of papers throughout their careers. Hawking and Dawkins are nothing more than celebrities to me. I admittedly know little of Hawking, as my field isn't physics (anymore). But in biochemistry** I have yet to find ANY significance in ANYTHING that Dawkins has done in his professional career as a scientist**. The guy has a few publications of value, but your typical science professor at a University near you has probably done as much or more in his or her professional career. I will NEVER come across Dawkins' name in research for the rest of my career, I can promise you that.

Please, please do not speak with authority from personal experience. Although you may be unfamiliar with the work both Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins have done, that does not mean there are none.

Stephen Hawking:

A list of over 14 pages of publications by Stephen Hawking is available on his website, at hawking.org.uk/old-site/pdf/pub.pdf

Richard Dawkins:

A list of Richard Dawkins' academic publications is found here, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_publications_by_Richard_Dawkins

It should also be noted that Dawkins coined the phrase "meme" which is used to describe how Darwinian principles could extend to cultural phenomena.

[quote="GoodGuyGreg, post:10, topic:251300"]
1. At the quantum level, subatomic particles like bosons and mesons may spontaneously come in and out of existence.
.

[/quote]

Hi,

I understand the rest of GoodGuyGreg's notes on what Hawking's said, but can someone with a little more physics than I have explain this to me. How, even at the Quantum level, can something spontaneoulsy come in and out of existence. Also, aren't these particles a for of energy or matter and as such require something to be made from?

Thanks for answering.

[quote="DJK100, post:19, topic:251300"]
Hi,

I understand the rest of GoodGuyGreg's notes on what Hawking's said, but can someone with a little more physics than I have explain this to me. How, even at the Quantum level, can something spontaneously come in and out of existence. Also, aren't these particles a for of energy or matter and as such require something to be made from?

Thanks for answering.

[/quote]

Sorry I don't have an answer for you but I recall a radio interview that was touching on quantum physics/mechanics/whatever and the person being interviewed said there is joke among the quantum physicists that goes, "If you talk about quantum physics and don't get a headache, you aren't doing it right" :D:whacky::hypno:

Peace
James

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.