“In his latest book, he said the 1992 discovery of a planet orbiting another star other than the Sun helped deconstruct the view of the father of physics Isaac Newton that the universe could not have arisen out of chaos but was created by God.”
From AP story found here.
I wanted to post a few thoughts after reading about Hawking’s new book.
First, science observes the natural world. God is assumed in this case (within the loosely knit understanding of the realm of Christianity-Judaism-Islam) to be supernatural. God is beyond nature and is transcendent in His role with the universe. Science, by its very nature, can neither know God nor observe God since it is out of its sphere of research.
Secondly, I do not understand why another similar planet out there in the cosmos would pose such a problem. CS Lewis (and myself) would respond, so what? Even if there was intelligent life on other planets, how does that remove God from the picture? It would not shake my faith at all if an abundance of planets beyond the Milky Way orbited stars similar to our Sun and contained intelligent life. Indeed the thing that would remove my faith would be the discovery of the body of Jesus (I Cor 15:12-19) and that has not been done and frankly will not.
Certainly conservative Christians are partially to be blamed for trying to solve everything and denying even the existence of dinosaurs. Why would it make a difference if the universe was a billion years old and had old lizards walking around? Why would it make a difference if there were people orbiting another star? Perhaps God still revealed Himself to those people. Perhaps this planet is viewed with as much love as ours. Lewis’ Perelandra ties into this nicely, exploring that God could have made people on different planets and still loved them. Of course He came and redeemed this fallen world. What if other worlds had never fallen? This does not contradict the Christian faith.
Thirdly, where did the matter and laws come from? If they have always been here, lying in the box of the universe… wait, that box never existed or has always existed… Yikes, that is quite a faith statement!
In closing, Lewis also would suggest in God in the Dock that we answer the brilliant scientist with a question and I would like to end with it. Since you believe that gravity and other laws are sufficient for spontaneous life out of nothing, what sort of universe would it look like if there was a God Mr. Hawking?