The inevitable consequences of physics and God

Thisanjali Gangoda

The mysteries of the universe have always inspired and enthralled humans to believe in the possibilities of a great creator or higher existence.

The mysteries of the universe have always inspired and enthralled humans to believe in the possibilities of a great creator or higher existence. For centuries, religious theology and science have been pitted against one another in attempts to discern when, how and, most importantly, who or what created the universe. It’s a constant source of wonder and fierce debate, with few experts on the matter taking one side or another — until recently.

Stephen Hawking, a well-known British theoretical physicist and cosmologist reveled in his new book, “The Grand Design,” that the idea of an ultimate creator like God is not needed when explaining the creation of the universe. In the book, Hawking and his co-author Leonard Mlodinow, a Caltech physicist, touch on their views of intelligent design and philosophy as being lesser to the truths of physics. Previously, Hawking had made a strong point in saying that belief in a creator such as God was not incompatible with scientific explanations. In his most well-known book, “A Brief History in Time,” Hawking seemed to encourage individuals to seek out God as a possible creator and says, “If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God.”

But now Hawking says that his new book will amend the mistakes he and other cosmologists made in “…the usual assumption in cosmology that the universe has a single definite history.” He explains that the laws of physics, as simple as the law of gravity, dictate that the existence of the universe can’t begin out of nothingness, arguing that spontaneous creation is the only reason why we exist, why the universe exists. He says, “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

It’s interesting to look at the wording of such explanations of the ousting of the God from the picture of the creation of the universe. Hawking doesn’t strongly deny God as being a creator, but rather explains that by scientifically approaching the creation of the Universe, we eliminate the need for God. The creation of the universe spawns from unifying nuclear forces and gravity to create superstring theory, or M-theory, as the universe is said to have hidden dimensions and several origins. The universe, as Hawking describes, is not the beginning of all time, but rather a part of the existence of billions and billions of universes created during the Big Bang.

This idea is amazing; to think that all forms of life and the universe as we know (and don’t know) came from a kind of ordered chaos that we may never be able to make sense of. Though I’m not a religious person and don’t believe in a single god, and generally favor science over religion, I do think that there is harmony in having faith in God and understanding of scientific theories. We may be able to prove that the universe was created at random, but we’ll never be able to prove the existence or nonexistence of God.

We as humans will never stop trying for science to explain God, or God to explain science, just as the universe is continually expanding and changing. As Mlodinow says, “I just hope a reader comes away from the book thinking ‘Wow, the universe is really a cool place.’ I hope people really can feel some of the awe in the beauty of nature that scientists feel, and understand where they come from.”

Whether it’s God or physics that you believe in, all anyone can hope for is to understand the beauty of both.

Thisanjali Gangoda is a senior applied conflict management major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].