In the movie God’s Not Dead, an absurdly simplistic assertion is attributed to Stephen Hawking, namely, “The universe exists because the law of gravity demands it.” (Approximately, a presumably exact quote can be found on the wiki page for him.)

I say that statement is absurd because it doesn’t address the basic question it pretends to answer, “Why?” First, it essentially makes gravity and universal laws into god, thus making Hawking a deist rather atheist, but that is irrelevant at the moment. The main point is the time. If such laws necessitated, even made inevitable the spontaneous bursting forth of some things from nothing, why didn’t it happen sooner? Why was there a beginning it all? If Hawking’s naivety is more than insane ramblings, why can we tell for certain there is a beginning? Shouldn’t the eternal, preexisting law of gravity, et al., have necessitated the existence of the something from eternity past? Why the borrowing, inflation, and eventual death payment resulting, again, in nothing?

On the BioLogos blog, Ted Davis presents some opening comments and an article by Ted Peters. It is excellent.

Here is a quote for the ages:

To be nothing (no-thing) is to be indeterminate. To be something (some-thing) is to be determinate. To be determinate is to exist in spacetime. The act of creation signals a shift from the indeterminancy of nothing to the spacetime determinancy of the things which constitute the universe. This leads to the question: is the event of creation itself a temporal event? At first, it would seem that it must be temporal, because for one thing to have a determinate effect on another thing they both must share a single spacetime continuum. But if space and time are themselves the result of the creative act, then the creative act itself cannot be subject to the same spacetime determinancy. So, perhaps it is better to speak of the creative act itself as eternal rather than temporal. By “eternal” here we do not mean simple everlastingness but rather supratemporality. As eternal, God’s act of creation is tangential to time and related to time, yet it is not subject to determinancy by time save in the sense already mentioned—that is, in the reflexive sense that the eternal creator is so defined as a result of the existence of temporal creation. In short, the event of creation marks the transition from eternity to time.

Good stuff. The whole article is one of those you need to read a few times to be confident you know what it says. Even more thought, effort, and time are required to comprehend such things.

The super genius Hawking seems to think his words have meaning when he asks what God was doing before He created the universe. Does that great mind not realize the word “before” has no meaning outside the space-time continuum? “Before” means nothing until AFTER time began. Ted Peters addresses the point better in the article.

I didn’t realize this:

References and Credits

Excerpts from Ted Peters, “On Creating the Cosmos,” in Physics, Philosophy and Theology: A Common Quest for Understanding (1988), ed. Robert John Russell, William R. Stoeger, S.J., and George V. Coyne, S.J., copyright Vatican Observatory Foundation, are reproduced by kind permission of Ted Peters and Vatican Observatory Foundation. We gratefully acknowledge their cooperation in bringing this material to our readers.

I could have read this decades ago.