Stephen Hawking and Infinite Universe-Creation Mechanisms

Stephen Hawking and Infinite Universe-Creation Mechanisms September 7, 2010

There has been quite a bit of discussion of Stephen Hawking’s new book, The Grand Design, which I have not yet had the opportunity to read. But a review by James Trefil in The Washington Post suggests that the answer the book gives to why our universe exists is: the laws of physics, which produce infinite multiverses, while a post by Johannes Koelman on the blog The Hammock Physicist suggests that the answer is that the total sum energy of the universe is zero and so its existence is not an issue.

I’m underwhelmed. There are issues with classical theistic ways of thinking about God, but not because of multiverse hypotheses. An infinite universe-making mechanism that just happens to exist is surely no less mysterious, and no more satisfying to our intellectual curiosity, than a personal deity that just happens to exist? The same can be said of a universe that has a net sum mass/energy of zero and yet contains entities that ponder its existence.

Presumably the more extensive the creative powers of the posited Reality which simply exists and is “the Creator of heaven and earth, of all things seen and unseen,” the more the debate may become one about the nature of God or the preferability or otherwise of using that term, rather than about the existence of God.

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