Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Recent attempts by Hawking and Krauss to show how a universe can arise out of 'nothing' suffer from the same fundamental objection that I raised against religious use of creation ex nihilo. At the very minimum, according to their arguments, a universe can arise spontaneously out of nothing according to the laws of physics. But what about the laws of physics? Do they not have to exist, at least in ontological sense if not physical, for them to bring about a universe out of nothing? And how is their existence compatible with nothingness, which is the absolute absence of all existence?
Partly, Hawking and Krauss are motivated to show that science makes God unnecessary, and while this may strengthen the conviction of atheists, it does little to shake the views of theists, who can easily declare the mysterious laws of physics to be the manifestation of God's will or God's nature or something of the sort.
Gerald Schroeder explained the resemblance between the two very well:
"Our concept of time begins with the creation of the universe. Therefore if the laws of nature created the universe, these laws must have existed prior to time; that is the laws of nature would be outside of time. What we have then is totally non-physical laws, outside of time, creating a universe. Now that description might sound somewhat familiar. Very much like the biblical concept of God: not physical, outside of time, able to create a universe."
In our attempt to pull a universe out of nothing, we keep bumping into this mysterious ontological entity, be it God or the laws of physics.