This appreciation for life, coupled with his sense that there was no afterlife, pushed Hawking to continuously explore the universe in his mind and through science. So let us bravely go where Hawking led us, diving into the biggest question to have preoccupied mystics, philosophers, artists, scientists, and writers for as long as humans have been contemplating existence: Is there a God?
Hawking was not a religious man.
God and Universe
He did not believe in God. He believed in scientific laws. My work is about finding a rational framework to understand the universe around us.
Hawking believed that these things came to create the universe, spontaneously. When the Big Bang produced a massive amount of positive energy, it also produced an equal amount of negative energy—we know this because the universe has a kind of perfect symmetry. Hawking explained this symmetry with a simple analogy. If you build a hill, you also dig a hole, taking from one area to add to another.
Everything must always add up to zero, according to the laws of nature. Space is a vast store of negative energy balancing out the positive energy of matter. The negative energy the hole is spread throughout space and the positives the hill are the mass and energy of the material world, including ourselves, mountains, the Earth, and much more. To understand how the universe could have created itself from nothing, we must consider quantum mechanics. At the tiniest scales, energy acts randomly and something can ever-so-briefly appear from nothing.
We usually think of everything, any effect, as being caused by something else, something that occurred earlier. The law of nature itself tell us that not only could the universe have popped into existence without any assistance, like a proton, and have required nothing in terms of energy, but also it is possible that nothing caused the Big Bang. The scientist argued that when the Big Bang occurred , time began.
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Based on the relationship between space and time, as illuminated by Einstein, we know that the two are fundamentally intertwined. Asking what came before the Big Bang is thus a meaningless question, Hawking argued, because there was no such thing as time. Time itself is bound by the Big Bang.
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Traditionally, the Christian God is held to be deeply concerned with human beings. These texts show that God is human-oriented: human beings are like God, and he values us highly. Scientists estimate that the observable universe, the part of it we can see, is around 93 billion light years across.
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The whole universe is at least times as large as the observable universe. Our own planet is m kilometres away from the sun. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains anywhere from to billion stars.
Did God create the Universe?
The observable universe contains around sextillion stars. Humans occupy the tiniest fraction of it. The landmass of planet Earth is a drop in this ocean of space. To paraphrase Adams, the universe is also really, really old. Perhaps over 13 billion years old. Earth is around four billion years old, and humans evolved around , years ago. Temporally speaking, humans have been around for an eye-blink.
Clearly, there is a discrepancy between the kind of universe we would expect a human-oriented God to create, and the universe we live in. How can we explain it? The spatial and temporal size of the universe gives us reason to be atheists. The findings of modern science significantly reduce the probability that theism is true, because the universe is turning out to be very unlike the sort of universe which we would have expected, had theism been true.
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Perhaps God exists but his motives for not creating humans sooner, or on a bigger scale, are unknowable. The divine is, after all, mysterious. Perhaps the swathes of space strung with gossamer nebulae serve some aesthetic purpose, beauty wrought on an inhuman scale. Perhaps God values rocks and cosmic dust more highly than humans. The problem with these rival explanations is that, as they stand, they are unsatisfying.