Hawking had said that God does not fit into the equation of physics which is responsible for the creation of the universe.
Stephen Hawking, in the years immediately preceding his death, lost no opportunity to harp on his favourite theme, that the Universe can create itself from nothing. In his view, all the phenomena in the universe e.g the Big Bang, the planets moving around the sun, an average star in fixed orbits with regularity and precision, the four fundamental interactions in the Universe (the gravitational interaction, the weak interaction, the electromagnetic interaction and the strong interaction), radiation, Cosmic rays, and Black holes, follow logically from the laws of physics; hence there was no need to bring into the equation the concept of a God. There is no evidence to suggest that the earth had been, purposefully, designed by a God just to please human beings.
However, he did not explain how the laws of physics came into being and began to operate -“there’s the rub !” as Shakespeare makes Hamlet say.
Hawking’s views are in sharp contrast to what William Paley, the English theologian and philosopher who on finding by chance a watch lying on the ground had said two centuries ago:
“When we come to inspect the watch we perceive…that its several parts framed and put together for a purpose eg, they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion and the motion so regulated as to point out the hour and the day …..the inference we think is inevitable that the watch must have had a maker..that there must have existed at some time and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer, who comprehended its construction and designed its use.”
Being scientific in outlook I strongly believe that Science alone has the capacity and resources to discover the laws of the universe. But in this particular case, in as much as Hawking’s theory has absolutely no explanation as to how it all began (whereas Paley’s argument is convincing), I cannot resist the urge to go along with William Paley! For to believe Hawking would mean accepting the theory that the watch, made up of self-created parts of precise dimensions, had assembled itself and had begun to function, without any adventitious aid!
It may be mentioned that, Hawking had made another controversial statement in 2014 during an interview with a journalist of a Spanish language newspaper.
“Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation. What I meant by “we would know the mind of God’ (A brief history of time) is that we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”
If Hawking had said this deliberately to rationalise his reference to the” mind of God”, it was not exactly very convincing!
Hawking did not even give credit to God for his having emerged victorious in his battle with his Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. He attributed his triumph to his own will and indomitable courage.
Thus Hawking’s denial of the existence of God and his declaration of himself as an atheist on different occasions, seem to have followed him to the grave.
Having said all this I wish to point out it is rather strange that a scientist like Stephen Hawking should be so preoccupied with the question of whether God exists or not. A scientist by the very nature of his work, is concerned only with the “how” of things and not the “why”. Science is basically the” art of the soluble” as Nobel laureate, Sir Peter Medawar says. What he means to say is that in its ability to achieve its declared objectives or goals science is the most incomparable enterprise human beings have ever engaged themselves in.
Thus, in explaining a physical law or a chemical formula, or a biological fact Science is the only intellectual discipline that is eminently suited to the job. However, expecting science to solve the riddle of God is like expecting an automobile to fly- a task for which it is not equipped to handle.
CONTINUED IN PART 3