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Review: God and Stephen Hawking

God and Stephen Hawking

In judo, one uses the opponent’s own strength to unbalance him. That’s what mathematician John Lennox does in God and Stephen Hawking, a compelling refutation of Stephen Hawking’s book The Grand Design.

In layman’s terms, and using careful logic, Lennox exposes the flaws and foolishness in Hawking’s proposal that the laws of physics themselves brought the universe into being.

First Lennox clarifies that the God-debate is not between science and religion.   After all, many great scientists of the past and present were and are Christian.  Rather, the debate is between theism and atheism…and it interests a lot of people, as is evident from the best-selling status of some of the books involved.

In God and Stephen Hawking:  Whose Design is it Anyway?  Lennox analyses Hawking’s assertions:

  • First of all, Hawking dismisses philosophy, but most of his book, The Grand Design, is about the basic questions of philosophy.
  • Hawking asserts that God is merely a primitive relic of mankind’s age-old deification of nature, ignoring the fact that three of the major world religions soundly denounce the worship of nature.  What’s more, their writings did so long before the Greeks began to reject their gods in favor of science.
  • Flying in the face of logic and philosophy, Hawking states that the laws of nature created nature.  In fact “this illogical notion of the universe creating itself…appears to be a key argument…in The Grand Design.”  On the other hand, Lennox, along with many of the greatest scientists of history, asserts that the laws of nature point to God.
  • One way to get around the necessity of believing in a designer of our amazingly designed universe is to assume that an incredible number of universes exist.  In that case, says Hawking, any sort of universe, including our well-designed one, is possible.  Besides the fact that this idea has serious scientific short-comings (it is highly speculative and inherently untestable), it also logically leads to some ironic results that must dismay atheists.  What’s more, believing in the idea of multitudes of universes requires at least as much faith as believing in God.
  • Lennox also analyses Hawking’s ideas about rationality and miracles, such as this loaded statement: “Now that we know the laws of nature, miracles are impossible.”

Throughout his book Lennox ably refutes the idea that atheism is the default intellectual position by pointing out Hawking’s logical inconsistencies, his ignorance of the nature of God, his misunderstanding of basic concepts of philosophy, and even some issues with his science. Truly, when a person ignores the evidence for God in creation, he is blinded and his “thinking becomes futile.”  May Stephen Hawking read this book and learn to know the God who created the universe, including him.

As a physicist, I was thrilled to review God and Stephen Hawking.  It is lucid, logical, and mostly well-written.  It clearly shows the inconsistencies of Hawking’s The Grand Design and outlines some of the contradictions inherent in the atheist viewpoint.  Although not light reading, this book should be well within the grasp of any interested reader, and will amply repay any effort put into it.

I highly recommend God and Stephen Hawking to anyone interested in Christianity, atheism, apologetics, modern thought, science, education or philosophy.  It is indispensible reading for Christian teens planning to attend university as well as for anyone currently at university.

This is the kind of book I would recommend for your teen’s science and math reading

Disclosure I received a free copy of God and Stephen Hawking:  Whose Design is it Anyway? from Litfuse in order to give you my honest opinion of it.

This is my 23rd book in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge.

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2 Comments

  1. Udaybhanu Chitrakar says:

    Philosophy is dead. Is Logic dead also?

    “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.”
    – Stephen Hawking in “The Grand Design”
    “As recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”
    – Stephen Hawking, Ibid

    Here three questions can be asked:
    1) Which one came first, universe, or laws of gravity and quantum theory?
    2) If the universe came first, then how was there spontaneous creation without the laws of gravity and quantum theory?
    3) If the laws of gravity and quantum theory came first, then Hawking has merely substituted God with quantum theory and laws of gravity. These two together can be called Hawking’s “Unconscious God”. Therefore we can legitimately ask the question: Who, or what, created Hawking’s unconscious God?
    Not only this, but there are other problems also. If the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes spontaneously appearing from nothing, then initially there was nothing. Then wherefrom appear those laws of gravity and quantum theory to allow universes appearing spontaneously from nothing? In which container were those two laws of nature?
    Now regarding the M-theory: I have already written something on multiverse theory (not yet published anywhere). There I have come to the conclusion that if there are an infinite number of universes, then only within that infinite number of universes there will certainly be at least one universe in which life will emerge. If the number of universes is only 10 to the power 500, then it is very much unlikely that any one of them will support life, because no universe will know which set of values the other universes have already taken, and if everything is left on chance, then there is every probability that all the universes will take only those set of values that will not support life. There will be no mechanism that will prevent any universe from taking the same set of values that have already been taken by other universes. There will be no mechanism that will take an overview of all the universes already generated, and seeing that in none of them life has actually emerged will move the things in such a way that at least one universe going to be generated afterwards will definitely get the value of the parameters just right for the emergence of life. Only in case of an infinite number of universes this problem will not be there. This is because if we subtract 10 to the power 500 from infinity, then also we will get infinity. If we subtract infinity from infinity, still then we will be left with infinity. So we are always left with an infinite number of universes out of which in at least one universe life will definitely emerge. Therefore if M-theory shows that it can possibly have 10 to the power 500 number of solutions, and that thus there might be 10 to the power 500 number of universes in each of which physical laws would be different, then it is really a poor theory, because it cannot give us any assurance that life will certainly emerge in at least one universe. So instead of M-theory we need another theory that will actually have an infinite number of solutions.
    Now the next question to be pondered is this: How did the scientists come to know that an entire universe could come out of nothing? Or, how did they come to know that anything at all could come out of nothing? Were they present at that moment when the universe was being born? As that was not the case at all, therefore they did not get that idea being present at the creation event. Rather they got this idea being present here on this very earth. They have created a vacuum artificially, and then they have observed that virtual particles (electron-positron pairs) are still appearing spontaneously out of that vacuum and then disappearing again. From that observation they have first speculated, and then ultimately theorized, that an entire universe could also come out of nothing. But here their entire logic is flawed. These scientists are all born and brought up within the Christian tradition. Maybe they have downright rejected the Christian world-view, but they cannot say that they are all ignorant of that world-view. According to that world-view God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. So as per Christian belief-system, and not only as per Christian belief-system, but as per other belief-systems also, God is everywhere. So when these scientists are saying that the void is a real void, God is already dead and non-existent for them. But these scientists know very well that non-existence of God will not be finally established until and unless it is shown that the origin of the universe can also be explained without invoking God. Creation event is the ultimate event where God will have to be made redundant, and if that can be done successfully then that will prove beyond any reasonable doubt that God does not exist. So how have they accomplished that job, the job of making God redundant in case of creation event? These were the steps:
    1) God is non-existent, and so, the void is a real void. Without the pre-supposition that God does not exist, it cannot be concluded that the void is a real void.
    2) As virtual particles can come out of the void, so also the entire universe. Our universe has actually originated from the void due to a quantum fluctuation in it.
    3) This shows that God was not necessary to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going, as because there was no creation event.
    4) This further shows that God does not exist.
    So here what is to be proved has been proved based on the assumption that it has already been proved. Philosophy is already dead for these scientists. Is it that logic is also dead for them?

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Wow! Thank you very much for this detailed discussion. It highlights some of the concepts touched on in the book God and Stephen Hawking.

      Annie Kate

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