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From his desk at the University of Cambridge and beyond, Stephen Hawking sent his thoughts spiraling into the deepest depths of black holes, beaming through the endless cosmos, spinning billions of years back. The first breath of testimony. He considered creation as a scientist and when he was called to discuss the greatest mysteries of creation ̵
In Stephen Hawking's latest book, "Short Answers to Big Questions," which was published on Tuesday (October 16) by Bantam Books, the professor begins a series of 10 intergalactic essays in which the oldest and most influential Most religiously charged question of life is addressed: Is there a god?
Hawking's answer – compiled from decades of interviews, essays and speeches with the help of his family, colleagues, and the Steven Hawking Estate – should come as no surprise to readers who have religiously followed his work.
"I believe the universe was spontaneously created out of nothing according to the laws of science," wrote Hawking, who died in March. "If you accept, as I do, that the laws of nature are fixed, then you do not need long to ask: what role does God play?"
In life, Hawking was a vocal champion of the Big Bang theory – the idea that the universe suddenly began to explode out of an ultrathin singularity smaller than an atom. Out of this stain arose all the matter, energy, and empty space that the universe would ever contain, and all this raw material evolved into the cosmos we perceive today, following a strict set of scientific laws. For Hawking and many like-minded scientists, the combined laws of gravity, relativity theory, quantum physics, and some other rules could explain everything that has happened in our known universe, or ever will happen.
"If you want, you can say the laws are the work of God, but that's more of a definition of God than proof of its existence," Hawking wrote.
The universe running on a science-led autopilot could be the only role for an almighty deity. He adjusted the initial conditions of the universe so that these laws could take shape – a divine creator that made the big bang pop and then stepped back to look at his work.
"Did God create the quantum laws that allowed the Big Bang to happen?" Hawking wrote. "I have no desire to insult anyone of the faith, but I think science has a more convincing explanation than a divine creator."
Hawkins explanation begins with quantum mechanics, which explains how subatomic particles behave. Quantum studies often reveal subatomic particles, such as protons and electrons, that appear to emerge from nowhere, stand around for a while and then disappear into a completely different location. Because the universe was once the size of a subatomic particle itself, it is plausible that it behaved similarly during the Big Bang, Hawking wrote.
"The universe itself, in all its bafflement, breadth and complexity, could have simply appeared" without violating the known laws of nature, "he wrote.
This still does not explain the possibility that God created this proton-size singularity Hawking says that science has an explanation here as well – for illustration, he refers to the physics of black holes – collapsed stars that are so dense that nothing, even light, escapes its suction.
Black holes, like the universe before the Big Bang, condense into a singularity: in this ultra-compact mass point, gravity is so strong that it distorts both time and light and space Simply put, there is no time in the depths of a black hole.
Because the universe began as a singularity, Ze It does not exist even before the big bang. Hawking's answer to what happened before the Big Bang was: "There was no time before the Big Bang."
"We finally found something that has no cause, because there was no time for an existence in," Hawking wrote. "For me, that means that there is no possibility of a Creator, because there is no time for a Creator to exist in it."
This argument will convince little theistic believers, but that was never Hawking's intention. As a scientist with an almost religious devotion to understanding the cosmos, Hawking sought to "know the Spirit of God" by learning all about the self-sufficient universe around us. While his view of the universe makes a divine creator and the laws of nature seem incompatible, it leaves plenty of room for faith, hope, wonder, and above all, gratitude.
"We have this one life, the great design of the universe," Hawking concludes the first chapter of his last book, "and for that I am very grateful."
Originally published on Live Science.
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