“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.”I imagine this conversation happening, preferably on a major television broadcast:
Hawking: Something, what we call "the Universe", came from nothing.Okay, here is the dictionary part. The word "creation," according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, means:
Young Child (waving his hand wildly): How?
Hawking: By "creating itself".
Young Child (frowning): But how?
Young Child (irritated): Using what?
Young Child (through clenched teeth): How did it use "nothing" to make something?
Hawking: By using the law of gravity.
Young Child (hands on hips, glaring): Wait, isn't the law of gravity "something"?
Hawking: Yes, but the law of gravity exists because of creation, which exists because the Universe created itself out of nothing using the law of gravity.
Young Child: Yeah, right.
1: the act of creating or producing (creation of the world)An "act" requires someone acting; creation requires a creator. Now, Hawking is saying that it is not a personal act-er or creator, but a non-personal Universe that creates itself. But things cannot "create" themselves ex nihilo; and, in fact, God (as he is understood by traditional theists) did not create Himself. He simply IS (a notion that frazzles folks such as Richard Dawkins). He is the ground and source of all existence. But that cannot be said convincingly about the Universe, since it had a beginning and thus not the source, but a creation brought into being by something/Someone else.
2: something that is created
3: all created things
Which brings us to the philosophy, which I'm taking, in this case, from the seventh chapter of G.K. Chesterton's book, St. Thomas Aquinas, which is titled, "The Permanent Philosophy":
For what St. Thomas means is not a medieval picture of an old king; but this second step in the great argument about Ens or Being; the second point which is so desperately difficult to put correctly in popular language. That is why I have introduced it here in the particular form of the argument that there must be a Creator even if there is no Day of Creation. Looking at Being as it is now, as the baby looks at the grass, we see a second thing about it; in quite popular language, it looks secondary and dependent. Existence exists; but it is not sufficiently self-existent; and would never become so merely by going on existing. The same primary sense which tells us it is Being, tells us that it is not perfect Being; not merely imperfect in the popular controversial sense of containing sin or sorrow; but imperfect as Being; less actual than the actuality it implies. For instance, its Being is often only Becoming; beginning to Be or ceasing to Be; it implies a more constant or complete thing of which it gives in itself no example. That is the meaning of that basic medieval phrase, "Everything that is moving is moved by another;" which, in the clear subtlety of St. Thomas, means inexpressibly more than the mere Deistic "somebody wound up the clock" with which it is probably often confounded. Anyone who thinks deeply will see that motion has about it an essential incompleteness, which approximates to something more complete.Finally, Mary Rose Somarriba of First Things and Diogenes of Catholic Culture also find Hawking's position seriously lacking.
The actual argument is rather technical; and concerns the fact that potentiality does not explain itself; moreover, in any case, unfolding must be of something folded. Suffice it to say that the mere modern evolutionists, who would ignore the argument do not do so because they have discovered any flaw in the argument; for they have never discovered the argument itself. They do so because they are too shallow to see the flaw in their own argument for the weakness of their thesis is covered by fashionable phraseology, as the strength of the old thesis is covered by old-fashioned phraseology. But for those who really think, there is always something really unthinkable about the whole evolutionary cosmos, as they conceive it; because it is something coming out of nothing; an ever-increasing flood of water pouring out of an empty jug. Those who can simply accept that, without even seeing the difficulty, are not likely to go so deep as Aquinas and see the solution of his difficulty. In a word, the world does not explain itself, and cannot do so merely by continuing to expand itself. But anyhow it is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything. (emphasis added)
Related Ignatius Insight Interviews and Articles:
• The Mythological Conflict Between Christianity and Science | An interview with physicist Dr. Stephen Barr | By Mark Brumley
• The Mystery of Human Origins | Mark Brumley
• Designed Beauty and Evolutionary Theory | Thomas Dubay, S.M.
• Creation, Salvation, and the Mass | Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.
• Creation | Adrienne von Speyr