Stephen Hawking has become well known as a brilliant physicist; he has also become known for sharing his thoughts on God and the origin of the universe. In one particular T.V. episode, Hawking stated that since there was no time before (or perhaps better stated as “beyond”) the Big Bang, there was no time for God to cause anything (including the universe) and therefore the idea of a Creator does not make sense. In making this objection, Hawking seems to be unaware of the work of Dr. William Lane Craig, who is a specialist in this area. Craig points out that it is entirely possible for God to cause the universe (i.e. including space and time) in such a way that the cause and the effect are simultaneous with each other. Therefore no “extra time” is needed for a cause to act in. Hence Hawking’s objection is, quite simply, overcome.
Quentin Smith (Professor at Western Michigan University) is a respected atheist philosopher and also a specialist in philosophy of religion and philosophy of science. He once described another of Hawking’s arguments on this issue as “the worst atheistic argument in the history of Western thought.” Given this track record, any atheist would be well advised to take Hawking’s ideas with a grain of salt.
Hawking should be admired for perseverance through his motor neuron disease and for his fantastic work in physics. He is a brilliant scientist but in the words of Albert Einstein, “the man of science is a poor philosopher.”