Friday, May 15, 2009

Being in the Universe

The great physicist, Stephen Hawking, whom I have written of before here, posits that the universe is forever "expanding."

One may say that time had a beginning at the big bang, in the sense that earlier times simply would not be defined. It should be emphasized that this beginning in time is very different from those that had been considered previously. In an unchanging universe a beginning in time is something that has to be imposed by some being outside the universe; there is no physical necessity for a beginning. One can imagine that God created the universe at literally any time in the past. On the other hand, if the universe is expanding, there may be physical reasons why there had to be a beginning. One could imagine that God created the universe at the instant of the big bang, or even afterwards in just such a way as to make it look as though there had been a big bang, but it would be meaningless to suppose that it was created before the big bang. An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when he might have carried out his job!
Man's knowledge of his surrounding is forever "expanding." It is his forever arrival of what has already been.


CathM said...

Interesting thoughts, Judith.

I have always thought that science explains how God chooses to ‘hold the world together’. I think God used what we now understand as scientific discoveries to create his universe :) That is to say, we (humans) are playing catch up with God (his extensiveness and expansiveness) through our science/etc… and not the other way around (lol).

judith ellis said...

Yes, Catherine! Smiles over here.

John O'Leary said...

I wonder why Hawking doesn't mention the theory of the "pulsating big bang," in which expansion and contraction are continual, with repeated big bangs. It's a cyclical model, long espoused by Hindus.

judith ellis said...

I have not heard of this theory, John. We are all coming to a better understanding of our universe and being within it. I will do a little reading on this theory in time. The big bang as cyclical would go well with the Hindu understanding of all beings as such.

Regarding Hawking, I'm not sure if he is theological as such. He seems to speak of religion in the western sense as its roots in Catholicism and its past antagonistic relationship with science. But last year Hawkings was at the Vatican and the Pope agreed that there was no antagonistic view with science and the Catholic Church.

Hey, John. You might find a discussion on my brother Ellington's Facebook page about the historical and spiritual Jesus interesting. Check it out!