Dr. T., In response to your article, “Physics and Faith”, you are putting words in the mouths of physicists to suit your premise. Here is what Stephen Hawking thinks about the beginning of the universe:
Jonathan, thanks for sending the Stephan Hawking article, I enjoyed reading it. My comments about the general consensus of physicists come from interacting with physicists on the Physics Stack Exchange. The rules of the discussion are quite clear, and enforced strongly by correction, criticism, being told the question/answer was “off topic” if God or any non-conventional or metaphysical answer was given as a solution for any physical process. It’s OK to mention God, but not as a serious answer to a question, only as an alternative solution which is not being considered as the solution/answer.
The argument about time and space being so entangled that you can’t tell the difference, and heading out in a direction of time, where any direction of time was the same as heading out in any direction of space is a wonderful imaginary scenario, but it doesn’t give us any insight into what time or space actually “is”. And, even this scenario does not solve the problem that I was addressing in my essay, that we still don’t know what created (what was the causative origin of) the space-time ball that then expanded like leaving the South Pole. That was my major point. There is no possible (even imaginary) scenario/theory, where the beginning of all possibility starts. The theory of God creating the creation does not solve this problem, and a south pole space-time ball does not solve this problem. From our perspective, this problem is not soluble. A physicist may believe in South Pole Space-Time balls, and he then feels no pressure to consider the origin of all causes. But, such a man would be shallow indeed if he did not realize that such a solution did not solve the underlying problem of the origin of the space-time ball. Likewise, the man who believes that his belief that God created the universe solves all the logical problems of origins/beginnings – it doesn’t. The origin of the God who created the creation is still unknown – we have merely pushed the mystery back one layer. The infinite regress is encountered by the materialist/natural-law/natural-processes-only believing physicist, as much as it for the man who sincerely believes God created the creation (whether a universe with a history 6000 years ago or by providing the materials for a big bang to explode and inflate, and then expand and accelerate). Regardless of one’s cosmology and belief structure, this problem cannot be resolved. The origin of origins is logically impossible to solve. This is well recognized in the physics community. The story is often told about the man who inquires of the guru about what holds up the earth. The guru responds, that the earth is supported on the back of an elephant. The seeker asks, yes, but what is the elephant supported by? The guru responds, the elephant is standing on the back of a turtle. The seeker then asks, but what is the turtle standing on? The guru responds, “the turtle is standing on the back of a turtle.” The seeker then asks, “but what is that turtle standing on?” The guru responds, “It’s turtles all the way down.” I’m sure you have heard that story before, but it illustrates well the principle of the infinite regress. There is no solution to it.
Regarding the issue of gravity waves, that is true, that they have been found/detected and we can listen/feel/detect the collapse of a star binary black hole-star system as a ripple in space. This is an interesting effect, but nothing that shakes the universe in terms of importance. It basically means that we can tell when big things collapsed, and possibly we could get some information about how things moved/collided in the early universe if we could get a lot of these signals and decode the superimposition of all these collisions, and reflections – kind of like taking the blurriness out of a frosted glass or out of focus camera lens. So, I suppose it is possible to tell something about the universe in ages past by using a LIGO gravity sensor (or many of them, with much much much greater sensitivity than this apparatus) and use the signals to resolve early universe collisions, to get a better idea about the originating signal. But, even this will not get us past the problem of finding the source of the original turtle. That problem is beyond technology, and strange as it seems, it is also beyond imagination, logic, philosophy, and religion. It cannot be comprehended. So, we are left believing in nature as all there is (and we don’t know where that ultimately came from), or believing in God (and we don’t know where He came from) as our creation paradigm. And, that’s as good as it gets, and that is where we have to leave it and live in this world.
The reason all this make any difference is that depending on our concept of the universe as an accidentally created, non-personality-driven place with laws that are pretty much just dictated by feelings, or what you/I/we think is right, then people are pretty much free to experiment, and do whatever they feel is good/right, and works before for them.
The other option is that this universe is/was created and the maker of the universe has rules that make the experience of life better if followed, or worse if not. In the case of the Christian religion, the rules that God gave were revealed in the Bible, both the Old and New Testament, the testimony of His Way, and we can take clues from that to determine what works best in life. My experience has been that the rules that I have derived from the Bible work well in guiding my life. In my counseling experience, I found that people who follow the rules do well and that conversely, but that choosing other rule-sets often caused problems (which is why they came to see me) that could be rectified by choosing the Biblical rule-set. The success of the interaction was always dependent upon choosing the correct rule-set to apply – which isn’t always easy – which is why they came to me to help identify the core issue, core error of action which they could not identify or change.
Anyway, it all comes down to a very practical consideration, choosing what rule set you are going to follow. My experience has been that many non-Christians, maybe most, pretty much follow the Biblical laws, because they are the rules of life that work. So, the actual issue is how to make life work well. When there are problems, (which is when most people come for help), I’ve found that going back to the Book, and checking how the thoughts/speech/action around the issue causing problems are due to violating/diverging from the owner’s manual specs. Identifying errors and making changes accordingly usually brings things back into line and life works better.
So, again, for me, it was just a discussion about deciding what life paradigm worked best – and for me, the Biblical, God created it (and we don’t know what created God), and follow the rules He published in the Book approach is what has worked best for me.