By John C. Lennox

'The Grand Design', by means of eminent scientist Stephen Hawking, is the most recent blockbusting contribution to the so-called New Atheist debate, and claims that the legislation of physics themselves introduced the Universe into being, instead of God. during this fast and forthright answer, John Lennox, Oxford mathematician and writer of 'God's Undertaker', exposes the failings in Hawking's common sense. In full of life, layman's phrases, Lennox courses us in the course of the key issues in Hawking's arguments - with transparent reasons of the most recent clinical and philosophical tools and theories - and demonstrates that faraway from disproving a author God, they make his life appear the entire extra possible.

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C. S. Lewis grasped this issue, with characteristic clarity. Of the laws of nature he writes: They produce no events: they state the pattern to which every event – if only it can be induced to happen – must conform, just as the rules of arithmetic state the pattern to which all transactions with money must conform – if only you can get hold of any money. Thus in one sense the laws of Nature cover the whole field of space and time; in another, what they leave out is precisely the whole real universe – the incessant torrent of actual events which makes up true history.

Dismissing such an agent, Hawking ascribes creative power to physical law; but physical law is not an agent. Hawking is making a classic category mistake by confusing two entirely different kinds of entity: physical law and personal agency. The choice he sets before us is between false alternatives. He has confused two levels of explanation: agency and law. God is an explanation of the universe, but not the same type of explanation as that which is given by physics. Suppose, to make matters clearer, we replace the universe by a jet engine and then are asked to explain it.

Could all of this be just a little too “much ado about nothing”? The situation does not improve when we move on to the logic of the second part of Hawking’s statement: “the universe can and will create itself from nothing”. This assertion is self-contradictory. If we say “X creates Y”, we presuppose the existence of X in the first place in order to bring Y into existence. That is a simple matter of understanding what the words “X creates Y” mean. If, therefore, we say “X creates X”, we imply that we are presupposing the existence of X in order to account for the existence of X.

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