“The universe can and will create itself from nothing.”—Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, physicists, 2010.
“God created the heavens and the earth.”—The Bible, Genesis 1:1.
Were the universe and the life in it created by God or did they come about by chance? The words of the two physicists quoted in this article and the opening words of the Bible provide two radically different answers to that question. Both views have fervent supporters. Yet, many people are not so sure. Best-selling books and public debates have pitted one side against the other.
Your schoolteachers may have confidently stated that the universe and life in it arose spontaneously, that no Creator was involved. But did your teachers provide you with evidence that a Creator does not exist? On the other hand, you may have heard religious leaders preach that there is a Creator. But did they give you evidence to back up their claim? Or did they ask you to accept their statement as a matter of “faith” or doctrine?
You, no doubt, have thought about this question and may feel that no one can say for sure whether a Creator exists. And you may have another question: Does the answer really matter?
This issue of Awake! will first of all present some of the facts that have persuaded many people to believe in a Creator. It will then discuss why the answer to this question about the origin of life on earth matters.