The question of the existence of God in the book of Stephen Hawking: A brief history of time

Acta Philosophica 4 (1):83-93 (1995)
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The continuing interest in the book of S. Hawking "A Brief History of Time" makes a philosophical evaluation of the content highly desirable. As will be shown, the genre of this work can be identified as a speciality in philosophy, namely the proof of the existence of God. In this study an attempt is given to unveil the philosophical concepts and steps that lead to the final conclusions, without discussing in detail the remarkable review of modern physical theories. In the first place the concept of causality used by Hawking is analyzed in terms of the classical four aspects of cause, that is causa formalis, materialis, efficiens and finalis. Thereafter the classical Aristotelian-Thomistic proof of the existence of God is presented and compared with Hawking's approach. In his argumentation he uses a concept of causality, which in contrast to the classical philosophy neglects completely an ontological dependence and is reduced to only temporal aspects. On the basis of this temporal causality and modern physical theories and speculations, Hawking arrives at his conclusions about a very restricted role of a possible creator. It is shown, that neither from the philosophical nor the scientific view his conclusions about the existence of God are strictly convincing, a position Hawking himself seems to be aware of.
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