According to Viking mythology, eclipses occur when two wolves, Skoll and Hati, catch the sun or moon. At the onset of an eclipse people would make lots of noise, hoping to scare the wolves away. After some time, people must have noticed that the eclipses ended regardless of whether they ran around banging on pots.
Ignorance of nature’s ways led people in ancient times to postulate many myths in an effort to make sense of their world. But eventually, people turned to philosophy, that is, to the use of reason—with a good dose of intuition—to decipher their universe. Today we use reason, mathematics and experimental test—in other words, modern science.
So begins an article in the Wall Street Journal by Stephen Hawking telling us “Why God Did Not Create the Universe.” According to the subtitle, “There is a sound scientific explanation for the making of our world—no gods required.”
Read the whole thing, or just the paragraph where he gives us that explanation:
As recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.
Granted, an article published in the Wall Street Journal can’t be comprehensive. Still, Hawking has provided an answer sufficient only to those who are already committed against the idea that a Creator is necessary to explain the fact and wonder of our existence. He is a product of his times, and in that way, much like the Vikings. This is modern mythology, and it is good for us to hear it told.