Halvorson - Does the Universe Need God?


Additional Information

Category Lecture
Speakers Halvorson, Hans
Year 2014

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Twentieth century physical cosmology made "the universe" into a precise theoretical object, governed by the laws of the general theory of relativity. But one result of this theoretical consolidation is that "the universe" becomes autonomous: it is neither brought into existence by some supernatural being, nor does its continued existence require any external intervention. Indeed, physical cosmology has no need for the hypothesis of a Creator or Sustainer of the universe. Shouldn't we then conclude that the universe has no need for God?

On the contrary, I argue that the absence of God from physical cosmology provides no evidence against the existence of a divine Creator. In fact, if the universe and its laws are the result of a free, creative act of God, then God is not constrained by natural laws, and God should not occur as the explanans in any scientific account of the universe.

PROF. HANS HALVORSON is professor of philosophy at Princeton University. He has written extensively on the foundations of quantum physics, philosophy of science, and the relationship between science and theology, with articles appearing in the Journal of Mathematical Physics, Physical Review, The British Journal for Philosophy of Science, and The European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, among others. In 2008 he won a Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship, to pursue research in category theory and especially topos theory. Halvorson has received the Cushing Memorial Prize in the History and Philosophy of Physics (2004), Best Article of the Year by a Recent Ph.D. (Philosophy of Science Association, 2001), and Ten Best Philosophy Articles of the Year (The Philosopher's Annual, both 2001 and 2002).