The Hartle-Hawking Model

l Quantum physics invoked prior to 10-43 second, to eliminate the singularity
l Requires the use of imaginary time

First Slide Previous Slide Next Slide Last Slide Index Home
First | Previous | Next | Last |        | Index | Home

Slide 14 of 22

Stephen Hawking, in an attempt to escaping the beginning of the universe, and hence the need for a Creator, has postulated that there is a point history of the universe where the equations of general relativity (on which his space-time theorem was based) might break down. In 1983 Stephen Hawking and James Hartle proposed that since we cannot determine conditions in the universe before 10-43 seconds after its origin, perhaps some unknown phenomenon would have replaced the laws of general relativity. Therefore, the universe might not have originated from a true singularity (beginning from an infinitely small volume). Appealing to quantum physics seen at the level of subatomic particles, they claimed that the universe could have just popped into existence out of absolutely nothing at the beginning of time. In his theory, Hawking employed the use of imaginary time, analogous to the use of imaginary numbers in mathematics. Neither imaginary time nor imaginary numbers exist in the real world, so their use in describing the real universe is somewhat artificial. Even Hawking makes this admission:

Only if we could picture the universe in terms of imaginary time would there be no singularities.... When one goes back to the real time in which we live, however, there will still appear to be singularities (Hawking, S.W. 1988. A Brief History of Time, pp. 138-139).

Most likely, Hawking is trying to avoid the implications of general relativity that time had a beginning at the instant of the Big Bang. If time had a beginning, then the events that led to the Big Bang must lie outside of time - a second dimension of time. The Bible also claims that God was acting before the beginning of time and is not confined to it. It was these implications that Hawking was trying to avoid in his model.
Last Modified October 4, 2004


Rich's Blog