Once again, where’s the evidence for this theory? Hawking admits that there is none, and he doesn’t expect to ever find any. Imaginary time is invoked to stipulate imaginary universes. Naturally, with so much imagining going on, there is no need to go overboard and imagine a creator. So rather than consider these theories scientific, it seems entirely reasonable to label them versions of a religious doctrine. Hawking, Weinberg, Dawkins, and the others are all members of the Church of Infinite Worlds, where new worlds with new sets of laws have to be invented in order to avoid one inconvenient admission. For members of this church, the dogmas of infinite universes, baby universes, and the rest of it seem to be largely motivated by the desire to avoid a supernatural creator. As physicist Stephen Barr puts it, “It seems that to abolish one unobservable God, it takes an infinite number of unobservable substitutes.”

As one of its longtime residents, I’d like to bring us back to earth and conclude with afinal point. Whether we believe in imaginary time and multiple universes or not, those are only concepts. Even if they describe our universe, they do not explain why there is a universe in the first place. As Hawking himself once asked, who put the fire into the equations? Who made them, as it were, “come to life”? Moreover, the atheist viewpoint cannot explain the profound lawfulness of nature itself. Paul Davies writes, “If the divine underpinning of the laws is removed, their existence becomes a profound mystery. Where do they come from? Who sent the message? Who devised the code?”

Indeed the question can be posed in a deeper way. How can inanimate objects like electrons follow laws? Our experience as humans is that only rational and conscious – agents can obey instructions. It remains deeply mysterious how things can do anything whatsoever, let alone abide by mathematical rules. And what rules! Throughout the history of science its practitioners have found that anomalies in known laws are usually accounted for by even deeper and more beautiful laws that seem to underlie the workings of nature.