THE Archbishop of Canterbury has hit back at Stephen Hawking’s claims that God was not involved in the creation of the universe.
Physicist Professor Hawking had previously argued belief in a creator was not incompatible with science.
But in a provocative new book he concludes the “Big Bang” which ignited the universe was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics and nothing to do with any creator.
Yesterday Rowan William, recently granted the freedom of his home city of Swansea, rejected the controversial claim.
The de facto leader of the worldwide Anglican Church said: “Belief in God is not about plugging a gap in explaining how one thing relates to another within the universe.
“It is the belief that there is an intelligent, living agent on whose activity everything ultimately depends for its existence.”
The Archbishop, who was born in the Swansea Valley and grew up in Mumbles, said scientists could never answer the question of how the Big Bang apparently came from nothing.
He said: “Physics on its own will not settle the question of why there is something rather than nothing.”
In his new book The Grand Design, co-written by US physicist Leonard Mlodinow, Prof Hawking contests Sir Isaac Newton’s belief that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have sprung out of chaos.
Hawking says: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself 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.”
It is a departure from the earlier beliefs of Britain’s foremost physicist. In A Brief History of Time, in 1988 he wrote: “If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God.”
Prof Hawking said a form of complex theoretical physics known as M-theory, a type of so-called “string theory”, could provide the answer that would explain everything in the known universe.
He also believes in the possibility of the “multiverse”; that there could be many other universes outside our own.
Scientists have long sought a universal theory that unites quantum theory (matter at the sub-atomic level) with gravity which explains how objects interact.
Prof Hawking said: ”M-theory is the unified theory Einstein was hoping to find.
“The fact that we human beings – who are ourselves mere collections of fundamental particles of nature – have been able to come this close to an understanding of the laws governing us and our universe is a triumph.”
Prof Hawking has been outspoken this year over a number of issues, arguing it is perfectly rational to assume intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe.
He even said Earth might be at risk from what he imagines to be “massive ships” which could try to colonise our planet and plunder our resources.
Professor John Lennox, who describes himself as a scientist and a Christian and teaches maths as Oxford University, said he believed Prof Hawking was wrong.
He said: “It always amuses me that atheists often argue for the existence of extra-terrestrial intelligence beyond Earth.
“Yet they are only too eager to denounce the possibility that we already have a vast, intelligent being out there: God.
“Much of the rationale behind Hawking’s argument lies in the idea there is a deep-seated conflict between science and religion.
“But this is not a discord I recognise. For me, as a Christian believer, the beauty of the scientific laws only reinforces my faith in an intelligent, divine creative force at work.
“The more I understand science, the more I believe in God because of my wonder at the breadth, sophistication and integrity of his creation.”
Archbishop Williams’ attack on Hawking’s claim has been joined by several clerics.
Britain’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said: “Science is about explanation. Religion is about interpretation – the Bible simply isn’t interested in how the universe came into being.”
The Rt Rev Lee Stephen Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon, said: “Professor Hawking is not saying that it is impossible to believe in God because of what he now understands about the physics of the Big Bang.
“His conclusion does not change the remarkable coherence between the nature of our universe and the understanding Christians have about the nature and character of God.”
God did not create the universe and the “Big Bang” was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, the eminent British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking argues in a new book.
In “The Grand Design,” co-authored with U.S. physicist Leonard Mlodinow, Hawking says a new series of theories made a creator of the universe redundant, according to the Times newspaper which published extracts on Thursday.
“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” Hawking writes.
“It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”
Hawking, 68, who won global recognition with his 1988 book “A Brief History of Time,” an account of the origins of the universe, is renowned for his work on black holes, cosmology and quantum gravity.
Since 1974, the scientist has worked on marrying the two cornerstones of modern physics — Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, which concerns gravity and large-scale phenomena, and quantum theory, which covers subatomic particles.
His latest comments suggest he has broken away from previous views he has expressed on religion. Previously, he wrote that the laws of physics meant it was simply not necessary to believe that God had intervened in the Big Bang.
He wrote in A Brief History … “If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God.”
In his latest book, he said the 1992 discovery of a planet orbiting another star other than the Sun helped deconstruct the view of the father of physics Isaac Newton that the universe could not have arisen out of chaos but was created by God.
“That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions — the single Sun, the lucky combination of Earth-Sun distance and solar mass, far less remarkable, and far less compelling evidence that the Earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings,” he writes.
Hawking, who is only able to speak through a computer-generated voice synthesizer, has a neuro muscular dystrophy that has progressed over the years and left him almost completely paralyzed.
He began suffering the disease in his early 20s but went on to establish himself as one of the world’s leading scientific authorities, and has also made guest appearances in “Star Trek” and the cartoons “Futurama” and “The Simpsons.”
Last year he announced he was stepping down as Cambridge University’s Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, a position once held by Newton and one he had held since 1979.
“The Grand Design” is due to go on sale next week.
Professor Ellen van Wolde, a respected Old Testament scholar and author, claims the first sentence of Genesis “in the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth” is not a true translation of the Hebrew.
She claims she has carried out fresh textual analysis that suggests the writers of the great book never intended to suggest that God created the world — and in fact the Earth was already there when he created humans and animals.
Prof Van Wolde, 54, who will present a thesis on the subject at Radboud University in The Netherlands where she studies, said she had re-analysed the original Hebrew text and placed it in the context of the Bible as a whole, and in the context of other creation stories from ancient Mesopotamia.
She said she eventually concluded the Hebrew verb “bara”, which is used in the first sentence of the book of Genesis, does not mean “to create” but to “spatially separate”.
The first sentence should now read “in the beginning God separated the Heaven and the Earth”
According to Judeo-Christian tradition, God created the Earth out of nothing.
Prof Van Wolde, who once worked with the Italian academic and novelist Umberto Eco, said her new analysis showed that the beginning of the Bible was not the beginning of time, but the beginning of a narration.
She said: “It meant to say that God did create humans and animals, but not the Earth itself.”
She writes in her thesis that the new translation fits in with ancient texts.
According to them there used to be an enormous body of water in which monsters were living, covered in darkness, she said.
She said technically “bara” does mean “create” but added: “Something was wrong with the verb.
“God was the subject (God created), followed by two or more objects. Why did God not create just one thing or animal, but always more?”
She concluded that God did not create, he separated: the Earth from the Heaven, the land from the sea, the sea monsters from the birds and the swarming at the ground.
“There was already water,” she said.
“There were sea monsters. God did create some things, but not the Heaven and Earth. The usual idea of creating-out-of-nothing, creatio ex nihilo, is a big misunderstanding.”
God came later and made the earth livable, separating the water from the land and brought light into the darkness.
She said she hoped that her conclusions would spark “a robust debate”, since her finds are not only new, but would also touch the hearts of many religious people.
She said: “Maybe I am even hurting myself. I consider myself to be religious and the Creator used to be very special, as a notion of trust. I want to keep that trust.”
A spokesman for the Radboud University said: “The new interpretation is a complete shake up of the story of the Creation as we know it.”
Prof Van Wolde added: “The traditional view of God the Creator is untenable now.”
I was recently shown a delightful comic strip (but incorrect) from a site called i AnswersInGenesis.
I like where they’re going with this comic, however I have one big problem, they seem to think Nature is proof that god exists; what they don’t understand is this is dead wrong. Batman created the universe, not god.
Now I know what you’re saying, “that’s silly” and “don’t be stupid, we all know god created the universe and everything in it”. You’d be wrong though. It’s really quite simple, Batman is the creator of the universe, and I have unwavering faith in this fact.
Allow me to explain. A few weeks ago, while taking a quick trip to the little boys room at my local Denny’s I noticed there, scrawled on the wall of the stall were the words “Batman is the almighty creator of the universe”. As I read those words, Batman came to me in a vision and told me “It’s true, I am the one true and almighty creator of the universe and everything in it”.
With those words, I was converted. Never again would I waste my time with the Torah, the Bible, Koran or any book by Bill O’Reilly. Some people like to cite the bible as the being the word of the almighty creator, but I think it’s safe to say that the sacred bathroom stall scrawls are really the true word of the creator. Batman is afterall, a silent guardian, watching, waiting and protecting us all from evil in the night, right? It only makes sense that he is god.
Batman is watching over you as we speaks, and he loves you..Â as long as you’re not gay, Batman hates gays and abortions. Vote republican!