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"The universe can and will create itself from nothing."
One of most read stories on The Blaze this week looked at the bold assertion in Stephen Hawking's new book, The Grand Design, that "God wasn't necessary for the creation of the universe."
Hawking looks to relatively recent scientific discoveries to bolster his theory according to BBC News:
Citing the 1992 discovery of a planet orbiting a star other than our Sun, he said: "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 as evidence that the Earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings."
He adds: "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."
BBC News even has video of Hawking using his vocal synthesizer to read from his book. You can see it here.
Religious leaders, as you might expect, are beginning to respond to Hawking. The Archbishop of Cantebury Dr. Rowan Williams, head of the Church of England, doesn't believe physics alone can settle questions of existence.
"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."
Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks writes:
"Science is about explanation. Religion is about interpretation ... The Bible simply isn't interested in how the Universe came into being."
The Chief Rabbi picked up dittos from Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales:
"I would totally endorse what the Chief Rabbi said so eloquently about the relationship between religion and science."
To round out your major faith perspectives, CNN highlighted the comments of "Ibrahim Mogra, an imam and committee chairman at the Muslim Council of Britain."
"If we look at the Universe and all that has been created, it indicates that somebody has been here to bring it into existence. That somebody is the almighty conqueror."
All this has certainly stirred up discussion on British television. We probably won't see many extended discussions on "string theory" and musing on God's existence on American news programs. Hawking, will however, be on Larry King Live later this week. That there is still a Larry King Live is, in some quarters, an existential question more problematic than Hawking's treatise.
There are already numerous video responses to Hawking popping up on YouTube. Let's pick one. Here is former Gonzaga University President Father Robert Spitzer who now heads the Magis Center of Reason and Faith:
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