World-renowned author and physicist Stephen Hawking will reveal in his new book that a higher being would not have been needed in the creation of the universe, Reuters reports. In excerpts from The Grand Design — which Hawking co-wrote with fellow physicist-scholar Leonard Mlodinow — published today in The Times of London, Hawking claims that phenomena such as the law of gravity prove that creation will occur out of nothing and that this spontaneous creation explains how everything came to be. God, then, isn’t really in the picture anymore. “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going,” reads the excerpt.
In previous works, such as A Brief History of Time, Hawking played coy on the subject. He’s noted his personal thoughts regarding God’s lack of existence, but instead of treating his beliefs as hard facts, he simply said creation theories did not need to name God as an agent. But these new opinions mark the first time Hawking has deemed a God-less conception of the universe the correct one.
Where did he get this idea from! There’s some new evidence, the book states, that calls the idea that God made the galaxy in his image a bit presumptuous. The 1992 discovery of a planet orbiting a star other than our sun, for instance, indicates that our setup isn’t that special. Hawking said this other example of celestial orbit “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.”
Most who subscribe to a monotheistic religion will probably find themselves in stark disagreement with Hawking. Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation and a believer in God, is already on the warpath. In a piece that’s in today’s Times of London, Sacks calls Hawking’s claim a “misinterpretation” and works the old approach of arguing for the separation of science and religion.
Most of the Sacks essay, however, is stuck behind Rupert Murdoch’s paywall.