The results of a survey conducted by Lifeway Research last December, asking 1,000 American Protestant Pastors about their beliefs, has just been published with what are, to me at least, surprising results. When asked if God used evolution to create people, 73% disagreed and only 12% agreed. 82% believe that we are all descendants of a literal Adam and Eve.When it comes to the age of the earth, 46% agreed that the earth is approximately 6,000 years old. Pastors with a college degree were less inclined to believe this. The enlightenment, which sparked the birth of the modern US, seems to be lost on these people.
“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.”
These statements do not appear revolutionary. Before we discovered that the universe is expanding at an increasing rate, the theory that gravity would force everything to collapse and cause cyclical big bangs was quite popular. More interesting than the explanation of M Theory in the book perhaps, is the reaction the excerpts have ignited in the religious community, spurred on by the media.
“Has Stephen Hawking ended the God Debate?” telegraph.co.uk
“Stephen Hawking is wrong, you can’t explain the universe without God” dailymail.co.uk
“Hawking Spurns God” news.cnet.com
“Belief in God is not about plugging a gap in explaining how one thing relates to another within the Universe” Archbishop of Canterbury
Richard Dawkins and similar thinkers would argue that a belief in God evolved precisely for the reason of plugging gaps in our knowledge. The book cannot answer the philosophical questions, but it does claim that the need for philosophers is diminishing as we learn more about physics. Hawking believes the way the universe began, was determined by a law of science.
“If you like, you can call the laws of science ‘God’, but it wouldn’t be a personal God that you could meet, and ask questions.” Hawking.
The reviews on Amazon are encouraging and all the hype should guarantee good sales for the book.