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Pope praises science, but insists God created world
October 28th, 2010
04:22 PM ET

Pope praises science, but insists God created world

Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday - God did create the universe.

The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme being to have brought the world into existence.

In fact, Benedict specifically praised - and blessed - science and scientists in an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

But he also made clear that part of the role of science is to reveal God in the universe.

"Scientists do not create the world; they learn about it and attempt to imitate it," he said.

"The scientist's experience as a human being is therefore that of perceiving a constant, a law ... that he has not created but that he has instead observed," the pope said.

That perception, in turn, "leads us to admit the existence of an all-powerful Reason, which is other than that of man, and which sustains the world," he said.

Hawking says in his book, "The Grand Design," that, given the existence of gravity, "the universe can and will create itself from nothing."

"Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," he writes in the introduction.

"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper [fuse] and set the universe going," he writes.

Benedict was enthusiastic about science in his speech Thursday, even as he set the Catholic Church's marker firmly in place on the existence of God.

"The developments of science have been both uplifting, as when the complexity of nature and its phenomena were discovered, exceeding our expectations, and humbling, as when some of the theories we thought might have explained those phenomena once and for all proved only partial," he said.

And he said the conference he was attending was "proof of the church's esteem for ongoing scientific research and of her gratitude for scientific endeavor, which she both encourages and benefits from."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Culture & Science • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (1,300 Responses)
  1. Sajida

    Dearest Paula, your sacrifices of prisae thru Jesus honors and pleases your Father tremendously! He knows what it is costing you to prisae Him in spite of how you are feeling. This morning, I read the following two chapters and these two verses stood out to me reminding me of you. I'm asking Him to touch you with His grace and allow to know/experience the NEARNESS of His presence; and also to give you restorative rest tonight I love you, EstherPsalm 50:23 (NIV1984) He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me,a0a0a0and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” Hebrews 13:15 (NIV1984) Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of prisae—the fruit of lips that confess his name.

    September 9, 2012 at 1:44 am |
  2. Didi

    @Mike Anderson.. rofl. yes mr caps lock is no doubt a good candidate for the Darwin Awards. Where IS a god when you need him to take out cretins like this fool to improve the human race?

    January 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  3. Nuff-Said

    Theres has to be a God or creator. Regardless of how you look at it, just take it back to the beginning. Nothing comes from NOTHING! Gravity didnt just lay dorment for ???yrs and just decide to start creating stuff and so on with any of your other weak a-z-z theories.
    Gravity or any other so called element in space/time couldnt just up and create itself.
    Even with all the elements theres NO WAY to get a LIVING organism out of any of those.a Creator does exist and the sooner you realize that you'll realize that science is only a way to explain things we can never understand.How does science try to tell us whats on the other side of the universe or outside the known universe when we cant even get to mars and out of our own milky way galaxy.its laughable. -Nuff Said

    September 18, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • Dan

      Nuff-Said,
      Just listen to yourself: "Nothing comes from NOTHING." Right there you're agreeing that Creation is nonsense. How could reality be created from nothing then, even if you're a god. It follows logically therefore that Something must come from Something Else, which begs the questions: does time really need to have a beginning and could there have been something before the Big Bang? The answers, as far as we can discern them, are No and Yes, respectively.

      And there you have it, still no reason to know one way or the other whether there was a Creator or a Creation. All we know is is that since the Big Bang, this Creator has been taking a very long nap if he or she exists, as best as we can tell.

      September 19, 2011 at 6:42 am |
    • Mike Anderson

      Nuff-said:

      Your ignorance is astounding. With your low level of intelligence, don't try to comprehend or dispute any post-standard model theories we have. You say life can't appear from the elements we have? It has been replicated. Does this mean we are god?

      Science is stupid because we can't even reach mars? If you are updated, we can go anywhere we want with enough time and money, both of which is denied to our most brilliant engineers and astronomers. Instead of exploring new frontiers, the money is used for more mundane things. Even your so called church has more extensive funding. To me, it seems like the church is leeching off money that can be used for better stuff and that money is obviously not used by your wonderful religion to do exactly what you say science can't do. Ergo your argument is reversed, religion is stupid.

      December 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  4. James

    Daniel
    If science were to disappear we would live in caves but if theology were to disappear we wouldn't even notice.

    October 28, 2010 at 6:45 pm |

    DANIEL,
    It would be more precise to say:

    Daniel
    If science were to disappear we would live in caves but theology (or philosophy) would ask why and seek an answer.
    Science does not claim to answer religious questions nor can it.
    James

    September 7, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
  5. Tato Sugiarto

    PHILOSOPHIA PERENNIS.
    The Old Lady’s TORTOISE (Hinduism) and DRAGON (Taoism) are symbols for WAVE (energy), both are analog with MAGEN DAVID (Judaism). "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is the metaphor, and also similar with allegory of rituals Thawaf circling around the Ka'ba and Sa’i oscillating along “the sinus” Marwah-Shafa (seven times) during the Hajj pilgrimage (Abraham). CROSS is the symbol for "Balance of Nature."
    "A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME – From the Big Bang to Black Hole" by Stephen W. Hawking is the best scientific interpretation of AL QUR'AN by a non believer. It is also a “genuine bridge stone” for comprehensive study of Theology. Surprise, this paradox is a miracle and blessing in disguise as well. So, it should be very wise and challenging for Moslem scholars and others to verify my discovery.
    I am just an “ordinary people,” so would you mind to verify my point of view, please. Thank you.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • Cecy

      Lance Meadows Posted on This is great info. Alot of people fogret that being healthy is not just physical but emotional also and you have addressed it in one aspect very well here. Actually, it's all interdependent so the emotional can definitely affect the physical (i.e. many people over-eat when they are feeling sad, many times due to the happenings in an unwise relationship). Thanks!

      September 6, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  6. Tato Sugiarto

    TORTOISE (Hinduism) and DRAGON (Taoism) are symbols for ENERGY or WAVE, both are analog with MAGEN DAVID (Judaism). "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is the metaphor, also seven times circling around the Ka'ba and oscillating in the Sa'i during the Hajj.
    "A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME – From the Big Bang to Black Hole" by Stephen W. Hawking is the best scientific interpretation of AL QUR'AN by a non believer. It is also a “genuine bridge stone” for comprehensive study of Theology. Surprise, this paradox is a miracle and blessing in disguise as well. So, it should be very wise and challenging for Moslem scholars to verify my discovery.
    NeoSUFI visionary strategic thinking by an “ordinary people.”

    August 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  7. Ya .. you wish old man.

    All religions are absolutely absurd and it would take extreme egotism, delusion, arrogance and stupidity to subscribe to any one of them wholeheartedly. One only has to think about the countless cultures around the world that developed gods independently of each other long before humans began to travel globe to realize that all gods are a result of mans ego, fear and lack of understanding. How much science do you think the pope really understands?? cmon now pffffsshhhh..

    January 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  8. Chidi Anuduchukwu

    In our study on what will a perfect metropolis look like, we are saying that;

    *Men and women are not light and darkness to exist parallel to each other, what they need is an understanding among themselves to form a union known as family......follow us on: http://seatedchristianarts.blogspot.com/ for more details.

    December 17, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  9. SC Poole

    Lots of people have commented that the Pope has no credibility because he's uneducated or narrow-minded. Realize that your talking about a man who speaks, reads, and writes nine languages, and is a member of several scientific academies, including the highly prestigious Academy of Moral and Political Sciences in France.

    Your talking about a man who is a graduate of and was professor at one of Europe's most prestigious universities in– the University of Munich.

    You guys are so concerned with evidence, but you don't do your background reading. Stephen Hawking has a great mind, but he's not the only one. Hawking know he hasn't (and can't) preclude God's existence with his discovery.

    Believing in God doesn't require you to disbelieve science. I believe in God–but I double-major in physics and philosophy. Most of history's most brilliant men believed in God– from Aristotle to Newton, from Leonardo Da Vinci to Shakespeare, from from Thomas Jefferson to Einstein.

    So what's the credibility dilemma here?

    December 1, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
  10. ravenna

    I guess it is just unreasonable to believe that maybe there is a supreme being, but not in the context of man-made fables and mythology? When man first discovered the concept of god, he had no concept of the depth and scope of the universe. My issues with religion are that I have a problem with god being separate from it's creation. The concept of infinity especially confounds this for me. But we sit on a planet, orbiting a star, which one day in the distant future will die and explode into a supernova, and there will be nobody left to remember this all had meaning for us (yes I am quoting VNV Nation "Further") Just as scientific data becomes obsolete due to new discovery, so should religious data. Our religious data regarding god is obsolete. This doesnt mean there is no god. It just means we must push further the limits of our understanding.

    December 1, 2010 at 10:52 pm |
    • Mike Anderson

      Other than you being wrong about our star exploding into a supernova, I agree with you completely. My problem with religion is not the idea of a higher power. It is the issue with religious people being unwilling to change ideas that have been proven wrong. If science is as wrong as they put it to be, scientists wouldn't be continuously searching for a better theory for how things work. We would be as rigid as a religion.

      December 4, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  11. TJB

    Holy books are irrelevant as far as $cience is concerned.

    November 19, 2010 at 10:03 am |
    • GOD IS ALIVE AND WELL

      LISTIEN YOU FOOL GOD IS VERY MUCH ALIVE AND I CAN PROVE IT AND I CAN PROVE HAWKINGS IS A CRAZY MAN,,,,DO YOU THINK CAUSE THIS MAN WHO WE DONT EVEN KNOW IF HE IS REALY THE ONE SPEAKING AND FOR THAT MATTER HAS A ILLNESS THAT EFFECTS HIS BRAIN ' AND BY THE WAY MY BROTHER DIED FROM THIS,,,AND HAS REALY NO PROOF OTHER THEN HIS POPULARITY ' THAT I MIGHT ADD CAME FROM PEOPLE WHO DONT BELIEVE,,,,YOU REALY WANT TO TRUST A MAN OK BUCKO HERE IS THE TRUTH 'PEOPLE LIE ' ESPECIALY FOR MONEY JUST LOOK AT OUR PRESIDENT,,,AND DOCTORS KILL AND LAWYERS LOOSE CASES,,,AND ANY IDIOT CAN SAY SOMETHING IS TRUE AND MIX JUST ENOUGH TRUTH WITH LIES TO MAKE YOU BELIEVE IT,,,,BUT THE BIBLE HAS BEEN TRUE TO ITS WORD EVERY TIME OR ELS I WOULD NOT BE HERE,,,,GET A CLUE!!!!!!!!!!! HAWKINS IS MAD HE IS SICK AND IF HE WAS SO SMART TELL HIM TO HEAL HIS ILLNESS AND IF WE JUST CAME TO BE THEN WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO MATE TO MAKE KIDS,,AND HE AND HIS FAMILY ARE GETTING RICH OFF POOR FOOLS LIKE YOU,,,,ILL BE PRAYING FOR YOU BUDDY.

      March 29, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Mike Anderson

      @guy who has a defective caps lock

      You are living proof of a complete idiot. Following your argument, if god is so powerful, why can't he raise your intelligence?

      December 4, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  12. TJB

    Holy books are irrelevant as far as science is concerned.

    November 18, 2010 at 5:12 am |
  13. W L jones

    Dark matter grow around a magnetic cell in turn produce a phyical live, we as well everything else came from. We cannot see dark matter nor magnetic but can detect the later in numeral ways.

    November 5, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  14. Fred

    Origin of the Species, From an Alien View... The Unknown History of Mankind... Looking for alien DNA... The Genesis of the Monkey People and the Genesis of the Anunnaki People... Modern Science and the Ancient Writings on the Genesis of the Solar System:

    http://cristiannegureanu.blogspot.com/2010/06/looking-for-alien-dna.html

    November 5, 2010 at 12:17 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.