In his new book, The Grand Design, to be published next week, the astrophysicist Stephen Hawking states that science excluded the possibility of a deity and that it was unnecessary to “invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”
The Chief Rabbi wrote: “There is a difference between science and religion. Science is about explanation. Religion is about interpretation. The Bible simply isn’t interested in how the universe came into being.”
Sacks also said the mutual hostility between religion and science was one of “the curses of our age” and warned it would be equally damaging to both.
“But there is more to wisdom than science. It cannot tell us why we are here or how we should live. Science masquerading as religion is as unseemly as religion masquerading as science.”
In an earlier book, A Brief History of Time, Hawking was apparently more open to the idea of God, suggesting that a scientific understanding of the universe was not incompatible with a creator. “If we discover a complete theory…it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God,” he wrote.