September 7th proclaimed Feast Day; new book added to Bible
At a private conclave with key members of the Curia, Pope Benedict XVI praised the recent announcement by Professor Stephen Hawking that “God was not needed for the creation of the universe.” The conclusions are outlined in Hawking’s recently published book, The Grand Design
Speaking in Italian, the pontiff announced that the full theological implications of Hawking’s judgement were still being reviewed, “But our first impression is that Professor Hawking continues in the tradition of his famous Cambridge predecessors, the Nominalists.”
Head of the Vatican Observatory, Father José Gabriel Funes, also praised Hawking’s discovery. “The early theologians spoke in a manner appropriate for their time,” He said,”but Professor Hawking has actually given a name to what—in traditional language—we have been calling God: Gravity. This now helps us solve the problems of universals and particulars that stretched from Plato to Roscellinus. What Professor Hawking has revealed (if that is not too strong a word) is that universals do exist and that we call these the laws of physics.”
There was no immediate response from senior protestant theologians on Hawking’s statement. The Reverend Franklin Graham, son of the famous evangelical preacher Billy Graham, claimed never to have heard of Hawking or Roscellinus. “I’ll have our staffers look into it,” Graham is reported to have said.
Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, reached for comment in his London office, said “Of course the Jews have known this for along time, the name-thing I mean, but we weren’t supposed to tell.”
“We have puzzled for centuries over why there is something rather than nothing,” Father Funes continued. “Now thanks to Professor Hawking, we know. Why am I not surprised that we’ve been standing on it all this time? That’s how God operates. Whether you say God is good or Gravity is good amounts to the same thing. Keeps things from flying off in all directions. And I include morality in that”
In London, Lord Sacks agreed, “Funny: I just preached a sermon called “G-d doesn’t expect us to get it right all the time.”
Asked whether the discovery would have any impact on Catholic faith or teaching the head of the Vatican Congregation for the Faith, Bishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer said “I can’t imagine why it should. We may have to tweak a few translations, but key beliefs like “He came down from heaven,” or the Ascension will remain virtually untouched. We are also appointing a commission to investigate the relevance of Professor Hawking’s finding for doctrines such as the virgin birth and the salvation of mankind. These are small matters compared to the fact that we now know what God is,” he said.
Islamic reaction was cautious. Ali Hoseyni Khāmene’i, Iran’s grand ayatollah, speaking through an interpreter, speculated that الجاذبية (gravity) might be an additional name of God, raising the traditional number of 99 to an even 100. “In this case. his revelation in falling buildings on September 11, 2001 was especially significant.” Khameni’s views were immediately rejected by Muslims around the world as “unrepresentative of what Muslims really think.”
In Rome, the pope ended the conclave with an announcement that Professor Hawking would receive the Vatican’s highest honor, “Doctor of the Church” a distinction normally reserved for saints, and that his book, The Grand Design, would be incorporated as the first book of a revised Bible, just ahead of Genesis.
In a final tribute, the Conclave agreed unanimously that September 7th, the official date of the book’s release, would be instituted as “The Feast of Holy Gravity” to commemorate the discovery of God’s name. “It places it nicely within proximity to a number of feasts where Gravity is commemorated, notably the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin on August 15,” Father Funes said.