I think we can spend a few posts taking apart John Lennox's opinion, and others have done so. I'll just add a few points.
According to Hawking, the laws of physics, not the will of God, provide the real explanation as to how life on Earth came into being.
The problem I see is that the laws of physics accurately measure reality. We can make predictions using them and test to see if they're confirmed. Like with the new evidence for inflation.
However, the "will of God" is simply a reference to the desires of a mythical concept.
So to suggest that "the laws of physics provide the real explanation as to how life on Earth came into being" is just the philosophical musings of Hawking, and not a statement based on actual evidence, is flat out wrong. Even if the evidence isn't fully complete yet.
What Hawking appears to have done is to confuse law with agency. His call on us to choose between God and physics is a bit like someone demanding that we choose between aeronautical engineer Sir Frank Whittle and the laws of physics to explain the jet engine.
That is a terrible analogy. The main difference between God and Sir Frank Whittle is the is evidence of Frank's existence. So Hawking isn't confusing law with agency because there is no evidence for any agent to consider.
All he is saying is that there is no need to imagine anything else to explain the universe when the laws of physics provide plenty of evidence for how the universe came to be.
Says you; note that you are making a philosophical, non-scientific claim.
First, if you have evidence that god is something orther than a mythical concept please present it. However, my point is that using the term "The will of God" is, as you admit, just philosophical musing.
Saying the laws of physicis explains the origin of the universe is not. It is based on facts.
It implies that this is the only, and the complete, explanation for the question.
CS put it perfectly with his lightening/Thor example.
I'll just add that something for which there is evidence for will always be a more complete and accurate explanation than concepts for which no evidence exists. I don't see how you can argue against that.
The fact that the laws of nature give a good description of reality does not and cannot remove God from the picture any more than they remove Whittle from the picture.
Again, we have evidence for Whittle. There is no evidence at all for god. So until there is some, god isn't infered just as magical pixies aren't either.
In a philosophical sense, natural law is descriptive, not causative.
Natural laws are evidenced. Simple as that. The describe the reality we live in accurately and the origin of our universe without positing anything unevidenced or magical.
Do you consider the hypothesized multiverse to be part of nature or not?
I've been trying to just deal with your use of the word nature but it's not working out. Nature is where deer and bears live.
What we are talking about is the universe, 4d spacetime, or reality of you'd like.
Now, do I consider a multiverse system where Brains and all that stuff reacts to create universes (I'm paraphrasing) as has been hypothesized to be part of our 4 dimensional spacetime? Then no. They are super small to the point where space and time cease to make any sense. Notions of begin and end are pointless.
The other option would be to keep our definition of nature, in which case the Andromeda galaxy is "super-nature".
So basically supernatural means even naturally existing galaxies too? That's nonsense.
As I understand it, this is essentially the impersonal "god" of Einstein and Spinoza
Then it is no god at all, as both of these guys have clearly stated before.
By which I mean that the person would probably not refer to X or Y their "god", yet the person ascribes unique characteristics to X or Y, characteristics which are traditionally ascribed only to gods (externality, pre-existence, ultimate causation, uncaused existence).
No one is ascribing any characteristics to the process that would cause a 4d universe like ours to emerge. These are simply equations that yeild results. So for example, say super string theory is absolutely correct and works perfectly as the ultimate unifying theory of everything, that is not a diety or a god. It is simply an equation/s that works.
When I use the word "eternal" I use it for your sake not mine. I am perfectly fine understanding that 'before' or 'beginning' before the universe is pointless because time itself isn't a factor. To make that universally understood by the theist I will flavor it with the word eternal. But I agree it is not the proper term. It is better to say that space and time break down at units smaller than Planck scale therefore 'before' and 'after' or 'beginning' and 'end' are irrelevant.
So what is your objection to the use of "beginning"?
I have no objection to the use of the word beginning if we are only talking about the universe. But this conversation has gone, as it tends to do, to "before" the universe.
Some of the hypothesis being proposed as a unfying theory such as super string or brains in m-theory aim to explain this "before" period. However, this before period would not be subjected to notions of time or space or before and after - in other words, no beginning and no need for causation. If these equations ever work this is what they are projected to yield as a result.
So, the universe began 13.7 billion years ago emerging from some super string or brain which itself had no beginning or cause. It also may or may not have sprung out other universes and we are then part of a multiverse system with, what I've read, can be infinite possible universe variations
I only object to the use of the word beginning when you apply it to the string or brain (or whatever physicist discover to be the universe generator) because you have to accept that notions of time and beginning or end is not applicable to these theories.
If our universe began to exist, then it needs a cause for its existence.
But somehow energy/matter became sentient. It wasn't and now it is.
Not somehow - we have a very clear detailed history of how human life emerged. Like every other living organism we had a slow gradual process of evolution.
Is it a science experiment from some super intelligent alien race? That we have been mistakenly calling God? Is it even knowable?
We could be the experiment of another race of sentient beings. But those beings would also have evolved througha gradual slow process and not just popped up out of nowhere and existed forever without any kind of emergence process.
Evolution and natural selection occured and is occuring but has nothing to say about abiogenesis.
Abiogenesis and the emergence of sentience are separated by over 4 billion years. Your point was that of sentience NOT how single cell organisms emerged.
That was the point I was addressing.
However it is still unknown how the big bang occurred. It is unknown if or how inflation occured, It is unknown how exactly how and by what mechanisms, abiogenisus occured.
You're brushing over it with a very broad brush. For each of those things there are some things we know - like inflation (hence this thread) and possible hypothesis for how universes can emerge. For abiogenesis there is a ton of evidence, but sure, there isn't a complete theory.
The point is scientist are not blindly waving a stick hoping to hit something or imagining a super being that can create these things.
Or do you have information I am unaware of?
Apparently you are unaware of all the work being done in these fields you've mentioned.