Dr Williams said: ‘Belief in God is not about plugging a gap in explaining how one thing relates to another within the universe.’

He told The Times: ‘It is the belief that there is an intelligent, living agent on whose activity everything ultimately depends for its existence. Physics on its own will not settle the question of why there is something rather than nothing.’

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales and one of Britain’s top imams also joined the condemnation.

Lord Sacks said: ‘Science is about explanation. Religion is about interpretation… The Bible simply isn’t interested in how the universe came into being.’