Description of light nuclei and low-energy nuclear reactions can be given in a model-independent way by using chiral effective field theory of QCD. In this framework, nuclear forces are described by pion and nucleon rather than fundamental quark degrees of freedom in harmony with the symmetries of QCD. In this proceeding I discuss chiral nuclear forces derived within this framework and present our first results on the three-nucleon forces calculated up to next-to-nextto-next-to-leading order in chiral effective field theory. I will also discuss our recent lattice simulations of the 12C-spectrum where the next-to-next-to-leading order nuclear forces serve as an input. In addition to the ground state and excited spin-2 state, we find a resonance at -85(3) MeV with all of the properties of the Hoyle state and in agreement with the experimentally observed energy.