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Hawking: God Not Needed for Universe to be Created

Physicist Stephen Hawking has written a new book called “The Grand Design.” While the title might seem like Hawking could be delving more into the “mind of God” that he alluded to in his earlier book, “A Brief History of Time,” Hawking actually says that the universe’s beginnings – or the “Big Bang” was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics and that God wasn’t needed to “light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

Co-authored with US physicist Leonard Mlodinow, in “The Grand Design” Hawking says a new series of theories made a creator of the universe redundant. The Times of London newspaper published excerpts from the book today. The book goes on sale on Sept. 9.

The laws of gravity rather than the intervention of a divine being set the Universe in motion, Hawking wrote, and he contests Sir Isaac Newton’s belief that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have created out of chaos.

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” Hawking wrote.

He said the first blow to Newton’s contention was the observation in 1992 of a planet orbiting a star other than our Sun. “That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions – the single sun, the lucky combination of Earth-sun distance and solar mass – far less remarkable, and far less compelling as evidence that the earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings,” he wrote.

For decades, Hawking has been at the forefront of looking for a ‘theory of everything,’ and in “A Brief History of Time” he wrote, “If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God.”

Hawking, has a neuro-muscular dystrophy that is related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a condition that has left him almost completely paralyzed. He is only able to speak through a computer-generated voice synthesizer, and in the video above he discusses related issues with British biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins.

Read more reviews and commentary on the book at Cosmic Log, The Guardian, The Times of London (subscription required) and Reuters.


Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • clament September 6, 2010, 2:45 AM

    Science (the word human created for a vast of knowledge) creates Life (one of it as human being), Human creates Religions (many of it and numbers keep increasing as long as it has followers), Religions claims it creates both Science & Life.

    I don’t think there will be an answer that can satisfy we all; Instead of keeping discussing pro & con, why not we “registered” another new religion called SCIENCE, with series/volumes of bible named “Journals of _____”.

    Now we all have the religion we believed, no more issue about God(s) exist or not.

    P/s: I think most of us when mentioned “God”, we mean Jesus. But ever think others religion found in different countries – Japan, India, China, Malaysia etc? there all claims is theirs God who creates the universe. Therefore, even the argument has proved that God does exist, the question never end following by whose God is among the Real or God of Gods?

    Human…always love troubling their mind haha, Cheers! =D

  • Olaf September 6, 2010, 8:57 AM

    @clament ,

    you cannot register science as a religion. Science lacks believe because it bases itself on real testable and measurable data.Believe is not required.

    Maybe science cannot measure it right now for example the Higs boson. But there science gives ways to test the Higs boson and actually built the LHC to check if it is really out there.

    If religion would be the same as science than that religion would now have covered Earth with tons of sensors, camera’s, recording equipment build huge machines just to get a glimpse of this so called god. They would probably have used the latest DNA techniques to find the Jesus by reverse tracing the DNA. Archaeology would be used to trace back the bibles locations to separate the fiction that got into the religious texts with real facts.

  • clament September 6, 2010, 10:37 AM

    @ Olaf

    Thanks for reading my words, no offensive are intended, just wish peoples stop pulling Sc & art & God knowledge together, whether believe it or not, as if the existing of ghost, nothing much will gain from this topic. I believed prof. Hawking not really meant to eliminate the existing of any Gods, just the process doesn’t necessary involves Him to be occurred.

  • Jeffrey September 7, 2010, 1:59 AM

    Dear readers of this ” The Grand Design” of Steven Hawking,

    I completely agreed that we are living in Amazing world, its nature whether underwater, in the sky and on the ground. But I am not agreed at all the fact God not needed for the universe to be created. Why? because you Amaze how beautiful is this Universe but not accepted the Creator? How much more amazing be the Creator of this wonderful world we live.
    You use the wrong tools to discover who is Higher, Higher, then human being.
    If the Universe is not created by God, who creates this Universe any quotation? Or were there another Universes existed by itself proofed in historicity? Or will there be another Universe has to be created in the future?
    To discover religious fact required religious tools, based on science will always result within Scientific framework.

    We do not need Science to pray/ approach to God.
    We do not need technical knowledge to fellowship with God.
    We do not need to educate to pray to God.
    Prayer with humble heart find God.

  • clament September 8, 2010, 5:57 AM

    By the way, who created God?? spontaneously appear? simple & short answer thank you. I will read no more than two lines.

  • Olaf September 8, 2010, 9:32 AM


    You used the typical mantra “who created the universe then” indicating you do not know enough of science because you oversimplify the science and invent some human like figure to explain it.
    If you dig into the science (= maths) behind it then you pretty fast discover that no intelligence is required to create this universe.
    And recent papers also suggest you require very minimal energy to start all this. similar like the tiny explosive to start a nuclear reaction in an atomic bomb.

  • IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE September 8, 2010, 10:20 AM


    What I would like to know is: if ‘God’ created the Universe, then ‘He’ must have got the “Build Your Own Universe” kit from some celestial A.C.M.E. depot — so who the bloody hell created that?

  • akl1951 September 15, 2010, 11:21 PM

    I beg to differ with Stephen Hawking about his recent announcement that God did not have a hand in cration of the universe. My disagreement with the learned scientist’s claim is substantiated by the fact that given any number of combinations of the basic building blocks of life viz., amino acids, nucleotides, sugar,and phosphate,etc., life has never been created in any of the laboratories the worldover. Science just remains clueless about how life first developed on our mother planet and elsewhere in the universe. Life has never emerged from non-life. This is suggestive of the evolution of life having bearing on the existence of some supernatural force, whom we rever as ‘Almighty’ or as ‘God’. Readers may like to refer to the review article “Origin of Life” published in the peer-reviewed European journal, ‘Astrophysics & Space Science’ (2008, Volume 317, Issue 3-4, pp. 267-278), e-print of which is freely available on internet at the website: http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0907/0907.3552.pdf for the current status of scientific research in the inter-disciplinary field of ‘origin of life’.

    Moreover, Hawking wrongly refers to the ‘Big Bang Model’ as the viable explanation for origin of the universe.The said model is highly controversial with number of inconsistencies (the redshift controversy being the most hotly debated controversy) brought to the notice of the scientific community by leading researchers in the field from time to time. It is ironic that the mainstream cosmologists have remained indifferent to accept the cosmological realities despite several loopholes with the said model. The prominent shortcomings with the Big Bang model have been detailed in the article titled “Big Bang Model? A Critical Review” published in the ‘Journal of Cosmology’ (2010, Vol.6, pp. 1533-1547), e-print of which is freely available for international viewership
    at the website: http://vixra.org/pdf/1005.0051v8.pdf .

    Ashwini Kumar Lal, New Delhi