God did not create the universe.
In "The Grand Design," co-authored with U.S. physicist Leonard Mlodinow, Hawking says a new series of theories made a creator of the universe redundant, according to the Times newspaper which published extracts on Thursday.
"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 writes.
"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."I can't help but think of the old joke:
One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God. So they picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him.
The scientist walked up to God and said, "God, we've decided that we no longer need you. We're to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don't you just go on and get lost."
God listened very patiently and kindly to the man and after the scientist was done talking, God said, "Very well, how about this, let's say we have a man making contest." To which the scientist replied, "OK, great!"
But God added, "Now, we're going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam."
The scientist said, "Sure, no problem" and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt.
God just looked at him and said, "No, no, no. You go get your own dirt!"
Now, to be sure I don't peg my belief in God on what Stephen Hawking, or science in general, has to say. But his assertion that the "laws of physics" created the universe is like the old "back of a turtle" theory. Who made the laws of physics? It's another turtle!
Not only is what Hawking is hawking bad theology, it is also bad science. I would advise him to study Godel's incompleteness theorem, which proves mathematically that you can't even prove physics from physics, there has to be a basis of "faith" in any set of laws. The sad part is that a great scientific mind wastes its time trying to apply science to questions it doesn't address, instead of working on the many real questions it does.