Did God Create the Universe?
Stephen Hawking Expounds on the Controversial Subject

Did God Create the Universe?
Stephen Hawking Expounds on the Controversial Subject

Stephen William Hawking is an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, whose scientific books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity.

In his early work, Hawking spoke of "God" in a metaphorical sense, such as in A Brief History of Time: "If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we should know the mind of God."

In the same book he suggested the existence of God was unnecessary to explain the origin of the universe.

His 2010 book The Grand Design and interviews with the Telegraph and the Channel 4 documentary Genius of Britain, clarify that he does "not believe in a personal God".

Hawking writes, "The question is: is the way the universe began chosen by God for reasons we can't understand, or was it determined by a law of science? I believe the second."

He adds, "Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing."

Hawking compared religion and science in 2010, saying: "There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority [imposed dogma, faith], [as opposed to] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works."

Stephen Hawking unfolds his personal, compelling vision of the biggest question of all: Who or what created the universe in which we live?

The groundbreaking series Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking combined cutting-edge CG with Hawking's witty, distinctive and incisive worldview.

Now, we take the journey a step further, as physics and cosmology become tools to answer questions that philosophers have struggled with for thousands of years.

Famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking finds no room for heaven in his vision of the cosmos.

In an interview published in The Guardian newspaper, the 69-year-old says the human brain is a like a computer that will stop working when its components fail.

A creation story is a symbolic narrative of a culture, tradition or people that describes their earliest beginnings, how the world they know began and how they first came into it.

Creation myths develop in oral traditions, and are the most common form of myth, found throughout human culture.

In the society in which it is told, a creation myth is usually regarded as conveying profound truths, although not necessarily in a historical or literal sense.

They are commonly, although not always, considered cosmogonical myths—that is they describe the ordering of the cosmos from a state of chaos or amorphousness.

They often are considered sacred accounts and can be found in nearly all known religious traditions. Several features are found in all creation myths.

They are all stories with a plot and characters who are either deities, human-like figures, or animals, who often speak and transform easily. They are often set in a dim and nonspecific past, what historian of religion Mircea Eliade termed in illo tempore.

Also, all creation myths speak to deeply meaningful questions held by the society that shares them, revealing of their central worldview and the framework for the self-identity of the culture and individual in a universal context

All creation myths are in one sense etiological because they attempt to explain how the world was formed and where humanity came from.

While in popular usage the term "myth" is often thought to refer to false or fanciful stories, creation myths are by definition those stories which a culture accepts as both a true and foundational account of their human identity.

Ethnologists and anthropologists who study these myths point out that in the modern context theologians try to discern humanity's meaning from revealed truths and scientists investigate cosmology with the tools of empiricism and rationality, but creation myths define human reality in very different terms.

In the past historians of religion and other students of myth thought of them as forms of primitive or early-stage science or religion and analyzed them in a literal or logical sense.

However they are today seen as symbolic narratives which must be understood in terms of their own cultural context.

Charles H. Long writes, "The beings referred to in the myth -- gods, animals, plants -- are forms of power grasped existentially. The myths should not be understood as attempts to work out a rational explanation of deity."

While creation myths are not literal explications they do serve to define an orientation of humanity in the world in terms of a birth story. They are the basis of a worldview that reaffirms and guides how people relate to both the spiritual and natural world as well as to each other.

The creation myth acts as a cornerstone for distinguishing primary reality from relative reality, the origin and nature of being from non-being. In this sense they serve as a philosophy of life but one expressed and conveyed through symbol rather than systematic reason.

And in this sense they go beyond etiological myths which mean to explain specific features in religious rites, natural phenomena or cultural life. Creation myths also serve as a framework for humanity's sense of self in terms of ultimate origins, shaping concepts of place, time and purpose in the world.