This marks a change of position for Steven Hawking. In the past, he has always deflected such questions by saying that he does not answer "god questions."
But this newly atheistic position is not likely to satisfy the religionists, however. They will probably suggest that it doesn't really answer the question of origins, but merely postpones it: if laws like gravity caused the big bang, who created those laws?
LONDON (Reuters) – God did not create the universe and the "Big Bang" was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, the eminent British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking argues in a new book.
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..."