Stephen Hawking: So here's how it all happened without God

In a speech in Pasadena, Calif., the famed physicist wonders what God was doing before the universe was created and says he's grateful that he wasn't subject to a church inquisition.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
Oh, God. BBC/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Even some of the more faithful might have wondered over the last few days whether there truly is a God.

Famed physicist Stephen Hawking would like to help. Let's imagine there isn't, seems to be his preference.

Indeed, in a speech at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., on Tuesday night, he made jokes about God's supposed power and omnipresence.

"What was God doing before the divine creation? Was he preparing hell for people who asked such questions?" asked Hawking, clearly not afraid of meeting a reddish man with a fork and a tail.

Being a scientist, Hawking has faith only in scientific explanations.

As NBC News reports, he discounted a repeating Big Bang Theory (even though he's appeared on the show).

Instead, he thinks: "We are the product of quantum fluctuations in the very early universe."

I certainly feel like the product of quantum fluctuations on many days of the week, don't you?

As Hawking advances in years, God is clearly very central in his mind. As the L.A. Times observed, Hawking was asked what, besides his wheelchair, he would like to control.

"What I would really like to control is not machines, but people," he said. Which, some might observe, sounds God-like -- in a remarkably ungodly way.

Still, he believes contemporary religions are so suspicious of science that they actively discourage it.

He pointed to the very charming Pope John Paul II who, he said, tried to get the pesky scientists to stop wondering how the world was created, as this was a holy event.

Rather than a Black Holey event.

In the end, though, we live in a world whose end we know no better than its beginning. We live in the middle of it and still don't know what's going on.

We neither understand ourselves very well, nor the reasons others behave as they do. We stand and we stare, as humanity shows its many hues and its infinite number of whys.

Somehow, God or not God, scientists' musings seem as fascinating as they are irrelevant to our everyday lives.

In this speech, Hawking was moved to muse: "God really does play dice."

Hawking is a gambler too. He lost a $100 bet as to whether the so-called God Particle would ever be discovered.

Nothing's going to keep us from searching, though, is it? It's the human condition.