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Did God create the Universe?

11:25 UK time, Thursday, 2 September 2010

There is no place for God in theories on the creation of the Universe, leading physicist Professor Stephen Hawking has said. Do you agree with him?

Professor Hawking had previously argued belief in a creator was not incompatible with science but in a new book, he concludes the Big Bang was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics.

The Grand Design, part serialised in the Times, says there is no need to invoke God to set the Universe going.

Do you think God created the Universe? If not, do you agree with Prof Hawking's assessment? What is your Big Bang theory?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 22

  • Comment number 1.

    I don't think anybody trully knows if God created the universe or not. I don't really believe in God but I can't disprove his exsistence.

    So all in all I'd have to say. I don't know.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    1. I don't think so

    2. Yes.

    3. I'll leave that one to the professor. He's better at physics than me

  • Comment number 4.

    All logic, and common sense, points to science creating the Universe so therefore I agree with Professor Hawking's assessment. However, if certain people feel the need to believe in a God then that is their choice.

  • Comment number 5.

    Are you kidding me? Talk about a topic ripe for rampant flaming and trolling from both sides.

    To answer the question "Do you think God created the Universe?"

    I like to think so, even if it was God "pushing the button" to see what would happen.

    But it hasn't been proved either way and probably wont be either because there could always be a higher divinity no matter how far science goes. That's what faith is all about.

    But to put a question to the Agnostics, Aethists & Scientists who say not..

    Why shouldn't there be a "divine power" who created the universe?

  • Comment number 6.

    If God created the Universe, it's makeup and the different laws applying to it, was also created by him. The law of natural selection of the species too.

  • Comment number 7.

    I have the greatest respect for Professor Hawking, and he is exactly right.
    Man's need for and creation of God, or gods/goddesses, was a way to explain a complex environment when he had nothing else to work with.

    This does not invalidate faith even now, and these ideas can happily cohabit (and should) but you'll never convince those who don't want to see/hear this.

  • Comment number 8.

    No

  • Comment number 9.

    Yes.

  • Comment number 10.

    No

  • Comment number 11.

    Wow, This ones gonna turn nasty quick!
    In a word, NO. (because he is imaginary) ok, that was some words, not just one :)

  • Comment number 12.

    Personally I am quite content with the idea of a Godless creation as I have always felt that the universe and all in it is simply too fantastic and diverse to have been created by a God.

  • Comment number 13.

    The laws of physics quite simply preclude the existence of a deity by any current definition of the word.

    So, although I find Stephen Hawking's writing style fairly impenetrable, I am happy to agree with him on this point.

  • Comment number 14.

    Why are we no getting the chance to comment on the big stories, and only drivel that polorises people because of belief.

  • Comment number 15.

    Personally I agree with Stephen Hawking, but as it's (currently) only a matter of opinion, it's not a useful topic for HYS.

    Religious bun-fight to follow i expect.....

  • Comment number 16.

    There is no place for God in Steve Hawkin's theories but I am not so arrogant.

    There is so much that science in its current forms cannot explain and we know so little about the Universe and how it was created that it is wrong to discount the possibility of god(s).

  • Comment number 17.

    no

  • Comment number 18.

    Of course not!
    Creationist theory is deeply flawed. I'm sure you've heard the argument: If you see a table it must have been created by a joiner, the joiner was created by his parents, they were created by their parents etc. until "logically" you get back to a single creator of everything. But following the same logic this 'creator' must have been created aswell.
    The only system that supports spontaneous creation is quantum physics which precludes the existence of God.

  • Comment number 19.

    Reasons why I think Hawkins et al are just plain wrong, the following would have to occured by chance rather than design. The life cycle, the rock cycle, the orbit of the earth which sustains life, the elements of life all being in the same place at the same time in the right environment to create life. Then we have the proximity of the moon which provides the tides, the plants which provide our food and oxygen. The proximity of the sun, not too close not too far.

    Oh and E =mc2. No intelligent design behind all these things? Come on get real.

  • Comment number 20.

    I don't know. Neither do you. The God debate is utterly futile.

    Stop wasting your time.

  • Comment number 21.

    For thousands of years (the Jewish tradition plus most of the Christian tradition), people have believed that all that is exists because it is part of God´s plan. That means that the universe has a purpose, our world and all that is in it has a purpose and human life has a purpose.

    God has been eliminated from science for the past couple of hundred years resulting in the philosophy that the world, and all life are just there - with no purpose.

  • Comment number 22.

    Did God create the Universe?

    No Theist can currently prove that god exists.

    No scientist, including Hawking, can provide a coherant scientific explanation as to how something, specifically the universe, can be created from nothing.

    So lets just call it a score draw & live & let live.

  • Comment number 23.

    Logically there isn't a god as the creation of the universe is clearly explained by science, and a lot of the pillars on which religions were based have been proved to be wrong since various religions were founded. However you will never end the debate as people who believe in god will continue to do so until someone can prove he doesn't exist. It is impossible to prove that something does not exist, so people that believe will be able to continue to hope.

  • Comment number 24.

    Did he say there was no place for God in theories of creation or that there is no need to invoke God? These are not mutually exclusive - if you believe in God you can still hold that he had a part in creation. This doesn't necessarily conflict with the science. If God is all powerful, etc etc he could quite easily have created gravity, evolution and so on. Conclusion: no real need to get wound up.

  • Comment number 25.

    Well of course evolution is the answer. As if there WAS ever 'someone' sitting somewhere 'invisible' sculpting all this mess is a farce. But inevitably 'the believers' have to have their crutch to get them through life, or to be told how and what they were meant to do, because 'it was written' Sad really.

  • Comment number 26.

    I have to agree with the "I don't know comment". Something from nothing goes against my basic scientific understanding of equal and opposite reactions. If people want to have faith then fine, I personally don't. And to the people that are getting all sensitive about this being another opportunity for the atheists to feel superior, I'd say, being a lifelong agnostic / atheist, everyone is entitled to their views, but it is difficult to agree with "organised religion" such as catholocism, judaism, islam, scientology, as they really have little to do with faith and more to do with power and controlling the masses through fear....I think if religions were truly peaceful, then I doubt atheists would be so vocal.....Believe what you want, just don't condemn or kill people that disagree, and don't blindly follow octegenarians with dubious sexual tastes, who seem to continually ask for forgiveness, if they followed the commandments they preach, there would be no problems.

  • Comment number 27.

    I agree that a God or Gods are not necessary for the creation of the Universe. If you accept that an entity created the Universe, then you have to contend with the question of who created the creator? If you say that the creator is eternal, then it seems like an awful cop-out to me to contend that there was a creator but somehow the creator is immutable and outside of time and space and all laws of physics.

    The problem with all this is that the conditions before the big bang are unknowable at present, and while science does not have a concrete answer to why the big bang occurred yet, neither does religion.

  • Comment number 28.

    As usual the religious or faithful person has taken the idea of creation out of context. God is not a man sitting on a cloud, God is the IDEA of creation. One could call the IDEA of creation "God" or "Nature" or the "Big Bang", it is not really important. What is important is that we do not apply these silly mythical labels to the most imeasurable events in our existence. Finally the likes of Prof Hawkin and Richard Dawkins are being taken seriously, becasue they are scientists who actually measure and predict based on real evidence. I'm all for Christianity and religion, but please don't apply a self-serving bias by saying that "My God created the Universe".

  • Comment number 29.

    "14. At 12:07pm on 02 Sep 2010, Sat_tire wrote:
    Why are we no getting the chance to comment on the big stories"

    Well, I'd have thought the existence or non existence of God was quite a big story.

  • Comment number 30.

    In terms of passage of time we (human race) are but a nano spec of dust! If you like a freak of nature, certainly not created by any devine being. I don't have a PH'd or am an expert theologian or whatever, I think its more to do with delusions or simply because of a deep rooted fear within most humans that have to believe in something devine, suppose its self-therapeutic and nothing more.

  • Comment number 31.

    I should study Hawking's argument in more detail before making a judgement of his logic, but it seems to me arrogant to pretend to know what might or might not have occurred 13 or whatever billion years ago. His theories may be of interest to some 'scientists' (is it 'science' to make suppositions about that which can never be proved?) but to most of us they are as helpful as saying 'god done it'. I wonder what fraction of the human population actually cares about how it all began? Do any other species ponder the imponderable? The fascination with 'knowing' is in some ways more homocentric than believing the universe was created just for us. When you accept that you are not important you can accept it is not important for you to know about the origin of the universe.
    "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing."
    Is it not now well accepted that there is no 'law of gravity'? There are a set of rules which work over 'medium distances', but in very close proximity (intra-molecular) and at very great distances (inter-galactic) these rules no longer apply. And even at medium distances, unless I missed that episode, gravity is barely understood. What is the speed of gravity, for instance? Or the mechanism by which it works? To replace 'god' with 'gravity' in the argument about the origins of the universe I think is just silly. If we're going to blame gravity we may as well blame god, though I must admit that as a force gravity is a bit more predictable. But can it exist without the matter that it supposedly created?
    It would be foolish to suppose there are no alien beings out there somewhere, and I suppose it is possible they have learnt to surf gravity waves or something, but as was superbly illustrated in 'Wild Blue Yonder' the possibility of them reaching earth is negligible, and anyway, why would they want to harvest our resources? Earth's minerals are probably pretty much the same as those found anywhere else in our galaxy, and if they're not, what use would they be to a species that has evolved without them? Organic matter on our planet is unlikely to be of any interest to them. Maybe they'll steal Jupiter for the gas? Won't that upset our horoscopes!

  • Comment number 32.

    To answer the question you first have to define what you mean by "God" and "create".

    If "God" is a bunch of natural laws that govern the way that things behave, then most scientists work as if "God" exists, even if they cannot fully justify this notion.

    If "God" is some kind of (supposedly benevolent) being that judges us for not eating things in a particular way, or for not going to a building on certain days of the year, or for not behaving according to a set of dogmatic rules about sexual behaviour, or for being born to parents that have committed "sinful" acts, then I sincerely hope that Prof Hawking is right.

  • Comment number 33.

    I believe that God created the universe for too many reasons to list on this page. So i'll just explain a few.
    What came first the chicken or the egg? The book of genesis states quite clearly that God created all life including those what "walketh upon the earth" - so one question that alot of people cannot answer is solved in Genesis. If the universe did create itself (which to me sounds ridiculous) then A) how do we know right from wrong? - we all know that its wrong to steal, murder, lie - three of the 10 commandments. and B) If the universe did create itself and there is no God, then there is no purpose to life so I could go out tommorow and kill someone, then kill myself and get away with it scott free? And i know thats wrong because there is a sense of justice in the world.

  • Comment number 34.

    Hmmm...tough one. By the way, who created God?

  • Comment number 35.

    Which God are we talking about here?

  • Comment number 36.

    God did not make the universe

    God did not make Man in his image - Man made up God to explain the Universe...
    ...And justify his inhuman behaviour towards his fellow man.

  • Comment number 37.

    Nothing new! Bertrand Russell said pretty much the same thing in "Why I am not a Christian" and he wasn't the first by a long chalk! However, what surprises me most is that anyone believed it in the first place!
    "In the beginning all was darkness" but there was nobody around to notice it, never mind the six-day week!

  • Comment number 38.

    I think using the word "God" confuses the issue as people interpret the meaning of the term "God" in a way that they relate to. i.e. a christian has a different interpretation of what God means to an Islamist or Buddhist.

    For me the question is, is there an intelligent awareness inherent within the Universe or is all that exists merely mindless matter and energy with no consciousness.

    There are a couple of givens that give clues to answer this,

    (1) Human beings have consciousness / awareness and it is likely that many living creatures also have this, so this is something that exists within the Universe.

    (2) Chaos theory suggests that order & chaos are part of the same process, i.e. order turns into chaos and visa versa. Water between freezing point and boiling point is in a stable condition as a liquid, it is in order and will follow set rules of physics & chemistry. When water reaches boiling point, it goes into a state of chaos where the condition of the water molecules are between a liquid and a gas. When it becomes a gas it is again in a stable state, in order.

    So a consciousness of the continuity of existance is a known reality and it is also generally accepted that order and chaos are two parts of the same process.

    To me this suggests that there is an intelligence possibly with conciousness that is inherent within the structure of the Universe, if you want to call this God then let it be.

  • Comment number 39.

    14. At 12:07pm on 02 Sep 2010, Sat_tire wrote:
    "Why are we no getting the chance to comment on the big stories, and only drivel that polorises people because of belief"
    Why waste time and space with this kind of tripe?

  • Comment number 40.

    "What is your Big Bang theory?"

    Seriously? You want the genii of the HYS community to add value to the theory of creation?

    I'm going to stop work now and wait for the life-changing revelation that I knew this forum would eventually provide.

  • Comment number 41.

    We attribute the big bang to a point in time.
    But if the mass of the universe was created in an instant from a single point then a few milliseconds later that mass would be concentrated in small space so would this not warp space-time and therefore prevent us calculating back in time linearly to the Big Bang?
    So I have this picture that the Universe has always existed, like an asymptotic curve on a graph of x against 1/x. We can calculate back linearly to the big bang but as we approach it, time warps and we can never actually reach the big bang.
    I'm probably wrong but it works for me.
    Wish someone would explain to me in simple terms where, if the Big Band did happen, the energy came from and how in an instant the complexities of subatomic physics and chemistry were created. OK so all the mass of the Universe is created but what about the detail - zero point energies, atomic structures and molecules, elements (why not just make 100% Iron - the most stable binding energy per nucleon option)
    Perhaps God was created by the Big Bang and not the other way round.....
    Etc.

  • Comment number 42.

    The thing is: How could a God not be consistent with the Laws of Physics?
    Hawking's theories does not contradict the idea of a God. Indeed, a God could not not be in harmony with Its World.

    As time started with the universe, in other words, as time and matter are undissociable, the unknown eternal and infinite "space" that existed "before" the universe could probably not not give birth to the universe.
    In fact, to use the phrase "before Time started" conjures up a concept that is ungraspable. In this may lie the idea of a supreme "order", governed by a God... or not.
    In my opinion, it is simply a question of Faith.
    Now, the inportant thing is: the more we discover about the universe, the more we get to know how harmonious, and above all, how fertile, this universe is...

  • Comment number 43.

    This subject always brings out the "You cannot prove god doesn't exist…." arguments, and I am sure the current forum on the subject will not disappoint.
    For me, the choice could not be simpler. Believe in a being that no-one has seen, no-one has heard, no-one has photographed, and who only exists in tales written/spoken about thousands of years ago (when people also worshipped the moon and the sun), or instead believe physicist that work on current evidence, and who are happy to modify their theories based on new evidence as it arrives.
    No competition really!

  • Comment number 44.

    Of course not! It was jump-started by Dave Lister using jump-leads from Starbug. Everyone knows this.

  • Comment number 45.

    I'm glad Stephen Hawking was not afraid to say this. There should be no fear in rejecting the concept of a god or creator. The universe does appear to be a naturally occurring thing.

    "Where did god come from? If we decide that this is an unanswerable question, why not save a step and conclude that the origin of the universe is an unanswerable question? Or, if we say that god always existed, why not save a step and conclude that the universe always existed?" - Carl Sagan

  • Comment number 46.

    For sure something directs it all and its much more likely physics than God.
    If it were God he couldn't have kept this quiet for so very long about the mess we made of everything could he?
    We all need an anchotr of some sort, whatever floats your boat. I just wish the various factions wouldn't keep trying to push their particular anchor down my throat.

  • Comment number 47.

    Perhaps the human race will split like that predicted by HG Wells in the time machine into those who don't believe and those that do - for me belief is fine but the name God no matter what religion you come from if replaced by the word Earth in all the writings still works - God is purely another term for the Earth and is a way to explain that which people did not understand centuries ago into a concept that people can grasp. Yes God exists - God is the Earth itself. Though God as some bearded bloke in the clouds watching us - no way and there is no need to wind him up on sundays as a certain song lyric a few years ago stated. Creating the Universe is pure chaos, a fantastic concept...so perhaps the concept of chaos is actually God..?

  • Comment number 48.

    In the past things that we thought were spontaneous turned out to have a cause. Spontaneous is not an explanation but perhaps we are still too ignorant to understand the actual causal forces that were behind the creation of the universe. Saying that God created the universe is the same as saying it was spontaneous as the question of how God came into being is still left unexplained.

  • Comment number 49.

    Only if you believe in God.

  • Comment number 50.

    19. At 12:11pm on 02 Sep 2010, pablex75 wrote:

    Reasons why I think Hawkins et al are just plain wrong, the following would have to occured by chance rather than design. The life cycle, the rock cycle, the orbit of the earth which sustains life, the elements of life all being in the same place at the same time in the right environment to create life. Then we have the proximity of the moon which provides the tides, the plants which provide our food and oxygen. The proximity of the sun, not too close not too far.

    Oh and E =mc2. No intelligent design behind all these things? Come on get real.


    =========================================================================

    And your evidence for intelligent design is?

    All the evidence that humankind has gathered points to a scientific explanation. There is nothing that points to anything in our environment being designed. As to why we are here. I'll paraphrase David Attenborough "We're are here because the conditions for life happened to be right " no other reason required we were lucky that all. It's a shame that some flaw in the Human Psyche wants to believe in spirits and such.

  • Comment number 51.

    So that's both Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins who say God doesn't exist.

    Such brilliant minds, such amazing thinkers.

    It surely can't be down to just fate that such genious is created?

  • Comment number 52.

    @5: "Why should there be?" is a more valid question, as we have no evidential basis for believing in the existence of a creator, non belief is the default position. Faith is assuming the existence of a creator because you want to believe in one (usually because people want to believe in an after life), not because it is the most likely explanation, THAT is what faith is all about.

    We may never know for sure how the universe began but that does not mean we should just assume the existence of a creator. Describing what we don't yet know as "a higher divinity" sounds like a desperate attempt to keep a god in the picture somewhere, no matter what.

  • Comment number 53.

    The question should really be "what is God?"

    If you believe God to be an omnipresent, omnipotent but amorphous power, then the laws of physics would come within this category.

    If however you believe God to be a being, with a likeness akin to that of man, then there is no place for God in the creation of the universe.

    As for the Big Bang theory:

    "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." Sounds pretty much like the Big Bang to me. Let's have a look at the rest by replacing some of the words used in the Bible...

    The first part states: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." OK the heaven bit is fine, but not the earth, unless of course we reinterpret earth as matter, earth is written with a lower case "e" not capitalised as in "the Earth" (referring to the planet). Then it would be fine.

    This is pretty much backed up by the second part which states: "And the earth was without form, and void; and the darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." However, use of some words becomes a little confusing. So let's look: that the earth or "matter" was without form works. That the Spirit of God or "laws of physics" moved upon the face of the waters or "the void, space or whatever you want to call what is beyond the universe", can then work as well.

    We've covered part three: "Let there be light" as the Big Bang.

    Part four is pretty obvious: "And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from darkness." Yes the Big Bang would produce a lot of light, yes the surrounding area would be dark, so yes this all works.

    So was the book of Genesis (def: the origin or mode of formation of something) really trying to tell us that the Big Bang did actually happen? And indeed was known about well before the advent of modern science. It was just written in a way that its contemporary readers could understand.

    After all the concept of space, the universe etc. would be well beyond the comprehension of readers at that time.

    So now we should really refer to the Big Bang as the Genesis of the Universe...

  • Comment number 54.

    It's all down to perception of 'What is God'. To say that the laws of physics created the universe is insufficient as then you can ask what created the laws of physics. Something did - and if you want to put a name to it - you call it God.

  • Comment number 55.

    29. At 12:17pm on 02 Sep 2010, AndyC555 wrote:

    "14. At 12:07pm on 02 Sep 2010, Sat_tire wrote:
    Why are we no getting the chance to comment on the big stories"

    Well, I'd have thought the existence or non existence of God was quite a big story.

    =====================================

    They have been trying to prove it for the last 2,000 years at least and have so far not suceeded. I cannot see how this forum will get any closer. Unless God has been posting and may choose to unmask himself (or herself)

    The Pakistan cricket scandal, The resignation of William Hague's special adviser, further job cuts at the State owned bank. These are real stories.

    God is just a good way to polarise opinion based on religion as a starting point.

  • Comment number 56.

    I would think that any group of scientist who believe that they have the ultimate answer to what are basically philosophical questions have forfeited the right to call themselves scientists.

    Come on BBC you are just giving space to atheists and theists who think God is some kind of mechanical engineer. Nothing like indulgence in superstition disguised as either scientific or spiritual debate.

    I wonder whether the BBC has a motive in downgrading the substance of religious discourse. Preparing the population for some fundamentalist religion perhaps?

  • Comment number 57.

    It has to be said that religion encourages you to absolve yourself of your own responsibilities, and those of others. That's not healthy.

    Society has reached a stage where now, more than ever, we need to be personally responsible and not put it all in the hands of some "higher power".

  • Comment number 58.

    39. At 12:24pm on 02 Sep 2010, rustle wrote:

    14. At 12:07pm on 02 Sep 2010, Sat_tire wrote:
    "Why are we no getting the chance to comment on the big stories, and only drivel that polorises people because of belief"
    Why waste time and space with this kind of tripe?

    ---------------------------

    What has cooking animals stomach's got to do with pointing out that the debates are becoming less and less newsworthy?

  • Comment number 59.

    There are lots of Theologians and Scientists who are Christians, who agree that there is no need to invoke God in the gaps of our understanding but clearly they still manage to retain a belief in God.

    So, for example, it might be quite correct to say that 'The kettle has boiled because of the heating effect of the element', but wrong to then deduce that 'Therefore it did not boil because you wanted a cup of tea.' It is not sufficient to claim that physics has explained something, when all it has done is describe something.

    The biblical (Christian) view is that God has indeed revealed Himself already (in creation, in the bible, and most crucially by His Spirit). This 'revelation' is Spiritual.

  • Comment number 60.

    39. At 12:24pm on 02 Sep 2010, rustle wrote:

    14. At 12:07pm on 02 Sep 2010, Sat_tire wrote:
    "Why are we no getting the chance to comment on the big stories, and only drivel that polorises people because of belief"
    Why waste time and space with this kind of tripe?

    ===============

    You have just perpetuated it

  • Comment number 61.

    "StopPoliticalCorrectness wrote:
    I have to agree with the "I don't know comment". Something from nothing goes against my basic scientific understanding of equal and opposite reactions."

    I agree with the anyone who said "I don't know" simply because it's totally impossible to prove one way or the other (at the moment). However to then say you don't know because something from nothing goes against your basic understanding of science is a strange thing to say. The science behind the creation of the Universe is orders of magnitude beyond 'basic' and very few people understand it. Much of physics doesn't make any sense to the layman simply because we don't understand the complex science behind it.

    It should also be pointed out that the basic knowledge of science many people have is usually wrong in a totally factual sense. A lot of science gets simplified when explained to a general audience. It's known as 'lies told to children' because the full facts are too complicated for most people to grasp.

  • Comment number 62.

    35. At 12:20pm on 02 Sep 2010, Rufus McDufus wrote:

    Which God are we talking about here?

    =========================

    Exactly, shows the utter futility of this debate.

  • Comment number 63.

    The only fictional story of Creation that I'm willing to believe is Andy Hamilton's version in Old Harry's Game. Hawking's version may not be complete (or even necessarily correct), but it is our current *best* understanding based on observation and deduction, not trying to fill in the gaps with things we do not know.

    The concept of a god is only relevant to science if it appears in any equations. If it is indeed omnipotent and *unpredictable*, then there is no point in trying to model it, except for assigning it a small part of the randomness in the variance in our models.

    However, do not let that stop you from enjoying life.

  • Comment number 64.

    Don't be ridiculous! We live in the age of science and whilst anyone has the right to believe whatever fanciful nonsense they wish, I expect - no, in fact I demand - that an august organisation such as the BBC be more enlightened than to run HYS threads pandering to the zealots.

  • Comment number 65.

    And another thing…
    Suppose that you really cannot believe that all this we see on Earth and in the universe could come about without the intervention of a creator of some kind (let's call him God), why the heck would you choose to follow one of the established religions? These were created thousands of years ago, and handed by word of mouth for centuries, then written down in a language of thousands of years ago, then translated many times through further languages. All the "appearances" and "documented" actions of these religions happened thousands of years back and none in recent and more reliably documented years, isn't that peculiar? Perhaps not.
    If you feel that everything we see is too much to happen by evolution and physics and that there must be a creator, then design your own one. It will have no less validity. You will get no more nor no less response when talking or praying to him/her than you would with the established gods.
    If it helps solve the riddles of the universe for you, then that's dandy.
    Although, there is still that eternal question of how did your creator come into existence, but hey, we can just gloss over that one…

  • Comment number 66.

    19. At 12:11pm on 02 Sep 2010, pablex75 wrote:
    Reasons why I think Hawkins et al are just plain wrong, the following would have to occured by chance rather than design. The life cycle, the rock cycle, the orbit of the earth which sustains life, the elements of life all being in the same place at the same time in the right environment to create life. Then we have the proximity of the moon which provides the tides, the plants which provide our food and oxygen. The proximity of the sun, not too close not too far.

    Oh and E =mc2. No intelligent design behind all these things? Come on get real.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yet you have no problem at all in believing the being that did that intelligent design, and so is even more complex, simply popped into existence?

    At least the scientific explanation has vast timescales and creeping progression to allow these things to happen, the religious one requires the most complex thing to create itself in an instant.

  • Comment number 67.

    Do you think God created the Universe?

    --Yeah, why not! Its a great place and frankly I am bored with the ever increasing politicisisation and social interference of science (seems to be growing more unpleasant as time passes), I am actually gonna side with the belief in the creation of everything by a divine being. I suppose with the idea of omnipotence, that any God is generally beyond human comprehension in its infinite wisdom and ability that I doubt a mind as brilliant as Hawkings is even able to comprehend such a thing nor its abilities and motivations.


    If not, do you agree with Prof Hawking's assessment?

    --Not really, given my answer above

    What is your Big Bang theory?

    Okay, how about this. God is Everything! Science, selection, life, death, movement, space, time, light, dark, conscious, unconscious, history, humour, conversation, sadness, happiness, animals, bacteria, hair accessories, the elements, the planets.... everything. Everything comes from God, everything, at some point, will return to God. Indeed, we are part of God! God is also a collective of every single consciousness that has ever been, is now and will ever be, they are all a part of it, feed into it, feed from it! We have been afforded a great privilege in being able to, for a moment, step away from it, to experience independence, the ability to make choices for the benefit of fellow individual consciousnesses as well as ourselves. Given the ravages of time etc, our bodies will deteriorate and when our bodies die, if we are lucky we will return to that collective, retaining all that we have experienced in this life and be able to share it with the great consciousness, the collective. That contribution aids the continuous development of everything in the universe.

    You might think it a little far fetched or perhaps I smoked too much pot in college, but I like it.

    The bottom life is (unless you’re Buddhist or a Hindu) you get one shot a life and whether a religious person or a follower of science, wouldn't it be so nice if we could just...... get along. We're as bad as one another with the ability to be so much better.

  • Comment number 68.

    Stephen Hawkins is just another fallible man on a rock hurtling through the universe as we all are. His views are all that they are - views.

  • Comment number 69.

    Nope, everything will be eventually explained by science it is only time

  • Comment number 70.

    The common argument religion takes is that you can't prove God doesn't exist, therefore we'll believe in him. In that case, you can't prove fairies don't exist, or Aliens don't exist....

    Do I believe God created the universe? No, not until he reveals himself or is discovered.

    Do I believe the science? I think its the most likely explaination so far.

  • Comment number 71.

    At last, someone that is well respected has come out with the truth, NO God, in fact no anything only infinity. If that scares you tough, you're surrounded by it and you can't do a thing about it. Just a thought, the died in the wool religious when they think of heaven assume (because they look up towards space)that it's up there. Sorry to dissapoint you all but we all know now that it's space, it has no end, a bit scary really if you hope that when you pop it you go to heaven or the promised land, only infinity beckons.

  • Comment number 72.

    Man has created God in his own image.

    The Universe IS God !!!

  • Comment number 73.

    One rather suspects that at the end of the day Hawking has as much idea on the matter as anyone else. The idea that Universe is a Spontaneous creation from nothing on the face of it seems pretty absurd; the idea of a creator seems to make more sense.

  • Comment number 74.

    Humans are too intelligent and not intelligent enough at the same time.

    We are so intelligent that we have discovered that we are simply one small planet in an enormous universe, and we are clever enough to ponder big questions like "why are we here" and "what created this universe".

    However, we are not intelligent enough to work out all the answers.

    We therefore created God and religion.

  • Comment number 75.

    " Jason_Overthinker wrote: I don't think anybody truly knows if God created the universe or not. I don't really believe in God but I can't disprove his existence. So all in all I'd have to say. I don't know."

    Equally none of those who believe in a supreme being can prove its existence either .... Superstition is just an attempt to explain what we don't understand, and it makes no more sense to say that there is only 'one god', as opposed to a 'pantheon of gods'. Why not worship Zeus or Odin and their sub gods, as say Jehovah or Allah, when it makes no difference either way?

    If you believe in the supernatural, then why does it have to be in just one form?

    If you believe in science, and mans attempts to explain phenomomen via theory and experiment, then there is no need to worry about godheads ... or such questions as who created God?

  • Comment number 76.

    Personally I find religion to be an objectionable mental illness so I'm quite pleased that Stephen finds no god in his models.

  • Comment number 77.

    Short aswear.

    No

    Long answear.

    Of course not.

    Any reasonable logical mind puts its belief in things that can be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

    Just by simply saying that something is true or exists does not make it so.

    I'll give you an example.

    Unicorns are real.

    I believe in unicorns.

    You can't disprove me as unicorns work in mysterious ways.

    Gravity exists.

    Water exists.

    Animals exist.

    Con-men who like to take advantage of other human beings by creating fault deitys in which to obtain a degree of control over there fellow man also exist.

    Either unicorns exist because I say they do, along with god.

    Or neither do.

    We have equal evidence for both (none AKA faith)

  • Comment number 78.

    If God did create the universe then he also created homosexuality, abortion clinics, discos, Miaow Miaow and religious people who in my experience are the most judgemental and least forgiving folk around.


  • Comment number 79.

    "Why shouldn't there be a "divine power" who created the universe?"

    I guess the laws of physics could be explained as divine powers... at a push.

    However, a sentient, omnipotent benevolent being...? I see no evidence whatsoever for that. Faith can be acceptable where there is a lack of evidence for any side of the debate, but to persist in extolling (Blind) faith when there is clear evidence to the contrary could be described as ignorant.

  • Comment number 80.

    "In the beginning matter created heaven and earth".
    What's the matter with that?
    The matter with that is matter.
    Nuf said.

  • Comment number 81.

    If the definition of God and Nature are one and the same thing, then yes, I think that Nature created the Universe. I'm a scientist, and although I do not believe in God, I do have respect for Nature.
    Nature, or more accurately, evolution (on this planet at least), is just a highly complex chemical reaction which started on a barren piece of rock billions of years ago. There's no intelligence behind it all, but it is undeniably very, very clever.
    My big bang theory = our Universe started from a super massive supernova, from which all of the debris which makes up our visible & ever expanding Universe was created. I think we'll one day find that what we call the Universe, is in fact just one of many, we've simply not reached the next level of understanding yet. Just as galaxies like our own Milky Way are now understood to be plentiful and widely dispersed I think we'll come to understand Universes in much the same way.

  • Comment number 82.

    Personally, I believe GOD is a scientist and not by himself. I feel there are others not as accomplished as the lead being. They may also have deliberately spoiled his experiment (us). I believe that the different religious factions on the planet are the spoil.

    I am a big follower of NASA and listen with interest to the worlds leading scientists. I have a theory that the original centre of the creation of the universe, is from a singularity with a DNA, stabilized by something and waiting for something to trigger it to develop.

    Like others who follow science with optimism E.G. the LHC, and look on with anticipation at other experiments. I`m no religious one sider. Considering how old the universe is, I don`t conceive it possible, for another branch of beings to have evolved so quickly, to be so far in front of us, without having a major advantage over us.

    For the few of us who see both sides, it`s a case of `watch this space`

  • Comment number 83.

    As many have said - we can't know. It is a matter of what you believe. All science can tell you is how our universe works. It tells us nothing about where that universe comes from or what existed before the start.

    Contrary to what many here believe there is a lot of uncertainty in the premises of cosmologist theorising. It only takes a couple of the foundations to be proved incorrect for the whole house of cards to collapse.

    There are as many scientific controversies over the origins of the universe as there are theological debates. Many specialists, who know far more about the physics involved than most posting here, have theories completely in contradiction of the "Big Bang" hypothesis, for example.

    Even if we know everything there is to know about the physics of the universe that doesn't tell us where it actually came from, and we are far from that knowledge. Much of the scientific explanation of physics is based on the premise of so far undetected particles and energies. Despite looking for decades with hugely expensive equipment these are taken as given even though no trace has been found. They are stated as existing because it must be so to fit the predictions of the theorists. That seems rather like faith to me.

    Those here who take Mr Hawkings statement as gospel (forgive the pun) are no different to those following many another prophet. If you delve into the subject of physics you find a lot of controversy and fudge that is used to make the theories and calculations of physics fit observed reality.

    Personally, I'm a Christian. I believe in God but I can't prove the existence of God, but neither have I seen anything yet in science that proves God's non-existence. We each have our own faith, in either God or science. Live and let live.

  • Comment number 84.

    God is the subject of ones own faith, and faith is the substance of things "hoped for" which is evidence of things not seen.

    As for the question: Did God create the Universe? Pass!

  • Comment number 85.

    The Bible (The Old testament) starts with Genesis and gives a pretty good description of what scientists think existed before the "big bang". The Bible describes this as a void. It then states that God said "Let there be light and the light shone forth". The universe came out or was created out of nothing and the scientists are only speculating about how this was possible. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is still not fully operational and only then, after experimentation and observation can the researchers explain, or not explain, how this could happen. Until then who or what created the universe is a matter for speculation and will only result in a polarised discussion like this with "smart" athiests and "brainwashed" religious people arguing.

    From my very limited knowledge of quantum mechanics I would say that some of the "non-believers in sky gods or pixies" crowd would have great difficulty taking in some of the theories. These theories if found to be true could pave the way to time travel and travelling enormous distances. Now would a better topic not have been "What a magical place the universe is what do think created it?". This question could only be answered by true scientists, the religious and not the "bash the christians" crowd.

  • Comment number 86.

    I guess there is an assumption that there is some psychological experience which truly reflects not just the experience itself but also something else, a 'deep truth of/is the universe', and even just those few words are problematic, but for me personally it all seems to break down to the point where there is not really anything there to explain anyway (once explained :]). There is a mode of thinking where we think of matter as somehow 'physical', but it seems to me that this is just a useful interpretation and there seem to be other approaches, other feelings to use to be a person. Science is not this though as far as I understand it and science seems better for us than hocus-pocus and subjective interpretations.

  • Comment number 87.

    One thing that strikes me is that scientists have never provided a comprehensive or convincing theory about the origin of life or the Universe. Ask them what was before the "Big Bang" and they will tell you "nothing". So they expect us to believe that everything suddenly appeared out of nothing (magic?), but they ridicule people who prefer to believe in a supernatural being and a creative force. Evolution may have been part of that creation process but the questions about what life is go beyond the realms of biochemistry. Indeed, according to the laws of physics, chemistry, entropy, etc.. there seems no reason why life should exist at all. If we did come from random molecular collisions in the sea producing a mixture of successful and unsuccessful chemical concoctions, shouldn't we be seeing this process today?

  • Comment number 88.

    Many people have already touched on this point but I feel that the idea of the Big Bang is just as illogical as God creating the universe. Stephen Hawking says that the existence of such laws as gravity prove that the universe can and will create itself from nothing. But it proves no such thing.
    Since everything in the universe is essentially energy, and since physics already tells us that energy cannot be created or destroyed then this suggests the universe has always existed. And within it, as others have said there is definitely conciousness. Some people might interpret that as 'God' since it would appear to be seperate from 'matter'. But in no sense can 'God' be said to be the creator of the universe. 'God' and the universe are the same thing.

  • Comment number 89.

    Doesn't the fact that there are laws of physics/nature point to something higher? What determined that there would be certain laws and not other and what their settings would be? Even if the Universe was started spontaneously by gravity-what determined that there would be a law of gravity?

  • Comment number 90.

    There is compelling evidence that there is no God. All you need to do is rationalise your existance with the evidence there is around you.Use fact not fiction. Man has gone into space & telescopes allow us to see 100`s of light years away (& by default, light from the past). Look at fossils in rocks (museums, books,internet).Study basic Geology.(the way rocks are formed, radio-carbon dating & the overall concept of geological time)If you still believe in a God that will be your choice (based on individual reasoning after studying scientific facts). The evidence for a God is non-existant. It relies on blind faith.

  • Comment number 91.

    This is a classic case of an atheist/former agnostic not knowing much theology. The "God-who-lit-the-blue-touch-paper" is the Deist god .... completely incompatible with most of the worlds major religions ... particularly those which subscribe to the creation 'ex nihilo' (out of nothing) belief.

    The Deists, who came to prominence after the Enlightenment, believed in a god who kick-started the Universe but who then left it to its own devices having given it laws to regulate itself. Unsurprisingly these people rejected any form of interventionist god ... so prayer, miracles and the Incarnation (for Christians) went out of the window. The Deists, however, still THOUGHT they needed their god to start the whole thing off.

    All that Stephen Hawking is saying is that this is unnecessary .... and I agree with him .... because, although I am an Orthodox Christian and a priest, I am not a Deist.

    A spontaneous creation merely describes and explains HOW the Universe came into being. The favourite explanation today is that a quantum irregularity in the substrate vacuum superinflated and the resultant energy field eventually condensed into the baryonic matter that each one of us is made of.

    Now, only a Deist god would be needed to nudge that quantum irregularity UNLESS superinflation was built into the irregularity itself. So the "nothing" of which Hawking speaks is not the "nothing" of which (primarily) monotheists speak. Strictly speaking (and here words are inadequate) we believe in "being" from "non-being," ... and whatever that seething quantum vacuum is, it is not "non-being."

    So, sorry Stephen, get to grips with the theology please. At least I make an effort with the science.

  • Comment number 92.

    The BBC seem to constantly live in their own "Created Universe" ~ Regurgitated topic formulas, for just about every other HYS !

    As for the rest of us, well aren't we all just; brains in glass jars in some heavenly laboratory somewhere ?? Who knows if "life is just a dream within a Dream or not" ~ as for myself I will just take the Red-pill (no i meant the blue-pill, no the ... arghhhh !

  • Comment number 93.

    If god created the universe he is very wasteful. Creating billions of galaxies, billions of stars (and still to be proven fully) billions of planets, just for one species on one planet to have something to do on Sundays. You really are having a laugh aren't you!

  • Comment number 94.

    At 12:17pm on 02 Sep 2010, Donald wrote:
    I should study Hawking's argument in more detail before making a judgement of his logic, but it seems to me arrogant to pretend to know what might or might not have occurred 13 or whatever billion years ago. His theories may be of interest to some 'scientists' (is it 'science' to make suppositions about that which can never be proved?) but to most of us they are as helpful as saying 'god done it'. I wonder what fraction of the human population actually cares about how it all began? Do any other species ponder the imponderable? The fascination with 'knowing' is in some ways more homocentric than believing the universe was created just for us. When you accept that you are not important you can accept it is not important for you to know about the origin of the universe.
    "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing."
    Is it not now well accepted that there is no 'law of gravity'? There are a set of rules which work over 'medium distances', but in very close proximity (intra-molecular) and at very great distances (inter-galactic) these rules no longer apply. And even at medium distances, unless I missed that episode, gravity is barely understood. What is the speed of gravity, for instance? Or the mechanism by which it works? To replace 'god' with 'gravity' in the argument about the origins of the universe I think is just silly. If we're going to blame gravity we may as well blame god, though I must admit that as a force gravity is a bit more predictable. But can it exist without the matter that it supposedly created?


    yes you should study more about SH before coming out with this load of TRIPE

    look up terminal velocity and then look into how black holes are created then go get a bed sheet put it on 4 posts corner to corner put some oranges and plums and grapes on it and theres your explination of gravity
    theres alot more to it that that but chatting on about how god and gravity are the same?
    this is why people annoy the hell out of me about "god" most athiests will look at it from a scientific view go out get data or as much reasearch as they can.
    people who belive in god just have a worthless opinion without DATA or STATS your just another person with an opinion.
    theres more proof to discredit a "god" existing than there is to prove it infact ive never seen anyproof to suggest any of the gods exist only science proving it and the church knows there right know they will lose followers and money so they try to discredit science.
    i mean come on your telling me that god would want everyone to catch AIDS etc? for the sake of wearing a condom and if you do that you will burn in hell blah blah
    how many times in the last 3000 years did something people couldnt understand so blamed it on god, well guess what we understand alot more now and know it actually had nothing to do with god.
    seriously people WAKE UP!
    the fundamentals of all religions have so many flaws in its unreal and lets suppose a god exists how do you know that islam isnt right or mormons or scientology see my point? you cant prove allah doesnt exist so does that mean if a cristian belives in god because he cant prove allah doesnt exist he therefore from his own logic should belive allah exists? because he cant prove otherwise.


  • Comment number 95.

    73. At 12:45pm on 02 Sep 2010, grainsofsand wrote:
    One rather suspects that at the end of the day Hawking has as much idea on the matter as anyone else. The idea that Universe is a Spontaneous creation from nothing on the face of it seems pretty absurd; the idea of a creator seems to make more sense.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hawking is one of the world's most respected physicists, so his understanding of natural laws is way beyond the average person's.

    If the spontaneous creation of the universe is absurd why is the spontaneous creation of the creator, which is more complex, not absurd?

  • Comment number 96.

    It is unlikely the universe was created in a single large event, but rather evolved over time into what we see now. It is possible that each galaxy has formed independently of the event which formed the matter at the centre of the universe.

    Space time may have started off "smooth" and some event started "waves" in space time which over billions of years have led to what we perceive as matter to form by some as yet not understood mechanism. The universe is getting bigger and expanding more rapidly as more matter forms and more waves (or ripples) are being generated.

    Energy is not finite but rather is being created all the time and through projects like CERN we may one day find out how.

    It is unlikely this mechanism was started by a supreme being unless he was first created naturally by some similar process of evolution otherwise it is hard to imagine how else he was created.

  • Comment number 97.

    Maybe there is a God, and He was so plagued with people who spent all their time making hate figures of 'atheists', 'people on benefits' and 'immigrants', that in a fashion similar to that used to get rid of unwanted hairdressers, management consultants and telephone sanitizers in 'The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy', he created this universe and packed them off here, telling them that they were the advance guard for a new civilisation. Who knows? It is as good an explanation as any.

  • Comment number 98.

    Somebody mentioned earlier that the non believers don't have a purpose for the universe and that's the problem they have. What's the point of life, of morality and the many things that perlex life nobody, Hawkins, Dawkins or otherwise can say that God doesn't exist just like the overwhelming part of planet earth that does believe can prove that he does exist. Please stop this nonsense, faith is something believed not seen and scientists go fact only so the whole topic can't be resolved but please can the Hawkins of this world stop coming out with drivel when they aren't in a position to prove things one way or the other. There's almost a conspiracy that if you bang on about something long enough people will start believing you.

  • Comment number 99.

    So, Mr Hawking, who created Science?

  • Comment number 100.

    33. At 12:20pm on 02 Sep 2010, James Bailey wrote:
    "The book of genesis states quite clearly that God created all life including those what "walketh upon the earth" - so one question that alot of people cannot answer is solved in Genesis. If the universe did create itself (which to me sounds ridiculous) then A) how do we know right from wrong? "

    *****
    Perhaps the person who wrote Genesis didn't have a clue what he was on about?
    Knowing right from wrong? Even monkeys, horses and cats follow rules when living in a group, but I don't think they were ever handed tablets of stone.

    I'll never alter someones blind faith, but still feel obliged to point out errors of logic which are portrayed as fact.

    My opinion is that there may well be a god, but he really doesn't care one jot about our day to day lives, so you would better spend you time enjoying this life than fantasing about the next.

 

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