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Stephen Hawking's simple answer when asked if he believed in God

Stephen Hawking's simple answer when asked if he believed in God

Living with the prospect of an early death for 49 years, he shared his thoughts on God and the meaning of life.

Given Stephen Hawking's status as one of the greatest scientists of our time, it's not surprising to learn his thoughts on religion.

The physicist died at the age of 76 in 2018 and is probably best known for his 2002 book, The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe.

He was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a type of motor neurone disease, at just 21.

Despite being given only two years to live, he defied the odds and became the longest-living ALS survivor.

Though Hawking beat the odds for more than five decades, he spoke about living with the constant presence of death.

'I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years,' he said.

Tim Whitby / Contributor / Getty
Tim Whitby / Contributor / Getty

'I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.'

In his last book, Brief Answers to the Big Questions, he discussed his disability: 'For centuries, it was believed that disabled people like me were living under a curse that was inflicted by God.

'Well, I suppose it's possible that I've upset someone up there, but I prefer to think that everything can be explained another way, by the laws of nature.

'If you believe in science, like I do, you believe that there are certain laws that are always obeyed.

'If you like, you can say the laws are the work of God, but that is more a definition of God than a proof of his existence.'

In his famous book A Brief History of Time, Hawking mentioned God, suggesting that if physicists could find a 'theory of everything' - a comprehensive explanation for how the universe works - they would understand 'the mind of God.'


However, he later clarified that he didn't believe in the traditional idea of God or a creator.

Though he fundamentally believed that the universe and life have meaning adding: 'We are each free to believe what we want and it’s my view that the simplest explanation is there is no God.

'No one created the universe and no one directs our fate.

'This leads me to a profound realisation, there’s probably no heaven and no afterlife, either.

'We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that I am extremely grateful.'

Hawking touched on the meaning of life, a thought which leaves room to ponder: 'Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist.

'Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.'

Featured Image Credit: Tim Whitby / Contributor / David Silverman / Staff / Getty