In this days I'm following an interesting scientific TV program and yesterday I watched an interview of Stephen Hawking. He was arguing about the existence of God saying that God does not exist since the universe had an origin, and before it time and space did not exist; so it is impossible to create things in a timeless dimension (this is what I've understood).

My questions are:

  1. Is Stephen Hawking assuming that God is an immanent entity?

  2. Is it incorrect to think about an immanent God according to the definition of God? Indeed in my opinion God have to be transcendent in order to give a possibility to a creation.

  3. How it is possible to concern an immanent creating power as Spinoza did ["Deus sive natura", (God or nature)]?

  • 7
    When a physicist talks about theology, it's no different than a celebrity talking about politics. Competence in one area does not necessarily imply competence in another. And for that matter, the reason we pay attention to what Hawking thinks about theology is that Hawking is a celebrity! And a theist would say that a benevolent God gave the physicists such a beautiful and logical world to study! Some physicists do in fact reconcile religion with physics in that manner.
    – user4894
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 0:58
  • it is very easy to reconcile religion and physics in that manner, however I found Hawking's argument interesting but it is clear that Hawking has not an extended knowledge in theology
    – Dipok
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 13:05
  • Hawking is not smart enough to tackle the problem of God :) Everybody is afraid to say so, even Hawking himself. God is always A TRANSCENDENT being. Not because he wants to be so but because he NEEDS to be so if he wants we ever reach him :)
    – Asphir Dom
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 12:26
  • Yes this assumes that God is made from the universe, an assumption which so far as I can see is arbitrary. I'd have thought that for God to be all that is claimedof him/her, the universe would have to be made by God. Ie: This universe is in God's hands, not the other way around. It also seems a slightly arrogant claim that a human doing maths can deduce the nonexistence of a deity, when all physics is only 'observed physics as we currently know it'. We are not all-seeing! Strange claim to make by Hawking, but then I haven't read his argument. Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 9:41
  • Theists often regard the relationship between a creator and the creation as being analogous to the relationship between a novel and its author. The writing of the novel is not an event within the timeline of the novel, nor does it have to be accounted for in terms of the laws or facts that govern the fictional world the novel describes.
    – Bumble
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 8:46

4 Answers 4


If we think of the universe as a giant computer, it is easy to understand that while the BIOS clock (time), and thus its ability to record time and perform operations, only started after the CMOS battery was installed, the technician (God) who put it together had existed prior to that and wholly independent from it. The technician exists in a place physcially and temporally separated from the firmware and software that makes the computer tick. The technician doesn't exist because the computer exists, but the computer exists because the technician put it together.

This is also a nice way of explaining how God can interact with the universe while remaining outside it: He has access to a cosmic keyboard, a "programming language" and can even create an avatar for in-game use(Jesus). But I am digressing.

The point is that while the universe as we know it may be constrained by space-time, the Judeo-Christian beliefs all allude to the fact that God exists outside of the bounds of space-time, hence the analog of the technician assembling a computer.

  • I never heard this analogy. Nice :-) Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 9:51

Hawking seems to be assuming that God's existence relies physics - or on our (ie his) understanding of physics.

Something of an assumption ! Suppose God's existence relies only on faith from souls, which do not require a physical reality ? God could then exist before the universe or our reality was created.

This would depend on your definition or interpretation of God.

  • 3
    To whoever downvoted : It's polite to explain why you have downvoted an answer Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 17:41
  • 2
    Just in passing: it's even less polite to demand that downvoters 'out' themselves. It's anonymous for good reason...
    – Joseph Weissman
    Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 21:54
  • I'll take that on board, apologies Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 9:49
  • Actually: Now that I've been using StackOverflow for a while, I see from the guidelines that it's expected that people would explain why they downvote. But.. meh.. Commented May 11, 2015 at 9:15

When you speak of "God" are you talking about the christian God? Or the islamic God? Or perhaps the jewish God? (If they're the same, why would they have ordered the writing of different books?) Or even some of the countless gods that humankind has created and talked about? There is nothing such as "THE definition of God". There are many definitions.

About Stephen Hawking, we don't actually KNOW if the Universe has had an origin. We have the big bang hypothesis, and even the big bang may be the consequence of something. Perhaps (and most probably to me) the Universe has always existed, though it may change shape and properties.

Second, I think that "impossible" is a very strong word to use, since we may never know 100% if something is or isn't possible. Maybe in different parts of the Universe, or even somewhere out of this Universe, something that looks impossible to us may be possible. There is the hypothesis that our whole Universe may be only a black hole inside of something else. Maybe this goes on forever...

So, returning to gods, I call them Mythology. Just like the science about the origins of the Universe: things we are never going to know.

Daoist philosophy talks about the Dao, which may be translated simply as Nature or Way (as in "the way things are"). The Universe exists by itself, and creates things because it's always in movement ("The movement of the Dao is the return" says the Dao De Jing). I think that's what Spinoza had in mind.

  • I was referring particularly to monotheistic religion.However my impression of Hawking's argumentation is that he resolves this problem in few words and declaring that this is simply the proof against the existence of God. This isn't "correct"...
    – Dipok
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 13:13
  • There's no proof of nothing. That's a word used a lot in religious and legalistic circles. In science it just doesn't exist. We have more or less confidence in certain hypothesis, that's all.
    – Rodrigo
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 22:06

If really there was a god that created this universe and all of us, then he must have been a really pathetic creator with all the imperfections that are there around. I wonder why the creator made us all so different, some rich, others poor, some beautiful, others ugly,, some healthy, others diseased. Was he a biased creator,, if yes then he should not be called god, because that means something sacred like the one who would protect us always, be unconditional, take care of us, have all answers, be capable of removing all our suffering, be absolutely perfect with no flaws and be capable of making all beings perfect just like him. If there is anyone so perfect, it is just the tirthankar (refer jain philosophy). Tirthankar is perfect from all dimensions and shows the path of achieving the same perfection to all beings of the world including the soul that lives in a dog or a microorganism or a plant or a stone. But he himself says he is not the creator of the universe and that the universe has existed since time immemorial and will exist till infinity. He further explains the laws of this universe and shows the path to end all sufferings and achieve infinite peace and salvation. One of the laws is that only souls who are born as humans can achieve salvation, other beings don't have the intelligence to conceive such an idea and will eventually have to be born as humans to ultimately achieve salvation. There are infinite souls who have achieved salvation and infinite souls will continue to achieve it by following the path shown by the tirthankar. If you now wish to call him god, then yes god exists.

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