People & Science

A publication of the British Science Association


Show me content for... +

Show me content for...
Professional development
Families & teenagers (aged 12+)
Families (children aged 12 & under)



Register with us and you can....

  • Sign up to our free e-communications
  • Become a member of the Association
  • Create your own web account, & post comments
  • Be part of British Science Festival
  • Save your favourite items


Keep up to date with the latest news from the British Science Assocation. Sign up to our RSS feeds and take us with you when you are on the move.

You are here

Universe has ‘no need for Stephen Hawking’

Almighty uses back channel to question relevance of physicist, reports Mark Stevenson

God has reportedly announced that the universe has ‘no need for Stephen Hawking’. The Almighty is said to be furious over Hawking’s claim that there was no role for a supreme being in creating the Universe, a claim made in the physicist's new book The Grand Design, co-authored with Leorand Mlodinow. The basic physical laws of the universe mean ‘the universe can and will create itself from nothing,’ says Hawking. ‘The universe didn't need a God to begin; it was quite capable of launching its existence on its own.’

‘How does he know?’ God has reportedly thundered. ‘Was he there?!!’

A source close to the Heavenly Office has reportedly said, ‘God’s put a lot of work in over thousands of years continually giving the scientists conundrums to keep them happy - and so this feels like a real slap in the face. It took him a lot of time to put together quantum uncertainty, the wave-particle duality of light and the fact bumble bees can fly and now he’s like, ‘Why did I bother?’

Legal advice

The Almighty is apparently consulting lawyers to see if Hawking’s invocation of what the physicist dubs ‘spontaneous creation’ is a trademark infringement.

‘God feels he pretty much owns the IP on spontaneous creation,’ said our source. ‘Using it as an argument to prove He's not relevant when it comes to creating things is like saying Gene Roddenbery wasn’t necessary for Star Trek. I mean, who owns the narrative here?’

Calls for an update to the Bible to include sections on particle physics and the latest cosmology have apparently had a muted response in celestial circles, although some more progressive voices are gaining ground.


Some unlikely commentators have come to God’s defence, including the late Douglas Adams. Or has he?

In his blockbuster series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Adams brought the essential dilemma facing God’s PR machine to a broad audience. The argument goes like this. If God proves he exists (and therefore delivers a slam-dunk to Hawking) he will effectively cease to exist almost immediately.

‘Proof denies faith and without faith I am nothing,’ says God in the first volume of Adams’ sci-fi comedy epic. But in the book the too-useful-to-have-evolved-by-accident babel fish (a universal translator of all languages if you stick one in your ear) is used to prove God is real. By creating something so mind-bogglingly useful God has inadvertently unmasked his existence, removing the need for faith and with it the basic pillar of His provenance. As soon as Man points this out God disappears ‘in a puff of logic’.

Beyond the grave

It’s a Catch-22 for God. To beat Hawking in a straight fight he has to prove he exists, which will mean he doesn’t, and Hawking will effectively regain the argument in a split second.

Adams has reportedly been communicating from beyond the grave. ‘It turned out God was a big fan of the Hitchhiker’s series, and that joke in particular, and so I got into Heaven, which frankly surprised me. Of course, there’s no way you can prove it, so I’m safe. I’m not about to prove there’s a heaven, what with the duvets being particularly soft here, and the beer being just the right temperature. Who’d put that at risk? I’m saying all this strictly off the celestial record.’

Rumours that Adams and God are now working on universe's biggest gag, whereby M-theory (which Hawking suggests can explain “spontaneous creation”) will eventually reveal that all matter is made of joke set-ups and all energy is made of punchlines, are unconfirmed.

Click for More
Mark Stevenson
Mark Stevenson is a comedy writer, director of learning consultancy and ‘live science’ communication agency You can follow Mark at
Join the debate...
Log in or register to post comments