A Brief History of Time

A Brief History of Time

by

Stephen Hawking

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Yet to be proven by science, God appears frequently in A Brief History of Time, largely in the places where science does not yet have an answer. Stephen Hawking often considers whether God would fit into various models of the universe. For example, there is lots of room for an omnipotent creator in the big bang theory, but less so in a universe that has no boundaries, and therefore no beginning. He also suggests that even lay people could understand the mind of God if scientists answer all the questions of how and why the universe came to be the way it is.

God Quotes in A Brief History of Time

The A Brief History of Time quotes below are all either spoken by God or refer to God . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bantam edition of A Brief History of Time published in 1988.
Chapter 3 Quotes

Many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention. (The Catholic Church, on the other hand, seized on the big bang model and in 1951 officially pronounced it to be in accordance with the Bible.)

Related Characters: God , Alexander Friedmann
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner […] they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired. […] There ought to be some principle that picks out […] one model, to represent our universe.

Related Characters: God
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:

Most sets of values would give rise to universes that, although they might be very beautiful, would contain no one able to wonder at that beauty.

Related Characters: God
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:

So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator. But if the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, it would have neither beginning nor end: it would simply be. What place, then, for a creator?

Related Characters: God
Page Number: 146
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? […] Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?

Related Characters: God
Page Number: 190
Explanation and Analysis:

[…] if we do discover a complete theory […] Then we shall all […] be able to [discuss] why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we would know the mind of God.

Related Characters: God , Lay People
Page Number: 191
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire A Brief History of Time LitChart as a printable PDF.

God Character Timeline in A Brief History of Time

The timeline below shows where the character God appears in A Brief History of Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...not exist before the beginning. This is an idea St. Augustine used, when asked what God did before the beginning. He stated time is a concept only within Creation, and did... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...for a beginning. An expanding universe does not rule out the existence or involvement of God, but it does determine when time started. (full context)
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...question is strictly science; the second is metaphysical or do to with religion. They say God can do whatever he likes. While that could be true, he made the universe in... (full context)
Chapter 2
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...Newton, as a lack of absolute space didn't agree with his idea of an absolute God. He refused to accept the idea, even though his own laws implied it. Bishop Berkeley... (full context)
Chapter 3
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
While the church liked the big bang model because it leaves room for God, many dislike the idea. Hermann Bondi, Thomas Gold, and Fred Hoyle proposed the steady state... (full context)
Chapter 4
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
...behavior. This idea remained influential for decades, though it was unpopular among those who believed God’s freedom to act should be uninhibited. (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
This was the end of Laplace’s idea of determinism. There was still place for God in this model, but it did not help mere mortals to understand how he might... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...fact his Nobel Prize was partly awarded for his contributions to the theory. He said, “God doesn’t play dice.” Yet quantum mechanics works very well with observations and it underlies all... (full context)
Chapter 8
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...not to enquire too deeply in the big bang, because it was the work of God. Hawking had just spoken on the topic of a no boundary finite universe, which would... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
God seems to have left a set of rules to determine the universe, within the limits... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...to explain other than to say simply the universe, and we, are the creation of God. (full context)
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...earth’s two-dimensional surface. In this model, there would be no need for singularities, or for God. The laws of science would not break down. The universe would just be. (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...forward this idea at the Vatican conference, but its implications for a beginning and therefore God were not understood. He spent the next summer working with Jim Hartle in the U.S.... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...that space-time has a closed surface with no boundary seems to eliminate the role of God. People thought the fact that we can discover and know the laws of science does... (full context)
Chapter 10
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...beginning that travel into the past was allowed. But there is no reason to believe God created such a chaotic reality. The uniform microwave energy and the abundance of light suggest... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...of the universe are random. Some argue the third in order to leave room for God. With our understanding of the uncertainty principle, we have removed the third option. Activity is... (full context)
Chapter 12
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...activity were set, or how the universe looked at the beginning. These aspects were in God's hands, who was largely left to the areas that were not yet understood. (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...in black holes. The laws of science break down at these singularities, allowing room for God to work. (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...like stars or people. But if there are no boundaries, there is little room for God. Einstein asked what choice God had when making the universe. If the no boundary model... (full context)
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...find the answer to that, it would be the same as knowing the mind of God. (full context)