In his new book The Grand Design, he's apparently more explicit:
Physics was the reason for the Big Bang, not God, according to scientist Stephen Hawking.
"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing," the professor said in his new book, in a challenge to traditional religious beliefs.
"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going," he wrote in his book "The Grand Design," extracts of which are printed in London newspaper The Times.
The book, co-written by American physicist Leonard Mlodinow and published next week, sets out to contest Sir Isaac Newton's belief that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have created out of chaos.
Newton, genius that he was, was crazy for religion.
I wonder if A Brief History was more effective for me as an invitation towards atheism than it would have been if it were more explicit. I wasn't looking to challenge my religious beliefs, just to learn something about cosmology. And maybe my religious defense mechanisms weren't activated in the same way they would have been if I'd picked up, say, a Dawkins book first. A Brief History opened my mind to atheism and Dawkins sealed the deal a year or two later. But would I have even read Dawkins if Hawking hadn't opened my mind first?