Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says
Stephen Hawking at the World Science Festival in New York in 2010.
May 17th, 2011
01:44 PM ET

Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week.

"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail," the physicist said in an interview published Sunday in Britain's Guardian newspaper. "There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."

Hawking, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - a terminal and debilitating illness that causes loss of mobility and impairs speech - at age 21 and was not expected to live long after, also talked with The Guardian about his own mortality.

"I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years," said Hawking, 69. "I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first."

In a book published last year, Hawking wrote that God did not create the universe, in what he said was an attempt to banish a divine creator from physics.

Hawking says in the book "The Grand Design" that given the existence of gravity, "the universe can and will create itself from nothing."

"Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," he wrote in the introduction of the book, which was published in September.

"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper (fuse) and set the universe going," Hawking wrote.

CNN's Richard Greene contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Britain • Death • Heaven

soundoff (4,469 Responses)
  1. JJ

    Albert Einstein received instruction in both Christianity (at a Roman Catholic school) and Judaism (his family of origin). When interviewed by the Saturday Evening Post in 1929, Einstein was asked what he thought of Christianity.

    "To what extent are you influenced by Christianity?"
    "As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene."
    "Have you read Emil Ludwig’s book on Jesus?"
    "Emil Ludwig’s Jesus is shallow. Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrasemongers, however artful. No man can dispose of Christianity with a bon mot!"
    "You accept the historical existence of Jesus?"
    "Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life."

    June 25, 2013 at 4:06 pm |

    let me know where to send you that picture>

    April 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm |

    a comment for you, a ufo picture who the fbi acredired as a real.pedrfo castillo who was teh one that sent me that noticie, i just did no much as put my mouse on that such an ufo, and sudendly something so i called part of human appeard. that called an ufo with rectagular part and looking black. i just found that i is becoming like a humana baby in the shape. mr. hawking., i moved my mouse all aver the figure...what i saw it looked like a baby human, also somekind of red arm just appeard on one of the sides.
    now i have this ufo on my desktop.
    everytime i look at it. it shows a better shape in becoming like a human baby.

    April 2, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  4. phil

    "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools".
    "Ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth".
    "The wisdom of man is foolishness to God".

    August 26, 2012 at 2:06 am |
    • Real Deal


      Yet you think yourself wise to believe these sayings?!

      It's turtles all the way down...

      August 26, 2012 at 2:09 am |
  5. houses in lompoc

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    June 29, 2012 at 5:28 pm |

    By Justice Noble: In my Humble Pure Divine Universe and Belief, God is still in Existence. Dr. Stephen Hawking is absolutely wrong. Satan the Devil and all other Heavenly Bodies in the Universe are also in Existence. God is the Creator and Existence of everything – from the Alpha and the Omega. How can human beings disbelieve the True Living God and Jesus Christ? Is Satan the Devil did not exist? Is Jesus Christ did not exist?

    The Universe as a whole in 2012 and beyond is coming down to the end. God's Plan and Divine Intervention will eventually surrender every living beings to bow down to pray for God's Final End! We are coming to the END! And God will create a New Heaven and Earth for only those who believe, pure in their hearts and be with Jesus Christ, God and the Saints and the Angels and Archangels. Praise the Lord in the Highest!

    I'm just a simple, imperfect, Christian Faith Believer in God and Jesus Christ. In my Statement of Faith, Belief, Divine Wisdom and Knowledge, I SERVE ONLY the True Living God and Jesus Christ!

    MDN, Inc.- IT Solutions & Global Network

    June 12, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • robert hanan

      I agree with you brother. I watch a steven hawkings special on discovery about the big bang. at first he spoke like God was the big bang and at the end he said that there wasnt any God. If he would have said that at the beginning I wouldnt have wasted a hour watching it

      June 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.