LONDON — Did creation need a creator? British physicist and mathematician Stephen Hawking says no, arguing in his new book that there need not be a God behind the creation of the universe.
The concept is explored in “The Grand Design,’’ excerpts of which were printed in the British newspaper The Times yesterday.
The book, written with fellow physicist Leonard Mlodinow, is scheduled to be published by Bantam Press on Sept. 9.
“The Grand Design,’’ which the publishers call Hawking’s first major work in nearly a decade, challenges Isaac Newton’s theory that God must have been involved in creation because our solar system couldn’t have come out of chaos simply through nature.
But Hawking, who is renowned for his work on black holes, says it isn’t that simple.
In his best-selling 1988 book “A Brief History of Time,’’ Hawking appeared to accept the possibility of a creator, saying the discovery of a complete theory would “be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God.’’
But “The Grand Design’’ seems to step away from that.
It says that physics can explain things without the need for a “benevolent creator who made the Universe for our benefit.’’
“Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing,’’ the excerpt says.