In their new book, The Grand Design, co-authors and physicists Stephen Hawking (pictured) and Leonard Mlodinow argue that God is not necessary to explain the existence of the universe as we experience it.
After all, if you look at the universe it looks suspiciously like it has been deliberately designed with us in mind. This is something that Harking and Mlodinow go into in some depth. They point out, as have many theistic apologists, that the laws governing our universe seem finely tuned to allow the existence of life. There are any number of constants—the gravitational constant, the mass of the proton, etc.—that are set at just the value needed to allow life to exist. If any of these constants were off by even a small amount, life would not be possible. It therefore appears that our universe has been intelligently designed to allow for life, which implies the existence of an intelligent designer.
In apologetics, this argument is sometimes called the argument from design from cosmological constants.
In their book, the two authors try to provide an alternative account of the universe’s origin that does not require an intelligent designer.
In the account they sketch they claim that ours is not the only universe. In fact, ours is only one of a vast number of universes, all of which pop into existence out of nothing as spontaneous creations. What’s more, the laws of physics take on every possible permutation in these universes, so there are vast numbers of them out there where the cosmological constants are different. So there isn’t a single uni-verse but a multi-verse in which every possible flavor of individual universes occur.