Hawking was a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and the director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge. Just weeks before he died at 76, Hawking wrote “there is no God” in his final, posthumous book “Brief Answers to the Big Questions”. He also wrote that “no one directs the universe,” and claimed the brain is “like a computer” and will “switch off” after death.
However, three years before he passed away, the genius wrote his own Discovery Channel series, “Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking,” where he was clearly in another state of mind.
During the series, where he was voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, he detailed just how lucky the human race is to be alive.
He said in 2015: “Life is one of the strangest phenomena known, in my opinion, it shows the universe is capable of almost anything.
“Yet it amazes me how we can know so much about the universe that began many billions of years ago, but we are yet to discover how life itself began.
“The most likely explanation is probably that we are an accident.
“Just by chance, some molecules bumped into each other at random until finally, one formed that could copy itself.
“Then began the slow process of evolution that led to all the extraordinary diversity of life.”
Hawking went on to question how humans could possibly be an accident.
He added: “Life seems to be simply what matter does given the right conditions and enough time.
He continued: “Perhaps science will reveal there is some higher authority at work, setting the laws of nature so that our universe can live and exist.
“On the face of it, life does seem to be too unlikely to be just a coincidence.
“Think about it, the Earth lies at exactly the right distance from the Sun to allow liquid water to exist on its surface.
“And the Sun just happens to be the right size to burn for billions of years, long enough for life to have evolved.”
However, Hawking did conclude by revealing he was not entirely convinced by his new theory.
He finalised: “The Solar System is littered with all the elements needed for life.
“These elements themselves are only possible because of older stars that have burnt out.
“These older stars only existed because of a tiny unevenness in the early primordial gas that was itself reduced by a one in a billion imbalance from the sea of particles in the Big Bang.
“So is there a grand designer? Who lined up all this good fortune? My opinion – not necessarily.”
Hawkings saw himself as an atheist and believed “the universe is governed by the laws of science”.
His association with atheism and freethinking was in evidence from his university years onwards, when he had been a member of Oxford University’s humanist group.
Despite this, he refused to rule out the possibility of a creator on several occasions.