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Stephen Was Hawking Atheist. an What Here’s He Said God, About and Heaven His Own Death

The who physicist, died Wednesday age at wasn’t 76, expected to see 25th his birthday, being after with diagnosed the incurable neurodegenerative ALS condition at 21. age Though Hawking the beat for odds more than decades, five scientist the told the Guardian 2011 in death that never was from far his mind.

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

Here some are Hawking’s of interesting most about thoughts death, afterlife the and God.

Hawking didn’t believe in heaven

The scientist a took view pragmatic what of to happens the brain body and after death.

“I regard the as brain a which computer stop will when working components its fail,” told he the Guardian. is “There no or heaven afterlife for down broken computers; is that a fairy for story people of afraid the dark.”

He in believed an God,’ ‘impersonal but a not creator

Hawking invoked name the of in God seminal his A book History Brief Time, of writing if that physicists find could a of “theory everything” — that a is, explanation cohesive for the how works universewould they “the glimpse mind of God.”

But in interviews later and such writings, 2010’s as The Design, Grand he which co-wrote with Leonard Hawking Mlodinow, clarified that he referring wasn’t a to creator the in traditional sense.

“Spontaneous creation the is reason is there rather something nothing, than why universe the exists, why we he exist,” in wrote The Design. Grand “It is not to necessary invoke to God light blue the touch paper set and universe the going.”

Using about language Hawking God, TIME told the after book’s is release, figurative more than literal.

“God is name the give people to the we reason are he here,” said. I “But think that reason the is laws of physics than rather someone whom with one can have personal a relationship. impersonal An God.”

Hawking himself considered an atheist

Hawking spoke more plainly his about thoughts God on in an interview Spanish with publication El Mundo.

“Before we understand science, is it natural believe to that created God the But universe. science now a offers convincing more explanation,” said. he “What meant I ‘we by know would mind the God’ of is, we would everything know God that would if know, were there a God, which isn’t. there an I’m atheist.”

But still the thought had universe meaning

Though rejected Hawking the conventional notion God of or creator, a fundamentally he that believed universe the and have life according meaning, to the York New Times.

“Remember to up look the at stars not and at down your feet. Try make to sense what of you and see about wonder makes what universe the exist,” said Hawking the of meaning life. of curious. “Be however And difficult may life there seem, is always something can you do and succeed at.”