[Y]ou can say the laws are the work of ‘God’,
but that is more a definition of ‘God’
than a proof of his existence.
– Stephen Hawking
In the famous avowed atheist scientist Stephen Hawking’s posthumous book ‘Brief Answers To The Big Questions’, in the chapter ‘Is There A God?’, he wrote, ‘If you accept, as [Einstein and] I do, that the laws of nature are fixed, then it doesn’t take long to ask: what role is there for [a creator] God? … The laws of science [i.e. nature] determine the evolution of the universe… These laws may, or may not, have been decreed by God, but he cannot intervene to break the laws, or they would not be laws. That leaves God with the freedom to choose the initial state of the universe, but even here it seems there may be laws. So God would have no freedom at all.’
Nature, being all laws of nature collectively per se, that (re)creates and sustains the universe, is simply what exists naturally, in a fixed way; not needing to be created or explained by the pre-existence of a supernatural creator. If a supernatural creator is believed in, this would beg the question of who created this creator – is it a ‘super-supernatural’ creator? Such a non-answer would only push back the question without answering it. If the supernatural creator is deemed uncreated, and naturally there in the first place, we might as well subscribe to nature being naturally here all along, thus not needing to believe its creator exists.
Since the definition of nature is what always exists, no supernatural creator can exist before nature to create or decree nature itself. However as the Buddha taught, it is possible for the universe to naturally evolve such, that there are beings who imagine themselves to be its creator. Likewise is it natural for other beings to imagine they were created by this creator. If it is a fixed law (of nature) that there must be a lawmaker, this law itself precedes the lawmaker, which makes it impossible for the lawmaker to precede the law, what more to change it, as it is already fixed. This means there was no creator who freely created anything at will in the beginning.
[T]here is no God.
No one created the universe
and no one directs our fate.
– Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking’s Final Book
How Can A ‘Creator’ Be ‘Created’?
Did The Universe Have A Creator?
Are Buddhists Atheists?