Hi, John. I recently started to get acquainted with the questions of the origin of the universe and to publish your questions on this topic on our website. Stephen Hawking is more of a friend or an enemy to the Christian faith? On the one hand he supports the idea that the entire universe had a beginning, on the other believes that such beginning God not necessary and that it could happen by itself, without God.
Stephen Hawking is definitely not a friend of Christianity. About 15-20 years ago he published work about black holes and the history of the universe in which he said something like “this has clear theological implications.” However, in the last decade or more, he has made rather disparaging statements about religion and about the existence of God.
It just so happens, however, that, despite his personal animosity toward belief in God, the things discovered by Hawking definitely do have implications strongly in support of the existence of God. That is why he made the interesting statement in his earlier book “A Brief History of Time.” He was involved in the discovery of the “fine tuning” of the universe. He was part of the discovery that the size of the gravity force is wonderfully and fantastically “tuned” to allow for a universe which has galaxies and planets, but does not collapse almost as soon as it was created. Dozens of the parameters which define how the universe we exist in are at precise values which, if they were to be only very slightly different, there would be no life in the universe. Hawking played a significant role in revealing this truth.
It is true that Hawking has publicly stated that the creation of the universe itself does not require a creator/God, but the physical facts about the universe seem to defy this conclusion. Hawking is not coming up with his conclusion out of nothing. He is working on the fringe of relativity and quantum theory in the realm of a highly speculative string theory.
However, here is the bottom line, at least in my opinion. The facts we have at our disposal point toward creation-from-nothing with a fantastically well-designed universe, and whatever Hawking says, this remains true, despite the fact that, personally, Hawking is not a friend of Christianity.