Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking did not believe there was a need to invoke God for there to be a spontaneous creation of the universe. In his words,
Science predicts that many different kinds of universe will be spontaneously created out of nothing. It is a matter of chance which we are in.
In a 2011 interview with The Guardian newspaper, Mr. Hawking was asked,
What, if anything, do you fear about death?
I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first. I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.
As spontaneous chance may have it, the computer of a genius brain we have come to know as Stephen Hawking stopped working last night [on March 13, 2018]. He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge, aged 76.
Mr. Hawking claimed to be an atheist and did not believe in an immaterial, intangible God, yet he had to contend with the tangible reality of death.
Krishna famously states in the Bhagavad-gita, 10.34, mrityuh sarva-haras caham,
I am all-devouring death,
who takes away everything in the end.
In a speech at the Olympia Theater in Paris, 1971, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, explained,
If one does not see God, then, Krishna says, ‘I am death, cruel death, who takes away everything from everyone.’ The conclusion is that everyone sees God at every moment, but the atheist class, they do not accept that he is seeing God. .. The atheist can see God at his last stage as death, whereas the devotee sees God by his devotional service at every moment and every step of his life.
In a letter to a disciple, Srila Prabhupada elaborates:
So the atheist is a hypocrite himself when he says that he does not believe in God. He has to believe in God in the form of Death. A criminal hypocritically says that he does not believe in the Government, but a civil citizen abides by the law of the Government. The Government is present therefore both for the criminal and for the law abiding citizen. To the criminal the Government is present as force of law and order, putting the criminal in the prison house and giving the civil citizen all facilities for a peaceful life…
This appearance of God as Death before the atheist is also the kindness of the Lord. Both God’s killing and protection are the same because He is Absolute, but His mercy is shown to the atheist by killing and His mercy is shown to the theist by protecting; so both are seeing God in different features. This is the practical demonstration of the presence of God.
This line of theistic reasoning, undoubtedly, would not have convinced the materialistic intellect of Stephen Hawking, who regarded death as no more than the sum of his brain’s neurons ceasing to fire.
Be that as it may, as fellow human beings, we wish Stephen Hawking well, whether (as he would have believed) he’s now just a particle of cosmic dust, or whether (as we believe) he’s an eternal spirit soul, part and parcel of Krishna, on a grand journey, transmigrating to another body, evolving through various stages of consciousness.