In his early work, Stephen Hawking spoke of "God" in a metaphorical sense, such as in A Brief History of Time: "If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we should know the mind of God."
In the same book he suggested the existence of God was unnecessary to explain the origin of the universe. His 2010 book The Grand Design and interviews with the Telegraph and the Channel 4 documentary Genius of Britain, clarify that he does "not believe in a personal God". Hawking writes, "The question is: is the way the universe began chosen by God for reasons we can't understand, or was it determined by a law of science? I believe the second." He adds, "Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing."
His ex-wife, Jane, said during their divorce proceedings that he was an atheist. Hawking has stated that he is "not religious in the normal sense" and he believes that "the universe is governed by the laws of science. The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws." In an interview published in The Guardian newspaper, Hawking regarded the concept of Heaven as a myth, stating that there is "no heaven or afterlife" and that such a notion was a "fairy story for people afraid of the dark."
Hawking contrasted religion and science in 2010, saying: "There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works."