"The universe was not created by God, scientist Stephen Hawking has said in his new book. Professor Hawking believes the laws of physics were behind the Big Bang instead, in a challenge to traditional religious beliefs. In The Grand Design, extracts of which were printed in The Times today, Prof Hawking concludes: 'Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going'."