Hawking is brilliant. No one can argue this based upon his work in quantum physics. But his brilliance has blinded him to the ability to consider the possibility science can't explain everything.
Many people have said they believe Hawking is simply bitter because he has suffered so greatly in this life. Diagnosed at 21 with a degenerative motor neuron disease, Hawking, who is now 69, has been confined to a wheelchair for years and is almost completely paralyzed. His brilliant mind trapped in a useless body. Surely this could cause someone to feel bitterness, and perhaps question the existence of God. Still, the fact he has survived 49 years with a disease that usually kills within a few years, points to a higher power in my thoughts.
Hawking says he isn't afraid of death. He doesn't believe in heaven, so one must assume he doesn't believe in hell either. He believes we die and there is darkness, nothing after this life.
For me the saddest thing is not that this brilliant man has experienced a tortured physical existence, though it does cause me saddness. No, the saddest thing is the thought he will die without knowing the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and instead of the darkness he believes awaits, he will face an eternity of excruciating pain and misery.
Instead of no more pain, pain is what he will endure forever. Instead of running free, he will be bound by the forces of Satan. There will be no rest. There will not be peace. There may be darkness because God's light will not shine in hell.
My prayer would be for Hawking to free his mind to consider God does exist and by believing in Him and His Son, he will live forever healthy and whole in the light.
I'm not as smart as Hawking, but if I'm wrong then it won't matter. I'm not going to know it. If I'm right, Hawking will miss the most amazing discovery ever - waking up in glory with a new body.
"So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)