"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."
Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design. Bantam Books, 2010.
The two experts on Cosmology make profound theological statements apparently on the basis of their scientific study of God's creation. However, neither the view that Universe was born spontaneously nor the view that God is not needed for creation and that He probably does not even exist are not at all based on their deep scientific understanding of how the Universe works.
Leonard Mlodinow has affected Hawking's theological views towards atheism. I wonder to what extent the tragic murder of so many of Leonard Mlodinow's family in Auschwitz affects his lack of faith in God of Israel.
Neither Hawking nor Mlodinow is qualified to answer the question they seek to understand as they have little or no understanding with the rest of the humanity what is human spirit.
God of Israel is spirit and beyond the intellectual reach of even the smartest among us. We only learn to know Him the way He has established for us to learn to know Him.