In his book, The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking makes the following assertions (p. 180):
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.
The above can be simplified to say "We can explain why the universe exists through the claim that things come into existence, spontaneously (without premeditation or external stimulus)." This is revilement of innate intuition (fitrah), sensory perception (hiss) and reason (aql) and clashes also with sound authentic revelation, just as it clashes with the scientific method which cannot exist or function without the premise that all events have causes. And also (p. 180):
Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.
The above can be simplified to say "To help justify the pure conjecture that things come into existence, spontaneously we are going to invoke a law like gravity and claim that it must exist." And also (p. 181):
We've seen that there must be a law like gravity, and we saw in chapter 5 that for a theory of gravity to predict finite quantities, the theory must have supersymmetry between the forces of nature and the matter on which they act. M-theory is the most general supersymmetric theory of gravity. For these reasons M-theory is the only candidate for a complete theory of the universe. If it is finite - and this has yet to be proved - it will be a model of a universe that creates itself. We must be part of this universe, because there is no other consistent model.
The above should be read as conjectures, fancies and whims based upon other than empirical, physical evidence, the aim of which is to propose an intelligent sounding theory the essence of which is the claim that intelligent, complex things and systems come to be from nothing and without nothing, with "nothing" being both "nothing" and "something" at the same time.
Comments and Notes
Firstly, don't be baffled by all these terms "M-theory" - its all pure speculation (mysticism) disguised as science. They are inventing philosophical explanations and then using fancy terms for them, terms whose meanings even they don't know, "No-one seems to know what the 'M' stands for, but it may be 'master,' 'miracle' or mystery.' It seems to be all three." (pp. 116-117 in the same book) - and then they disguise all of this as science when they do not have any empirical science behind these propositions, but simply a whole bunch of assumptions (upon which they might conduct experiments, but the results are always interpreted upon the basis that the assumptions are correct). By M-theory they simply mean to propose a single over-arching theory, an umbrella theory into which they can throw all the theories they currently have to explain the universe and find ways to patch them alltogether. These theories in turn are based upon often undisclosed assumptions (based on conjecture) that are required to make the theory or model hold. Secondly, what this very smart and intelligent theoretical physicist - [read that as being in contrast to an empirical physicist] - is really saying is that nothing (as in no agent and no entity) creates something, except that it is worded as "something creating itself." But "nothing" to Hawking includes "a law of gravity" which is assumed to already exist (external to the universe that will create itself). So we do not really having "nothing" (and nor something creating itself). Further, Hawking insists that the law of gravity "must exist" to help the universe create itself. What he describes as the law of gravity is simply a mathematical representation of what is observed. The law itself is not "gravity". There is "gravity" and then there is "a law of gravity" which describes what is observed when gravity is in effect. Laws do not make anything happen, and if we accept the law is describing a force, then such forces (described by laws) do not come to be on their own. To put it another way: The argument of Hawking is as if he is telling you that the law of speed restriction on roads is what makes drivers adhere to the speed restriction. In other words the consideration in the mind of the driver of an abstract law (the existence of a law) that restricts speed on a road and which is indicated as being in existence and in force by physical signposts is what makes a person follow the rules and elicits a certain type of behaviour. Hawking does not want your thought to go beyond the mere acceptance that the law exists and its effect. He wants to explain the effect of the law (adherence to the speed limit) by necessity of the law itself and stop you from asking about the origin of the law in the first place. So he wants and needs the law of speed-restriction (to be the end-point explanation) and also wants and needs it to be "nothing" at the same time, such that it can be said, speed restriction is inevitable, all we need is a law. Similarly, the universe can and will create itself, all we need is a law of gravity. The law of speed restriction, as a law, does not actually do anything. The law actually alludes to other things: consideration, intelligence, thought, wisdom and so on all of which are conveyed through the law, in order to put a particular understanding in the mind of the one who is subject to it, such that a particular behaviour is demanded from that person. It is not possible for just a law to exist, just like that. Rather, a (verbal, written or physical) law is merely a reference to something else, a phenonemon or process which is being described or characterized by the stated law, and that phenomenon or process itself demands other explanations, such as its origin and purpose. So where did the law of speed restriction come from, who devised it, and what is the consideration behind it?
Now, when you get past all the complicated and fancy scientific terminology used to make claims appear credible and get down to the real basic, fundamental reasoning being employed (to support those claims) you see the hoax and the fickleness involved, it is simply child's make-believe. "We are committed to materialism, because we have chosen it as the default truth. Due to this commitment, we can only assert that things create themselves. To make this believable we will rig the definition of science (see here) and make our conjectures appear to be facts."
My five year old daughter knows that the refrigerator in the kitchen did not create itself, something more feasible (probabilistically) than the universe (with all its subsequent order and complexity) creating itself. My five year old daughter is not a theoretical physicist, she has not been through any formal education, she has not been to school, college or university. She is not an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, nor a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and has not received any medals. In fact, its just her innate intuition (see here) - basic common sense. The knowledge man did not create himself or create the means (reproduction) through which his creation and coming into being is facilitated is a self-evident truth as every person knows he never brought his own self into being from non-being. And likewise the knowledge that he did not create the universe in which he resides is a self-evident truth, just as the knowledge that the universe did not create itself (without an external force) is a self-evident truth, and likewise the knowledge that multiple universes are not brought into existence except with a force external to the sum of them is a self evident truth. All of this knowledge is innate, intuitive and necessary and not does require any empirical evidence. Hence, "nothing" (as in, no causative agent) did not create the universe and the universe did not create itself (that's impossible). You do not have to be a renowned scientist to know these most basic and elementary truths, they are innate and intuitive, children are born with the ability to recognize and acknowledge these simple truths. It is strange and laughable therefore, when you get passed all the apparent sophistication, that grown men with such credentials are trying to pass these fancies and conjectures as "knowledge" in the name of "science."
If in the reason (aql) of Hawking (or Dawkins) it is plausible and permissible for a universe (or universes) to come into existence from nothing (without prior matter) and by nothing (without an originator), then how have they made it impossible in reason for a universe to come into existence whether from nothing (no matter) or something (prior matter) through an originator? In other words if it is acceptable in reason for the universe to come to be from nothing and by nothing, then it is more reasonable for it to come be (whether from nothing or something) through an originator. However, Atheists have a prior commitment to naturalism and materialism and this commitment arises out of psychological denial. As a result, an originator, a purposeful designer is eliminated (through mere definition and word-play) from the pool of plausible explanations right from the very beginning, at the very outset. Sound reason does not allow millions of universes coming to be from nothing and without an originator and without any reason or cause for them to come into existence to be more reasonable than a single universe coming to be (with or without prior matter) from an originator through a reason or cause that brought it about at the point it was brought about. Out of psychological denial, atheists choose that which is further away from reason and they rig the definition of science, stating "science is only that which explains through natural law" to feed that psychological denial so as to ensure all explanations remain strictly materialistic. All of this indicates that a philosophical, metaphysical belief has been decided already which then defines (or confines) the field of scientific inquiry and its conclusions.