Some materialists have claimed that the universe created itself. As Stephen Hawking argues, "Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing." But for anything to create itself, it would have to exist before it was created. Most people would agree this is logically absurd. Oxford mathematician John Lennox observes that Hawking confuses physical laws -- which merely describe how the universe works -- with ultimate explanations:
The laws of physics can explain how the jet engine works, but someone had to build the thing, put in the fuel and start it up. The jet could not have been created without the laws of physics... Similarly, the laws of physics could never have actually built the universe. Some agency must have been involved. What options are left for materialists? Since they are unwilling to accept intelligent design as a first cause, materialists hold that ultimately the universe came into being by chance for no reason at all.
Betting on Chance
Oxford University scientist and author Peter Atkins parodies the book of Genesis with a summary of the materialistic view: