Hawking spent 52 years of his life in Cambridge.
Actor Eddie Redmayne read from the Bible at Professor Stephen Hawking’s funeral. Redmayne played the renowned physicist in the well-received film The Theory of Everything. The actor read from the Old Testament, more specifically Ecclesiastes 3.1-11 at the funeral. The funeral was in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Dr. Hawking suffered from motor neuron disease and was famous all over the world for his revolutionary research of space phenomena and black holes. Over 500 guests attended the event. Incidentally, Hawking described himself as an atheist in a 2014 interview.
Hundreds of people lined the streets of Cambridge to get a glimpse of the hearse carrying Hawking to his private funeral. He passed away on March 14 at 76-years-old. Hawking was best known among the general public for his bestselling 1988 book A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. A documentary film by Errol Morris followed in 1991.
Other than Redmayne, there was a reading by British Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees, and eulogies by a former student and one of Hawking’s children.
Hawking was known to muse about the universe’s true nature and the possibility of God’s existence. He stated his atheism in 2014. The physicist’s children, Lucy, Timothy, and Robert, in their respective speeches at the funeral, said the work done by their father had influenced a wide variety of people including the religious. The family issued a statement, saying that the Hawking family resided and worked in the city of Cambridge for many years. He was a known academic and synonymous with the university and the town. This reason compelled the family to hold the funeral in a city which has given him much in life. The statement thanked Gonville and Caius College, Trinity College, and the University of Cambridge.
Wondering how puzzled Stephen Hawking would feel about Bible verses being read at his funeral… ?
— Kim R-W (@freeszya) April 1, 2018
Reverend Cally Hammond officiated Hawking’s funeral service. Hammond is Dean of Cambridge University’s Gonville and Caius College. Dr. Hawkins was a fellow in this college for 52 years. Many buildings in Cambridge lowered their flags to half-mast to pay tribute to the departed physicist.