Wyeuro, leaving aside for the moment the question of what possible motivation (besides obscurantism or some form of cultural atavism) pantheists have for saying "God" when a perfectly serviceable word like "everything" is already in use, since it's clear that Hawking is not saying that the universe doesn't exist or that the universe did not create the universe, isn't it possible that he's using the word "God" in a more normative and much more specific sense?
yes it is. i find it cute the way some people use the word 'God' in its naivest least credible sense when intending to refute it. it's not a widespread concept of god these days, and not at all the one i encounter when i look about me. few people i know believe in the being that most of us want to dispel - the biblical 'let-there-be-light' ancient, white-bearded, patriarch-gone-cosmic of yore. most people i speak to about cosmology are tending towards pagan viewpoints, which put the divine firmly in nature where necessity perceivable by humans just isn't the point, and refutation isn't so easy. but then i hang out mostly with pagans. maybe its different nearer to the bible belt?
but i nearly agreed with you here and have often tried to discard the word for the reason you give, but i keep finding it useful. god is a name that acknowledges the mindfulness and purposefulness of nature. 'everything' or 'the universe' could all be so much mindless mechanism, whereas 'god' is mindful mechanism, or 'mechanistic mind'.
it's easier to refute the biblical god than the more reasonable, more widely believed in 'god' = 'mindful nature'. i wouldn't attempt to engage the whole of it in conversation - it's inconceivably bigger than i can conceive of
- and not likely to respond except from the bit i'm embedded in - my culture, the communities i belong to, the ecosystem i'm in, so i address those instead, via the pantheon i select from mythos, legend etc. most of it is composed of human personalities, which drive and respond to my life and actions more forcefully usually than any of the other physical forces described in physics.
but thoughts and attitudes are forces, and dreams and desires are physical systems - constructs in which forces and forms interact. they're not not
physics. i believe they're purpose built from within without and all around and then some, so calling it 'god' fore-grounds the inherent mindfulness and purposefulness that mechanistically drives visible, discernable evolution.
in another sense, at the rsik of almost repeating myself, the use of the word 'god' is distinguished from 'all there is' by its referring to the creative organising principle of 'all there is' from a religious position
. hawking doesn't identify this principle at all, or regard it as to do with physics, although of course it's there, beyond the range of their instruments. the sociological (religious response to the perception of mind in the all of everything, in this instance) is a force-wielding, form-generating aspect of the physical (the mechanical force) after all. so is till call all of it 'god'.