A mystery having vexed cosmologists over the past century, ever since the first inklings began emerging about the starting point of our universe (long before it ever became a TV sitcom) – that of ye olde “Big Bang Theory”?
Well, the question has remained as such: What exactly was it which came *before* that grandest of explosive moments? If not this, then merely what might’ve caused or brought about such an event, to begin with!
Obviously, it should seem rather apparent as to how there absolutely must be *some* form of answer here; meaning things can’t be quite so straightforward as what we presently know, and nothing more than that: A universe impossibly starting some 13.7 billion years back, due to some natural act of otherwise purely random chaos. There positively has to be more to the picture here, something beyond what we already understand to be so – some as yet mysterious+unknown process, event or otherwise that more adequately explains away and better informs what an overwhelming amount of evidence has told us up to just now.
Without a doubt, many of us would immediately present God as the one and only answer needed for resolving such an arguably tricky sort of issue… with that first moment of time back at the Big Bang simply being when He thusly went about the great work of Creating.
At issue, however, is the fact that even so, there absolutely *must* still be something more to things than are presently known. Neither of the two separate pieces can work all off by themselves… either with a universe singularly having come from various “rationalized processes” in physics, or solely as the result of an omnipotent divinity magically Creating us and our world.
Put more simply: What we understand and so far know of things, in all likelihood, does not correlate with *only* either some scientifically driven or religious/Creation-based viewpoint.
Therefore, allow me to try and, however crudely, explain what it is I mean here and, at the same time, provide a rough sketch of current understandings about that moment of our reality’s initial Creation.
A purely rational/scientific understanding (such as from a committed agnostic or atheist viewpoint) is all but inconceivable, strictly working off of all our existing scientific evidence and data. It’s just an utterly illogical impossibility, to come at things in only that one way. Not only shouldn’t God ever be removed from an understanding of His Creation, it isn’t even possible to try and examine our universe’s origins without also taking into account a Creator responsible for its very existence.
All of known reality somehow *poofed* itself into existence only some 13.7 billion years ago? Of course not – proferring any such thought is downright absurd! Sure, although those same 13.7 billion years might seem inconceivable from our own limited mortal perspectives – all our lives barely stretching out some hundred years, at the very absolute best – in more cosmological terms, on the other hand…? The duration of our universe is barely a drop in the proverbial bucket! For instance, our very own planet, Earth? It now measures up to some 5 billion worth of them, alone!
Just stop and think about that for a moment; let the majestic scope and scale of this cosmos surrounding us try to sink its way in. This Earth that gave rise to our species is more than a third of the age of *everything* as we know it!
As though that weren’t dramatic enough, let’s examine stars briefly. Our own Sun has been around for about those same five billion years, while expected to have about that same time left in the tank – for roughly a 10,000,000,000 year existence when all is said and done.
The biggest stars around? We could anticipate only a couple million years out of them before ending in a catastrophic supernova.
It is the smallest and dimmest stars which yield the most shocking numbers of all, however. Many of these will survive tens to hundreds of billions of years – and red dwarfs? We could easily be talking about ten *TRILLION* years… and up!!
So outside of finding it downright crazed to imagine that everything chaotically came to exist, all from out of nothing at all… without factoring in an external force -God- to set things into motion and direct them properly, such as to result in all of us just now?
The bottom line is that the indisputable age of everything is indeed so very relatively recent to when we happen to be right here and now that, if we were to go and compare more long lived celestial bodies reduced down to our own mortal timelines, it’d be exactly like saying the all of every known thing -meaning our entire universe/reality- is only some month or two in age at this point! (10+ trillion, up against 13.7 billion – countless many stars enduring 1,000× the current age of everything in existence… and longer!)
Now then, if what we looked at and found to be the case rather involved a universe whose duration is either literally infinite (not having any discernible or observable beginning to it whatsoever), or was at least exponentially older than it is here today…? Well, perhaps those who presented their answers from a strictly scientific or theoretical standpoint -something that doesn’t include God or some form of higher power in the slightest bit- wouldn’t come off quite so delusional as they actually do.
Yet none of that is the case as we find it, so, if only in my mind, we have no choice but to factor God into this particular “equation”… no matter what one may or may not want to believe in for themselves.
In other words, when we definitively know that the very all of Creation is only a drop in that cosmological bucket, up against cosmological scales – something not only distinctly finite in its age, but that’s even able to be seen as relatively quite recent, no less…? Then one who espouses a “big picture” that doesn’t include some higher power or similar such external causative factors is, in reality, only flirting with sheer unapologetic madness.
Even so, however, things can neither be quite so simple as to instead rely entirely on a religious/divine understanding for one’s chosen redress to the Big Bang/Creation problem. The issue on this side of the coin is… that same Big Bang, alongside select implications of the ongoing+unending expansion of this universe.
Now before moving any further forward, without delving *too* deeply into such convoluted matters, the Big Bang itself is in fact something that quite a bit of evidence presently supports and confirms for us.
Perhaps the most telling bit of all comes with something known as ‘Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation’ – essentially referring to an almost literal “snapshot” of the universe, just precisely as it was back when everything in it cooled down sufficiently and atoms began to coalesce from a previously broiling hot plasmatic stew.
As for the when this exceptional information provides us a detailed glance back at? Only some 380,000 years into Creation… making for but a fraction’s fraction of its current age (again, that’d be 13,700,000,000!)
What that means is that something of a natural “signal” or “message” was left at that moment, one encoded near the birth of our reality in the form of such microwave-spectrum radiation (at present)… that’ll carry on for tens of billions of years into the future, pretty much exactly as it exists right now! These electromagnetic waves further being nearly identical today as they were billions and billions of years ago, thusly providing us with a decidedly literal snapshot of the shape of the whole universe at the instant of their emission as such, 380,000 yrs post-Big Bang.
Likewise, with the incredible Hubble Space Telescope and other peerless observatories serving as our windows into the ancient cosmological past, we also have rather exceptional, concrete visible evidence of the process of universal evolution – our best images just now stretching nearly all the way back to the very first generations of stellar bodies/stars, where we witness a distinctive progression as those earliest of massive stars further gave rise to decidedly primitive forms of early galaxies.
In all of this, we’ve observed a universe that looks (and truly was) strikingly different, evolving continuously over considerable periods of time. Furthermore, spectroscopic data [crudely stated, the reading of the elemental composition of any stellar body (stars) through their emitted light patterns (think of a prism refracting light, with each elemental composition having its own unique telltale signal)] shows us that these same early stars were strictly hydrogen and helium affairs; seeing as how those more complex or “heavier” elements require nuclear fusion to exist, having only been birthed gradually over time in the furnace engines of matter better known as stars and supernovae.
Additionally, thanks to the “standard candles” provided by those very same supernovae alongside the so-called Doppler effect, we’ve only recently been able to determine that the universe’s expansion is actually accelerating over time!
Something of a brief aside, but many might recall hearing tell of this very thing a few years back – proving to be a considerable shock to most scientists when it was, given that theorists had previously believed our universe was instead destined to end in some “Big Crunch” when all of space would ultimately collapse back in on itself… before (perhaps) rebounding anew, with yet another in an endless series of Big Bangs.
As for why there was such an expectation as that, you’re likely to be wondering? Well, among other reasons, this was necessary for a cosmological model that *did* in fact manage to remove God from the equation – something that came off as remotely logical, already aware that reality had both a distinct beginning and one uncomfortably recent relative to any cosmological frames of reference.
If the universe was rather able to be seen as an endless cycle of Bang-Crunch-Bang-Crunch-Bang, then it would’ve allowed for some “non-Created (by God) universe model” with a cosmos that really was infinite in age. This, serving to explain away the rather tricky problem of those same (relatively all too brief) 13.7 billion years, instead, had it proved true, finding that particular point to only be as recent as the latest from out of an endless series of Big Crunches to Big Bangs.
The final takeaway from out of all that, then…? It simply means that here today, the age of this universe of ours isn’t just something we’ve got a pretty decent handle on, but so too does it also manage to overwhelmingly support the basic notion of a Created form of reality (with the Big Bang) as the all of everything’s been able to get traced back to a small dot of inconceivably compressed space+matter, the “first moment” of which signaled an explosive and literal Big Bang that saw the start of everything we know and ourselves are.
My point here, from a religious/divine perspective, is how this also doesn’t jive *perfectly* with any singularly theological model of Creation. If so, and if that were all that everything really was, then the Bang aspect doesn’t fully conform with things as we know and would expect them to thusly be. At least from the vantage point of our own meager minds, one would reasonably envision there being no need for any such of a convoluted and unnecessary scenario as all of that.
Much like the purely scientific cosmos largely needing a universe endless or infinite in age in order to *actually* “work” as a proper theory, we’d instead perhaps expect to discover a more static or unchanging form of reality from the vantage of strictly (+ from any traditional understanding of) a Godly Created one. Things would simply have come to be, and… well, that would most likely be that!
The universe gets “designed” and made, with stars and planets placed approximately in their final intended positions, such that there’d be neither Big Bangs nor any Big Crunch. Life would have still evolved, going from primordial goo to us over billions of years – but space expanding, stars forming, from out of a Big Bang? That plays no part – having no effect whatsoever – on the arrival of conscious life… and yet, since it did happen just so, it also must have happened for some reason.
Based off of what we do happen to know (not simply believe or think, mind you, but from exceptional, staggering amounts of tangible & undisputed evidence), then, it all leads to one of really only two possible positions for us to assume here:
The first is that all of these things are somehow mere theatrics played on us and/or glaring mistakes on our parts; perhaps with an especially ridiculous cosmological game aimed at our widespread deception, or what have you. “Smoke and mirrors,” in other words, with an omnipotent being seemingly desiring for us to be misdirected and utterly fooled by altering what actually happened to “cover up” the actuality of the matter with this Big Bang we know today.
Not only does all of that seem entirely unnecessary and all but pointless, that is also not the almighty God I myself happen to believe in. There’d be no reason to misdirect mankind in such ways, but, more importantly still, it would be almost without precedent from our Creator – no matter what topic or area happens to be involved! Absolutely nowhere else do we similarly witness some grand game… where we’ve been shown or told things from divinity that were blatantly wrong or untrue, simply in order that we would manage to find ourselves misdirected thusly. God is a God of pure truth: Always, and forevermore.
What one would also be saying there is a belief in a Creator who would take considerable efforts to either misdirect or entirely erase the truth of certain things. Well, this just isn’t the God I myself believe to be our Maker… and, if someone does believe differently for themselves, then it means accepting a reality where literally *nothing* can be absolutely for certain; a divinity who would intentionally obfuscate and conceal the true shape of things, all for little other reason save in order to have those things be so concealed.
The second -something that does in fact conform with a good deal much elsewhere- is that, not only is there likely a reason and suitable explanation to be uncovered (once we suitably show ourselves to have earned that discovery… even if we might not readily see it as such at first glance), but that furthermore, proper balance and solutions lying “someplace in the middle” are far and away the most probable scenarios of all.
What that itself means…? An answer that’s something of a halfway point between two otherwise extremes – here, being the “science or theology” tracks; taking neither one solely in isolation, and trying to work out possible explanations as to the why behind some unknown mystery from such a perspective.
All of which is a really long winded way of getting to my ultimate point thereabouts; clearly, there being a particular reason why I decided on writing about this here topic and then posting it publicly – the fact that, if only from my own vantage point, this particular mystery has for itself an explanation which not only fits within these somewhat odd ideas of mine, but that also appears to considerably support them all that much more strongly.
The strange and bizarre simulation notions I’ve presented previously? It all seems to come into alignment with this subject. Or, better yet, the fact that the Big Bang being precisely as it is (or at least what it appears to be, at any rate) would be precisely what one might expect given such a “simulated scenario”.
A product of purely random chaos (scientific/rational, but without God) needing an infinitely old universe and/or cyclical driven Bang2Crunches on end.
Yet *purely* as a product of our *traditional* understanding of such divine omnipotence, we’d rather prove by far more likely to find something of a static universe – designed and put into place as ultimately intended by God, as opposed to a constantly evolving universe that began in an entirely inconceivable (and inhospitable to any life) state.
Imagine a little dot of hyper compressed space expanding to this day, while the building blocks necessary for any life to develop require many billions of years: An exponentially energetic (read: hot) stew of elementary particles drifts apart while the space it would occupy grows ever onward through expansion, causing those minimalstic particles to cool sufficiently and form hydrogren+helium. Those two elements eventually gather into the very first stars (truly massive behemoths compared to any stars around today) that produce all the other 100+ elements over time, enabling the production of brand new celestial bodies hitherto unseen – like simple planets and galaxies… all of which ultimately, inevitably, leads right on up to us!
So what if we were to consider what’s observed as the Big Bang as only the peculiar consequences of whatever tools or methods our Creator happened to employ…? Whereby, His removing such evidence solely in order to have that evidence be removed, it’d be an all but entirely pointless affair – never mind that only a rare few would ever even be able to become aware of it, through advanced study by some exceedingly developed intelligent life; something only having been made known to humanity as recently as this past century, alone.
Could He do that? But of course! Just the same way that He likely could have made us and our universe employing numerous other methods and tools. If He did go with whatever route which had what we now observe as its consequence, however, what would truly be the point of removing or altering what we presently see of it? And, make no mistake, if God went with that particular route, then it was for plenty good reason; being the most preferable or desirable means such as for yielding intelligent, conscious life.
Clearly, I myself happen to believe that our Big Bang ideas are accurate and offer us tantalizing evidence about He who Created us and our world along with how that work was done.
The how and why behind that Big Bang? Imagine, through whatever means, an actual reality suddenly being “booted up” and Created as such; one that has a distinct starting point for itself, and undergoes continual change and evolution over time. In fact, both the purely scientific and traditional theological ideas, all by themselves, would seem likely to find a universe that’s static, infinite or cyclical in nature.
What we do actually see there…? It strongly suggests a more automated kind of affair.
The traditional notion of God and Creation sees a “manual” effort, like if we were to recreate the Great Wall of China in, say, Minecraft, laying stone after stone after stone – each one individually placed and arranged by hand.
The preceding evidence referenced does not indicate that, but rather something of a far more “automated” affair; as though we were to instead say, “Hey, I want a really huge wall constructed! It should be these dimensions when all is said and done… so, get to work!”
The former would take us months and months, if not years! The latter would be finished in a blink of our eyes.
Both end results…? They’d be all but identical – suffering no difference in quality or anything else at day’s end. Well, except being the mortal beings that we are, the former could easily face an occasional mistake on our parts here and there – the automated option, assuming we set things up just right, would instead definitively be perfect and flawless.
That’s not to say God could possibly be prone to such mistakes, Himself. Nor is it to imagine He took that “easier route” out of laziness or what have you.
All it comes to mean is that there’d be absolutely no reason *not* to go with such a more automated method, while possibly finding several different reasons why it would be preferable – even to God.
The ultimate fact of the matter…? We can look, even to the Big Bang itself, and see very distinct evidence that, at least today, appears to speak volumes in support of a simulated existence… and pretty much only something approximately along those lines. As I’ve mentioned before, such a method would be much like planting a kernel or seed and having it sprout all on its very own – just so long as the design and process one made to handle that task was immaculate in its quality, with nary a flaw in sight.
Indeed, when one stops and truly thinks about it without prior opinion or biases, there seems little other explanation for why our universe appears to have the quite specific origins it does. What we undeniably witness almost certainly disproves some Godless model of random natural chaos; as it does one that was Created by a sentient omnipotence piece by piece, all but literally by “hand”.
Yet it does, in my personal opinion, look to agree with such simulated notions of mine; an expertly designed methodology and system for ultimately producing individual conscious life from out of nothing, yet largely without requiring incomprehensible effort and labor on the part of the Creator – and all the while, ending with something that would be as flawless and perfect as one might conceive all other, alternative ways or means to even remotely hope to approach.
Bottom line: Our present understanding of our universe’s origins -that of the Big Bang- would surely seem to be still another feather in the cap supporting something at least resembling a “simulated” form of reality… as being a reality for us and our world.