ElShamah - Reason & Science: Defending ID and the Christian Worldview
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ElShamah - Reason & Science: Defending ID and the Christian Worldview

Otangelo Grasso: This is my library, where I collect information and present arguments developed by myself that lead, in my view, to the Christian faith, creationism, and Intelligent Design as the best explanation for the origin of the physical world.

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Beginning: The universe had a beginning

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1Beginning: The universe had a beginning Empty Beginning: The universe had a beginning Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:02 pm



The universe had a beginning


1. The theory of the Big bang is a scientific consensus today: According to Hawking, Einstein, Rees, Vilenkin, Penzias, Jastrow, Krauss, and 100’s other physicists, finite nature (time/space/matter) had a beginning. While we cannot go back further than Planck's time, what we do know, permits us to posit a beginning.

2. The 2nd law of thermodynamics refutes the possibility of an eternal universe. Luke A. Barnes: The Second Law points to a beginning when, for the first time, the Universe was in a state where all energy was available for use; and an end in the future when no more energy will be available (referred to by scientists as a “heat death”, thus causing the Universe to “die.” In other words, the Universe is like a giant watch that has been wound up, but that now is winding down. The conclusion to be drawn from the scientific data is inescapable—the Universe is not eternal.

3. Philosophical reasons why the universe cannot be past eternal:  If we start counting from now, we can count infinitely. We can always add one discrete section of time to another. If we count backwards from now, the same. But in both cases, there is a starting point. That is what we try to avoid when we talk about an infinite past without a beginning. So how can you even count without an end, forwards, or backwards, if there is no starting point? A reference point to start counting is necessary to get somewhere, or you never get "there".

4. Finite Age Cosmological Argument

1: If the universe were infinite in volume and had a finite total energy, its energy density would be infinitesimally small.
2: Observations show that the universe has a non-zero energy density, evidenced by the cosmic microwave background radiation with a temperature of approximately 2.7 K.
3: The universe is expanding, described by the Hubble-Lemaître law, which relates galactic distances to their recessional velocities.
4: For the universe to be infinitely large, it would need to have expanded for an infinite period, given any non-zero expansion rate.
5: The expansion of space is governed by a well-defined function derived from general relativity, not an arbitrary or ill-defined process.
Conclusion: The universe cannot be infinitely old.

The observed non-zero energy density (Premise 2) contradicts the expectation for an infinite universe with finite energy (Premise 1). This suggests the universe is finite in size or age, or both.
The universe's expansion (Premise 3) implies that it was smaller in the past. If this expansion had been occurring for an infinite time, the universe would be infinitely large (Premise 4). However, we observe a finite universe, contradicting this implication.
Furthermore, the expansion of space follows a specific function derived from Einstein's field equations (Premise 5). This function allows us to extrapolate backwards in time, leading to a point where all matter and energy were concentrated in an extremely dense state - the Big Bang.
These lines of reasoning converge on the conclusion that the universe must have a finite age. An infinitely old universe is incompatible with our observations of energy density and expansion, and with our understanding of the physics governing cosmic evolution.

This argument aligns with the prevailing Big Bang cosmology, which posits a universe with a definite beginning. The evidence strongly supports a universe of finite age.

Regarding premise 4, while it is correct for elliptical solutions of Einstein's field equations that if the universe started from a finite singularity it could not grow to infinite size in a finite amount of time, this does not hold for flat or hyperbolic solutions, which mathematically require a universe of infinite extent. In the case of these latter solutions, the initial singularity is infinitely dense and of infinite extent and, at the Big Bang, begins to expand everywhere. In short, flat and hyperbolic universes start as infinite and expand everywhere at once, with our observable universe being just an infinitesimal part of this expansion.

Here are some quotes from physicists who have made statements indicating that the universe had a beginning:

"The universe began from a state of infinite density. Space and time were created in that event and so was all the matter in the universe." - Stephen Hawking

"It seems to me that the idea of a beginning is necessary for the universe to make sense." - Alan Guth

"The universe began with the Big Bang, which happened approximately 13.8 billion years ago." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

"The universe began as a hot, dense soup of particles and radiation, and it has been expanding and cooling ever since." - Brian Greene

"The universe began in a hot, dense state and has been expanding and cooling ever since. This is the Big Bang model." - Lawrence Krauss

"The universe started with a Big Bang about 14 billion years ago, and since then it has been expanding and cooling." - Andrei Linde

"The universe began as a singularity and has been expanding ever since." - Paul Davies

"The universe began with the Big Bang, a cosmic explosion that occurred 13.8 billion years ago." - Max Tegmark

Strictly speaking, according to Einstein's Theory of Relativity, a singularity does not contain anything that is actually infinite, only things that MOVE MATHEMATICALLY TOWARDS infinity.  A singularity's mass is, therefore, finite, the 'infinity' refers only to the maths.  Can we have an infinite universe for example? The answer is no, the universe is finite. Stephen Hawking in 'A Brief History of Time' (1989 page 44) describes the universe as being "finite but unbounded".

Before Time and Space | National Geographic

Question: Is the fact that the universe is expanding evidence, that it had a beginning ?
Reply: The fact that the universe is expanding is considered to be strong evidence that the universe had a beginning. This is because the expansion of the universe implies that the universe was much smaller and denser in the past. In the early 20th century, observations by astronomers such as Edwin Hubble showed that distant galaxies were moving away from us, and the further away a galaxy was, the faster it was receding. This led to the realization that the universe as a whole is expanding. Based on this observation, scientists developed the Big Bang theory, which suggests that the universe began as a single point of infinite density and temperature, known as a singularity, and has been expanding and cooling ever since. The theory is supported by a wide range of evidence, including the cosmic microwave background radiation, the abundance of light elements, and the large-scale structure of the universe. Therefore, the expansion of the universe is strong evidence for the Big Bang and the idea that the universe had a beginning.

There is no evidence for a Universe before the Big Bang FEBRUARY 22, 2023
Unfortunately, Nobel Laureate Roger Penrose, although his work on General Relativity, black holes, and singularities in the 1960s and 1970s was absolutely Nobel-worthy, has spent a large amount of his efforts in recent years on a crusade to overthrow inflation: by promoting a vastly scientifically inferior alternative, his pet idea of a Conformal Cyclic Cosmology, or CCC. Nobel Laureate Roger Penrose, famed for his work on black holes, claims we've seen evidence from a prior Universe. Only, we haven't.
Although, much like Hoyle, Penrose isn’t alone in his assertions, the data is overwhelmingly opposed to what he contends. The predictions that he’s made are refuted by the data, and his claims to see these effects are only reproducible if one analyzes the data in a scientifically unsound and illegitimate fashion. Hundreds of scientists have pointed this out to Penrose — repeatedly and consistently over a period of more than 10 years — who continues to ignore the field and plow ahead with his contentions.

Martin Rees - Did Our Universe Have a Beginning? After 7:55
R.L.Kuhn: It seems generally to be accepted now that there was a beginning to this universe
Martin Rees: I think the claim that this universe started from a very hot dense state should be taken seriously because it is corroborated by a whole network of interlocked arguments, and stars evolving and the age of stars is consistent. It is an extrapolation of what we know. We had a beginning. Life had a beginning, stars had a beginning. Galaxies had a beginning. All atoms, now we can see some collecting beginning sometime in the past which we can date with a percentage of a few percent.

Death of the eternal cosmos
From the cosmic egg to the infinite multiverse, every model of the universe has a beginning One shows that a problematic object called a naked singularity is a lot more likely to exist than previously assumed (see “Black strings expose the naked singularity”, right). The other suggests that the universe is not eternal, resurrecting the thorny question of how to kick-start the cosmos without the hand of a supernatural creator. As cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University in Boston explained last week, that hope has been gradually fading and may now be dead. He showed that all these theories still demand a beginning. “It can’t possibly be eternal in the past,” says Vilenkin. “There must be some kind of boundary.” But Vilenkin found that this scenario falls prey to the same mathematical argument as eternal inflation: if your universe keeps getting bigger, it must have started somewhere. Late last year Vilenkin and graduate student Audrey Mithani showed that the egg could not have existed forever after all, as quantum instabilities would force it to collapse after a finite amount of time 


Paul Davies: If we extrapolate this prediction to its extreme, we reach a point when all distances in the universe have shrunk to zero. An initial cosmological singularity, therefore, forms a past temporal extremity to the universe. We cannot continue physical reasoning, or even the concept of spacetime, through such an extremity. For this reason, most cosmologists think of the initial singularity as the beginning of the universe. On this view, the big bang represents the creation event; the creation not only of all the matter and energy in the universe but also of space-time itself. 
William Lane Craig: The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology 2009 page 130 https://3lib.net/book/814914/293e07

Neil deGrasse Tyson:  The tenets of the big bang that the universe started out small hot dense uh where matter and energy were a primordial soup where the forces of nature had merged all of that is thoroughly supported by observations of this universe thoroughly supported

Oppy believes that the evidence leads to a beginning of our universe:

Do Souls Exist? | Mike Huemer (Yes) & Graham Oppy (No) 1h 3min 50s

Scott Dutfield: The history of the universe: Big Bang to now in 10 easy steps February 02, 2022
STEP 1: HOW IT ALL STARTED According to the Big Bang theory, the universe WAS BORN as a very hot, very dense, single point in space.  https://www.space.com/13320-big-bang-universe-10-steps-explainer.html

Martin Rees, after 1 min 13 seconds:
What we've learned in the last few decades is really two things first we've understood that the universe had an origin about 13.8 billion years ago in a so-called big bang a hot state whose very beginnings are still shrouded in mystery

Brian Miller: Science Journal Reaffirms Universe Had a Beginning, a Key Argument in Meyer’s God Hypothesis

Lars Bergström Cosmology and particle astrophysics 2006
The Standard Model of cosmology is the Hot Big Bang model, which states that the Universe is not infinitely old but rather came into existence some 13 to 14 billion years ago. It started out in a state which after a small fraction of a second was enormously compressed and therefore very hot. As we shall see, the observational support for the Big Bang model is overwhelming. Also, the fact that the oldest objects found in the Universe – globular clusters of stars and some radioactive isotopes – do not seem to exceed an age around 13 billion years gives strong evidence for a Universe with a finite age, as predicted by the Big Bang model.

S W Hawking The large scale structure of space-time 1973
Whether this could happen, and whether physically realistic solutions with inhomogeneities would contain singularities, is a central question of cosmology and constitutes the principal problem dealt with in this book; it will tum out that there is good evidence to believe that the physical universe doesin fact become singular in the past. It would imply that the universe (or at least that part ofwhich we can have any physical knowledge) had a beginning a finite time I!'go. However this result has here been deduced from the assumptions of exact spatial homogeneity and spherical symmetry.

Mike Wall The Big Bang: What Really Happened at Our Universe's Birth? October 21, 2011
We don't see any objects obviously older than 13.7 billion years, suggesting that our universe came into being around that time. Traditional Big Bang theory posits that our universe began with a singularity — a point of infinite density and temperature whose nature is difficult for our minds to grasp. 

Gabriele Veneziano February 1, 2006
Physicists Stephen W. Hawking and Roger Penrose proved in the 1960s, is that time cannot extend back indefinitely. As you play cosmic history backward in time, the galaxies all come together to a single infinitesimal point, known as a singularity--almost as if they were descending into a black hole. Each galaxy or its precursor is squeezed down to zero size. Quantities such as density, temperature, and spacetime curvature become infinite. The singularity is the ultimate cataclysm, beyond which our cosmic ancestry cannot extend.

According to Big Bang Cosmology, the Universe began to exist about 13,7 billion years ago with a 'Big Bang'. That 'Big Bang' an expansion of matter, energy, and space from a 'Singular Point' (Singularity). This "Singularity" is spatially and temporally point-like. Hence, it has zero spatial dimensions and exists for an instant (at t = 0, an initial state) before expanding with a 'Big Bang'.

The Bible Explains Where the Universe Came From
The authors of Scripture explicitly and repeatedly state that the universe had a beginning (see Gen. 1:1, 2:3–4; Ps. 148:5; Isa. 40:26, 42:5, 45:18; John 1:3; Col. 1:15–17; Heb. 11:3).

Alexander Vilenkin: The Beginning of the Universe
Inflation cannot be eternal and must have some sort of a beginning. A number of physicists have constructed models of an eternal universe in which the BGV theorem is no longer pertinent. George Ellis and his collaborators have suggested that a finite, closed universe, in which space closes upon itself like the surface of a sphere, could have existed forever in a static state and then burst into inflationary expansion.9 Averaged over infinite time, the expansion rate would then be zero, and the BGV theorem would not apply. Ellis constructed a classical model of a stable closed universe and provided a mechanism triggering the onset of expansion. Ellis made no claim that his model was realistic; it was intended as a proof of concept, showing that an eternal universe is possible. Not so. A static universe is unstable with respect to quantum collapse.10 It may be stable by the laws of classical physics, but in quantum physics a static universe might make a sudden transition to a state of vanishing size and infinite density. No matter how small the probability of collapse, the universe could not have existed for an infinite amount of time before the onset of inflation. THE ANSWER to the question, “Did the universe have a beginning?” is, “It probably did.” We have no viable models of an eternal universe. The BGV theorem gives us reason to believe that such models simply cannot be constructed.

Richard Dawkins: The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution page 613:
The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice.

Rüdiger Vaas The Inverted Big-Bang 2004
“General relativity predicts a first moment of time,” comments Lee Smolin, a physics professor at the Canadian University of Waterloo and the associated Perimeter Institute.

Requirements of a static infinite model
In order for a static infinite universe model to be viable, it must explain three things:
First, it must explain the intergalactic redshift. Second, it must explain the cosmic microwave background radiation. Third, it must have a mechanism to re-create matter (particularly hydrogen atoms) from radiation or other sources in order to avoid a gradual 'running down' of the universe due to the conversion of matter into energy in stellar processes. With the absence of such a mechanism, the universe would consist of dead objects such as black holes and black dwarfs.

Paul Davies God and the New Physics 2006
Richard Swinburne: It would be an error to suppose that if the universe is infinitely old, and each state of the universe at each instant of time has a complete explanation in terms of a previous state of the universe and natural laws (and so God is not invoked), that the existence of the universe throughout infinite time has a complete explanation, or even a full explanation. It has not. It has neither. It is totally inexplicable.

George Ellis: Explaining the implications of the Friedman-Lemaitre Universe Singularity Theorem says, [i]“This is not merely a start to matter — it is a start to space, to time, to physics itself. It is the most dramatic event in the history of the universe: it is the start of existence of everything
Did the universe begin to exist or is eternal?- a brief survey 18 Jul 2015 https://www.news24.com/news24/mynews24/Did-the-universe-begin-to-exist-or-is-eternal-a-brief-survey-20150718

Martin Rees - Did Our Universe Have a Beginning?
After 7:55
R.L.Kuhn: It seems generally to be accepted now that there was a beginning to this universe
Martin Rees: That is certainly true in the sense that there is a chain of emergent complexity starting with a hot dense state I think we can understand and lead to stages of evolution
R.L.Kuhn: Now are there independent sources that corroborate this there is not just one piece of data we are looking at, it is a number of different things. You mention the background radiation; the expansion of the universe,
the age of stars, the age of galaxies; Are there independent sources of information that give us even greater confidence that there was a beginning of the universe, that I found to be a fundamental question.
Martin Rees: I think the claim that this universe started from a very hot dense state should be taken seriously because it is corroborated by a whole network of interlocked arguments, and stars evolving and the age of stars is consistent, so I would say that the chain of events, which started maybe a billionth of a second after the very beginning is a chain of events which we understand and outline, and which we should take very seriously indeed. It is an extrapolation of what we know. We had a beginning. Life had a beginning, stars had a beginning. Galaxies had a beginning. All atoms, now we can see some collecting beginning sometime in the past which we can date with a percentage of a few percent.

P. James E. Peebles The Evolution of the Universe  October 1, 1994
Some 15 billion years ago the universe emerged from a hot, dense sea of matter and energy. As the cosmos expanded and cooled, it spawned galaxies, stars, planets and life

The Big Bang created all the matter and energy in the Universe. Most of the hydrogen and helium in the Universe were created in the moments after the Big Bang. Heavier elements came later.

The idea that the present universe----billions of galaxies----was produced in a big bang about 13 billion years ago is approved of by most of today’s astrophysicists.

The Origins of the Universe MARCH 1, 2016
Everything we know in the universe – planets, people, stars, galaxies, gravity, matter and antimatter, energy, and dark energy – all date from the cataclysmic Big Bang. While it was over in fractions of a second, a region of space the size of a single proton vastly expanded to form the beginnings of our universe.

The Birth of the Universe
How and when did the universe begin? Approximately 13.7 billion years ago, all the matter and energy in the universe were created in an enormous explosion known as the “Big Bang”.

How did the universe start?
Most physicists believe the universe was born in a big bang 13.8 billion years ago. In it, the energy making up everything in the cosmos we see today was squeezed inside an inconceivably small space –  far tinier than a grain of sand, or even an atom. Then, this unimaginably hot and dense cauldron – for whatever reason – ballooned at a terrifying rate.

Lars Bergström Cosmology and particle astrophysics 2006
The Standard Model of cosmology is the Hot Big Bang model, which states that the Universe is not infinitely old but rather came into existence some 13 to 14 billion years ago.  Also, the fact that the oldest objects found in the Universe – globular clusters of stars and some radioactive isotopes – do not seem to exceed an age around 13 billion years gives strong evidence for a Universe with a finite age, as predicted by the Big Bang model. 

Clara Moskowitz Fact or Fiction?: Energy Can Neither Be Created Nor Destroyed August 5, 2014
The law of conservation of energy, also known as the first law of thermodynamics, states that the energy of a closed system must remain constant—it can neither increase nor decrease without interference from outside. The universe itself is a closed system, so the total amount of energy in existence has always been the same. The forms that energy takes, however, are constantly changing.

Cosmos Big Bang
The ‘Big Bang’ is the model for the formation of our Universe in which spacetime, and the matter within it, were created from a cosmic singularity. The model suggests that in the 13.7 billion years since the Universe began, it has expanded from an extremely small but incredibly dense and hot primordial fireball, to the enormous but cold and diffuse Universe we see around us today.

Temporal finitism
Modern cosmogony accepts finitism, in the form of the Big Bang, rather than Steady State theory which allows for a universe that has existed for an infinite amount of time, but on physical rather than philosophical grounds.

Mithani, and  Vilenkin: Margenau and Varghese eds, La Salle, IL, Open Court, 1992, p. 83
Did the universe have a beginning?:
At this point, it seems that the answer to this question is probably yes. Here we have addressed three scenarios which seemed to offer a way to avoid a beginning, and have found that none of them can actually be eternal in the past.

An accelerating universe wipes out traces of its own origins By Lawrence M. Krauss and Robert J. Scherrer
Dark energy will have an enormous impact on the future of the universe. With cosmologist Glenn Starkman of Case Western Reserve University, Krauss explored the implications for the fate of life in a universe with a cosmological constant. The prognosis: not good. Such a universe becomes a very inhospitable place. The cosmological constant produces a fixed “event horizon,” an imaginary surface beyond which no matter or radiation can reach us. The universe comes to resemble an inside-out black hole, with matter and radiation trapped outside the horizon rather than inside it. This finding means that the observable universe contains only a finite amount of information, so information processing (and life) cannot endure forever [see “The Fate of Life in the Universe,” by Lawrence M. Krauss and Glenn D. Starkman; Scientific American, November 1999].

The 2nd law of thermodynamics Refutes the Eternal Universe
The Second Law points to: (1) a beginning when, for the first time, the Universe was in a state where all energy was available for use; and (2) an end in the future when no more energy will be available (referred to by scientists as a “heat death”), thus causing the Universe to “die.” In other words, the Universe is like a giant watch that has been wound up, but that now is winding down. The conclusion to be drawn from the scientific data is inescapable—the Universe is not eternal. 

Philosophical reasons why the universe nor quantum effect potentials cannot be past eternal  
Imagine that you see dominoes falling, one knocking over the next, as this series of falling dominoes comes into your room. Like a person can never finish counting to infinity, an actual infinite number of dominoes could never finish falling. Therefore, if an actual infinite number of dominoes had to fall before getting to your door, then the falling dominoes would never reach your door. In the same way, if an actual infinite number of minutes had to take place before yesterday, time would have never reached yesterday, much less today. Therefore, just as there had to be a finite number of falling dominoes, there also had to be a finite—not infinite—amount of time before today. An infinite past is impossible. Time must have a beginning. And if time had a beginning it must have had a cause.

Arno Penzias, Cosmos, Bios, and Theos: 1992, p. 83
‘Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the right conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say ‘supernatural’) plan.’

The Big Bang created all the matter and energy in the Universe. 

A.Vilenkin cited in “Why physicists can't avoid a creation event,” by Lisa Grossman, New Scientist (January 11, 2012).
Arvin Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin were able to prove that any universe which has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past but must have a past space-time boundary. In 2012 Vilenkin showed that models which do not meet this one condition still fail for other reasons to avert the beginning of the universe. Vilenkin concluded, “None of these scenarios can actually be past-eternal.”[1] “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.” 

Vilenkin: Many Worlds in One p.176  2006 
The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem is independent of any physical description of that moment. Their theorem implies that even if our universe is just a tiny part of a so-called “multiverse” composed of many universes, the multiverse must have an absolute beginning. Vilenkin is blunt about the implications:
 It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning 

P. C. W. Davies The Cosmic Blueprint page 22
"The fact that the nascent cosmos was apparently devoid of form and content greatly eases the problem of its ultimate origin. It is much easier to believe that a state of featureless simplicity appeared spontaneously out of nothing than to believe that the present highly complex state of the universe just popped into existence ready-made."

My comment: Can you believe that ? That absolutely nothing is now enthroned to cause our universe into being, rather than a powerful God creating it ? Its remarkable how far someone committed to dogmatic philosophical naturalism is willing to go. To the extreme of assigning to absolutely nothing creative powers. Amazing.  

"The amelioration of one problem, however, leads immediately to another. Science is now faced with the task of explaining by what physical processes the organized systems and elaborate activity that surround us today emerged from the primeval blandness of the big bang. Having found a way of permitting the universe to be self-creating we need to attribute to it the capability of being self-organizing.
An increasing number of scientists and writers have come to realize that the ability of the physical world to organize itself constitutes a fundamental, and deeply mysterious, property of the universe. The fact that nature has creative power, and is able to produce a progressively richer variety of complex forms and structures, challenges the very foundation of contemporary science. ‘The greatest riddle of cosmology,’ writes Karl Popper, the well-known philosopher, ‘may well be . . . that the universe is, in a sense, creative.’"

My comment: It's remarkable that in order to keep the no-God-needed philosophy, proponents of naturalism need to assign to mindless dead matter the capacity of creation. How much sense does that make?

David Klinghoffer No Wonder Atheists Resist the Big Bang June 1, 2021
If matter, time, space, and energy have not always existed — if they erupted into existence at a point in the past, not infinitely long ago — then whatever brought them into existence can’t have been matter, time, space, or energy. It can only have been something that transcended those, which is commonly what people have called God.

Claim: 1st law of thermodynamics is matter cannot be created or destroyed so there goes your god in the dumpster.
Reply: To manufacture matter in a way that adheres to the first law of thermodynamics, energy has to be converted into matter. This conversion occurred on a cosmic scale at the big bang: Matter consisted entirely of energy. Matter only came into being as rapid cooling occurred. Creating matter entails a reaction called pair production, so-called because it converts a photon into a pair of particles: one matter, one antimatter.

According to Hawking, Einstein, Rees, Vilenkin, Penzius, Jastrow, Krauss and 100’s of other physicists, finite nature (time/space/matter) had a beginning.
In Darwin’s time scientists “in the know” also assumed that the universe was eternal. If that was the case, there was no mystery about the origin of matter since the matter had always existed. However, developments in physics and astronomy eventually overturned that notion. Based on a substantial and compelling body of scientific evidence, scientists now are in broad agreement that our universe came into being. What scientists thought needed no explanation—the origin of matter—suddenly cried out for an explanation. 

Claim: The singularity could be eternal. Science does not know if the universe had a beginning. It knows what happened back to Planck time. Not before that.
Reply: To answer the claim that singularity or any physical state could be eternal, granting this hypothetical singularity existed at all, the nature of energy is such that it is always in transit, thus never changleess. As such, it is never timeless, as change of states require time. Therefore, the nature of energy/matter, which according to conservation/mass does change, but can't be created or destroyed, means that any physical state can by default never be eternal. Additonally, as changing states come about, they do so by the 2nd law, as entropy is implicit upon them; hence, these changing states trend toward disorder, making it impossible to increase order/complexity over time. This means a double whammy for those who imagine a self-creating cosmos, big bang standard model or otherwise, since the nature of energy forbids a universe devoid of time and a do-it-yourself, build me up universe from scratch or for that matter any alleged primitive state. 

The Borde/Guth/Vilenkin model also demonstrates that this would not just be true of our universe, but any universe on average that is expanding. Therefore, any postulation of multiverse or other worlds, or baby and mother universes would meet with the same fate as the laws complicit in our universe. They would never be changeless, thus never timeless, thus never eternal and they would trend toward disorder, which makes them incapable of being eternal, thus require a true beginning. Therefore, all secular models, whether it be the standard model, oscillating models, gravitational models, etc. merely push the beginning back; they don't avert a true beginning. Even the standard model implies a beginning of the universe. That is why Christians adapted it because they have seen validation of Gen 1:1 by mainstream science. However, such a model is unnecessary for a beginning of the universe and Big Bang was formulated from already known expansion, which itself implies a beginning independent of singularity origin theories. What is more significant, is if any form of matter or singularity is in an eternal changeless state, then why did it change, to begin with, to produce our universe? Whatever the answer potentially suggested, would mean that the primitive vacuum would have the potential to have a spark, thus something not changeless.  How did that happen, without begging the question, since that too would need something different, a spark of its own, and so forth, creating an infinite regress problem, but the fact that the universe changed to become what it is today on secular models means that it could and was never in that changeless state, to begin with, since it would have remained there and never sparked anything different. But here we are, and evidence that matter/energy of any type required a changing state from whenever its existence occurred. This then implies a true beginning that could not be predicated upon any physical/natural impetus, therefore requires a supernatural beginning, no matter how far we push it back.. All secular models merely push back the beginning. They don't avert them. However, given the suggestion for these models, to begin with is to avert Genesis creation, we have no reason to even consider them as they reject the authority of God's Word, and are fraught with irregularities, inconsistencies, and deadends, despite conjecture requiring rescuing theories to attempt to salvage them.
Gen 1 is how we got here. and is consistent with true observational science and both laws of thermodynamics in a manner the secular models are not. God was enjoying his eternal joyous nature, in communion with himself for fellowship in love between all 3 members of the trinity. Time did not yet begin, so God was and is in an eternal state, there was no before, after with God.. Time was created by God and now God reckons with it since he created it, but he is not subject to it, thus speaking in terms of God's requirement to do something with his time prior to the creation of time is sort of a category mistake, and ill-conceived question from one who is subject to time, bound to it and thinks in terms of it, which is fine, but that type of thinking can't be imposed upon God.

Claim: The singularity could be eternal
Reply: Stephen C.Meyer: The return of the God hypothesis, page 143
One might also assert, for example, that the universe began from an enormous amount of mass-energy and an infinitely strong gravitational field since, at the singularity, the mass-energy density and the strength of the gravitational field would also have approached infinity. Even so, the singularity theorems do not permit one to posit mass-energy of a gravitational field as an eternal, self-existing entity, since “prior to” the singularity neither time nor space existed in our universe. And without space, mass-energy (and a corresponding gravitational field) would have no place to reside. In other words, however much mass-energy existed from the beginning of the universe, it had to arise with the beginning of time and space, both of which began a finite time ago. Thus, a spatial or temporal singularity prevents, as Davies noted, “any physical reasoning” about a prior state of the universe “through such an extremity,” and thus that extremity (or singularity) does mark the beginning of the physical universe itself.

The Bible about the origin of the Universe
Remarkably, science, contradicting the Bible hundred years ago, claiming the Universe was eternal, has shifted to the same conclusion : The universe had a beginning, a finite time ago:  

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
Isaiah 45:18 “For this is what the LORD says – he who created the heavens, he is God.”
Proverbs 8:22 “The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was formed long ages ago,  at the very beginning, when the world came to be.”
Titus 1:2 “in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time…”
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
John 17:24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”
Colossians 1:15-16 “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”
1 Peter 1:20 “He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”
2  Timothy 1:9 “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time…”

A continuous, universal cosmic expansion

Job 9:8 “He alone stretches out the heavens.”
Psalm 104:2 “The LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent.
Isaiah 42:5 “This is what God the LORD says – the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out.”
Zechariah 12:1 “The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundations of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person…”

The Bible offers solid support for the creation of the universe, distinguishing it from other religious texts.
Psalm 19:1“For the heavens declare the glory of God. The skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

Either the cosmos
(1) had no beginning, or  
(2) it had a beginning. 
(1) If the cosmos had no beginning, then there must be an infinite series of past events. However, it is impossible to traverse an actual infinite. Therefore, the universe cannot be infinitely old.
Besides that, If the cosmos was infinitely old, it would have reached maximum entropy a long, long, time ago. Since it has not reached maximum entropy, it cannot be infinitely old without violating the second law of thermodynamics.
(2) If the cosmos had a beginning, then it must have come from (A) nothing or (B) something. 
2.A. Although physicists such as Krauss and Hawking talk about "the universe creating itself from nothing," they are using the word "nothing" to mean the vacuum energy, which is not a true nothing. To be more precise, being cannot emerge from non-being. They transform nothing into something in order to claim that the universe came from nothing.
2.B. If the entire cosmos came from something, that thing must transcend our cosmos, that is, it must exist beyond the limits of our space/time continuum. It must also possess more energy (power) than the total energy within our cosmos. We may call it the First Cause.

The argument that the universe is not eternal (from a discussion between William Lane Craig and cosmologist Sean Carroll on the beginning of the universe and the Kalam Cosmological Argument)
1. Carroll pointed out that the Borde Guth Vilenkin (or BVG) theorem that the universe had a beginning only works within relativity but does not take quantum effects into account. Given a lack of a complete theory of quantum gravity, he argued that Craig can not claim that the universe began to exist.
2. This is partly true. One thing known for certain about quantum gravity is something called the holographic principle. Precisely put, the holographic principle tells us that the entropy of a region of space (measured in terms of information) is directly proportional to a quarter or any amount (1/2 complete) of its surface area or any related measurement (radius, diameter). The volume of this region is then actually a hologram of this information on its surface.
3. Another thing that it tells us is that the entropy, or the amount of disorder present, always increases with time. In fact, not only is this law inviolate, it is also how the flow of time is defined. Without entropy or disorder, destruction i.o.w change, there is no way to discern forwards and backward in time.
4. However, if the holographic principle links the universe’s entropy and its horizon area then going back in time, all of the space-time eventually vanishes to nothing at zero entropy, at the beginning of the creation. Thus Carroll’s argument is unsound.
5. The universe is not eternal but created.
6. By the way, this also undermines claims made by atheists like Hawking and Krauss that the universe could have fluctuated into existence from nothing. Their argument rests on the assumption that there was a pre-existent zero-point field or ZPF. The only trouble is that the physics of a ZPF requires a space-time to exist in. No space-time means no zero-point field, and without a zero-point field, the universe can not spontaneously fluctuate into existence.
7. One other point of Carroll’s was his view that regardless of the physics discovered, the sort of supernatural explanation Craig gave could no longer be considered valid. Carroll, being a physicist, naturally believes that whatever the final answer is it will come in physical terms. After all, it is not every day that scientists speak of God or supernatural agents. Instead, they expect explanations to come in material terms with equations.
8. But Carroll may be ruling something out too quickly. A holographic universe entails a world made of information. And information requires a mind to know it. Information never just floats, information is of a mind, who knows it.
9. “All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force…We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is a matrix of all matter.” – Max Planck
10. Most probably, a creator 
God exists.

We can come to 5 conclusions how the universe started:  
1) The Universe was created by nothing.
2) The Universe created itself.
3) The Universe was created by something that was also created, with an infinite number of events going back in creation.
4) The universe is eternal, without a beginning.
5) The Universe was created by something uncreated.

Numbers 1 and 2 
we can already slash, they are against the basic laws of science. Nothing can create something, so basically saying, something cannot come from anything.
Similarly, the universe cannot create itself if at one point it did not exist.
IF let us say that numbers 1 or 2 were the answers behind the creation of this universe, then that means a random elephant can pop out of nowhere if we go by that type of logic. What a world we will live in!
Going on to number 3
saying that the universe was created by something, which makes sense. But was that something ALSO created? And if so, what created THAT? See? Now here's the catch why number 3 cannot be. You cannot have an infinite number of events where something creates something else, which creates something else, which eventually gets to the creation of the universe. That is illogical.
Think of it this way. If I wanted to eat an apple, but I needed to ask my friend for permission, but before my friend can give me permission, he has to give HIS friend for permission, and then his friend needs to ask HIS friend for permission. And it keeps going on and on, the chain of a friend's asking their friends for permission. If this keeps going on, will I ever be able to eat that apple? Never.
Apply this analogy to the universe. The past cannot go on forever. If it went forever, then TIME would never get HERE. We would never exist, we would never be here. Nothing right now would exist if the past is still going on forever.
About number 4: 
Today, Audrey Mithani and Alexander Vilenkin at Tufts University in Massachusetts say that these models are mathematically incompatible with an eternal past. Indeed, their analysis suggests that these three models of the universe must have had a beginning too. 
Their argument focuses on the mathematical properties of eternity–a universe with no beginning and no end. Such a universe must contain trajectories that stretch infinitely into the past.
However, Mithani and Vilenkin point to a proof dating from 2003 that this kind of past trajectories cannot be infinite if they are part of a universe that expands in a specific way.
They go on to show that cyclical universes and universes of eternal inflation both expand in this way. So they cannot be eternal in the past and must, therefore, have had a beginning. “Although inflation may be eternal in the future, it cannot be extended indefinitely to the past,” they say.
They treat the emergent model of the universe differently, showing that although it may seem stable from a classical point of view, it is unstable from a quantum mechanical point of view. “A simple emergent universe model…cannot escape quantum collapse,” they say.
The conclusion is inescapable. “None of these scenarios can actually be past-eternal,” say Mithani and Vilenkin.
This leaves us to the ONLY remaining and RATIONAL argument, #5.
This universe was created by something that was UNCREATED. This uncreated entity, we simply call, the Creator...Or...God, in religious terms.
This is fool proof logic, and nobody can deny it. This is ALL science.
About number 5
W.L.Craig writes: That problem was nicely captured by Anthony Kenny of Oxford University. He writes, "A proponent of the Big Bang theory, at least if he is an atheist, must believe that the universe came from nothing and by nothing."  But surely that doesn't make sense! Out of nothing, nothing comes. So why does the universe exist instead of just nothing? Where did it come from? There must have been a cause which brought the universe into being. 10
From the very nature of the case, this cause must be an uncaused, changeless, timeless, and immaterial being which created the universe. It must be uncaused because we've seen that there cannot be an infinite regress of causes. It must be timeless and therefore changeless—at least without the universe—because it created time. Because it also created space, it must transcend space as well and therefore be immaterial, not physical.
Moreover, I would argue, it must also be personal. For how else could a timeless cause give rise to a temporal effect like the universe? If the cause were a mechanically operating set of necessary and sufficient conditions, then the cause could never exist without the effect. For example, the cause of water's freezing is the temperature's being below 0˚ Centigrade. If the temperature were below 0˚ from eternity past, then any water that was around would be frozen from eternity. It would be impossible for the water to begin to freeze just a finite time ago. So if the cause is permanently present, then the effect should be permanently present as well. The only way for the cause to be timeless and the effect to begin in time is for the cause to be a personal agent who freely chooses to create an effect in time without any prior determining conditions. For example, a man sitting from eternity could freely will to stand up. Thus, we are brought, not merely to a transcendent cause of the universe, but to its personal Creator.

Objection: The cosmos isn’t eternal BUT it gets caused by eternal quantum effects.
Response: The idea is from this paper: Cosmology from quantum potential
Wikipedia states:
In particle physics, an event refers to the results just after a fundamental interaction took place between subatomic particles, occurring in a very short time span, at a well-localized region of space.

Following link discusses the paper: The Time Problem in Cosmology from quantum potential
A world whose temporal domain, which stretches back infinitely far, implies that the moment/instant of now, could never come to be, because the infinitude of time that precedes the now is inexhaustible, by definition of Aristotelian actual infinity.

Philosophical  reasons why the universe cannot be past eternal 
We realize that we can never get to an infinite period of time in the future by adding individual events together. 2  But today, this point of time in the present, is a point of time future to all past.  Correct?  In other words, we are future to yesterday, and the day before that.  Now, some have suggested that the universe is eternal.  That it has existed forever.  But it is not possible that it has existed forever.  Here is the application.  This point in time is actually future with reference to all of the past.  We just agreed that you cannot say that any particular point in the future will accomplish an actual infinite as events are added one to another.  Therefore, this present moment in time can't represent an actual infinite number of events added one to another proceeding from the past.  Time has proceeded forward from the past as one event is added onto another to get us to today.  But we know that whenever you pause in the count as we've done today, that you can't have an infinite number of events.  Which means that there is not an infinite number of events that goes backward from this point in time.  Only a finite number of events.  Which means the universe is not eternal.  Which means the universe has not existed forever and ever with no beginning, but it in fact had a beginning.

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2Beginning: The universe had a beginning Empty Death of the eternal cosmos Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:26 pm



Alexander Vilenkin - Did Our Universe Have a Beginning?

Alexander Vilenkin, a renowned cosmologist, presents a thought-provoking perspective on the origin of our universe. He begins by acknowledging that while we have a fairly good understanding of the universe's evolution from the Big Bang event approximately 14 billion years ago, the question of what preceded the Big Bang remains a profound mystery. Vilenkin introduces the concept of inflation, a period of rapid expansion that is believed to have occurred before the Big Bang. However, this then raises the question of what initiated inflation itself. Vilenkin admits that this line of questioning could potentially lead to an infinite regress, as we continue to ask what happened before each preceding event. To address this conundrum, Vilenkin explores the idea of the universe originating spontaneously out of nothing. This theory, which is gaining popularity among cosmologists, suggests that the laws of conservation, such as the law of energy conservation, may not apply in the same way within the context of a closed universe, where space curves back on itself. In a closed universe, Vilenkin explains, the gravitational energy of matter always balances the positive energy, resulting in the total energy of the universe being zero. This absence of a net energy means that there is no conservation law preventing the formation of such a closed universe. Vilenkin further points out that in quantum mechanics, if a process is not forbidden by conservation laws, it necessarily happens with some probability. Consequently, a closed universe can spontaneously appear out of nothing, and there exists a mathematical description of this process. However, this explanation raises perplexing questions about the origin of the laws of physics themselves, as they seem to exist prior to the universe's existence. Vilenkin acknowledges this uncertainty but suggests that the universe may have had a beginning in the form of a quantum mechanical creation of nothing from nothing. Moreover, Vilenkin argues that the most likely scenario for the universe's initial state is a high-energy state that drives inflation. This aligns with the theory of quantum origin, which proposes that the universe emerged from a quantum fluctuation in a pre-existing state of nothingness. While this theory provides a plausible explanation for the universe's origin, it also raises profound philosophical and metaphysical questions. If the universe emerged from nothing, where did the laws of physics and the quantum vacuum itself originate? Vilenkin acknowledges that these are deep questions that science may never be able to fully answer, as they delve into the realm of the ultimate nature of reality and existence. Nonetheless, Vilenkin's work highlights the ongoing quest to understand the origins of our universe and the fundamental laws that govern its existence. As our knowledge and understanding of cosmology continue to evolve, new theories and perspectives will emerge, challenging our preconceptions and pushing the boundaries of human knowledge.

Commentary: The concept of an eternal, uncreated powerful creator as the origin of the universe presents a compelling metaphysical perspective that transcends the limitations of physical laws. This idea posits the existence of a transcendent, intelligent agency as the ultimate source of the universe's existence, in contrast to the spontaneous emergence proposed by some cosmological theories. One key aspect of this perspective is the notion of the creator's eternal and uncaused nature. The creator exists necessarily, independent of any external factors or pre-existing conditions. This eliminates the need to address the question of what preceded the creator, as the creator is conceived as timeless and uncaused. This stands in contrast to the challenge faced by naturalistic explanations, which must grapple with the fundamental question of what brought the initial physical state or quantum vacuum into existence.
The concept of an omnipotent creator further posits that the creator possesses the inherent potential to actualize any conceivable state of affairs, including the creation of the physical universe. This potential is not bound by the constraints of physical laws or natural processes but rather stems from the unlimited power and will of the creator. The decision to create the universe is seen as a deliberate choice, imbued with intentionality and purpose, rather than a random occurrence. This perspective also offers an explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe and the existence of fundamental constants and laws that enable the emergence and evolution of life. The creator is the ultimate source of these laws, transcending the realm of physical constraints and serving as the metaphysical foundation for the universe's existence. Importantly, the concept of an eternal, uncreated powerful creator raises philosophical questions about the nature of existence, consciousness, and purpose. It invites contemplation on the meaning of life, the role of humanity in the cosmos, and the relationship between the creator and the created universe.

Denyse O'Leary Big Bang Exterminator Wanted, Will Train October 20, 2013
“These men and women have built their entire worldview on atheism,” says cosmologist Frank Tipler:
“When I was a student at MIT in the late 1960s, I audited a course in cosmology from the physics Nobelist Steven Weinberg. He told his class that of the theories of cosmology, he preferred the Steady State Theory because ‘it least resembled the account in Genesis.'”

So disapproval snowballed along with evidence rather than with disconfirmation.

In 1989, Nature‘s physics editor John Maddox predicted,
“Apart from being philosophically unacceptable, the Big Bang is an over-simple view of how the Universe began, and it is unlikely to survive the decade ahead.”

In 1992, Geoffrey Burbidge of the University of California at San Diego taxed his colleagues with rushing off to join
“the First Church of Christ of the Big Bang.”

Stephen Hawking opined in 1996,
“Many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention. … There were therefore a number of attempts to avoid the conclusion that there had been a big bang.”

Hawking himself offered one such attempt: He tried designing a design-free universe. To make his cosmology work, he relied on imaginary time rather than real time, explaining, “Maybe what we call imaginary time is really more basic, and what we call real is just an idea that we invent to help us describe what we think the universe is like.”

Lisa Grossman Death of the eternal cosmos 2012
From the cosmic egg to the infinite multiverse, every model of the universe has a beginning
YOU could call them the worst birthday presents ever. At the meeting of minds convened last week to honour Stephen Hawking’s 70th birthday – loftily titled “State of the Universe”– two bold proposals posed serious threats to our existing understanding of the cosmos. One shows that a problematic object called a naked singularity is a lot more likely to exist than previously assumed (see “Black strings expose the naked singularity”, right). The other suggests that the universe is not eternal, resurrecting the thorny question of how to kick-start the cosmos without the hand of a supernatural creator. While many of us may be OK with the idea of the big bang simply starting everything, physicists, including Hawking, tend to shy away from cosmic genesis. “A point of creation would be a place where science broke down. One would have to appeal to religion and the hand of God,” Hawking told the meeting, at the University of Cambridge, in a pre-recorded speech. For a while it looked like it might be possible to dodge this problem, by relying on models such as an eternally inflating or cyclic universe, both of which seemed to continue infinitely in the past as well as the future. 

Perhaps surprisingly, these were also both compatible with the big bang, the idea that the universe most likely burst forth from an extremely dense, hot state about 13.7 billion years ago. However, as cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University in Boston explained last week, that hope has been gradually fading and may now be dead. He showed that all these theories still demand a beginning. His first target was eternal inflation. Proposed by Alan Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981, inflation says that in the few slivers of a second after the big bang, the universe doubled in size thousands of times before settling into the calmer expansion we see today. This helped to explain why parts of the universe so distant that they could never have communicated with each other look the same. Eternal inflation is essentially an expansion of Guth’s idea, and says that the universe grows at this breakneck pace forever, by constantly giving birth to smaller “bubble” universes within an ever-expanding multiverse, each of which goes through its own initial period of inflation. Crucially, some versions of eternal inflation applied to time as well as space, with the bubbles forming both backwards and forwards in time (see diagram, right). But in 2003, a team including Vilenkin and Guth considered what eternal inflation would mean for the Hubble constant, which describes mathematically the expansion of the universe.

“Space-time can’t possibly be eternal in the past. There must be some kind of boundary”

They found that the equations didn’t work. “You can’t construct a space-time with this property,” says Vilenkin. It turns out that the constant has a lower limit that prevents inflation in both time directions. “It can’t possibly be eternal in the past,” says Vilenkin. “There must be some kind of boundary.” Not everyone subscribes to eternal inflation, however, so the idea of an eternal universe still had a foothold. Another option is a cyclic universe, in which the big bang is not really the beginning but more of a bounce back following a previous collapsed universe. The universe goes through infinite cycles of big bangs and crunches with no specific beginning. Cyclic universes have an “irresistible poetic charm and bring to mind the Phoenix”, says Vilenkin, quoting Georges Lemaître, an astronomer who died in 1966. Yet when he looked at what this would mean for the universe’s disorder, again the figures didn’t add up. Disorder increases with time. So following each cycle, the universe must get more and more disordered. But if there has already been an infinite number of cycles, the universe we inhabit now should be in a state of maximum disorder. Such a universe would be uniformly lukewarm and featureless, and definitely lacking such complicated beings as stars, planets and physicists – nothing like the one we see around us. One way around that is to propose that the universe just gets bigger with every cycle. Then the amount of disorder per volume doesn’t increase, so needn’t reach the maximum. But Vilenkin found that this scenario falls prey to the same mathematical argument as eternal inflation: if your universe keeps getting bigger, it must have started somewhere. Vilenkin’s final strike is an attack on a third, lesser-known proposal that the cosmos existed eternally in a static state called the cosmic egg. This finally “cracked” to create the big bang, leading to the expanding universe we see today. Late last year Vilenkin and graduate student Audrey Mithani showed that the egg could not have existed forever after all, as quantum instabilities would force it to collapse after a finite amount of time (arxiv.org/abs/1110.4096). If it cracked instead, leading to the big bang, then this must have happened before it collapsed – and therefore also after a finite amount of time. “This is also not a good candidate for a beginningless universe,” Vilenkin concludes. “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.”

Beginning: The universe had a beginning Wb5phYK
Beginning: The universe had a beginning YN8oB5P

PRAYSON DANIEL Eternal Cosmos Is Dead, Don’t Tell Stenger DECEMBER 17, 2012

Reasonable Faith Death of the eternal cosmos December 16, 2012

Beginning: The universe had a beginning Sem_tz18

Arthur Eddington English astronomer, physicist, and mathematician, stated:
“The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural”. (Arthur Eddington, The Expanding Universe, p. 178)

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We cannot reach the present moment from an eternal past

Argument: Spontaneous creation of the Universe Ex Nihilo

We propose the ‘Creatio Ex Nihilo’ (CEN) theory, aimed at describing the origin of the Universe from ‘nothing’ in information terms.The suggested framework does not require amendments to the laws of physics: but rather provides a new scenario to the Universe initiation process, and from that point merges with state-of-the-art cosmological models. The paper is aimed at providing a first step towards a more complete model of the Universe creation – proving that creation Ex Nihilo is feasible. We adopt the vision of a “flash of Universe appearing from nothing”. Assuming that the starting phase of the Universe adheres with the “principle of ignorance,” and that “singularity is the ultimate unknowable, and therefore should be totally devoid of information”. , ‘Creatio Ex Nihilo’ (CEN), aimed at describing the origin of the Universe from ‘nothing’ in information terms. The notion of bit-based information at the core of the Universe evolvement is not new. This trend suggests that the physical world is “made of information, with energy and matter as incidentals”  information is the building block from which everything is constructed and that all natural phenomena can be explained in information terms.  According to the newly suggested theory, CEN, in the beginning, there was nothing – no material, no energy, no space and no time. This situation was fully symmetric with no entropy. Therefore, this initial state was allegedly static, with no motive for change.
Response: They call their idea a theory.... This is not a theory. its pseudo-science, or better, a fairy tale.....for adults.

The universe had a beginning, therefore a cause

1:15 The claim: Something cannot come from nothing does not need to be proven
3:15 Virtual particles do not come from absolutely nothing but require a quantum vacuum
7:36 Premise two: The universe began to exist
9:35 Scientific reasons to conclude that the universe has a beginning
16:32 Further scientific evidence why the universe cannot be past eternal
18:35 Philosophical reasons why the universe nor quantum effect potentials cannot be past eternal

Beginning: The universe had a beginning Big_ba10

Beginning: The universe had a beginning Bigban10

1. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1204.4658v1.pdf
2. Margenau and Varghese eds, La Salle, IL, Open Court, 1992, p. 83
3. http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html
4. A.Vilenkin, cited in “Why physicists can't avoid a creation event,” by Lisa Grossman, New Scientist (January 11, 2012).
5. https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/190389main_Cosmic_Elements_Poster_Back.pdf
6. http://www.reasonablefaith.org/contemporary-cosmology-and-the-beginning-of-the-universe
7. (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).
8. http://www.debate.org/opinions/is-there-any-rational-evidence-for-the-existence-of-god
9. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/427722/mathematics-of-eternity-prove-the-universe-must-have-had-a-beginning/
10. http://www.reasonablefaith.org/does-god-exist-1


The Lord has “Stretched the Heavens” Since Creation Week

Origins: Science, Faith, and Philosophy University Honors 302-003 Spring Semester 2004
1. Light and other forms of radiation are detected that originated from sources which are now very large distances (billions of light-years) away (implication - the universe is very, very big)
The sky is dark at night (implication - the universe is not infinite in extent and infinitely old)
2. Red shifts - the wavelengths of radiation from each galaxy are shifted toward the red side of the spectrum by a factor roughly proportional to the distance of the galaxy from us. (implication - the galaxies are receding, or the universe is expanding)
3. Cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, nearly uniform in all directions.  This radiation does not come from a single source, rather it comes from every point in the universe. Believed to represent radiation with a red-shift of 1,100.  It is the earliest phenomenon that we will ever observe. (implication - this is the remnant of a state of very high energy density)

J. Bennett On the Cosmic Horizon, pg 122-123.
"In fact, the Big Bang theory does much more than simply predict the existence of the cosmic microwave background.  It also predicts it's precise spectrum.  NASA's COBE satellite measured the spectrum shortly after its launch in1989, and the result was a perfect match between prediction and theory - a result that provoked a burst of applause from the audience when it was announced at a major scientific conference in January 1990.  For Big Bang theorists, this was like winning the Super Bowl."

Beginning: The universe had a beginning Blackbodyspec

Tiny fluctuations in the CMB were detected in 1992 in the COBE project - they are presumed to be the seeds of cosmic architecture

Beginning: The universe had a beginning Cmbripples
Beginning: The universe had a beginning Cmbspec

George Smoot Show Me God, pg 167-168.
"Not only did we find what are the seeds of the modern day structure - and that is the galaxies and clusters of galaxies and clusters of clusters of galaxies - but we also found evidence of the birth of the universe, I believe, because I think that if you look at these fluctuations and ask, "How could they have gotten in there?" some of them are so large - that is, they stretch across billions of light-years back at a very early time - that means they hadn't changed - if you move matter and energy arround at the speed of light, you can only cross a teeny fraction of them.  And so these are primordial - they're in from the moment of creation.  And so it's really like looking back at creation and seeing the creation of space and time and the universe and everything in it, but also the imperfections of the creation, sort of the fingerprints from the Maker, if you understand what I mean, or the machining marks from the machine that tooled the universe, ..."

Perhaps the greatest challenge to naturalism   -   there was a beginning!

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Did God create Ex-nihilo?

Could it be, that God is eternally in the disposition of infinite energy and disposes of it whenever it fits for him to create? He can both be an eternal mind of infinite knowledge, wisdom, and intelligence, able to create other minds similar to his, but with less, and limited intelligence, but also worlds through his eternal power.

Power comes from Latin, and means, potere. Potere means able of doing. Able to provoke change.  
Things with power are much more than able — they're able to exert a lot of force. "The powers that be" are those who hold authority.

The potential of energy is eternal with God and when God created the universe, in the first instant, he focussed, concentrated all the energy that is in his eternal disposition, needed to create the Universe, into a single point, which was the beginning of the creation and stretching out our universe: a singularity.  The temperatures, densities, and energies of the Universe would be arbitrary, unimaginably large, and would coincide with the birth of time, matter, and space itself, and God subdued and ordained the energy to start obeying the laws of physics. We know that matter/energy are interchangeable, and matter is essentially an illusion. That would solve the problem of ex-nihilo. God creating from nothing physical. Which, frankly speaking, seems to me logically absurd. There had to be a connection from God to the Universe. God did not only create the universe, but sustains it permanently through his power, and ordains the laws of physics to impose and secure that the universe works orderly, and with Constance. Atheists always question and ask me: How did God create the universe. What mechanism did he use? The answer is His eternal infinite intelligence, and energy/power, both, freely at HIS disposal. Anytime. That's why he is the great: I AM.

Looking it from that standpoint, the distinction of physics, to metaphysics, or natural, to supernatural, vanishes. There Is however the creator/creature distinction. God, the creator, is the eternal, uncreated necessary ultimate being, upon which everything else depends, but everything else is a manifestation of his will and action. And creation, a manifestation of God's mind and power, was created, is secured, and hold to remain existent based on his power. Removing God from the equation then becomes absurd, and creation would be the product of no causal agency whatsoever. Once you remove God as the creator, what mechanism is left to explain our existence? None.
Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and in him, all things hold together.

Hebrew 1:1b The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

This coincides with Aquinas first way argument from motion:

The First Way: Argument from Motion


Our senses prove that some things are in motion.
Things move when potential motion becomes actual motion.
Only an actual motion can convert a potential motion into an actual motion.
Nothing can be at once in both actuality and potentiality in the same respect (i.e., if both actual and potential, it is actual in one respect and potential in another).
Therefore nothing can move itself.
Therefore each thing in motion is moved by something else.
The sequence of motion cannot extend ad infinitum.
Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.

My comment: This coincides with what I wrote above: God has the power ( he upholds possibilities in his "hand"), and disposes of potential energy, which is not actualized, but which he can actualize upon his will. So energy was not extant beyond the physical universe, but existed as potential at disposal upon God's will. It did not exist ontologically, but potentially. Minds can actualize and create things without physical preconditions. I can think about moving my arm, and then command my arm to do so.
That does not demand anything else than my will to do so. Of course we can ask, from what God made the universe, if there was nothing physical yet. As said: What existed, was the potentiality at his disposal. How and why that is the case, is a mystery beyond our reach, but it is what it is, and we ought to take it on faith.

Last edited by Otangelo on Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:57 am; edited 1 time in total




Ethan Siegel How Physics Erases The Beginning Of The Universe Aug 18, 2020

Beginning: The universe had a beginning Https_35
While matter (both normal and dark) and radiation become less dense as the Universe expands owing to its increasing volume, dark energy, and also the field energy during inflation, is a form of energy inherent to space itself. As new space gets created in the expanding Universe, the dark energy density remains constant.

The big idea of the Big Bang was to extrapolate this back as far as possible: to ever hotter, denser, and more uniform states as we go earlier and earlier. This led to a series of remarkable predictions, including that:

1. more distant galaxies should be smaller, more numerous, lower in mass, and richer in hot, blue stars than their modern-day counterparts,
2. there should be fewer and fewer heavy elements as we look backwards in time,
3. there should come a time when the Universe was too hot to form neutral atoms (and a leftover bath of now-cold radiation that exists from that time),
4. there should even come a time where atomic nuclei were blasted apart by the ultra-energetic radiation (leaving a relic mix of hydrogen and helium isotopes).

All four of these predictions have been observationally confirmed, with that leftover bath of radiation — originally known as the “primeval fireball” and now called the cosmic microwave background — discovered in the mid-1960s often referred to as the smoking gun of the Big Bang.

In the words of Georges Lemaitre, the first person to put together the physics of the expanding Universe, it was “a day without yesterday.”

Only, there were a number of unresolved puzzles that the Big Bang posed, but presented no answers for.

1. Why did regions that were causally disconnected — i.e., had no time to exchange information, even at the speed of light — have the same temperatures as one another?
2. Why were the initial expansion rate of the Universe (which works to expand things) and the total amount of energy in the Universe (which gravitates and fights the expansion) perfectly balanced early on: to more than 50 decimal places?
3. And why, if we reached these ultra-high temperatures and densities early on, are there no leftover relic remnants from those times in our Universe today?

Throughout the 1970s, the top physicists and astrophysicists in the world worried about these problems, theorizing about possible answers to these puzzles. Then, in late 1979, a young theorist named Alan Guth had a spectacular realization that changed history.

The new theory was known as cosmic inflation and postulated that perhaps the idea of the Big Bang was only a good extrapolation back to a certain point in time, where it was preceded (and set up) by this inflationary state. Instead of reaching arbitrary high temperatures, densities, and energies, inflation states that:

Claim: The Universe was no longer filled with matter and radiation, but instead possessed a large amount of energy intrinsic to the fabric of space itself, which caused the Universe to expand exponentially (where the expansion rate doesn’t change over time), which drives the Universe to a flat, empty, uniform state, until inflation ends. When it ends, the energy that was inherent to space itself — the energy that’s the same everywhere, except for the quantum fluctuations imprinted atop it — gets converted into matter and energy, resulting in a hot Big Bang.
Response: Problems with the cosmic inflation hypothesis at the beginning of the universe
1. The Big Bang was the first and most precisely fine-tuned event in all of the history of the universe. It had it to be adjusted to permit the right expansion rate, a balance between attraction and repulsion, between contraction and expansion, or it would have expanded too fast, and produced an unlimited expansion, and a void, lifeless universe, or it would have recollapsed back to a singularity, a Big Crunch. But also many different parameters had to be set just right in the first instants, right after the first nanosecond or two, in order to form stable atoms, or it would also be void of stars, planets, chemicals, and life. 
2.  The Lambda-CDM model, composed of six parameters, is a parameterization of the Big Bang. The standard model of particle physics contains 26 fundamental constants. A variety of physical phenomena, atomic, gravitational, and cosmological, must combine in the right way in order to produce a life-permitting universe.
3. Inflation is supposed to provide a dynamical explanation for the seemingly very fine-tuned initial conditions of the standard model of cosmology. It faces however ist own problems. There would have to be an inflation field with negative pressure,  dominating the total energy density of the universe, dictating its dynamic, and so, starting inflation. It would have to last for the right period of time.  And once inflation takes over, there must be some special reason for it to stop; otherwise, the universe would maintain its exponential expansion and no complex structure would form. It would also have to be ensured that the post-inflation field would not possess a large, negative potential energy, which would cause the universe to recollapse altogether. Inflation would also have to guarantee a homogeneous, but not perfectly homogeneous universe. Inhomogeneities had to be there for gravitational instability to form cosmic structures like stars, galaxies, and planets. Inflation would require an astonishing sequence of correlations and coincidences, to suddenly and coherently convert all its matter into a scalar field with just enough kinetic energy to roll to the top of its potential and remain perfectly balanced there for long enough to cause a substantial era of “deflation”.  It would be far more likely, that the inflation field would drop its energy rather than be converted into baryons and ordinary matter, dump its energy into radiation.  The odds to have a successful, finely adjusted inflaton field are maximally one in a thousand at its peak and drop rapidly. There is no physical model of inflation, and the necessary coupling between inflation and ordinary matter/radiation is just an unsupported hypothesis. 
4. Designed setup is the best explanation for the life-permitting conditions at the beginning of the universe. 

Theoretically, this was a brilliant leap, because it offered a plausible physical explanation for the observed properties the Big Bang alone could not account for. Causally disconnected regions have the same temperature because they all arose from the same inflationary “patch” of space. The expansion rate and the energy density were perfectly balanced because inflation gave that same expansion rate and energy density to the Universe prior to the Big Bang. And there were no leftover, high-energy remnants because the Universe only reached a finite temperature after inflation ended. In fact, inflation also made a series of novel predictions that differed from that of the non-inflationary Big Bang, meaning we could go out and test this idea. As of today, in 2020, we’ve collected data that puts four of those predictions to the test:

1. The Universe should have a maximum, non-infinite upper limit to the temperatures reached during the hot Big Bang.
2. Inflation should possess quantum fluctuations that become density imperfections in the Universe that are 100% adiabatic (with constant entropy).
3. Some fluctuations should be on super-horizon scales: fluctuations on scales larger than light could have traveled since the hot Big Bang.
4. Those fluctuations should be almost, but not perfectly, scale-invariant, with slightly greater magnitudes on large scales than small ones.

With data from satellites like COBE, WMAP, and Planck, we’ve tested all four, and only inflation (and not the non-inflationary hot Big Bang) yields predictions that are in line with what we’ve observed. But this means that the Big Bang wasn’t the very beginning of everything; it was only the beginning of the Universe as we’re familiar with it. Prior to the hot Big Bang, there was a state known as cosmic inflation, that eventually ended and gave rise to the hot Big Bang, and we can observe the imprints of cosmic inflation on the Universe today.

But only for the last tiny, minuscule fraction of a second of inflation. Only, perhaps, for the final ~10-33 seconds of it (or so) can we observe the imprints that inflation left on our Universe. It’s possible that inflation lasted for only that duration, or for far longer. 

It’s possible that the inflationary state was eternal, or that it was transient, arising from something else. It’s possible that the Universe did begin with a singularity, or arose as part of a cycle, or has always existed. But that information doesn’t exist in our Universe. Inflation — by its very nature — erases whatever existed in the pre-inflationary Universe.
Response:  There are good reasons to deny that the universe could be possibly eternal:

The universe cannot be past eternal

Ethan Siegel Did Time Have A Beginning? Jun 7, 20
When we think about our cosmic origins, then, it's only human to ask the most fundamental of all possible questions: where did this all come from? It's been more than half a century since the first robust and unique predictions of the Big Bang were confirmed, leading to our modern picture of a Universe that began from a hot, dense state some 13.8 billion years ago. But in our quest for the beginning, we know already that time couldn't have started with the Big Bang. In fact, it might not have had a beginning at all. Whenever we think about anything, we apply our very human logic to it. If we want to know where the Big Bang came from, we describe it in the best terms we can, and then theorize about what could have caused it and set it up. We look for evidence to help us understand the Big Bang's beginnings. After all, that's where everything comes from: from the process that gave it its start.
But this assumes something that may not be true about our Universe: that it actually had a beginning. For a long time, scientifically, we didn't know whether this was true or not. Did the Universe have a beginning, or a time before which nothing existed? Or did the Universe exist for an eternity, like an infinite line extending in both directions? Or, quite possibly, is our Universe cyclic like the circumference of a circle, where it repeats over and over indefinitely?

For a time, there were multiple competing ideas which were all consistent with the observations we had.

1. An expanding Universe could have originated from a singular point — an event in spacetime — where all of space and time emerged from a singularity.
2. The Universe could be expanding today because it was contracting in the past, and will contract again in the future, presenting an oscillating solution.
3. Finally, the expanding Universe could have been an eternal state, where space is expanding now and always had been and always would be, where new matter is continuously created to keep the density constant.
These three examples represent the three major options: the Universe had a singular beginning, the Universe is cyclical in nature, or the Universe has always existed. In the 1960s, however, a low-level of microwave radiation was found everywhere across the sky, changing the story forever.

This radiation wasn't just the same magnitude everywhere, but also the same in all directions. At just a few degrees above absolute zero, it was consistent with the Universe emerging from an earlier, hot dense state, and cooling as it expanded. As improved technology and novel techniques led to better data, we learned that the spectrum of this radiation had a particular shape: that of a near-perfect blackbody. A blackbody is what you get if you have a perfect absorber of radiation heated up to a certain specific temperature. If the Universe expands and cools without changing its entropy (i.e., adiabatically), something that starts off with a blackbody spectrum will remain a blackbody, even as it cools. This radiation was not only consistent with being the leftover glow from the Big Bang, but was inconsistent with alternatives like tired light or reflected starlight. According to the Big Bang, the Universe was hotter, denser, more uniform and smaller in the past. It only has the properties we see today because it’s been expanding, cooling, and experiencing the influence of gravitation for so long. Because the wavelength of radiation stretches as the Universe expands, a smaller Universe should have had radiation with shorter wavelengths, meaning it had higher energies and greater temperatures. Billions of years ago, it was once so hot that even neutral atoms couldn’t form without being blasted apart. Even earlier than that, today's microwave radiation were so energetic that they dominated over matter as far as the Universe's energy content was concerned. At even earlier times, atomic nuclei were instantly blasted apart, and at still earlier ones, we couldn't even create stable protons and neutrons. If we extrapolate all the way back, to arbitrarily hot temperatures, small distances, and high densities, you'd intuit that this would truly equate to the beginning. If you were willing to run the clock backwards as far as you could, all of the space that makes up our visible Universe today would be compressed down to a single point.

Now, it's true that if you went to these extreme conditions, compressing all the matter and energy present in today's Universe into a tiny enough volume of space, the laws of physics would break down. You could try to calculate various properties, but you'd only get nonsense for answers. This is what we describe as a singularity: a set of conditions where time and space have no meaning. At first glance, if you do the math, it appears that a singularity is inevitable, regardless of what dominates the Universe's energy content.

Beginning: The universe had a beginning Https_40
The scale of the Universe, on the y-axis, is plotted as a function of time, on the x-axis. Whether the Universe is made of matter (red), radiation (blue), or energy inherent to space itself (yellow), it decreases towards a size/scale of 0 as you extrapolate backwards in time.

Singularities are where the law of gravitation governing the Universe — Einstein’s General Relativity — yields nonsense for predictions. Relativity, remember, is the theory that describes space and time. But at singularities, both spatial and temporal dimensions cease to exist. Asking questions like “what came before this event where time began” is as nonsensical as asking “where am I” if space no longer exists. Indeed, this is the argument that many make, including Paul Davies, when they claim that there can be no discussion of what occurred before the Big Bang. This is a tautology, of course, if you assert that the Big Bang is where time began. But as interesting as this argument is, we know that the Big Bang isn’t where time began anymore. Ever since we’ve made modern, detailed measurements of the cosmos, we’ve learned that this extrapolation to a singularity must be wrong.

In particular, the patterns and magnitudes of the fluctuations that we've discovered in the modern radiation left over from that early, hot, dense state teach us a number of important properties about our Universe. They teach us how much matter was present in dark matter as well as normal matter: protons, neutrons and electrons. They give us a measurement of the Universe's spatial curvature, as well as the presence of dark energy and the effects of neutrinos.

But they also tell us something vitally important that's often overlooked: they tell us whether there was a maximum temperature for the Universe back in its earliest stages. According to the data from WMAP and Planck, the Universe never achieved a temperature greater than about 10^29 K. This number is enormous, but it's over 1,000 times smaller that the temperatures we'd need to equate to a singularity.

Beginning: The universe had a beginning Https_41
Our entire cosmic history is theoretically well-understood, but only qualitatively. It's by observationally confirming and revealing various stages in our Universe's past that must have occurred, like when the first stars and galaxies formed, and how the Universe expanded over time, that we can truly come to understand our cosmos. The relic signatures imprinted on our Universe from an inflationary state before the hot Big Bang give us a unique way to test our cosmic history.

The particular properties of the Universe that are imprinted upon it from the earliest stages provide a window into the physical processes that took place at those times. Not only do they tell us that we cannot extrapolate the Big Bang all the way back to a singularity, but they tell us about the state that existed prior to (and set up) the hot Big Bang: a period of cosmic inflation. During inflation, there was a tremendous amount of energy inherent to space itself, causing the Universe to expand both rapidly and relentlessly: at an exponential rate. This period of inflation occurred prior to the hot Big Bang, set up the initial conditions that our Universe began with, and left a series of unique imprints that we searched for and discovered after the theory had already predicted them.

Beginning: The universe had a beginning Https_42
The quantum fluctuations that occur during inflation get stretched across the Universe, and when inflation ends, they become density fluctuations. This leads, over time, to the large-scale structure in the Universe today, as well as the fluctuations in temperature observed in the CMB. These new predictions are essential for demonstrating the validity of a fine-tuning mechanism, and have validated inflation as our new, leading theory of how our Big Bang got its start.

But this severely alters our conceptions of how the Universe began. Earlier, I presented you a graph of how the size (or scale) of the Universe evolved with time. The graph displayed the differences between how the Universe would expand if it were dominated by matter (in red), radiation (in blue), or space itself (such as during inflation, in yellow) at early times. However, I wasn't completely honest with you in displaying that graph.
You see, I omitted something in the earlier graph, because I truncated it at a positive, finite time. In other words, I stopped the graph before we reached a size of zero. If I were to continue to extrapolate backwards, the matter and radiation curves do indeed reach a singularity at a specific time: t = 0. That would have been where the original idea of the Big Bang occurred. But in an inflationary Universe, you only asymptote to a size of zero; you never reach it. Not at a specific time of t=0, and not at any early time, no matter how far back you go.

Ethan Siegel: Ask Ethan: How Did The Entire Universe Come From Nothing? Nov 27, 2020
Today, when we look out at the Universe, the full suite of observations we’ve collected, even with the known uncertainties taken into account, all point towards a remarkably consistent picture. Our Universe is made of matter (rather than antimatter), obeys the same laws of physics everywhere and at all times, and began — at least, as we know it — with a hot Big Bang some 13.8 billion years ago. It’s governed by General Relativity, it’s expanding and cooling and gravitating, and it’s dominated by dark energy (68%) and dark matter (27%), with normal matter, neutrinos, and radiation making up the rest.

In order to form modern stars and galaxies, we need:

1. gravitation to pull small galaxies and star clusters into one another, creating large galaxies and triggering new waves of star formation,
2. which required pre-existing collections of mass, created from gravitational growth,
3. which require dark matter haloes to form early on, preventing star forming episodes from ejecting that matter back into the intergalactic medium,
4. which require the right balance of normal matter, dark matter, and radiation to give rise to the cosmic microwave background, the light elements formed in the hot Big Bang, and the abundances/patterns we see in them,
5. which required initial seed fluctuations — density imperfections — to gravitationally grow into these structures,
6. which require some way of creating these imperfections, along with some way of creating dark matter and creating the initial amounts of normal matter.

These are three key ingredients that are required, in the early stages of the hot Big Bang, to give rise to the Universe as we observe it today. Assuming that we also require the laws of physics and spacetime itself to exist — along with matter/energy itself — we probably want to include those as the necessary ingredients that must somehow arise. So, in short, when we ask whether we can get a Universe from nothing or not, these are the novel, hitherto unexplained entities that we need to somehow arise.




Stephen Meyer: Can You Have An Expanding Universe Without A Beginning?  October 6, 2021

Ethan Siegel Did The Universe Have A Beginning? Jul 6, 2021
Where did inflation come from?

Was it eternal, or did it only last for a finite amount of time? In 2003, a theorem was published — the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin (BGV) theorem — that showed that inflating spacetimes are what we call “past-timelike incomplete,” which means that inflation cannot describe a “beginning” to the Universe. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the Universe had a non-inflationary beginning; it only implies that if inflation was not an eternal state, it must have arisen from a previous state that, perhaps, did have a beginning. (It is also uncertain whether the BGV theorem will apply to a fully quantum theory of gravity.)

If inflation did arise from a pre-existing state, then what was that state like? Using the rules of quantum field theory that we presently understand, it could have arisen from a non-inflationary spacetime with a condition very much like a Bunch-Davies vacuum, and then gave rise to the inflationary state that set up the hot Big Bang.

Theoretically, there are many uncertainties, many unknowns, and many admissible possibilities.

Both experimentally and observationally, however, there’s no information accessible to us, here, in our visible Universe, that would allow us to determine how inflation arose, or even whether inflation arose at all. In fact, because of the relentless expansion of the Universe during inflation, it can take a region as small as the Planck length on all sides — the smallest possible size at which the laws of physics make sense — and that region will be stretched to larger than the presently observable Universe in under ~10-32 seconds.

Observationally, this final fraction-of-a-second of inflation is the only interval that has any way of imprinting itself onto our Universe. Anything that occurred prior, including earlier phases of inflation, the beginning of inflation (if it had one), or whatever occurred previously, has been wiped clean from our Universe by the dynamics of inflation itself. The Big Bang wasn’t the beginning of time and space, and cosmic inflation, which preceded it, cannot be the beginning either, unless it went on for an eternity. After a century of cosmic revolutions, we’re right back where we started: unable to answer the most fundamental question we can ask, “how did it all begin?”




Science Journal Reaffirms Universe Had a Beginning, a Key Argument in Meyer’s God Hypothesis
Brian Miller

“People proposed bouncing universes to make the universe infinite into the past, but what we show is that one of the newest types of these models doesn’t work,” says Kinney, Ph.D., professor of physics in the UB College of Arts and Sciences. “In this new type of model, which addresses problems with entropy, even if the universe has cycles, it still has to have a beginning.”





Claim: The cosmos, with particles interacting, exists as a brute necessity and evolved our universe and all that exists.
Reply: The assertion that the cosmos exists as a brute necessity and spontaneously evolved into our universe is challenged by the cosmological argument, which posits that everything that begins to exist has a cause. The Big Bang theory, supported by astronomical observations like the cosmic microwave background radiation and the expansion of the universe, indicates that the universe had a finite beginning. This suggests that the universe cannot be infinitely old and must have been caused or created by something that itself is uncaused or outside of time and space, a transcendent God. This challenges the idea of the cosmos as a brute fact without a beginning.

How is a worldview without a necessary cause rational?
1. Contingent (dependent) beings exist.
2. Contingent beings require a necessary, self-existent being in order to exist.
3. Therefore, an eternal, non-created, self-existent being must exist ( modus ponens: The rule of logic stating that if a conditional statement (“if p then q ”) is accepted, and the antecedent ( p ) holds, then the consequent ( q ) may be inferred. ) Dependent beings cannot exist independently. Since the universe had a beginning, it is dependent on an external necessary cause. Aquinas showed us that the attributes of a true God are logically deduced.

Gods existence can be logically proven: 
1. A series of events exists.   One event is added to another to get us to today.  But we know that whenever we pause, we can't have an infinite number of events.  This means that there is not an infinite number of events that go backward from this point in time. Adding individual events together can never get to an infinite period of time.  
2. The series of events exists as caused and not as uncaused(necessary)
3. There must exist an uncaused necessary being that is the cause of all contingent being
4. Since that cause created space, time, and matter, it must be above and beyond physical reality. That cause must be timeless, uncaused, eternal, spaceless, and personal. We call it God.




Einstein's theory of general relativity made a striking prediction - that massive objects like the sun would bend the paths of light rays passing near them due to the warping of spacetime by gravity. This prediction was put to the test during a solar eclipse in 1919, when astronomers observed that the positions of stars near the sun were slightly shifted from where they should have appeared, exactly as Einstein's equations foresaw. This was a monumental confirmation of general relativity's ability to accurately describe the movements of massive bodies in the universe. Sixty years ago, astronomers could only verify general relativity's predictions to within 1-2% precision. However, with advances in observational capabilities, we can now confirm the theory's validity to an astonishing 15 decimal places of accuracy. There is no longer any reasonable doubt about the fundamental conditions articulated by general relativity.

One profound implication of the theory is that spacetime itself is not eternal and uncreated, but rather had a definite beginning at some point in the finite past. The geometry of spacetime was quite literally brought into existence.
Some view this as creating a philosophical dilemma - is it more feasible that the universe is truly beginningless and eternal, or that an eternal creator entity transcending physical existence brought it into being? However, the empirical evidence we have points decisively toward spacetime being initiated at a specific starting point rather than persisting eternally of its own accord. The reasoning that spacetime points to a beginning of the universe is based on several key aspects of Einstein's theory of general relativity and observational evidence.

General Relativity and the Geometry of Spacetime: According to general relativity, the presence of matter and energy curves the fabric of spacetime. The more massive an object, the more it distorts the geometry of the spacetime around it. This curvature is what we experience as gravity.

The Friedmann Equations and Cosmic Expansion: The Friedmann equations, derived from Einstein's field equations, describe the dynamics of the expanding universe. These equations relate the curvature of spacetime to the density of matter and energy in the universe.

Observational Evidence of Cosmic Expansion: Observations of the redshift of distant galaxies, the cosmic microwave background radiation, and the abundance of light elements all point to the fact that the universe is expanding. This expansion implies that the universe must have been smaller, denser, and hotter in the past.

The Singularity Theorems: Building on general relativity and the observed expansion of the universe, mathematicians like Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking proved singularity theorems. These theorems state that under certain reasonable assumptions, the universe must have originated from an initial singularity, a point of infinite density and curvature, where the laws of physics as we know them break down.

The Necessity of a Beginning: The singularity theorems, combined with the observed expansion and the Friedmann equations, suggest that the universe could not have existed eternally in the past. The universe must have had a beginning, a finite point in the past when spacetime itself came into existence.

While there are still open questions and ongoing research in cosmology, the current understanding based on general relativity and observational data strongly supports the idea of a cosmological singularity, a beginning of spacetime itself, which is often referred to as the Big Bang.


10Beginning: The universe had a beginning Empty Re: Beginning: The universe had a beginning Fri Apr 26, 2024 11:49 am




Leonard lets ask the simple yet profound question - did the universe begin? On the surface, it seems straightforward, but unpacking it reveals layers of complexity and meaning. Before we can even ponder the answers, we must understand the nuances of what we mean by the "beginning" of the universe. The notion of a beginning presupposes a linear concept of time, with a starting point before which something did not exist. However, modern physics tells us that time is not as simple as a number line with a zero point. As we trace the universe back in time, we find that it was smaller and denser, with matter and energy becoming increasingly compressed. At such extreme densities, the effects of general relativity become significant, where matter warps the fabric of space-time, and space-time, in turn, influences the behavior of matter.

Additionally, as we approach the earliest moments, quantum mechanics comes into play, introducing fluctuations and uncertainties in the fields and energies that permeated the universe. The combination of these effects – the warping of space-time, the compression of matter and energy, and the quantum fluctuations – leads to a breakdown of our conventional understanding of time. Time itself loses its familiar linear nature and becomes intertwined with space, forming a curved, interconnected manifold. In our everyday experience, we perceive time as flowing in a linear fashion, like a straight line progressing from past to future. Space, on the other hand, is the three-dimensional arena in which objects exist and events occur. However, Einstein's theory of general relativity shows that space and time are not separate entities but are deeply interconnected, forming a four-dimensional continuum called space-time. In the presence of massive objects or under extreme gravitational conditions, space-time becomes curved or warped. This curvature is not just a mathematical abstraction but has real physical consequences, affecting the motion of objects and the flow of time itself. As we go back to the earliest moments of the universe, when densities and gravitational fields were incredibly high, the curvature of space-time becomes extreme. In such a scenario, the familiar separation between space and time breaks down, and they become inextricably intertwined. The term "curved, interconnected manifold" refers to the geometric representation of this warped space-time. A manifold is a mathematical concept that generalizes the notion of a surface to higher dimensions. In this case, the manifold represents the four-dimensional space-time continuum, which is no longer flat but curved and interconnected. The curvature of this manifold means that the spatial and temporal dimensions are no longer independent but are intimately linked. Time itself loses its linear character and becomes entangled with the spatial dimensions, forming a complex, curved structure. This departure from our intuitive understanding of space and time is a consequence of the extreme conditions near the beginning of the universe, where quantum effects and the warping effects of general relativity become inseparable. Our conventional notions of space and time break down, and a more unified description of the fabric of reality is required.

Physicists can trace the universe back to the period of inflation, approximately 10^-33 to 10^-32 seconds after the initial singularity, where quantum effects played a crucial role. Observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation support the theories describing this era. However, before that, around 10^-43 seconds, our current understanding falters due to the lack of a complete quantum theory of gravity. The question of the universe's "beginning" becomes ill-posed in physics because time itself loses its conventional meaning as we approach the earliest moments. The universe, at these extreme densities, might have been as small as a grapefruit or even smaller, but the concepts of size and time become blurred and uncertain. While physicists have made remarkable progress in understanding the universe's evolution from the moments after inflation, the true "beginning" remains elusive without a quantum theory of gravity. Some speculate that our universe might be one of many in a vast multiverse, but these other universes would likely be causally disconnected from ours, having no direct influence. The implications of this are profound: our universe may not have had a true "beginning" in the sense we typically envision. The question of whether time itself emerges from a more fundamental reality or has a different nature entirely remains unanswered. Physicists continue to grapple with these deep questions, but the answers may require a radically different approach or a brilliant mind that can redefine our understanding of space, time, and the fundamental nature of reality.

Len to ask the question did the universe 
begin sounds 
simple what does it mean what are the 
different kinds of meanings that that 
question has before we can even begin to 
say what are some of the answers ah how 
does the universe 
begin that's an interesting question 
because in a way it presupposes the 
answer let me tell you what I mean when 
we ask how something begins we think 
about maybe something that we in the 
present and we trace it back in time to 
a point where before which it didn't 
exist and that so that's the beginning 
that assumes that time is the way we 
learn about in school which is a linear 
uh like a number line and there's a zero 
and then there's on front beyond the 
zero but modern physics tells us that 
time isn't really like that so that's a 
kind of a strange question so when you 
go back in time what what we know is the 
universe as we go back in time was 
smaller and smaller and smaller and and 
we also know 
that all as all the matter and energy 
get squeezed into the smaller parts of 
the universe they start to affect each 
other through general relativity because 
it tells you that matter affects other 
affects space and time which affects 
matter and and then you have to start 
taking into account that time and space 
can get Warped and when you when you get 
early enough in the universe you also 
have to take into account quantum theory 
which in which means 
that that all the energy and fields of 
the universe are having fluctuations and 
when you put all that together those 
fluctuations the effect of those 
fluctuations all the matter being 
tightly squeezed together and the 
warpage of space and time what you get 
is that time becomes so warped that it 
doesn't have the meaning that we think 
of it as having today so it's not like a 
straight line it's more like let's say a 
globe where time is a longit line of 
longitude that goes around the globe it 
curves and and as you get near the pole 
it's hard to tell which is what's East 
and what's West and time and space kind 
of get mixed together and it doesn't 
really have a beginning in the way that 
we think of it all right so let's uh try 
to run the movie back as far as we can 
to understand how far back can you go 
before it begins to have this real weird 
weirdness and how big is the universe at 
that point well the the the we can go 
back with our theories of physics to uh 
certainly we we inflation the period of 
inflation for instance where Quantum 
effects were important around 10us 33 34 
32 one part in in of 1 second of a 
billion billion billion something a 
million of a billion something at least 
three billion that that's very very far 
back but but but I'm I'm I'm I'm talking 
about inflation now because that is that 
is a in a region of time where Quantum 
fluctuations were important and and 
where we have a theory that we can 
actually checked by looking at the 
microwave background radiation that 
permeates all of space and we've we've 
uh made observations that that support 
the theory so we know that we're on the 
right track with that before that we 
don't really know much and before about 
10 Theus 43 seconds or so uh we know 
nothing because to look that far back we 
need a theory of of quantum uh a quantum 
theory of gravity and we don't have a 
quantum theory of gravity yet so we 
really can't say much there's a lot of 
speculation about what goes on back 
there so what does all this mean it 
means that the question of the beginning 
of time is not really a well-posed 
question in physics because time itself 
doesn't mean anything when you go back 
that far that but you're still back to 
within the very small fraction of one 
second and and at that point the 
universe is is how big well it depends 
when grapefruit I mean what does that 
even mean but it's it's a fruit sized 
Universe you know it depends exactly 
when what when you go but but uh and 
everything our observable universe that 
is because we believe the universe is 
infinite so right uh but the observable 
universe that that that that we can see 
today that that light can still reach us 
that can affect us is that size and when 
we go back that far we know that we have 
take Quantum effects into account and we 
know that time ceases to have its 
current understand Uh current uh 
character so we don't have a a feeling 
for what time means we don't have an 
intuition for what time even means and 
that that we don't even have a theory at 
all if you keep going uh that that that 
that we believe applies there so we're 
not even sure what happens when we go 
back farther so that's the state of 
physics today uh and how do you see 
progress do you see do you see being 
able to to break that barrier to to to 
you need a you need a theory of quantum 
gravity to to go back 
further physicists have a very bad track 
record of saying when they will break 
the barrier right so I think it was Lord 
Raleigh in the late 19th century said 
physics is basically all done just 
getting more decimal places uh Steven 
Hawking in 1980 said that uh physics uh 
that we will the physics is not done but 
we will have it done by the turn of the 
century um I asked him u a few years ago 
uh what what what he thought of that 
prediction he said I stick by it I still 
think we'll be done by the turn of the 
century it's a new 
century uh so I don't want to predict uh 
you know when when that problem will be 
solved I mean I I I have faith that 
physicist will solve the problem it's 
not Beyond our capability it might be 
because as physics moves forward 
mathematics gets more more complicated 
and and perhaps more difficult for the 
human mind but maybe maybe that's the 
wrong direction too may maybe there's 
some brilliant uh new Einstein or Newton 
will come along and and find the theory 
that uh that works that is not based on 
perhaps developing uh the direction that 
we're going but on some other kind of 
mathematics and I I don't know uh 
certainly there is a possibility that 
the beginning whatever that may be of 
our universe is not the beginning of 
everything because our universe might be 
just one of many universes and we're 
just looking at the local uh timeline 
for our universe right that's right 
there might be other universes I think 
most cosmologists today believe uh that 
theories uh that are likely to succeed 
in the future do predict other universes 
so we might just be one of many uh but 
usually these are causally not caus 
connected to ours so uh that means that 
they have no effect on our universe so 
uh they're an interesting curiosity but 
they're nothing that will uh uh have any 
effect unless our universe is a is a 
bubble or spin-off of of an earlier 
universe and it we may not this still 
doesn't mean that they're causally 
connected but not anymore but if we we 
were that the the big bang of our 
universe was a product of some other 
activity as opposed to Unique in itself 
yeah so there's there's all kind of 
different the but I have to okay if 
we're talking about Multiverse I have to 
say this that some people think that the 
Multiverse is a theory that physicists 
came up 
with uh to 
explain the way the fine-tuning of our 
universe and the way our universe seems 
to to be very suited to us and I want to 
make it clear that these multiverses no 
no one sat down and said I'm going to 
come up with a Multiverse Theory but the 
Multiverse idea popped out of different 
theories that people were working on for 
other reasons and then they said ah this 
predicts a Multiverse the Multiverse is 
a prediction it's not a theory that we 
seek to to develop for ulterior motives 
so I had to give that disclaimer because 
that's often misunderstood what are the 
implications for the beginning though 
what does that mean about the beginning 
of our universe how how how then do you 
answer the question did our universe 
have a beginning well my answer to the 
question is that not it didn't have a 
beginning in the usual sense because you 
can't trace time back that far and it 
doesn't the question doesn't mean 
anything but the idea of whether there 
are other universes or or what the 
vacuum state of the universe is or you 
know we we don't really know so you know 
we don't know we don't have a theory of 
quantum gravity so we really can't trace 
things back um as far as we would like 
to whether time has a different meaning 
or not we still can't but you you do get 
back to the small very very small part 
of the first second where the universe 
is is fruit size whether it's whatever 
cherry or grapefruit or something 
smaller it's it's it's very small and 
even earlier that it's it's it's far 
smaller than that it's very microscopic 
and Si well general relativity tells you 
you can get back to as small as you want 
it starts from a point but quantum 
theory tells us we can't quite look back 
that far right right but you get it back 
that far but but so so that's your 
beginning which you're saying you can't 
get past that beginning to to another 
beginning but you can get back to that 
where the universe is is smaller get 
back what we can get back to with fair 
amount of confidence at least as to the 
period of inflation and we seem to 
understand a lot about the universe back 
to that and that's the billion that's 
not the begin I mean for most people 
maybe that's close enough to the 
beginning I mean to me the fascinating 
thing is that okay that that that before 
inflation the universe was homogeneous 
like everything was put in the blender 
and stirred up it wasn't really put in 
it started in the blender State and and 
with time it formed the clumps that's 
the the the the the miracle of inflation 
uh is to show that it quantum 
microscopic Quantum fluctuations of this 
homogeneous goop turn into clusters of 
galaxies and galaxies and stars and then 
we can look at at the uh at the 
structure of the large scale structure 
of the universe and see the the the 
exactly the the the um mathematical 
expression in the large that resulted 
from those small fluctuations and it 
matches up that is just amazing and and 
you know to me that's that you know that 
is our origin 
 - Generated with https://kome.ai




A response to: Ask Ethan: Is the Universe finite or infinite?

The main reason given in the text by Ethan Siegel for why we supposedly cannot know if the universe is finite or infinite is that our observations are fundamentally limited to the observable universe.  The article explains that no matter how powerful our tools or clever our techniques, there is always a limit to what we can observe due to the finite speed of light and the age of the universe. This means that anything beyond our cosmic horizon - the boundary of the observable universe - can only be inferred, not directly measured. The text states: "Whether it's finite or infinite, however, based on the evidence that's even in principle observable to us, may be a question whose answer is fundamentally beyond science's ability to answer." It further elaborates that while we can place some constraints on the minimum size of the universe if it is finite (e.g. at least 400 times larger than the observable universe), we cannot definitively determine if it extends infinitely beyond what we can see. The unobservable universe remains inaccessible to direct measurement, making the question of finiteness versus infiniteness difficult or impossible to resolve empirically.

The Big Bang Theory: The Big Bang theory posits that the universe had a beginning at a finite time in the past. If the universe began from a singularity or a highly compressed state and has been expanding for a finite amount of time, it logically follows that it should have a finite size. The theory does not inherently support an infinite universe, as it describes a universe with a definite starting point and age.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics: This law states that entropy (disorder) in an isolated system always increases over time. If the universe were infinitely old, it should have reached a state of maximum entropy long ago, resulting in a "heat death" where no usable energy remains. The fact that we observe complex structures and ongoing processes suggests that the universe has not yet reached this state, implying a finite age and, by extension, potentially a finite size.

Philosophical considerations: The argument that we cannot traverse an infinite period of time to arrive at this exact moment is a philosophical one known as the Kalam cosmological argument. It suggests that if the past were infinite, we could never have arrived at the present moment because it would take an infinite amount of time to get here. Since we are here now, this implies that the past must be finite. By extension, if time is finite, space might also be finite.

Inflation theory: While Siegel discusses inflation, he doesn't emphasize that many inflationary models predict a finite universe. Even if inflation creates a vast multiverse, each "bubble universe" (including our own) could still be finite.

Occam's Razor: The principle of parsimony might favor a finite universe as it's a simpler explanation. An infinite universe raises questions about why it exists and how it came to be, which are harder to answer than those for a finite universe.

Mathematical models: Many cosmological models that are consistent with observations describe a finite universe. While this doesn't prove finiteness, it shows that finiteness is compatible with what we observe.

Siegel's focus on the limitations of direct observation, while valid, may overlook the power of inference in science. Many scientific theories deal with unobservables (e.g., subatomic particles, black holes before their imaging) yet are accepted based on their explanatory and predictive power. Similarly, a finite universe might be inferred from multiple lines of evidence even if we can't directly observe its entirety. Furthermore, Siegel's argument seems to conflate epistemological limitations (what we can know) with ontological reality (what actually exists). Just because we can't observe something doesn't necessarily mean we can't reason about its properties or existence. While Siegel correctly points out the observational limitations we face, there are strong theoretical, empirical, and philosophical reasons to infer that the universe is likely finite. This inference, though not based on direct observation of the entire universe, is grounded in well-established scientific principles and logical reasoning.

Ask Ethan: Is the Universe finite or infinite?


E.Siegel: Whenever we look out at the Universe, no matter how powerful our tools or how clever our techniques, there’s always a limit to what we’re capable of observing. No photons, or quanta of light, can be seen beyond the cosmic microwave background: a curtain of light that marks the first formation of stable, neutral atoms, occurring 380,000 years after the hot Big Bang. Prior to that, there is a neutrino signature — the cosmic neutrino background — that was emitted just 1 second after the hot Big Bang, and a theorized gravitational wave background, generated by the inflationary phase that set up and preceded the hot Big Bang, that is potentially detectable as well.

But all of these signals are fundamentally limited: by the amount of time they’ve been propagating and the fundamental limit at which an information-carrying signal can travel: the speed of light in a vacuum. That sets the ultimate limit of what’s in our observable Universe, and whatever part is unobservable, beyond that, can only be inferred, not directly measured. So what does that mean for the big question of whether the Universe, as a whole, is finite or infinite? That’s what our anonymous question-asker sent in this week, inquiring: “With the observable universe so smaller than the real size of the universe, why do we assume the universe is finite rather than infinite in nature? With cosmic inflation as evidence, how do we assume it all started in a single place without variation from multiple places all at once?”

These are two big questions rolled into one, so let’s take them both on together!

There is a large suite of scientific evidence that supports the expanding Universe and the Big Bang. At every moment throughout our cosmic history for the first several billion years, the expansion rate and the total energy density balanced precisely, enabling our Universe to persist and form complex structures. This balance was essential if complex structures, like stars and galaxies, were to arise within the Universe.

Even though we only have access to the observable part of our Universe, there’s still a tremendous amount of information encoded within it. Just like a “footprint” can reveal all sorts of information about the animal that must have left it behind, the various processes that occurred during the first moments of the hot Big Bang (and even some moments that came before) leave imprints that persist even to the present day.

One of the most important imprints that persists from the earliest times is the initial spectrum of density fluctuations: the “imperfections” that the Universe was born with, at the start of the hot Big Bang, that seeded any and all departures from perfect uniformity. On the largest of cosmic scales, the Universe is both isotropic and homogeneous, where: isotropic tells us that the Universe appears the same in all directions, regardless of what orientation you’re facing, and homogeneous tells us that the Universe appears the same in all locations, regardless of where you place yourself.

If you were to take a ladle that had a size of around 10 billion light-years (or larger) and “dipped it into” any region of our Universe today, you’d find that it pulled out the same amount of “stuff,” including all forms of matter and energy, regardless of where you dipped it. Well, almost the same amount: the “least dense” regions would be about 1-part-in-30,000 less dense than average, while the “most dense” regions would be about 1-part-in-30,000 more dense than average.

In a Universe that comes to be dominated by dark energy, there are four regions: one where everything within it is reachable and observable, one where everything is observable but unreachable, one where things will someday be observable but aren’t today, and one where things will never be observable. The labeled numbers correspond to our consensus cosmology as of 2024, with boundaries of 18 billion light-years, 46 billion light-years, and 61 billion light-years separating the four regions. On scales of ~10 billion light-years and larger, the Universe is almost perfectly uniform.

On smaller cosmic scales — the scales of galactic filaments, clusters and voids, individual galaxies and the intergalactic medium, etc. — however, the variations that we see in density are much, much grander. Here on planet Earth, for example, the density of our world is approximately ~10^30 times the average cosmic density: about as non-uniform as you can get!

There’s a physical reason behind why the Universe is so uniform on large scales, but so non-uniform on smaller scales: the combination of gravitation along with cosmic expansion. Gravity, as a force, has an important limit: the speed at which it propagates is limited by c, the speed of light in a vacuum. (Yes, the speed of gravity and the speed of light are identical.) Objects can only experience the gravitational effects of matter and energy that are close enough so that a sufficient amount of time has passed for the force to propagate from one source to the other; objects more distant than that cannot yet experience gravity. Meanwhile, cosmic expansion causes the distance between objects that are not (yet) gravitationally bound together to increase, so that objects separated by small distances can “feel” the gravitational force sooner in cosmic history than objects separated by great distances.

The fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background, as measured by COBE (on large scales), WMAP (on intermediate scales), and Planck (on small scales), are all consistent with not only arising from a (slightly tilted, but almost-perfectly) scale-invariant set of quantum fluctuations, but of being so low in magnitude that they could not possibly have arisen from an arbitrarily hot, dense state. The horizontal line represents the initial spectrum of fluctuations (from inflation), while the wiggly one represents how gravity and radiation/matter interactions have shaped the expanding Universe in the early stages.

The idea of the hot Big Bang is that the Universe was born expanding very rapidly and was structured in an almost-perfectly uniform fashion on all scales: small, intermediate, and large ones alike. Whatever imperfections existed at the start of the hot Big Bang — overdense regions and underdense regions alike — will gravitationally evolve, with their evolution dependent on all the relevant interactions that take place within those regions. For example:

the initially overdense regions will preferentially gravitationally attract the matter around them, drawing it in, while the initially underdense regions tend to give up their matter to their dense surroundings, any radiation in those overdense regions streams out of it, suppressing the growth of structure, while radiation “pushes” normal, charged matter (like protons and electrons) outward, but not dark matter, while larger-scale regions have to wait for longer amounts of time to pass for that first “gravitational infall” to occur. This means that if we begin with an almost perfectly uniform Universe, but one that was born imprinted with small-magnitude overdensities and underdensities within it, we can expect to see structure forming in a specific way that depends on the types of initial seeds that were planted. In particular, the imprints of these initial seeds show up, today, in two different ways: in the peaks-and-valleys of the temperature fluctuations imprinted early on into the cosmic microwave background (CMB), and in the large-scale clustering of galaxies seen all throughout cosmic history.

We can look arbitrarily far back in the Universe if our telescopes allow, and the clustering of galaxies should reveal a specific distance scale – the acoustic scale – that should evolve with time in a particular fashion, just as the acoustic “peaks and valleys” in the cosmic microwave background reveal this scale as well. The evolution of this scale, over time, is an early relic that reveals a low expansion rate of ~67 km/s/Mpc, and is consistent from CMB features to BAO features.

These two observables — the CMB and the large-scale clustering of galaxies — encode tremendous information about our Universe’s history. What they teach us, as of 2024, is remarkable. Here are some of the most important lessons that we can learn from investigating them. The observable Universe, out to the limits of how far away we can observe it (46.1 billion light-years, in all directions), shows no signs of repeating structures or patterns anywhere: evidence that if the Universe is finite and closed, it must be larger than the portion we can see. The observable Universe possesses a spatial curvature that is almost completely perfectly flat, indicating that if it is, say, a higher-dimensional analogue of a sphere (a hypersphere), its minimum size is at least ~400 times larger than the portion of it that we can see.

And that, in order to get the observed structures and features we see, both in the CMB and in the way galaxies and other forms of matter clump and cluster together (i.e., the matter power spectrum), the Universe must have been born with a specific spectrum of initial “seed” density imperfections: one that began as almost perfectly scale invariant (i.e., with the same magnitude of Gaussian, random fluctuations on all scales), but where the “large scales” have about a ~3% larger-magnitude set of fluctuations than “small scales” from a cosmic perspective. By looking at this evidence, we can draw a number of important conclusions about both the size of the Universe and the earliest moments — even a tiny fraction-of-a-second prior to the hot Big Bang — that we can say something physically meaningful about.

A visualization of a 3-torus model of space, where our observable Universe could be just a small portion of the overall structure. Similar to imagining our Universe (or any three-dimensional space) being enclosed by a two-dimensional boundary, our three-dimensional space may in fact be the boundary around a higher-dimensional space. Although there are constraints on the properties and number of such extra dimensions, the possibility cannot be ruled out. However, the lack of repeating structures and the spatial flatness of the Universe tells us important information about how much larger than the visible part of the Universe, at least, the unobservable Universe must be.

For the Universe as a whole, the observed spatial flatness tells us that it cannot be severely positively curved (like a sphere) nor can it be severely negatively curved (like a horse’s saddle or a Pringles potato chip). Instead, it’s spatially flat, as evidenced by the sizes and scale of fluctuations seen imprinted in the CMB and the evolution of the acoustic scale (the peaks and valleys observed in galaxy clustering) across cosmic time. The observed lack of repeating structures places very strong constraints on a Universe with a non-trivial topology, like a donut-shaped Universe, where we would expect that you could look in one direction and see an object, and in the opposite direction also see that same object. We can’t say whether the Universe is finite or infinite based on this alone, but we can say:

if it is finite, the size of the Universe is larger than the size of the observable Universe, if the Universe is closed and curved (like a sphere), the size of the unobservable Universe must be at least ~400 times the size of the observable part, and that if the Universe exhibits a non-trivial topology, where it has a finite extent, it is observably indistinguishable from an infinitely large, unbounded Universe. However, the observed spectrum of fluctuations, combined with the observed spatial flatness and observed large-scale uniformity of the Universe, paints a very interesting picture of our cosmic origin: one that began not with the hot Big Bang, but one that was set up previously by a period of cosmic inflation. The quantum fluctuations inherent to space, stretched across the Universe during cosmic inflation, gave rise to the density fluctuations imprinted in the cosmic microwave background, which in turn gave rise to the stars, galaxies, and other large-scale structures in the Universe today. This is the best picture we have of how the entire Universe behaves, where inflation precedes and sets up the Big Bang. Unfortunately, we can only access the information contained inside our cosmic horizon, which is all part of the same fraction of one region where inflation ended some 13.8 billion years ago.

According to inflation, the Universe wasn’t born in a hot, dense, almost-perfectly uniform, rapidly expanding state, but rather transitioned into that state from a pre-existing one: a sparse, empty state where space was filled not with quanta, but with a form of energy inherent to space itself. Similar to today’s dark energy but billions upon billions upon billions of times stronger, this phase: stretched the Universe to a state that was indistinguishable from flat, removed any pre-existing high-energy relics by inflating them away, and created a uniform set of conditions that were the same everywhere, with a nearly scale-invariant spectrum of imperfections, or density fluctuations, superimposed atop the uniform background.

Unlike the modern expanding Universe, which has grown to an (observable) size of ~46.1 billion light-years over the span of 13.8 billion years, an inflationary Universe grows much, much larger in tiny periods of time. During inflation, the scale of the Universe doubles — in all three dimensions: length, width, and depth — with every tiny fraction of a second, something like 10-35 seconds, that elapses. After 10-34 seconds have elapsed, the Universe has doubled in size ten times over; after 10-33 seconds, it has doubled 100 times over; after 10-32 seconds, it’s doubled 1000 times over. These numbers are important, because it only takes about ~300 “doublings” to go from something that’s smaller than the Planck scale, or the minimum scale at which physics makes sense, to something that’s larger than the entire observable Universe.

In the top panel, our modern Universe has the same properties (including temperature) everywhere because they originated from a region possessing the same properties. In the middle panel, the space that could have had any arbitrary curvature is inflated to the point where we cannot observe any curvature today, solving the flatness problem. And in the bottom panel, pre-existing high-energy relics are inflated away, providing a solution to the high-energy relic problem. This is how inflation solves the three great puzzles that the Big Bang cannot account for on its own.

What inflation then gives us — maddeningly, to many seeking to understand the Universe — is a story that only describes the very few final “doublings” that occurred, because any information that occurred prior to it automatically gets erased, or stretched/expanded away to unobservably large scales, by the nature of inflation itself. This point is not often sufficiently appreciated, by laypersons and astrophysicists alike. Inflation gives us a story, and a framework, for understanding how the hot Big Bang was set up, and why it began with the initial conditions that it did. These conditions include: a spatially flat Universe, with the same temperature and uniform density everywhere, with no leftover, ultra-high-energy relics, with an almost scale-invariant, but slightly tilted (with a preference for large-scales) spectrum of initial seed fluctuations, that are adiabatic (and not isocurvature) in nature,

including fluctuations that appear on scales larger than the cosmic horizon at any given point in time (a.k.a., superhorizon fluctuations), where inflation led to a hot Big Bang that has a maximum (reheat) temperature that was at least a few orders of magnitude (perhaps a factor of ~1000) lower than Planck-scale temperatures. All of this comes from the final few hundred “doublings” of the end stages of cosmic inflation, and is independent of what happened prior to those doublings. During cosmological inflation, the space contained in the inflationary region grows exponentially, doubling in all three dimensions with each tiny fraction-of-a-second that passes. Where inflation ends, a hot Big Bang ensues. But due to quantum effects, each region where a Big Bang occurs will be surrounded by more inflating, exponentially expanding space, ensuring that no two regions where hot Big Bangs occur ever collide, intersect, or overlap.

This leaves us not with a knowledge gap, but rather a knowledge “cliff,” where whatever occurred prior to these final fractions-of-a-second of inflation is fundamentally unknowable, as its history has been erased from the parts of the Universe that are observable, now and forever into the future, by us. Inflation could have lasted for less than 10-32 seconds, or for one second, or for trillions of years, and the Universes that we would observe today would look no different, in any way, between these three scenarios. There is a reason that many theoretical physicists talk about the Universe as likely being finite rather than infinite, however, and the reason is this: inflationary spacetimes, within the framework of the laws of physics as we understand them (i.e., within the spacetime general relativity), have a property that says they cannot be “past-timelike complete.” In other words, if you ask the question, “Could inflation have gone on for an infinite amount of time prior to our Universe emerging?” the answer that comes back is no. Something must have preceded the inflationary phase and allowed it to begin. Almost everything is unknown (aside from some consistency conditions) about that state, including whether it had a moment of origin or was eternal to the past.

From whatever pre-existing state started it, inflation predicts that a series of independent universes will be spawned as inflation continues, with each one being completely disconnected from every other one, separated by more inflating space. One of these “bubbles,” where inflation ended, gave birth to our Universe some 13.8 billion years ago. Today, dark energy dominates the Universe and causes space to expand exponentially as well. These scenarios may be related, but we have no idea how long inflation persisted for prior to the hot Big Bang: only the ability to say, “at least 10^-32 seconds” or so.

However, we can state that the inflationary phase could only have lasted for a finite amount of time before giving rise to what we identify as our hot Big Bang, and that hot Big Bang occurred 13.8 billion years ago and has given rise to an observable Universe that is 46.1 billion light-years in radius, where the unobservable Universe is likely much larger. Travel the Universe with astrophysicist Ethan Siegel. Subscribers will get the newsletter every Saturday. All aboard!

If the Universe has always existed, if its birth occurred an infinite amount of time ago, or if it was born with infinite size, then the unobservable Universe must be infinite. If none of those things are true, then the Universe is forbidden to be infinite, and instead must be finite. As unfathomably large as an inflationary spacetime that gave rise to a multiverse of uncountably large numbers of hot Big Bangs may be, unless the Universe were born infinite in spatial extent or has existed for an infinite amount of time, it must still be finite in extent. Regardless of whatever conditions existed that gave rise to inflation, and regardless of how long inflation endured for before our hot Big Bang began, those remain the only ways to have a physical Universe that’s infinite in spatial extent. Whether it’s finite or infinite, however, based on the evidence that’s even in principle observable to us, may be a question whose answer is fundamentally beyond science’s ability to answer.


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