I thought I’d start big by discussing some of my thoughts as to the nature of the universe. I think regardless of whether you are theistic or atheistic, your beliefs as to the exact circumstances surrounding the birth of the universe require some level of faith. I say this because of the difficulty, verging on probable impossibility, in measuring anything prior to our existence. I say prior to our existence because cosmologists suggest that some of the background radiation measured is theorized to be the residual effects of The Big Bang (TBB). This combined with our observations of the rates of expansion of the universe have allowed us to draw some conclusions about the shape and possible ‘creation’ of the universe.
A lot of religious people have allowed their views to evolve with our understanding of the universe and have adjusted their narrative of god to include TBB. They suggest that God/gods may have had a divine hand in the cataclysmic event that spawned us. This is relatively compatible with their belief systems as large amounts of the different holy books are acknowledged to be highly allegorical by. My personal beliefs or lack thereof, and views on religion are a discussion for another day. However, we certainly agree in one respect. I, like many people realise that it makes little sense within our understanding of the laws of physics for the universe to have just occurred from nothing. Several authors and scientists have discussed the concept of nothing and that it it originates as an arbitrary opposite to ‘something’. That is to say we invented the idea of nothing to signify the lack of presence of something. As such we cannot describe this ‘nothingness’ that may have existed prior to the universe existing. If we were to stand looking before the beginning of the universe what would we see, hear, smell, feel? Well I suppose you could say blackness but that would still be something would it not? We are inherently uncomfortable as a species thinking about things we cannot comprehend or imagine. And as such we need to fill said space with something that makes sense to each of us as individuals. For religious people it is God.
For me it is a cycle. A cyclic universe to be exact. Not an invention of mine of course but a theory widely discussed by the scientific community. I admit my understanding of such a theory is limited. But the way I understand it. Is that the universe exists in a state of singularity. A single point of infinite mass and energy. This point explodes violently outwards in a Big Bang. Creating the basic elements which in turn through fusion and then in turn other reactions create the other elements that are the building blocks of the universe. The universe expands at an unholy rate, making reaching its boundaries (whatever that could mean) impossible. However , eventually this expansion slows to a stop. Not for long as this motion is soon reversed, the universe contracts and folds into itself returning to the singularity, the default zero point. I like to think that there are multiple of these universes, possibly playing out in the manner of parallel universes or potentially in a multiverse of universes with slightly differing physical characteristics (some of which fail due to their inherently unstable properties). So essentially I believe the universe has always existed in a manner.
Maybe my view of the universe requires more faith than a belief in a god. However, I feel that this scenario makes sense to me and that’s all that really matters. As I discussed it is extremely hard to prove or disprove metaphysics or know what occurred before TBB. Additionally, I could roughly imagine how my personal understanding of the universe could potentially fit within some of our models of physics, just perhaps not perfectly. To me this would be an extremely elegant and chaotic way for the universe and reality to function and I truly hope it is so.