“…you regard yourself as an accident—a biological accident—in a stupid universe. A vast, pointless gyration of radioactive rocks and gas in which you happen to occur.” — Alan Watts
If we assume that the current scientific model for the origin of the cosmos is accurate, then we have accepted that at one time all of the matter in the observable universe was infinitely dense; which is to say, it had no size at all. That’s all the stars, planets, space, and other matter in 2 trillion galaxies … being smaller than a single atom.
(2 x 10 to the 23rd power: that’s an estimate of the number of stars alone.)
All of it crunched into a singularity so teeny tiny that it cannot be measured.
Everything is nothing, essentially.
Can you picture that? No. I mean really try to see that in your mind.
Does it stretch credulity at all to try to imagine such a state?
How did it get there?
I understand that the expansion of the universe, and the existence of background radiation, are reasons to believe it was there—I’m asking how it got there.
The most pertinent question, for me, then, is this:
What, exactly, is the cause sufficient to produce such an effect?
“Since the universe by its definition encompasses all of space and time as we know it, NASA says it is beyond the model of the Big Bang to say what the universe is expanding into or what gave rise to the Big Bang. Although there are models that speculate about these questions, none of them have made realistically testable predictions as of yet.” (https://www.space.com/52-the-expanding-universe-from-the-big-bang-to-today.html)
“The Big Bang theory makes no attempt to explain how structures like stars and galaxies came to exist in the universe.” (https://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe/bb_cosmo.html)
So, the scientific answer to our question (what caused all matter in the universe) is “we don’t know.”
After that meaty question, another one naturally follows.
How did this infinitely dense singularity come to contain the perfect “recipe of stuff” that unfolded itself outward into the unimaginable abyss to become our universe, which contains our galaxy, which contains our planet, which has produced such a vast array of highly complex living things, some of them being both conscious and volitional (as opposed to merely instinctual)?
If we are going to embrace pure materialism, we are doing so understanding that we must believe that non-life ultimately gave birth to life, unconsciousness generated consciousness, mindless matter produced the human mind (super-gradually, without any intention or “end goal”) … and all of that was derived from an invisible ball of matter the origin of which our best scientific minds can’t explain.
This is a kind of faith. And a rather fantastic kind of faith at that.
Science is pretty good at creating models that rewind back to that singularity and carry us forward to the present-day state of the cosmos. But anything that took place before that is outside the realm of testable theories. I think this is an incredibly important admission that isn’t talked about a lot.
Science is essentially saying: “Give us one massive, inexplicable, odds-defying phenomenon (a.k.a. ‘a miracle’), and we’ll explain how it eventually made everything.”
This, to me, is the atheists’ version of Genesis 1:1.
Maybe the opening verse of the atheist Bible would say this: “Once upon a time before time, all matter was infinitely dense.”
We’ve substituted scientists for priests. They tell us they’ve had a revelation (the origin of which they can’t prove), but we should believe them because they have some very sophisticated instruments with which to examine the things of the world. This world where everything that is visible is composed of invisible things that are in constant motion.
The only way we can see an atom is if we look in a million-dollar instrument called an electron microscope. Very few of us have done so. Yet we believe in atoms. Having never seen one. We have faith in atoms. And in their astonishing power to “self-organize” (Dan states in his paper that “science has yet to decipher those mechanisms of self-organization.”)
And, lo, the subatomic particles did bond together to become atoms (something which had never existed before). Atoms then bonded together to become molecules (which had never existed before). Molecules bonded to become cells (never existed before). And these cells mutated countless times to create untold species of plants, insects, and animals, ending in intelligent, conscious, self-contemplating human beings. All of this from a blind, stupid universe.
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT09JbaEh_I – start at minute 10)
This is a picture of an unthinking, purposeless cosmos that is self-transcending on an incomprehensible scale.
Given enough time, and just the right circumstances, nothing becomes everything.
What are the odds? Really?
And all the materialists said, “Amen.”