I find myself pondering the theory of the big-bang once again. It’s the most popular theory for the origin of the universe as it seems to fit best with our observations. We seem to take this in our stride and assume “Oh well, all this started with a big bang – whatever! – doesn’t affect me anyway”, but have we sense checked such an idea? Here, I’d like to consider what the big-bang means and whether it makes sense. How likely is a big-bang to lead to the Earth and Humans that we observe today?
Just before the big bang
What existed just before the big-bang?
- a very small blob (a singularity?) containing all the matter of the universe
- lots of empty space
- everything in the universe was in the small blob and everywhere else was empty
- maybe the space around the blob of matter was, and is, infinite
- we haven’t found an edge of space yet and we have no way of telling if it finishes somewhere or not (and if it does finish, what’s beyond that?)
- there was no light
- even if the matter in the blog was emitting light, it wouldn’t have been able to escape the blob because its gravity would have been too strong, just like a black-hole
- nothing else could be creating light as that would have to have been sucked into the blob by the extreme gravity
- all of space was completely dark
- there was no time
- imagine infinite dark space with nothing in it except a very small, extremely dense blog that was dark also
- there is nothing that changes
- there is nothing to measure as it changes
- time has no meaning
- there is an incredible force waiting to release its potential
- for the small blog to explode, achieving temperatures of 180 billion ºF one second after the explosion, and to be still expanding vigorously 14 billion years later, a more than phenomenal force is required
Even these observations seem highly unlikely to me. Vast empty dark space. Nothing to see, nothing to observe. All the matter in the universe hidden in a minute, dark blob. But then, that blob explodes (why, we don’t know) with the biggest force that cannot even be imagined. It easy to just sit still and ask, why? Why would it have happened that way? How long was everything dark and still before the blob exploded? What prompted it to explode? How did this lead to our Earth and humans?
The outcome of the explosion
If a blob of extremely dense matter just explodes with enormous energy, what would happen? Most of us would say that bits of matter would just go everywhere. That’s the conclusion we’d come to based on our experiences on Earth.
But that’s not what happened.
The result of the massive explosion is for all of us to see. Galaxies have formed containing stars, solar systems and planets. And, we know from personal experience, some of these planets have weather systems and a multitude of life-forms – very delicate, intricate, evolving life-forms. How could a massive explosion of stuff result in the formation of intricate lifeforms like we see on Earth?
It’s very hard to imagine that an explosion could lead to the intricate Earth and humans that we experience. Explosions tend to just scatter stuff everywhere randomly. So if the result of the explosion has ended up with the order we experience on Earth, what is it that created that order?
Where did the order come from?
Now, without getting too spiritual, if the big-bang explosion has led to the intricate order we see on Earth, then there must be another force, or forces, in play. Something must be guiding the scattered particles to collect and gather into organisms that can represent life. Some might say there are electromagnetic and gravitational forces, but I can’t see how simple forces like these could arrange the scattering matter into lifeforms.
This is a rather weird realisation. Some force that we are not aware of must exist, otherwise it makes no sense that we exist. Hmm. We do exist (at least we think so) so there must be another force in the Universe that we’re not aware of.
Rather sobering. We don’t know very much really.
Maybe it’s the wrong theory
Two possibilities – (1) our assumption that we exist could be wrong – maybe we’re just a dream, or (2) maybe there was no massive random explosion called the big-bang, maybe everything has been guided all along.
This type of thinking and contemplation is not crazy, even Stephen Hawking was thinking this way, as one of his most recent publications has brought to light. In this paper, Hawking and Thomas Hertog suggest that the universe never had a singular moment of creation. It’s all very complicated theory, but apparently there are no scientific theories that can accommodate the moment of the big bang and they keep looking for other theories.
What does this mean for us?
The fact that the earth and humans exist is really enough for us to realise that some amazing sort of creative force must exist. We don’t have to understand this force or be able to define it, just knowing that such a force exists is sufficient. This means that there is more to everything than science can currently explain, or maybe will ever be able to explain. Science is extremely useful for operating and developing within the world we have, but we can be sure that the most powerful force around is beyond our understanding.
So, I’d like this to encourage you to keep an open mind. Everything you hear, even from science, isn’t definitely true. It’s ok to question everything. It’s ok that there can be forces at play that we don’t understand. Allow yourself to be open to the knowledge and intuition that seems to bubble up from within you. Maybe there is “magic” waiting to happen in everyones lives.