The origin of the Universe – the beginning of everything – is one question in which the scientific and religious narratives are sometimes obscured. This is not because they are experiencing the same problem; apparently, they do not. Because the question asked of both of them is the same. We want to know how it all happened. We want to know because otherwise, our story would be incomplete. We are the creation of this Universe, and the story of the Universe is our story too.
There is no doubt that modern cosmology and astronomy have produced remarkable accounts of the Universe’s early history. But can science provide the answer?
Like you and me, the Universe has a birthday. We know that it began 13.8 billion years ago, and we can confidently explain how the little Universe emerged from the second half a second after the Big Bang, although there are a few critical gaps in history that we need to fill.
That knowledge is a remarkable achievement. But the question remains as to how close science can come.
Life history: Things get worse quickly if we continue with the birthday metaphor. You and I have parents, and our parents also have parents, and so on. We can still trace this back to the first living thing we call our last ancestor – a virus that lived more than three billion years ago.
Once we have found that ant, we are faced with another difficult question: How did the first living thing come about without a living thing being born? The only acceptable scientific explanation is that life must have originated from nonliving matter. It emerged at least 3.5 billion years ago from a growing chemical reaction among biomolecules in the ancient Earth.
What about the atmosphere? How come there was nothing before?
If the origin of life is not understood, the source of the Universe is significant. After all, the Universe, by definition, covers everything that exists. How could it all come from nothing?
The work of science is to develop interpretations without divine intervention. We use the laws of Nature as our plan. This limit makes it a significant scientific challenge to explain the origin of the Earth. This problem is known in philosophy as the First Cause. If the Universe evolved on its own, it was the cause of an unprecedented cause, and it began to exist without any precedent. Science works within the precise boundaries of the concept. To explain the origin of the Universe, science will have to present itself. And to do this, we will need a new way of explaining science.
The story of the Universe cannot begin on page two.
Current interpretations of the origins of the Universe are based on two pillars of physics of the 20th century. The first pillar is the common denominator – Einstein’s belief that gravity results from local curvature caused by the presence of weight. The second pillar is quantum physics, which describes the world of atoms and subatomic particles. Combining the two is quite logical since it is thought that at the beginning of the Universe was small enough for quantum effects to be significant. Current models of Atmospheric origin – from rope theory to loop quantum gravity to quantum cosmology to the Universe that jumps between expansion and contraction – use the mysterious effects described by quantum physics to describe what seems inexplicable. The question is, To what extent can they explain the First Cause?
In the same way, the radiation nucleus decomposes spontaneously; the whole Universe may have evolved from random energy fluctuations – the space bubble that appears “empty,” plural physicians often call it a vacuum.
Interestingly, this bubble would be a fluctuating force due to the clever compensation between the object’s positive energy and the object’s negative gravity. Many physicists write to the general audience confidently stating that the Universe evolved “out of nothing” – a quantum vacuum that is nothing – and proudly declare the case closed. Unfortunately, things are not so simple.