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Evolution of the Universe Since the Big Bang

Updated on October 22, 2017
Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok has studied fields of science, physics and philosophy, for over 40 years—since his college days with a Master of Science degree.

As time marches on, the Universe will continue to evolve. The changes will continue into eternity, but will there ever be an end to time?

Is eternity actually infinite, or does time repeat itself in a circular or cyclic progression so that the past and the future keep repeating?

If the Universe began from the Big Bang, then was time passing through nothingness prior to that, or did time exist at all?

A cyclic space/time continuum can be the answer to the problem that arises when we try to place endpoints on time, a beginning and an end. There are many alternate theories about time and space, as well as about traveling through time and space.

As time continues from the past to the future, everything changes in its own way. Nothing in the entire Universe is isolated. Everything affects everything else in one way or another.

Forces control the Universe that we have only begun to understand. We have yet to fully understand quantum mechanics, relativity theory, or the single entity of space and time.1

Even chaos theory is open for discussion and further understanding. That may very well be the end result when we reach eternity. That is to say, total chaos will be the way things end. However, I’d rather imagine that the end of the Universe would be total equilibrium.

Once that kind of equilibrium is achieved, space and time become meaningless because nothing is left to change. It all becomes equal. So equal, in fact, that time itself becomes meaningless. One might say that time stops.

The Big Bang
The Big Bang | Source

How the Act of Observation Changes Things

Everything we experience in our little corner of space, and in our small segment of time, is just a small part of the entire picture. It goes without saying that we are part of the puzzle. Our very own existence has a strong effect on the rest of the puzzle.

Things on Earth are different because we are here. It's very possible that things in the outer limits of the Universe are also modified with every move we make.

We cannot measure or analyze anything without changing the outcome. So there is no way we can completely envision the actual reality of our world.

Something I learned in my old college engineering days is a good example of what I mean...

Simply by connecting a measuring device to an electronic circuit to test its functionality, changes the function of the circuit.

The fact that a voltmeter, for example, is connected to a circuit will change the way the circuit behaves. The circuit's new function is now related to the voltmeter being involved. It's a different animal, so to say.

Everything and everyone is different due to everything and everyone else that exists. Every single element in the Universe is interrelated to one another.

I think this is true with our minds as well as physical objects. We relate to one another in such a way that only a complex algorithm can define, and we continue to struggle with our misconceptions and misunderstandings.

Even time causes misconceptions. Einstein explained how the passage of time fluctuates for an observer based on mass and motion. Time may very well be a made-up idea. However, in order to maintain our structured way of handling our daily affairs and keeping our technological developments under strict control, we need to maintain a very precise view of time.

Atomic clocks use the caesium atom for this reason to try to attain a precise evaluation of time when compared to one another. Nevertheless, this still leaves the concept of time something that was made up for us to use to plan out activities.

It's really hard to say if time actually exists or not. Quantum physics tends to show that there is some other means of moving within our three dimensions without the passage of time.

Eventually Everything Becomes Total Chaos

The way I see it, eventually all matter and all energy of the Universe will be in total disorder with maximal complexity.2

When everything is in disorder, there is a total balance of everything. I think that leaves nothing left that can cause further changes. It's a complete equilibrium with no further tendency to change.

All things in the Universe will be aligned with no struggles to pull apart or combine together. It's perfect happiness, the end result of the evolution of the space-time continuum.

As time goes on, this interaction of everything in the Universe continues causing changes. Maybe even time and space evolve.

Yes, maybe time is also changing, but we wouldn't know it because we are following along the path of time with the same clock that's changing.

Change keeps occurring until everything is equal. Then time can no longer progress. Time stops. When time stops, space becomes meaningless, for space can only exist throughout time. It's all equal and there's nothing left to evolve.

The Time Paradox of the Big Bang

The paradox: If time doesn't have a beginning or an end, can anything have existed before the Big Bang?

Based on our present knowledge of physics, the latest scientific findings support the theory of the Big Bang.

At first thought, the idea of the Big Bang implies that there was a beginning. This, in turn, implies that there must be an end. One might say that all beginnings have an end.

However, we run into trouble when we try to impose an infinite measure on the timeline of the Universe from the Big Bang to a future that eventually ends. It brings up questions of what exists beyond the end, which is a paradoxical question.

Does time have a beginning and an end? If we want to believe that there is a beginning, then we have to describe it in some way.

It's easier for the human mind to comprehend time with a start and an end. Infinity is somewhat incomprehensible.

Even with the "Big Bang" as an explanation, there are two things to ask:

  1. If we insist on having a beginning then: "What came before that?"
  2. If we insist on having an end then the question is: "What comes next?"

Time Is Also a Paradox

Here's where we run into trouble. Our thinking creates a paradox. If the end is really the end then there is nothing left. The Universe is void of all matter. If what comes after the end is void of all matter, then how long does that lack of all existence last?

That very question implies that "time" still exists!

If time still exists then we haven't really reached the end of time yet. Therefore we might say there is still existence of the Universe.

If matter becomes non-existent due to being sucked into a black hole, for example, and time continues to tick away, then the Universe has a chance to recycle – to start over. So this defies the idea of an absolute end.

If we were to find a way to define an end, then we also need to find some way to explain a beginning. The difference between an endless measurement and a finite measurement is what we have trouble with.

Our comprehension of endless space and time is limited due to our inability to imagine a universe without time.

Our Limited Comprehension of Space and Time

Our entire Universe, everything we know and understand, everything we experience, is within our three-dimensional world.

It all happens within the timeline that we defined that runs from the past to the future, as far as we can comprehend. These definitions impose physical limitations to the Universe in our minds.

As human beings, with human functioning brains, we are limited to comprehending only what our five senses allow us to conceive and experience. We may be limited in our understanding of the Universe, but the space-time continuum goes beyond human imagination.

Taking that into consideration, we might assume that there is more to it – more to the universe, more to life, more to the laws of physics.

For the sake of entertaining our minds, let's assume that our world is influenced by something beyond space-time as we know it. This allows us to discuss other possibilities and other explanations.

Is There an End to Time?

Our comprehension of space and time is limited by our inability to imagine infinity.
Our comprehension of space and time is limited by our inability to imagine infinity. | Source

The Progress of Time May Be Infinite or Cyclic

I don't believe there is a beginning or an end to time. Mathematically it makes more sense that time is either of two things: Infinite or cyclic. If time is infinite, then it is endless. If time is cyclic, then it repeats itself.

Time being Infinite means to go on forever. Things will always change with in infinite number of possibilities. If time is cyclic, it eventually loops around, repeating itself.

The question is, if time repeats, does it do so exactly the same way? Or does it repeat each time with minor differences. And if that's so, are the an infinite number of different repetitions of time?

If time is indeed infinite then we can assume that everything imaginable will eventually have a chance to occur in some way in some place at some time.

If time is cyclic, then all physical events and all thoughts of all species will repeat forever and ever. Moreover, if events do have minor differences on each repetition, then even cyclic time offers the chance for every alternative event imaginable to eventually happen.

Everything in the space-time continuum will repeat itself forever with endlessly varying possibilities. Each repetition would be a different reality and there would be an infinite number of realities.

Either way, infinite or cyclic, there would never be an end to this. Time would never cease to exist.

There Are Infinite Possibilities for the Laws of Physics

It's hard for the human mind to comprehend the concept of infinity. That's why we prefer to think that the universe started at a specific point in time: The Big Bang!

As I see it, the Big Bang could not have been the beginning. It was simply the starting point of the next stage of the continuation of time.

Time becomes meaningless in a black hole.
Time becomes meaningless in a black hole. | Source

The past, before the Big Bang, may have been a prior time period where the law of physics was all vastly different from what we know today.

Once we all get sucked into a black hole, time itself becomes meaningless. Eventually it all explodes into another Big Bang, another Universe, another timeline all over again. Maybe it will be very different in endless possible ways.

There may very well be an infinite number of laws of physics. However, as we all know, there is only one that we are aware of. Everything we do is controlled by that one set of laws of physics that rule the Universe as we know it—this time.

© 2011 Glenn Stok


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    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      vocalcoach - I love knowledge too Audrey, which is why I read your hubs as well. Thanks for stopping by.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Absolutely fascinating! I now have a better understanding of this process. So much to learn and I love knowledge. Thank you Glenn!

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      AllenEv 2 years ago

      No. It has the same meaning as the dimension of the center of mass of a planet.

    • eugbug profile image

      Eugene Brennan 2 years ago from Ireland

      So does it make sense to talk about the dimensions of a particle (when it's behaving as a particle rather than a wave), and what does "dimension" mean in this case?

    • profile image

      AllenEv 2 years ago

      @eugbug NO! the electron is not a small black hole. It has a spatial extent that is definable by its de Broglie wavelength. This is a bit of the weirdness of QM - the wave/particle duality (all waves are particles and all particles are waves.) Theory predicts that small black holes will emit very hot Hawking radiation and are unstable, although an SBH has never been observed.

      The Standard Model, under certain circumstances, treats objects like electrons and quarks as if they were point particles because they have mass and that mass will have a mathematical center, a dimensionless point. But the mass can not be all concentrated in that center. It really comes down to what one is trying to calculate. An analogous example: if one wants to calculate the orbit of a planet around the sun, one need not be concerned with the diameter of the planet. As far as the calculation is concerned the whole mass could be concentrated in the center of mass and the result would be the same.

    • eugbug profile image

      Eugene Brennan 2 years ago from Ireland

      OK, but aren't some of these particles, e.g. the electron, singularities with no dimensions, which is a strange idea to grasp since we think that if something exists, it must have a size. Anyway I suppose the concept of dimension doesn't really apply at the sub-atomic level, only maybe the dimension of the sphere of influence of the particle. Even if we could be shrunk to the size of a particle, we couldn't even see it because light doesn't "work" at these dimensions when the wavelength is comparable to the size of the particle (which is why we need electron microscopes rather than optical types to see such small things). So the question "what does an electron look like ?" doesn't have an answer.

    • profile image

      AllenEv 2 years ago

      @eggbug protons ( and neutrons) are not dimensionless as they are composed of quarks. Quarks are fundamental, however. Everything that we can touch, feel and see in universe is composed of just 3 components: the up quark, the down quark and the electron.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      eugbug - You mentioned some interesting points that I, ironically, had also written about in other hubs. One about "The Origin of Nothingness." Another about "The Emptiness of Matter and the Universe." I even gave my views of a possible solution to the problem with the Big Bang being interpreted as the beginning in "From the Big Bang to the Infinite Universe."

      By the way, protons and electrons do have mass, although infinitesimal. Protons have about 1836 times more mass that electrons. (Source: Wikipedia -> Electron). I do agree that atoms are mostly empty, as I also spoke about in one of the above hubs.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • eugbug profile image

      Eugene Brennan 2 years ago from Ireland

      Interesting concepts and I wonder if the human mind will ever be capable of understanding the Universe? Physicists tell us that both space and time began at the big bang which is something hard to grasp. So there was no "before" and no point in space where it all began, just nothingness. Even so called matter is a macroscopic phenomenon "in the eye of the beholder" and matter is mostly nothingness. Sub atomic particles such as protons and electrons have zero dimensions (although we like to think of them as little marbles whizzing around the place!).

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Hey, I want to thank all my readers who have left comments to this Hub so long ago. I just made many changes to improve the understanding and interpretation of this discussion on evolution of the Universe in relation to space and time.

      This Hub had been triggered for idleness per the new algorithm HubPages has introduced to fight the latest Google Panda. That latest change reduces ranking when other indexed pages don't receive Google traffic. Google indicates that it affects the entire domain. This is the reason why I overhauled this Hub.

      What did I do...

      1. I made the title clearer and more direct.

      2. I front loaded the hub with a clear explanation of what the reader can expect from it.

      3. I broke the entire article into smaller bite-sized segments with defining subtitles.

    • tonyfischer profile image

      Tony Fischer 5 years ago from Southeastern Michigan

      There is so much that is unknown about time. Once we have mastered the internet and all of it's applications I predict we will find our answers in its development.

      Great Hub!

      I found you on twitter so I will follow you there as well.

    • noturningback profile image

      noturningback 5 years ago from Edgewater, MD. USA

      Thank you Glenn, I appreciate the hub and your candid thought written for us to ponder. I would like to think as we evolve we become more like God, we become an energy, such as light. That our rebirth is as a different form of matter than who we are now. I believe in God and I believe in what has yet to be revealed. Dawkins speaks of "real time" and "imaginary time" and that makes me think that he, as well as I, hope to unlock these mysteries for those who come after us.

      Thanks for the hub!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Thank you to tsarnaudova, d.william and R. J. Lefebvre (Ronnie) for your insightful comments. Each of you had added very useful additional thoughts to this discussion. I never thought so much would come from it, but I'm glad I created some inspiration for further thought.

    • profile image

      R. J. Lefebvre 5 years ago


      Everyone of us has a slightly different perception of our existence and the environment within and beyond earth. The more we know, the more we want to know. Our presumptions are surreal, because with each microgram of change our perceptions are routing to who knows where. Your hub may help us take another microgram step of our reality of space and time.


    • d.william profile image

      d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Good article. When you look at our existence in the view of its relationship to the total universe, it really puzzles me how this human race can be so minuscule in their concepts of what is right and wrong, and which religion is the only path to heaven.

      It certainly defies logic to see some people who sit in pompous judgment of others based on their own limited knowledge of the concepts of right and wrong. And impossible to understand how people can destroy the lives of others, so callously through their self righteousness and material gains.

      Your essay may be short in words but huge in conceptualism.

    • tsarnaudova profile image

      Tsvetana Kodjabasheva 5 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      Excellent food for thoughts, Glen. Each of us is effecting our surroundings, by energy exchange. The thoughts of human beings, especially when joint and shared, alter the environment in so many aspects, one cannot follow all of them.

      Apparently the world is so small... I also played the game called "telephone" when I was a kid...

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY

      chelseacharleston ~ Thanks for reading and for your comment. You brought up some additional points that also apply.

      LewSethics ~ Funny how everything relates back to sex. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • LewSethics profile image

      LewSethics 5 years ago

      Well presented saneness.

      Thanks for a good read, Glenn, I especially like the part about 'It all evolves with interrelated goals until total relief of those forces is achieved.' Sounds sexual, my kind of Universe.

    • chelseacharleston profile image

      chelseacharleston 5 years ago

      All so true. And the implications merge into our daily lives from everything from the foods we eat to the thoughts we think. It's an elaborate creative process made to not even understand itself for the time being. Incredible & fun to say the least. Well put.