A Spiritual Theory-Part 3: Philosophical Thoughts On The Beginning [181c]
THE BIG BANG - IS GOD AT THE POINT?
FUNDAMENTAL TO MY WORLDVIEW IS THE FACT, well nearly so, that the origin of everything we know today originates from what scientists refer to as the "Big Bang"; ALL that ever was, is today, or ever will be existed in some form in an unmeasurably small space at one moment - no, that is too long a time span - instant in time. Whatever organization this "stuff" has assumed is, as far as I am concerned, the template of creation; God's plan, as it where. All that followed, including randomness, Free Will, the soul (both human and non-human), the spirit, the mountains, the planets, the ideas creatures have, and all else are bound up in that tiny space. Obviously, none existed in their full form, but their genesis is. So this is my Genesis 1, "In the beginning, God Created the heavens and the earth." ... maybe a bit premature on the earth part, but you get the idea.
Whoever wrote those first passages in the Biblical Genesis had great vision, powers of observation, and a vivid imagination. The author(s) must have gazed into the depths of the heavens, wondering, as many of us do now, how it all started and, amazingly, came up with about the right answer. He (and he must have been a he because women were barely above the status of slaves in 600 - 500 BCE) possibly observed that humans and their history, seemed to come fully formed, with intelligence intact; As a consequence, it isn't a great leap to come up with this idea of Adam.(I wonder if other primates were kept as pets at the time of Genesis was being written?) Lastly, I would think another great question that needed an answer would be why women, who were identical to males in most respects and had the additional capability of producing life, would be kept in such a lowly status; that too needed an explanation, so Eve was invented.
But, as much of a genius the author(s) of Genesis might have been, the story isn't quite right. While most of the events in Genesis 1 - 3 did happen, the order is wrong; but no fault should be given because science hadn't made that clear in 600 BCE. OK, so what really happened?
- We know that today, there are at least four fundamental forces: the electromagnetic, the strong force (that binds nuclei together), the weak force (responsible for radioactive decay), and gravity.
- In 2014, a new Field, and possibly a fifth fundamental force, has proved to exist with the observation of the Higgs Boson; it is called the Higgs Field.
- Associated with these forces are particles; the photon, the gluon, the W and Z boson, the graviton, and the Higgs boson, respectively.
- From these fundamental forces and particles are born all that we know exists in the Universe; these are matter, energy, dark matter, and dark energy.
- The latter two are "dark" because they cannot be seen although dark matter has been detected by inference; dark energy is still a mystery.
- Regular matter and energy account for only a small part of our total universe; dark matter adds a significant additional portion.
- But, to make up the total mass of the universe, something else must be present, and that has been labeled dark energy is the subject of intense study today
- Finally, in March 2014, evidence of gravitational waves helping to prove that gravity exists in the way it was theorized to.
Now, you are probably wondering what in the world is a lecture on astrophysics doing in a hub about spiritual philosophy. The reason is that astrophysics is very much intertwined with my philosophical perception of God.. All of this "stuff" I just described is real, it is known to exist, except for dark energy; but it must exist, otherwise a 100 years of science will be tossed into the trash and the universe couldn't look the way it is observed to look ... flat.
If this "stuff" exists today, where did it come from? This the the eternal, self-perpetuating question, isn't it. Theory has it, and there is a lot of scientific evidence to suggest this is true, that all of these forces and particles at Time equals Zero were One; there was no differentiation between gravity and electromagnetism or anything else, for that matter. As a consequence, this must be my starting point to start considering the "meaning of life".
Obviously, Life, including the soul, the spirit that so many philosophers over the millennium have tried to account for, is part of the package.
WHEN THE UNIVERSE WAS YOUNG
AT TIME EQUALS ZERO
I OFTEN IMAGE THE BEGINNING as this infinitesimally tiny aggregation of energy just waiting to explode and become the Universe. That works fine until I try to place this speck of life into some sort spatial context. Picturing myself "inside" the Beginning is easy, although rather cramped. But, unfortunately, when there is an "inside", there is also an "outside" and that is the rub; what is on the outside of the speck of life at Time equals zero? One answer is, "it is whatever is on the outside of our universe today" for it must be the same thing since our universe appears to be expanding into it.
Modern quantum mechanics holds that "matter", the stuff the universe is made of which we can see, feel, touch, measure, etc is the result of interactions within this newly proved Higgs field. If you can picture an electromagnetic field, like the one around a magnet, a Higgs field is similar, just different. Scientists believe the Higgs field is, and always has been,present throughout the universe from at least Time equals Zero. As mentioned earlier, four other fields or forces also exist, 1) gravity; 2) electromagnetic, think light and the mechanism used in holding atoms together, 3) one called the Strong force, responsible for holding nucleus together; and 4) and the other is called the "Weak force", responsible for radioactive decay. Once, all four of these forces were one. After the Big Bang, the Universe began to expand, and cool. As it cooled, these forces began to separate.
the first force to separate was gravity and shortly (like 10-36 seconds) thereafter the Strong force made its appearance: this left what is called the electro-weak force. Up to this point, nothing in the universe had mass; nada, zip, zero. Then, as the theory goes, the electroweak force "broke symmetry" in an interaction with the Higgs field and in the process the W and Z bosons were created as well as a theoretical Higgs boson, the so-called God-particle, a term scientist find distasteful because of its inaccuracy, when the electro-weak force splint into the Electromagnetic and Weak forces. What makes these bosons special, however, is they acquired Mass in the process, these particles actually weigh something in the presence of gravity; the time is now around 10-32 seconds some scientists think.
Now hold on to this picture for the moment and reconsider our speck of life sitting out there by its lonesome. We can have now have some sort of understanding of what might be inside our speck at Time equals Zero, but, as I asked before, how about on the outside? As I see it, you have two choices, there is something or there is nothing. ... I have a substantial problem with the latter choice. It is extremely hard for me to picture our speck of life, pat of which will become me, floating out there in ... "nothing", in a void; it just doesn't feel right.
Circling back now, what if I consider the possibility that if the Higgs field is everywhere inside the universe, why can't it be everywhere outside the universe? If the Higgs field is everywhere, including beyond the speck of life, then we have the speck sitting somewhere, in the Higgs field. Following that line of reasoning, if it is true that the electroweak force can break symmetry into the electromagnetic and weak force in the presence of the Higgs field, then why can't the speck, at the time when the electromagnetic, weak, strong, and gravitational fields were a single force, be present in the Higgs field at Time equals Zero.
Are there theoretical reasons the Higgs field, or some analogous force, cannot exist inside and outside the know universe? I don't know, my research hasn't gone that deep. There are, I believe, good reasons why the other forces cannot, mainly in order to be a single force at Time equals Zero, they must be confined to a very small space that exerts unknowable pressures at incalculable temperatures (literary licenses there, scientists probably do have some ideas and calculations). But for the Higgs field, it just needs to be present.
By the way, I am not making the case that the Higgs field is God, only that it, or some other theoretical construct, may exist outside the known boundaries of the universe at any point in time down to and including when Time equals Zero. From there, it is not too hard a leap to presume the possibility of this same construct or force existing at some Time Before Zero.
BEFORE TIME EQUALS ZERO
AND NOW WE CAN GET INTO THE REALM OF GOD. It can be argued that in the moment after the Big Bang, one of three things can be hypothesized; 1) there was no God before or after the Bang, so get on with it and deal with the consequences without wondering why, 2) there was a God before the Bang who created the speck, separate from Himself, and then directed all of the activities resulting from His creation for time ever after, or 3) God became the speck of life, which is still God, which is now the template for all there is to be; and with the Big Bang, God expanded into the Universe as we know it with the singular attribute that God is greater than the sum of its parts.
While the first option is plausible, it is not satisfying for I cannot help wondering why. For example, why does it seem a new force appears out of nowhere when two people enter the same room which didn't exist when each was alone and has the capability to influence their actions? Personally, I need an answer to that. The second option leads to too many logic dislocations and creates more questions than it answers. To me, however, the third choice would seem to be the most logical and one that flows smoothly from one idea to the next. That is why I like door number three.
But, the question remains, "what was Before"? In one scenario the answer is nothing, we don't know, and who cares. In the latter two cases, the presumptions is there was something, and that something was God.
In the second case, God appears to be a sentient creature, thinking distinct thoughts, composed of primarily human characteristics, subject to the same strengths and weaknesses as humans, and capable of performing what I would call arbitrary magic and others call miracles. This God is said to have some purpose in mind to achieve a desired, unknown end. Day after day from the beginning of eternity to the end of eternity, this God is actively involved in the lives of His creations, handing out punishment if He isn't worshiped, getting jealous if another God appears on the scene, and randomly helping those who pray to Him. Clearly, given my bit of sarcasm, I have problems with this definition of God, it is contradictory at best, but nevertheless an accurate portrayal of the monotheistic God so popular today. I need something better than this, something that is a lot more intuitively coherent.
This brings me to the third construct, that God and the Universe are one, that is God is the Universe and the Universe is God. This helps me answer the question of where did the universe come from ... it came from whatever God was before there was a universe, before Time equals Zero. With this simple shift from After to Before, and understanding that God and the Universe are an identity, one is freed from all of the ubiquitous contradictions permeating monotheistic theology; contradictions which have led to millions of sermons trying to hold the flock in line; thousands of religious sects, each with their own version of the solution to these contradictions; and millions of souls lost in the wars over who is right.
This brings us, of course, to what was before Time equals Zero ... and another Hub to explore this idea.
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AMAZON ON GOD
© 2014 Scott Belford