What Caused the Universe to Come into Existence?
We know, to the best of our senses and instruments, that the universe exists. How did it come into reality 13.8 billion years ago? In other words, what caused the Big Bang?
Roughly speaking, there are two possibilities: “nothing” caused the universe to come into being or “something” triggered it into existence.
Nothing Caused the Universe
People have been attempting to explain the source of reality for over two thousand years. Aristotle himself grappled with it and described an “Unmoved Mover” in trying to codify the source of reality.
The problem with using the nothing-to-something idea is it results in a logical error or in the creation of an infinite number of universes.
- If the “trigger” of the Big Bang was aseitically static, it would need to be dynamic (have actions/movement) to become dynamic by creating the universe. In other words, a logical fallacy.
- If the “trigger” of the Big Bang was aseitically dynamic, it would’ve created an infinite number of universes before creating our universe.
Our universe is dynamic — it is expanding. Galaxies, stars, and planets are constantly in motion, and all glowing stars are fusing matter at their cores. Our universe cannot suddenly become dynamic from a static or nonexistent state without outside influence unless the external environment (however it is defined) permits it. And if it is allowed within a "timeless" environment, then that same environment should've permitted an infinite number.
Scientists have used the “quantum fluctuation” idea to avoid the problem posed by the universe’s creation. Somehow, one of the quantum attributes of this universe (the spontaneous appearance and disappearance of particle-antiparticle pairs of virtual particles) is used to claim that is how our universe came into existence.
But quantum fluctuation is part of this universe’s space-time fabric, which only began 13.8 billion years ago with the Big Bang.
It is incoherent to claim any of this universe’s internal attribute is applicable outside the universe.
If this universe’s space and time do not extend outside the universe, then neither will its vacuum fluctuation—an attribute of its space-time.
If these scientists are saying the idea of quantum fluctuation explains the universe, well, how do they know? Also, if it can create one universe, there’s no reason to assume it wouldn’t have already created an infinite number of universes.
Something Caused the Universe
There are five possible sources of the universe, excluding the impossible to confirm like magic and various creation mythologies. This article will provide brief descriptions of each concept and their associated implications.
1. Multiverse Environment
The concept of the beginningless or timeless multiverse—where there is an infinite number of universes coming into and out of existence—can be compared to bubbles that form and disappear in agitated soapy water.
The problem with the multiverse concept is if it is true, then this means intelligent beings who have progressed to a point where they can no longer be constrained by their home universe, should be able to “put their finger on the scales” on the creation of other universes according to their own preferences.
In practical terms, there would be no difference between the power of “God” and these beings who can create universes by manipulating the universe-generator of the Multiverse. Also, since a beginningless multiverse has infinity going in all directions, everything becomes transfinite, which means there would be an infinite number of them because there would’ve never been a “time” when there wasn’t a universe with intelligent beings living within them.
2. Ancestral Universe
Did our universe naturally branch off from another universe that has never contained living creatures? Superficially, this avoids the Multiverse problem by restricting the number of ancestral universes and infinitely numerous “gods,” but runs into the issue of where did that ancestral universe come from? If that ancestral universe was itself an offspring of an even earlier universe, with a similar iterative process, one ends up in the beginningless Multiverse.
However, if this ancestral universe is an aseitic steady-state universe without ancestry of its own, being beginningless would mean if it can naturally create our offspring universe, it would’ve already created an infinite number of life-viable offspring universes before our own – which brings us back to the Multiverse, with its infinite number of “gods.”
3. Cyclical Universe
A cyclical universe is when the same universe cycles into existence and non-existence, like a recording of an explosion being played forward and backward. It was popular for a time in cosmology until it was determined there’s not enough mass in the universe to halt and then reverse its expansion back to a singularity.
However, I believe a cyclical universe is still feasible if we view it as a soapy bubble that expands until it pops and its remnants return to its “source” where it accumulates to a point until it can expand once more as a new Big Bang.
The interesting thing about the cyclical universe idea is it allows for the emergence of life and even technological intelligence in an infinite cycle that is constrained by the universe. If a technological race can never exit the universe regardless of how advanced they become, or, if they can never cocoon themselves from the effect of the disintegration of the universe to emerge in the next cycle, then they cease to exist upon the dissolution of their universe.
And this applies regardless of them being able to create baby universes with their own subjective “time” – the moment the parent universe dissolves, all others disappear as well.
This means, the Multiverse’s infinitely numerous “gods” do not exist. However, if they can escape the fate of the universe, the Multiverse problems return.
4. Alien or Aliens
The three most prominent ideas associated with the possibility that the universe was created by aliens are the “Matrix,” “lab,” and “basement” ideas:
- Matrix – the universe is a simulation like in the Matrix movie
- Lab – the universe was created in a lab for a specific purpose known only to the alien scientists
- Basement – the universe was created by someone who is not an expert, like a teenager living in his parent’s basement
Could we be living in a simulation? A lot of people believe we are, but the belief isn’t from empirical evidence but due to philosophical assumptions. We create virtual worlds and can predict we will produce VR worlds for a multitude of purposes that will be indistinguishable from our own in just thirty years. The reasoning is if we can do it, someone more advanced than us can.
Why would aliens create this Matrix reality? What is its purpose? Why are we the most prominent and dominant species in this reality?
Perhaps we're not in a simulation but in a lab-grown universe? This would be similar to our universe coming from an ancestral universe except instead of being natural, it came into being through the deliberate action of its creators. What is its purpose? Did they overlook creating other technological intelligence that we can detect and communicate with?
Maybe our universe was created in a basement by someone who is not an expert, like a teenager? It would explain why we can’t find any extraterrestrials—he didn’t think to include them! It would explain why we see so much physical evil and undeserved suffering – he was nonchalant in its creation and didn’t really know what he was doing.
Regardless of the three options, they all display beings with an unusual fixation or obsession with us humans. Why us, and apparently, no one else – since we can’t detect the presence of other technological aliens anywhere in the universe? We seem to be alone in the cosmos.
It's fun to speculate, but they all ignore where the universe of these aliens came from—it will either be from the Multiverse Environment, an Ancestral Universe, or by a Cyclical Universe—with all the associated implications of each.
The last option for the creation of the universe is God, and, as a Christian, I will limit myself to what the Bible says on the matter.
According to the Scriptures, God and Jesus existed “before creation” and God had a plan that involved Jesus and other entities. To accomplish this plan, God, had his Son, Jesus, create the universe. After Jesus fulfilled his task by suffering and dying for our sins, God rewarded him by giving him the universe for an inheritance which Jesus will have dominion over for all eternity. Jesus then shares his rule and dominion over the universe with those who will become the “Children of God” after Judgment Day.
That is the extent of what the Scriptures say on the matter. God as the cause is a “black box” in the sense that we do not know what is inside other than what he shares with us in the Scriptures. Anything beyond this is just speculation.
Which Option is the Most Likely?
Trying to envision the causes of creation is very hard — and really hurts the brain! However, of the five possible sources of the universe, one appears most likely based on specific criteria:
The apparent fine-tuning of the universe, the incredible complexity of a living cell and unlikelihood of it forming naturally on a prebiotic Earth, and the uniqueness of us humans, the only technologically-intelligent species despite the existence of a billion other species on the planet all point to an intelligence (aliens or God) behind creation. Of the two, "God" is the most likely explanation since it is the only contender that explains why we’ve never been able to detect technologically-intelligent extraterrestrials and why the New Testament has a single cosmology despite being written by multiple authors without using a common frame and editor.
Note: This article is derived from this author’s upcoming book, Is Jesus “God”?