The universe is not quite as mysterious as it once appeared to be. Cosmologists and astronomers now understand a great deal about its past, present and future, as well as what creates and controls its contents. Using computers and instruments to analyze photons collected by different types of telescopes, it is possible to infer what was likely to have been happening when these photons were created, and even what energies and matters were encountered in their journey through space and time. As we progress in this manner, we find that the science of cosmology depends upon—in fact, mostly is—the physics of energy and matter. In other words, the behaviour of the gigantic is controlled by the properties of the minuscule, the ultimate test of reality’s rational conformity to causality.
However, there appears to be no method of peeking through a singularity. If this is so, then no future beings, wherever they might live in the universe, will ever discover what caused the Big Bang, or what existed before time in this universe began.
This could be where a god once lived—or even lives now. If one exists anywhere at all, then this is the only place that modern science would position him—before the beginning, and beyond any possibility of interfering with the present. Certainly, there is proving to be no physical need for a god’s intervention within our universe. Once a universe possessing the properties we are discovering has been created, it will simply evolve in the manner our telescopes reveal, with stars, galaxies and planets (and life, as the next chapter explains) being formed along the way. A god’s influence is seemingly not needed in the day-to-day operation of the physical universe. But isn’t that to be expected of a creation if God Himself designed it?
Well, so much for the universe. It started, and it evolves as time goes by. We don’t know why it began or even if its existence requires a cause, but we do know a lot about how and why it evolves, and the forces that regulate its development.
It is time to turn our attention to the phenomenon of life, and review what scientists can tell us about it. Two questions are most important to our discussions: how did life begin, and how has it given rise to the forms we see today? The next chapter will review the answers that have been found.
(Three postscripts to this chapter titled Gödel’s Theorem, General Systems Theory and The Conservation Laws are to be found at the end of this part.)
- This is not as surprising as it may at first seem, because, if superstring theory is correct, absolutely everything in existence is built from miniscule, vibrating, energy fields.
- In fact, if any religion placed God in this position and was content to have Him play no part in our affairs, then such a religion would survive any form of investigation or attack. (But then, such a God wouldn’t meet our current psychological needs at all.)
- And surely any Designing God must have therefore also desired all to unfold exactly as it does. In such a case, it could be considered rather impertinent of us to ask Him to intervene to satisfy our own fleeting desires.
- If the universe is simply part of something that has always existed, then the reason it exists needs no explanation—the continued existence of something needs no more accounting for than the continued existence of nothing. Only changes of state need explaining (for example, where something exists which did not exist before).