# The beginning of linear(?) time and matter.

-Infinity is beyond any number. Therefore you can approach it but can never be reached. To say you have made it to infinity is to not true, you can always add another number to what you have already counted, so you have not reached infinity.
-Therefore in this context, to say that we have gone through in infinite amount of moments to reach now is a false statement. We are progressing into the future in the sense of linear time, and since we can’t add any time to an infinite amount we have not reached infinity.
-If there isn’t an infinite amount of time which was before now, then time had a beginning.
-If time had a beginning, then matter had a beginning because you cannot have matter outside of time (at least according to living in a 4D universe, height,width,space, and time).
-(Linear)Time and matter therefore had an origin.

What or who can exist outside of time and matter in the sense that we know it and is able to bring about time and matter?

Sounds like Thomas Aquinas.

Never heard of him, does he have a similar theory?

He didn’t know anything about the Big Bang, but he thought the idea of an infinite regression of causes doesn’t make any sense, so he concluded that there must be a first cause.

This reasoning seems wrong – it’s not that you can’t add to infinity, it’s that the result of adding anything is still infinity. I can add +1 to the integer 7, yet still it’s true that an infinity of integers precede 7.

The only other thing I would say is that you are touching on philosophical questions, e.g. why does anything exist, why does this exist and not something else etc.
ISTM it’s a common misconception that these questions would be “solved” if the past was infinite, or cyclical or whatever, but that is not the case. You can still ask those questions of an eternal universe, and these questions may be fundamentally unanswerable.

The scientific question of whether there were other events prior to the big bang and/or that we are part of a multiverse is one that is a very popular subject at the moment, given that there are now some hypotheses that are in principle testable. IOW there are observations we could in principle make in our universe which could give an indication of how our big bang came about.

I suppose that is basically what I am saying. Although, I don’t see how, even with the big bang, that contradicts what my assertion is.

I think metaphysics about the nature of the universe is best left to people who know a lot about the universe–physicists.

I see what you are saying here. However, it would be a false statement to say that you have counted the infinite integers that come after/before 7, then got to 7. That is what is the case in my argument: The idea that we went through an infinite amount of moments to get to this moment of where we are now. That can’t be said in the physical realm (as we know it) at least without the assistance of a miracle.

The personal reason I posted this is to get the people of this board to think about what I am presenting. Also I am looking at what peoples opinions of this are on the subject, positive or negative. It’s not so much about finding THE ANSWER to it, but just exposing the idea and seeing what people’s thoughts are. If someone has a physics degree then good, but it’s not necessary for what I am looking for.

We can absolutely say that we have been “thru an infinite number of X” to get to this point - as this point in time is not the end point - just a dot on the journey. However, I would ask for a cite that someone actually uses that phrase beyond a philosophical level - most would say that its a finite point we are at along the infinite journey.

By your own logic - “nothing can occur outside of our 4D universe” - therefore, while ‘something’ may have caused it to begin, it must not have been “outside” of it.

As far as when ‘time’ began - it began at teh beginning - what ‘caused’ the circumstances of this progression may never be known - are you suggesting that it therefore requires an external ‘cause’ (as in a ‘god’ or some such) ?

(and you should look up this quantum foam stuff - it actually gives a pretty good explanation of the “cause”).

It’s intuitive to imagine a person counting through numbers but I think it’s a mistake to apply that intuition to either infinity or what constraints the universe may or may not have.

WRT infinity, there are lots of facts about infinity we would never have arrived at with only this intuition, such as there being different kinds of infinity (e.g. countable and uncountable infinities).

WRT the universe, if your reasoning held I don’t see why Zeno’s race course paradox doesn’t also hold and therefore all motion is impossible.

What I’m saying is that there’s a lot of discussion about a start point in time, about a “first cause”, when in many cases what people are interested in is the (possibly ultimate) philosophical question of how/why anything exists. It annoys me when people claim this question is answered by declaring there was no first cause.

We can absolutely say that we have been “thru an infinite number of X” to get to this point - as this point in time is not the end point - just a dot on the journey. However, I would ask for a cite that someone actually uses that phrase beyond a philosophical level - most would say that its a finite point we are at along the infinite journey.
This can be an infinite JOURNEY, but how could it be said that we have passed through an infinite amount of integers to get to THIS integer, and we are still going forward (In reality, you don’t have infinity+1, infinity+2, etc.). You can have a potential of infinity, but you cannot have an actual infinity which you have reached and gone past, unless you can do miracles or something like that.

By your own logic - “nothing can occur outside of our 4D universe” - therefore, while ‘something’ may have caused it to begin, it must not have been “outside” of it.
nothing can occur outside of our 4D universe.

By the statement of living in a 4D universe, I wasn’t saying that nothing can happen outside of it. I meant if you take the seeming laws of the universe as the only thing out there, then something like this can’t be. But it seems to me that this is the case, so therefore we don’t have a complete understanding of the way things are.

As far as when ‘time’ began - it began at teh beginning - what ‘caused’ the circumstances of this progression may never be known - are you suggesting that it therefore requires an external ‘cause’ (as in a ‘god’ or some such) ?
Yes, it seems to me it would have to have an external cause to have gotten going. I mean, for time to not exist and then for it to exist there must be something like a “container” beyond it, or something beyond it which created it. Or else what was the cause of time, given that it did begin for a reason?

(and you should look up this quantum foam stuff - it actually gives a pretty good explanation of the “cause”).
I want to look up the quantum stuff at some point, it seems interesting.

This has an interesting (?) theological component. Suppose God had, before creating the universe, been around “forever.” Well…how far back is “forever?” The same problem pertains: he would have had to wait “forever” for the moment to create the universe. Therefore…that moment would never have come.

The serious problem is that “infinity” doesn’t have any useful meaning outside of the very abstract world of mathematics. There can never be an infinite amount of time, space, energy, or candy bars.

If we assume that time is infinite - then it is infinite going backwards as well as forward - at any given point on the timeline, there is an infinite progression in both directions.

This ‘moment’ is simply a moment in the middle of both.

and so is this one

and this one.

Well, its a fun “thought” expirement - but if we can’t observe anything outside of our ‘4d’ universe - then those things are, for all intents and purposes, non-existent.

When you come up with a way to observe these things - do let us know.

It happened because it happened - when you come up with a way of providing objective evidence for this “cause” - do let us know.

Things exist - while it may be interesting to think about ‘what caused it’ - ultimately we puny humans may just have to live with the notion that we may never know - decideing that because we don’t know means that there must be ‘something else’ (aka a ‘creator’ or ‘god’) puts an end to the discovery - not the beginning.

IOW - the question is more important than the answer.

Do that - and while you’re at it - learn to use the ‘quote’ function - you’ve been on the board long enough.

The problem with the argument that ‘we can’t have gone through an infinity of moments’ is that the idea that the universe is infinite doesn’t imply that we should have. In the infinite line of integers, between any two, there is only a finite difference, so for any moment in the past, it’s been a finite time since then.

What you’re saying amounts to the assumption of a beginning of time at ‘-infinity’, with an infinite time having passed ‘since then’, but of course, the point of a backwards-infinite universe is that there is no beginning of time, no point an ‘infinity’ of moments ago.

We need to know so many things about mathematical analysis and the physical universe, before we can speculate what might reside outside of it (if anything of the sort is possible).

I for one have the sentiment that the universe structure is of a discreet nature, and (although labeling and classification are essential to our understanding it) the boundaries between a given category the ones in its vicinity are rather fluid and blurred.

As others, I have issue with this step in your logic for two reasons. One, you assume that moments are discrete events, not continuous. Two, it represents a misunderstanding of the concept of infinity.

For one, I would happen to agree with the idea that time is actually a discrete, computable set of events and though my understanding of physics may fail me, I think that generally scientists lean that way as well, but I’m unsure that it’s something that is necessarily true. The problem is, if it isn’t true that moments are discrete, then your entire chain of logic breaks down because there’s an infinite number of points between any two distinct points. So, you need to account for this in some way.

Second, and more troublesome, the idea that we are still counting doesn’t mean there haven’t been an event number of past events. The simple counter-example for this is to consider negative numbers. In short, if there can be a beginning but no end, then all I need to do is count backwards and there can then be an end but no beginning.

In fact, I’d go a step farther and argue that just because we’ve counted up to some point, doesn’t mean there’s an end either. That would seem to imply that because I’ve identified some integer on the number line, that somehow the number line ends there. In short, I could easily take two partial lines, one that has no beginning and one that has no end and put them together to get a line that extends infinitely in each direction.

I also can’t agree with this line of logic. The simple example given is the surface of the Earth. It is clearly a finite two-dimensional space, yet there is no beginning nor end, other than points we’ve arbitrarily assigned certain significance. Yes, we experience time as a line, but without engaging our minds and exploring other evidence, the surface of the Earth would seem flat and, without being infinite, surely it would have bounds as well.

Well, I would agree, again assuming my understanding of physics is correct, that if time has bounds, then space probably has bounds as well. So I guess it follows that, without space-time in which to exist, then matter and energy’s fate is tied to space-time.

What exactly is linear time? It most isn’t linear; it’s relative. For that matter, what does it even mean when we talk about the bounds of time? We have directions that we use to orient and move in space, like left, right, up, down, forward, backward. We have the same in time, before and after.

So let’s examine what an origin of time means. If time has bounds, then there’s no “before” the beginning, or it’s not the beginning; same with no “after” the end. So if there’s bounds, what does that mean? Is it like a flat Earth, where we simply reach the edge, or maybe some impassable obstacle? Or maybe it’s like the Earth, where we can go infinitely East or West and there’s always farther we can go, or it’s more like North and South where it gets distorted as we get closer to the poles and then “North of the North Pole” is just utter nonsense.

I think the key words here are “in the sense that we know it”. All that we can sense and measure, at least to this point in our knowledge are space, time, matter, and energy. So, if there is anything outside of that, well, I’d think it necessarily follows that whoever or whatever it is is made of something else. Maybe there’s something even more fundamental, as perhaps M-Theory proposes. Or, for the religious, it may be God. Or, maybe it’s as simple as there isn’t anything else beyond that.

Will you forgive a nasty pedantic fuss-budget if he suggests the word might have been “discrete?”

'Cause ( ) one thing the universe ain’t, and that’s discreet. It does things right out there in the open, for everybody to see.

More seriously, I remember Buckminster Fuller and his notions of an underlying granularity, a “cellular” nature to the universe. He and others have suggested that, at the very smallest levels, the comos might have “cells” like the squares on a chessboard. Space itself might not only be quantized, but rigidly divided into such microscopic domains. (In Fuller’s memory, I suggest the cells are tetrahedral.)

String theory is another way of exploring similar ideas.

My natural language is of Latin origin and what sounds pedantic to you is natural for me. It so happens that both discreet and discrete have the same spelling in my first language too.

There I fixed your argument for you.
If you are arguing backwards to arrive at an assumption, it should be in the right order.