The Paradox of Reality

Alright, so you beleive in the big bang, you beleive in a god, whatever. Now, you came from the biological processes of your parents, who in turn came from a series of reproductions leading all the way back to either microbes or Adam and Eve, depending on your theological slant.

Now whatever this origin of human life was, it came into being on planet earth. This planet was slowly formed from gasses and particles and such over millions of years. Okay. Now these particles, as part of all the matter in the universe, could, theoretically, be traced back in their formations and movements all the way back to one creation in time.

Now this creation could be either a “Big Bang” of exploding matter or the conscious decision of some celestial being. Either way, I want to ask an age old question: Where oh where did the force to create the first forces come from?

Now, keep in mind that, as our good friend Newton tells us, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. So how did it come about if it was not created? Also, while the “big bang” may have been an occurance of the most infinetesimal of probabilities, how could the forces of chance and probability function when there is not yet force or matter to enact them?

It seems to me that, under a scientific view of the universe, there is absolutely no way that matter could be created without there first being matter to bring about its own creation. Of course, time itself could have originated at its own beginning. This would twist our definition of “time” as being a (pardon the pun) “timeline” of events leading back and forth through history.

Through Einstein’s theory of relativity, it has been defined that time and space aer both relative and alterable. The constant is, in fact, light (and its defined speed). Now while time itself may have begun instantaneously, that doent explain how light did, because if you hit a “wall” with no time, matter, energy, or constant, then it is a realm of quite literally nothing. Surely there could be an even larger expansion of the cosmos, a “multi-verse” whose energies orginated our universe’s set of of physical rules, but then of course the argument just leads farther back.

Sorry, I’m rambling, but it is 2 am here, haha. Pardon me.

ahem Now without bashing the scientific explanations any further for the moment, let’s take a look at the theological issue.

Okay, first there was nothing. Well, nothing except God. Then God created the heavens and the Earth and everything starts. Well, that’s all fine and dandy if you beleive in that sort of thing (btw I myself am a Catholic, so don’t think I’m God-bashing here, just trying to seperate the viewpoints and argue from the paradoxical middle), but then, what of God before creation? I’m sure he could just float around in nothingness all he wants, but if the omnipotent God thinks back through his own existence, he must eventually come to a stopping point.

God must have been created somehow at some point. So, you have the question of how a non-existent force can create itself. Now, of course you could argue that God exists infinitely back through non-existence and NEVER was created. This would mean, however, that God could NOT, no matter how hard he tried, remember back to the beginning of his existence. He would be bound by the fact of his own infinity. But being an all-powerful and omnipotent being, how can he not accomplish this task? He is limited by the definition of infinity. Of course, if he created infinity, then he must have come first, but then before he created the meta-physical concept of infinity, could he not then remember back to his own beginning? No, because the infinite limit to his past is inherent in his own existence. By being infinitely in existence, God could not be in existence without his own self-created concept of an infinite universe already being in place. Thus we have ourselves a paradox.

Alright, well that was longer and more rambling then I originally thought, and I’m sure there are some omissions or errors in my logic, but that’s what you guys are here for! :smiley: Tell me, how is existence possible if it is inherently impossible? Just wondering…

You are operating under the faulty assumption that the past is an infinite amount of time. Its entirely possible that the Big Bang was the start of time as we know it. If that is the case the question of what happened before the Big Bang is meaningless.

But that’s my question, you see. How can the Big Bang have happened at all?

There is much to mull over here, and it is late. But as far as your theological paradox involving infinity, it seems that you are viewing infinity as a really, really, really long time that has a beginning, but that’s not infinity. Infintity just is. If time is infinite you can travel back forever and never see a beginning. Regarding God’s ability/inability to remember back to the beginning of his existence, as I mentioned above, there was no beginning. But this reminds me of the old game of gotcha kids have played with nuns and priests: 'If God can do anything, can he make a rock so big that even he cannot lift it?"

I’ll try to comment on the big bang aspect tomorrow.

Oh well, maybe just this one. Except we’re left with “What caused the big bang?”

The Big Bang “happened” only insofar as the North Pole “happens”. It is perhaps more instructive to consider it less as an event and more of a place. There is no time at which the universe does not, or did not, exist - it can therefore not really be said to be caused.

One might say that the universe has always existed.

The science of physics has changed a wee bit since Newton’s day. :slight_smile: Quantum mechanics allows matter to come into existence as a statistical fluctuation. But we simply don’t understand what physcal laws were in effect at the moment of the Big Bang. It’s possible that we never will.

At any rate, no physicist would ever apply Newtonian Physics to the process of the Big Bang.

There are, mind you, some lovely theories about three-branes and four-branes in Brian Greene’s latest, The Elegant Universe. It may even be possibly to one day find out the most probable, or even the true answer.

But right now? We may have some ideas, but we don’t know yet. So?

Okay, I went and read the thread recommended by SentientMeat. I sincerely hope the discussion here will not be so one-sided.

First, I’ll make a small point about that thread (although I don’t think it was the OP’s opinion): cosmologists do not believe that the singularity at Time=0 of the big bang contained all matter. The belief is that there was no matter, and that matter started being created at T + a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second. This is what I think John Mace is alluding to when challengiing the OP. (I recommend “Atom”, by Lawrence Krauss).

Also, I would offer to many of the posters on SentientMeat’s recommended post, and others who are so dismissive of opposing views, particularly those of theists, that scientists who know a bit more about big bangology than you (or I) are considerably more open to the possibility of a god and our own ignorance. Stephen Hawking is one. Alan Guth from MIT is another "the instant of creation remains unexplained. "And that assumes that all the theories are correct! What will/might happen when/if we fully understand what gravity is, or the red shift of light that we now accept as “proof” of an expanding universe in acceleration?

I point this out in hopes that the cosmological experts who may respond aren’t so easily annoyed by the responses of those of us more mortal then they.

For me, the pivotal question arises from:

  1. a major tenet of science is that of causality: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Restated: if something happens, something caused it.

  2. the big bang happened

  3. it was caused by ____________.

Forget matter for now, theory can account for the formulation of protons, neutrons, electrons, and their respective building blocks. I’m talking about action. The big bang is a huge event. Surely it didn’t just “happen”. Can one, particularly a person of science, claim that at one moment there was a non-big bang existence (stasis) and the next there was the birth of the universe—with NOTHING TO CAUSE IT? I don’t think so.

Logic would then say that okay, the big bang was not the beginng of the universe. We can hypothisize all we want, but we will arrive at the same question: “What put things into motion?” I can thnink of only two possible answers:

A) an outside agent (God, if you will)

B) It was always in motion. That is the nature of the universe.

A is a full explanation (not necessarily right, but complete). B seems to immediatley defy what I consider the most fundemental law of science: causality. Matterwise, you might be able to get something from nothing. But action requires a force.


I hope I’m not being overly optimistic in hoping this thread doesn’t turn into a rehash of “the universe has always existed”. The circular arguments and hubris hurt my head.

How is “A” a full explanation? It just pushes the original question back one level so that we now have to explain what “caused” God.

By way of minor comment, I’d have to disagree that whether or not one believes in evolution or creationism is little more than a matter of one’s “theological slant”. The former has supporting evidence independent of theology.

Thank you. That was kinda the point I was trying to get at, but due to the lateness of the (haha!) TIME that I wrote it, I think I lost track of myself :smack: It’s a question of, as you so eloquently put it, causality. That’s my issue with creation.

Oh, and John Mace is right about point A linking back to the God problem. :smiley:

I don’t think so. I think that if, in fact, there is a god, it would not be a stretch to say that he is/was eternal. It is not a necessary conclusion, but it could easily be the case.

I don’t mean to say that “A” is a correct position, only that it is easier there to not have to ask “And what caused that?..And what caused that?..And what caused that?” ad infinitum.

To restate: Something had to cause everything. Except, perhaps, God.

Hmm… well, I suppose that’s true. If you take God as a truly all-powerful being, then I suppose that by definition he doesn’t need a cause… Alright, well it seems to me that the God issue is pretty much closed either way now, so what about option B?

Thanks. And yes, hbe was right. I hope my clarification just prior to your thread helped.

For B to be true motion has to be part of the nature of the universe. Similar to extension (dimension) being the very nature of matter.

Personally, I find this notion—of a perpetual motion machine that wasn’t pushed into motion—even more difficult to fully embrace than that of being pushed into motion by an eternal entity.

You left out:
C) We don’t know

Just because you can only think of two answers, doesn’t mean your list is actually exhaustive.

True, but it also has problems that it cannot explain. As T approaches 0, scientists are asking us to bet on faith as much as theists. (Faith that, we don’t know but there is an explanation and we’ll figure it out.

In the end, I think it is healthy to appreciate what a small part of the know we actually know. And to admit that, as sure as we might be about something, we could be wrong. I would think a true scientist would have to embrace that attitude, but I don’t always see it.

To those who are so sure there is a God I say, you are not perfect, you may be wrong.

To those who are so sure there is no god, I say you do not have all the information, you may be wrong.

Thank you for the excellent point. Just to clarify, I never said the list was complete, only that I, mere mortal that I am with very limited abilities, could only grasp two.

As a scientist, I would restate these slightly:

To those who are so sure there is a God I say, there is no evidence of any God + why do you believe in your particular version?: you may be wrong.

To those who see no reason to believe in any god, all the information we have confirms your position.