e Essay (5 pages)    f

 From the book: That Little Hardback

The Real Beginning

 

The following is not the real beginning:

 

The first verse of the King James Bible, Genesis

1:1: In the beginning, God created the heaven and

the earth.

 

This assumes a "god," who was already existing.

Religion never approaches the question of a real

beginning, before which there was nothing. It's

immensely difficult to imagine a true nothing, and

from that, something happening or coming into

existence. Religion finds that it must start with an

amazing and quite impossible god.

 

The following is not the real beginning:

 

The Big Bang Theory is the dominant scientific

theory about the beginning of the universe. The Big

Bang was the beginning of both time and space, a

giant explosion around 16 billion years ago which

expanded rapidly, cooled and coalesced into the

universe of today.


 

This assumes a "point source" already existing, the

single point containing all that would become the

universe. Science never approaches the question of

a real beginning, before which there was nothing.

It's immensely difficult to imagine a true nothing,

and from that, something happening or coming into

existence. Science finds it must start with an

amazing and quite impossible point source.

 

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In 1927, the Belgian priest Georges LemaÓtre may

have been the first to propose, in a scientific way,

that the universe began with the explosion of a

primeval atom. In 1848, however, Edgar Allen Poe

wrote: "In the Original Unity of the First Thing lies

the Secondary Cause of All Things, with the Germ

of their Inevitable Annihilation." Itís interesting

that, when we go back far enough, we often find the

seeds of new science in more or less religious or

poetic thought process.

 

To speak of a real beginning, we must think of a

time when there was no matter at all, no mass, no

energy, but also of a time when there was no time,

(an internal contradiction), no space, nothing, no

god, no point source, nothing. Not even a vacuum

could exist nor the concept of a vacuum nor any

other concept of anything at all. No place for a


 

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point source could exist either. No possibility or

condition could exist.

 

Most of us, probably during our childhood,

experienced frustrating thoughts of the

impossibility of all that is and how it could come to

be. How could it have just always been? How could

it start from nothing? Nobody, it seems, finds a

way to justify the existence of anything at all.

Matter, as we know it, is by any practical thought,

impossible, yet here we are; here is the universe!

Whatever do we do about what is impossible and

still happening all around us?

 

We can entertain many interesting but insufficient

thoughts about how this might be. An example is the

thought that before the beginning there was

nothing, and that from nothing came a minus 1 and a

plus 1, a bit of anti-matter and the same amount of

matter, the two parts exactly the opposite of each

other, the total still being nothing. This includes a

time of an event, a separation of the two parts,

space and time, distance, the concept of opposites,

and many other things. From nothing, if truly

nothing, all these "ideas" and all this "stuff" could

not come. At least, none of us has figured out a way

for this to be. All our theories, religious


 

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or scientific, start with something already existing.

Thoughts or faith; it all falls short.

 

Then we are left only with, "It has always been -

there was never a beginning," and this thought is

equally frustrating. Imagine it all existing not 16

billion years ago, but a trillion times that, and then

that to the trillionth power, and on and on. So far as

we know, only humans, among all the living things,

have ever or could ever be bothered by such

questions. There may be other intelligent beings

somewhere in the universe, grappling with such

thought, but we are not yet aware of them. We

develop many different answers, but all of them

are answers about some secondary beginning, not a

real beginning.

 

When we search on Google for the words "Real

Beginning," we find thousands of articles about

these beginnings, but in every case, they are not

real beginnings; they all start with something

already existing.

 

A few of these articles purport a third case,

wherein nothing actually exists even now, but is all

imagined. Then our consciousness of it still exists,

and the question is fully still alive. You may all be

my imagination, but there is I, and that is just as


 

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impossible as all the rest. This option seems even

less reasonable than the other two, for why would

this imaginer be writing an article for imaginary

readers, and why would he argue his case in a

philosophy class of imaginary students? You, of

course, would not be reading this, for you are my

imagination. No no, if I didnít think you were there

to read this, I wouldnít write it.

 

If there were ever a time when nothing existed,

then it would necessarily be the same now. The

possibility for it to have become what it is now

would need to have been there, and possibility is

not nothing. Possibility is a set of conditions. At the

least, a possibility had to always exist, and thus

there must have been no real beginning. No real

beginning? Thatís not possible, but neither is

anything else. We may not know the answers, but no

other species even asks the question. We may be

proud of the question itself.

 

A real ending is just as illusive. What is, is,

regardless of our inability to understand it.

 

 

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