Where did the universe come from?

It surprises me how many people are content to say, “Science has proved that the Big Bang happened about 14 Billion years ago. We already know the answer to where did the universe come from?” Despite the number of scientists who are now jumping ship from the Big Bang theory, let’s assume it’s true. 14 Billion years ago the universe rapidly expanded and evolution began to work  its “magic”. We’re still left with the question, where did it come from? Philosophically, it seems to me, there are only three possible solutions:

  1. The universe is a brute fact.
  2. The universe came from nothing.
  3. The universe was created.

Bertrand Russel famously believed option number one. The universe just is, and that’s all. The universe is the first cause; the unmoved mover. The universe is eternal. One philosophical problem with this view is that one component of the universe is time. To say that the universe is eternal is to say that time is eternal. An infinite amount of time has passed. How could this be? If there was an infinite amount of time between today and eternity past, how would we ever arrive at the present? Yet, we have arrived at the present. Empirical evidence that led to the Big Bang theory would have us believe that the universe began, anyway.

So, the universe began. Now, if you don’t believe in God, you must concede that the universe began from nothing. Some have tried to escape this reality by postulating the “multiverse theory.” This theory, more or less, states that there is an infinite number of universes popping in and out of existence, so of course we ended up in this one. With an infinite amount of tries, eventually a universe like ours will appear. This theory fails for at least three reasons.

  1. You’ve only pushed the question back further and made it infinitely harder to explain. Instead of the question being “Where did this one universe come from?” it has now become “Where did an infinite number of universes come from?”
  2. There is absolutely no evidence to even suggest there are more than one universes. Not to mention, historically, the definition of the universe includes EVERYTHING there is. If you believe the multiverse theory, you aren’t believing in multiple universes after all, only a larger, infinite universe.
  3. If there’s an infinite amount of possibilities in the multiverse theory, is there a possible universe where God exists? Could it be ours? Doesn’t God necessarily exist in all of them, if he exists in one?

Let’s say you still believe the universe came from nothing. You could never prove this. It is by definition an argument from nothing. You would have to show that something can come from nothing.

This brings us to the 3rd option: the cosmological argument. The cosmological argument goes something like this:

  1. The universe began.
  2. Things that begin have causes.
  3. The universe is made of space, matter, and time.
  4. Therefore, the cause of the universe must be spaceless, immaterial, and timeless. The cause must be personal since it chose to cause the universe.

Traditionally, we call this cause God. For Christians reading this, let’s not overplay our hands here. This does not mean that Jesus rose from the dead, or that the Bible is God’s word. However, the cosmological argument is the best explanation for the beginning of the universe that I have heard to date. If you disagree, you must tear down my four points and erect in their place something more logical.

73 Replies to “Where did the universe come from?”

  1. “2: The universe came from nothing”: We don’t know that, certainly science does not make such a claim and it’s often claimed that they do by people using a straw-man fallacy.

    “Now, if you don’t believe in God, you must concede that the universe began from nothing” why must we conclude that? We have no access to existence before the Big Bang. There appears to be a logical fault here- it is possible not to believe in a god AND not know whether the universe did begin from nothing.

    1. Good point! I agree, one can claim ignorance and that’s fair. My point was that, philosophically, there seems to be only 3 options and 2 of them fail. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. A few notes… Even with the Big Bang theory, Science is not saying “nothing’ existed prior to the big bang. I have a theory of my own that the universe existed in one way or another but that’s a story for another day.

    1. The universe began.
    Did it? or did the universe begin as we know it.

    2. Things that begin have causes.
    I can agree to this.

    3. The universe is made of space, matter, and time.
    Over simplification but I’ll work with it.

    4a. Therefore, the cause of the universe must be spaceless, immaterial, and timeless.
    Not necessarily. but what you are saying it came from nothing? There was nothing? No material? No space? (The concept of time was developed by humans) If there was nothing, then where did the material come from? so you added:

    4b. The cause must be personal since it chose to cause the universe.
    Again, I don’t think there was never “nothing” but if we are going to use a “being”, then what could have happened was a being in an alternate universe or dimension could have, more or less, used a weapon (Death Star?) and tried to wipe out their own world, causing a big bang… 🙂 (That’s not my theory!) We do not have knowledge of what was in “space” prior to the Big Bang/Creation Theories, If we add “Material” (matter, chemicals..etc), who’s to say that Matter did not cause the creation of the universe as we know it?

  3. The cosmological argument is circular and concludes without attribution. To conclude causality is specious by definition. To credit a god for anything explains nothing.

  4. No matter which cause you choose, you must have faith to believe it because none can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt . Faith g8ves substance to our hopes. I can prove the Big Bang I can only hope it’s true so me faith makes it a reality for me – that’s how the thinking goes.

    For me, I choose to believe God. Those who don’t believe God choose to believe man instead because all other theories are created by man. Personally, I think God is more reliable!

    I love posts like this that make us think!

    Be blessed

  5. Haden, thanks much for following my blog. I look forward to reading here, and may you find something that blesses you at my place.

  6. God is not limited by man or time or matter. We are tied to time and life on planet earth. God is bigger, greater, and doesn’t have to answer to any or anything

    1. The Big Bang is not limited by man, time or matter, we are tied to life on planet earth. The big bang is bigger, greater and doesn’t have to answer to any or anything….?
      …oh-kay…

      1. If you want to trust in the Big Bang you are free to think that. If you let me trust in God as my Big Bang.

      2. Except that there is evidence for the Big Bang, there is none for god.
        The sensible stance is to say that we don’t know what was around before the big bang. So conclude that we don’t know therefore it was god is a leap of faith unsupported by evidence or reason.

      3. If I may, you’re assuming the “effect” is the contingent universe. That is a presupposition. Is it not more reasonable to assume the universe is non-contingent?

        Consider it this way: The universe, of which we currently only understand 4.6%, exists. We have an unbroken line of material explanations answering our questions. It is only reasonable to expect this pattern to continue. To suddenly propose magic, when no evidence of magic exists anywhere, at any time, is a massive violation of Occam’s razor, and overkill as a fundamental basis of reality.

      4. A contingent universe * is* the presupposition. Self-evidently, it is a presupposition you have repeated so often that you’ve forgotten it’s a presupposition, and that’s where your problems are arising. Or can you demonstrate that there was once nothing?

        And your statement is doubly erroneous in that we only know Inflation began. We have no idea whatsoever as to what was happening before Inflation.

      5. Inflation, Cosmic Backgroud radiation, Einsteinian Theory, all of this is based on finite past. Its scientifically demonstrable and philosophically: there cannot have been an infinite number of past events or we would never arrive at the present. The universe definitely had a beginning in the finite past. Observable science, and philosophical reasoning strongly show this.

      6. Who on earth is talking about an “infinite number of past events”? Do you know what non-contingent means?

        Question: do you believe there was once nothing?

      7. OK, so if there was never nothing, always something, then it is not a question of why is there something rather than nothing, that is thoroughly meaningless, but rather what is aseitic: a supernatural creator, or the universe itself?

        The contingency of the universe is a theological presupposition, presented as fact. It’s not.

        Even if we don’t presently know the ‘how,’ and considering we have an unbroken line of material explanations answering our questions, why is it less reasonable to assume the universe itself is aseitic, and more reasonable, in your opinion, to expect magic to spontaneously provide an explanation?

      8. I merely am saying present scientific knowledge and philosophical reasoing lead us to the conclusion that the universe itself had an absolute beginning. Then i am saying things that begin have causes. Therefore the universe has a cause. If you think the universe is un-caused or came from nothing, by all means believe what you want, but I’m going to follow these evidences where they lead, free from presupposition. Happy Easter, John thanks for the convo.

      9. You might have made your position clearer to John Zande if you had pointed out that he did not exist the day before his conception. Since it took something he probably doesn’t want to think to bring him into existence, there seems to be a parallel with his not wanting God to have brought the universe into existence.

      10. Well, I have no idea where you’re getting your information from, but that is NOT what science says. Science brings us to Inflation. All information is lost at Inflation.

        Therefore the universe has a cause.

        Again, you are presenting the PRESUPPOSITION of a contingent universe as if it were fact. It’s not. It’s a presupposition that you’ve repeated so many times you’ve forgotten it’s a presupposition.

        I would suggest you try and move that presupposition from the “Presupposition File” into the “Factually Demonstrable File” if you want anyone to take you seriously.

        But I am curious to your answer to my question… the one you ignored.

        Given we have an unbroken line of material explanations answering our questions, and given we presently only understand 4.6% of this universe, why is it less reasonable to assume the universe itself is aseitic, and more reasonable, in your opinion, to expect magic to spontaneously provide an explanation?

      11. The fact that there couldnt be an infinite number of past events means there was an absolute beginning of time.

      12. And there is your supposition of contingency getting in the way of clear thinking.

      13. Yeah i’m definitely supposing that something can’t come from nothing. To say that it could is not clear thinking. But anyway, have a good one mate i appreciate the dialogue!

  7. I love the ones who ask how do you get something from nothing. They’ve no idea of even Einstein’s equations.

  8. I love your steps of thinking on the Universe, God, and Existence! If we understand God to be Spirit and Love, then he is beyond matter including the Universe. His existence permeates all that tangibly exists and reveals his presence even though we cannot see that existence. His love allows us to feel his presence. All of the created ideas of who God is and what he/she looks like fall far short in my opinion. God has no gender… God is … the great I AM. How can anyone argue with that??
    Dwight

  9. We must all accept the limitations in science. Up till now all the attempts to explain the origin of the universe are nothing but mere conjectures.

    For me, the big bang theory remains one of the disappointing things I found on the pages of science books. The biblical record of God being the creator of heaven and earth makes more sense.

  10. Even granting all the problematic premises, there is still a fatal problem.
    If you say that causes explain contingent objects, including other, preceding and subsequent causes, then what are you really saying when you claim that the collective properties of a cause inform us on any properties of something definitively not a cause.
    The one thing we know about the thing so defined, is that it does not have any of the properties which allow us to know causes as causes.
    Think of the corollary: You find a line of dominoes lying one partially atop the next and trace it back to the first domino, where the line simply ends at a hole in the wall – What does that tell you about the line of dominoes? What does it tell you about what lies beyond the wall?
    From a domino’s-eye view, the hole is a brute fact, isn’t it?

      1. The same inference that put giant-roads on the Irish coast and canals on Mars.
        But, it doesn’t address the problem, either.
        The argument says that certain qualities of causes preclude an infinite regress of causes.
        The argument then concludes that an initiating cause which lacked the problematic qualities, must have been.
        But that skips over an important step: How then, is the initiating cause still a cause?
        Because without those problematic qualities, we no longer have causality. Then, the base claim is that causation occurred with out causation occurring.
        In other words, the contingency and cosmological arguments could be summarized thusly: “…and then, a miracle.”
        That is a sound statement, because that’s just what miracles are, and it avoids all the invalid equivocation on causality.

  11. You’ve raised challenging questions, Haden. Someone who values truth and logic would be hard-pressed to answer them without the inclusion of God. Seems to me it takes more faith to believe in evolution–against the evidence–than it does to believe in a Supreme Creator. I appreciate such illustrations as the following that showcase the leap in logic one must make in order to accept evolution: Pretend you are one of the first humans to visit Mars and you find letters made with pebbles lying on the surface. The letters spell WELCOME. Would you assume that someone had actually been there before you or that such a phenomenon had just “happened?” Which assumption requires more faith? P.S. Thank you very much, Haden, for becoming a follower of From the Inside Out. I pray you’ll find the posts meaningful!

  12. This is awesome Hayden. Credit to our creator. I thought I would just briefly comment on the comments. Why does not any of the critics mention and explain the singularity? I mean if you are going to be all for the big bang, infinite universe or universes, no causes or causes it is highly relevant. I see little trace of entropy or Einstein’s law of relativity either. Not to mention the parameters of the universe. How do you complete the picture with all aspects taken into account? A theory of everything requires inclusion of everything. If not it is just confirmation bias. Picking and choosing desired information and ignoring undesired facts.

    1. How do you think a singularity plays into the cosmological argument? I guess I should ask first: What do you think a singularity is?

      1. I did not specifically say the cosmological argument. The singularity is relevant when it comes to the big bang. The whole point is that a theory of everything must include everything. If not, simply world-views. I am no expert with my own opinions and neither are you. Or anyone else for that matter. When it comes to the cosmological argument I think the parameters of the universe would be more relevant. Try altering the parameters of the universe and see what happens. The truth is nobody has all the answers. That would also have to include the weird quantum world. You can claim that God is my confirmation bias, but then I can say science is yours. Love, Isabella

      2. Dear Keith. I am not going to write what I think the singularity is, rather what it is according to science. The singularity is a point with no space, no time, infinitely small, infinitely dense and a «place» of extreme order. Where mathematics turn in to gibberish. Knowledge with its laws break down. Function takes an infinite value. From where everything in our known universe came out of in the big bang. Even space and time itself. It is the opposite of a black hole that swallows everything, even space and time itself. Science also calls it a white hole. Love, Isabella

      3. There is a singularity within a black hole, and it is quite miraculous, i.e. inexplicable. I’d recommend BBC’s documentary on black holes and Einstein’s equations.
        Haden’s proposition is a metaphysical one and mine is also. The details of scientific theories – including their ‘completeness’ – have very limited bearing on the validity of metaphysical arguments, even teleological ones like you are referencing (I think?) when you mention ‘the parameters of the universe’.

  13. Dear Keith. I know there is a singularity within a black hole. It is completely logical as time, space and light gets swallowed. Function will take an infinite value. Einstein’s theory of relativity states that space and time is always relative to the constant speed of light (unless we mention the quantum level). Connecting the singularity to Einstein’s relativity. I find science quite intriguing, as you might have guessed. Thank you for the recommendation on BBC’s documentary. Teleology has the basic meaning of “the study of ends or purposes.” The parameters I am referring to are mathematical. Those required to be just right for the universe to form and not fall apart basically. Sorry Hayden for spamming you comment section. You can reply on a random blog-post on my blog if you feel like it. Or we can just leave it. Very interesting talking to you anyway. Love, Isabella

    1. I don’t consider it “spam”, by all means engage one another in conversation! I enjoy reading!

  14. John Wheeler, impressed by the astonishing coincidences necessary for life to exist, posited another possibility: that humans are (have been / will become / or all of the above) God. To escape endless regress, he suggested that humans evolve into beings that are capable of manipulating matter itself and transcending time. As such, they initiate a temporal loop in which they create themselves (or at least the universe in which they evolve to become the beings that create themselves).

    Of course, there must be something outside the time loop, and that just pushes the problem back further. It seems that Wheeler just didn’t want there to be a God. How much simpler, Occam-like, to believe in a being that created all this.

    I appreciate your helpful post. Blessings!

    Shayne Looper

  15. My form of the cosmological argument for the existence of God would be as follows.

    The universe did not exist and then came into existence but not in its present form. It came as a complex amalgamation of energy, space and time governed by rules governing its development, including those for entities that did not yet exist.

    The universe is teleological. It was created to become what it is and to serve as a platform for what has occurred. To do these things it neither needed to be infinite as space or eternal in time to accomplish what was intended for it.

    Due to the immense complexity and, if you will still existing mystery concerning the universe, nothing in space, time, energy, matter and the laws governing these things is sufficient in itself to explain the existence of the universe.

    Therefore, the existence of the universe requires a Creator who must have an existence outside the universe, though not excluded from acting on it and in it, the ability to foresee what it is to become, and when it will end, and the power to make it happen.

  16. Interesting discussion Haden. It caught my eye since I posted a similar title on my blog, based on a guest book review. Here it is in case you want to take a look. Your explanation is certainly less complicated -http://watercresswords.com/2015/08/30/1542/.

  17. Our ONE True GOD the FATHER who art in Heaven Above CREATED the HEAVENS ( UNIVERSE ) and the EARTH from HEAVEN ABOVE in Six Days!! ( Genesis Chapter One )!!

    I Love you all Everyone through Jesus-Yeshua Christ, because HE LOVED💕💜 EVERYONE FIRST!!

    Love 💕 Always and Shalom ( Peace ) Everyone, YSIC o/

    Kristi Ann

  18. Hope you don’t mind that I’ve revisited here. I’m turning over a question in my mind: how do your conclusions fit with the idea that the big bang marked the beginning of all the dimensions that we are familiar with, especially – time. That would mean that time began with the big bang and not before. That must mean that wasn’t an event that began at some point in time that then led to the universe we see around us. I say all this in reaction to the way time is interwoven with space, the idea of spacetime.

    1. By all means, revisit! I believe that God, as the cause of the universe, caused time to begin. Seems to fit with what you describe. Does that answer your question? Sorry if i’ve misunderstood.

  19. Nearly, except one step.
    How can we step from the idea I suggested (spacetime) to the very specific cause you have postulated?

    1. Anything that begins has a cause. Time began, therefore it had a cause. That cause must be outside of time. Traditionally, this cause is known as God. I suppose you could postulate a non-theistic cause, i just see a theistic cause as much more probable.

  20. So, the universe began.

    This is not correct. We know Inflation began. We do not know what was happening before Inflation.

    May I ask you a question, though: Was there ever nothing?

    1. By all appearances the universe did indeed begin. And no, if ever there was nothing, there would still be nothing.

      1. By all appearances the universe did indeed begin

        By all appearances, the sun and the planets revolve around the earth. It’s intuitively obvious, isn’t it?

        But no. Inflation began. What was happening before Inflation, we have no idea whatsoever. Saying the universe began, or had a beginning, is simply factually wrong.

        And no, if ever there was nothing, there would still be nothing.

        If that’s the case, your question (why is there something instead of nothing) is thoroughly meaningless. There was never nothing.

      2. Necessity is just a philosophical word game. The only word that matters here is aseity, and, as you say there was never nothing, always something, then we must assume the universe itself is aseitic.

        We have evidence the universe exists.

      3. Yeah I think its safe to say the universe exists. The likelihood that the universe is a brute fact, or that it came into existence from nothing, seems to me to be highly improbable. That it began, seems to be inferred by the empirical evidence. But if philosophy is just a word game then I guess we wont have much to talk about here. Thanks for your thoughtful comments!

      4. That it began, seems to be inferred by the empirical evidence.

        No, all evidence breaks down at Inflation. We simply do not know what was happening before.

        But if philosophy is just a word game then I guess we wont have much to talk about here.

        Much of philosophy is just word games. Can you show me a single truth revealed by philosophy?

        Aseity, though, is philosophy, yet it also has meat, something to digest even if we don’t presently know the ‘how.’ So, given that you believe there was never nothing, then can you accept that the universe itself could well be aseitic?

      5. I can definitely accept that the universe COULD be aseitic. I think it highly improbable, but sure, possible.

        I realize that the “evidence breaks down at inflation”. However, it doesn’t seem like much of a leap to me to say that the universe began seeing as we can trace it back to an infintecibly small beginning. There are also philosophical arguments for why an eternal universe is improbable.

        Would you agree that the statement: “Truth does not exist” is self-defeating? We reach this conclusion using philosophical reasoning.

        I don’t view philosophy and science as opposed to one another, but mutually beneficial to each other. We study empirical evidence and use philosophical reasoning to reach good conclusions. If the evidence changes, well okay. I’m saying, that for now, the evidence I observe, coupled with philosophical reasoning, lends me the conclusion that the universe began. And again, things that begin have causes. So I think the best explanation of the universe is theistic. I hope I have explained this well enough! Thanks for the dialogue!

  21. Ofc I could see this coming..Even I was planning to come up with such a blog..But the way you have represented things is quite amazing..I appreciate your line of thought and hope for more posts on this topic from you
    Ps:I am an atheist though:-D

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