Creation and the Universe
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Recently, scientists have established the age of the Universe, give or take a few billion years. (This margin of error has now been greatly reduced.) Some of those who believe in a "God the Creator" have taken heart from this finding. If there was indeed a determinable beginning to the Universe, then there must have been cause behind this event, and that cause was a Supreme Being.
Let us look at this argument which is based on cause and effect. In summary, it is if there was an effect, there must be a cause preceding it in time and that cause was God.
But, when we look at the origin of the universe, we are not looking at only the creation of matter. A fundamental part of the origin is the creation of time and space as we know it. The very dimensions in which we exist were not there until the universe began. In no sense that we can understand, was there a time or place before the universe began. Because, "before the Universe" has no logical meaning within time as we recognize it. (Some cosmologists now  consider the preceding assertion may be wrong.)
This means, that as there is no such thing as "before the Universe" within time, and no "before the Universe" within space, then there is no logical requirement for a Prime Cause, as cause can only come before effect.
Whether there was a Prime Cause or not is unknowable to us - as it has to be outside time and space as we know it. Which leads us back to our First Article of Faith -
1. The existence of a Supreme Being is unknown and unknowable.
Perhaps the universe was the creation of a being living in dimensions of time and space unknown and inaccessible to us. Visualize, if you will, a cosmic Homer Simpson stuffed to total satisfaction with his third helping of Marge's most excellent baked beans. As he stands up from the kitchen table, he unavoidably breaks wind so forcefully that the fabric of his time and space continuum is ruptured. And he then settles down to watch TV, forever oblivious to the hot cloud of gases expanding in a new set of time and space dimensions.
Such a scenario is entirely compatible with our Second Article of Faith -
2. If there is a Supreme Being, then that Being appears to act as if entirely apathetic to events in our universe.
- The margin of error has now been greatly reduced. When this article was written in 1996, the age of the universe was considered to be in the range of 10 -14 billion years. In February 2003 the first results of NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe were released. The age of the universe is now estimated to be 13.7 billion years with a one percent margin of error.
- The Myth of the Beginning of Time by Gabriele Veneziano,
Scientific American, May 2004; discussed in Meditation 218
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