Cots and the Cosmos Commencement

Science & Spirit 6 (Winter 1995): 8-9

Kevin Sharpe

What caused the big bang?

My baby daughter lay in her soft crib under colorful mobiles that gently turned. She gasped and fought for life. Another bout of pneumonia whisked her to the edge. I looked for several months to find the culprit. I found it. When it rained heavily, runoff from the park behind the house flowed over our backyard and settled under the house. It was the dampness of the house from this water that caused Miriam's illness.

Edward Tryon suggests it started from events at the quantum level of "the vacuum." This vacuum goes far beyond the absence of air; it contains nothing, not even space or time. But it does possess infinite energy (something physics ordinarily ignores) and we know that microscopic particles come into existence from it and then instantly annihilate each other. It was one of these fleeting fluctuations that flashed up the big bang.

Besides a pre-logic, something else pre-exists. Drees writes in Beyond the Big Bang: "Even if theories are perfect and complete, they do not answer the question of why there is anything which behaves according to those theories. The mystery of existence is unassailable." Something bestows existence on the universe, raising it from a conjecture that may or may not happen, to a reality. In A Brief History of Time, Hawking similarly asks, "What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?" The mystery--the gift Drees writes of and the fire of Hawking--plus a pre-existing logic from which the laws of the universe develop, lie in the subuniverse. They provide the universe, John Wheeler writes, "with a way to come into being."

Hawking, as well as other cosmologists, assumes the Divine's existence.

Copyright 1995 by Kevin Sharpe.