Part 2 – Before I Tell You That, I Need to Tell You This
I’m not going to proclaim my faith in any religion, although I do have one. I’m not going to insist that an intelligent God created the Universe, although I do believe in God.
Instead, I’m going to focus on things we actually know enough about to reasonably believe that we can prove them – with facts, theory, and observation. I know that this means that my explanation is a scientific one (or at least a pseudo-scientific one, you be the judge) and that means that many people who would prefer a faith-based explanation will reject it. So be it. Anything I can say won’t have any impact on anyone determined enough to reject it, so I see no point in trying. If however you’re interested in something different, read on.
The Universe We Live In
In order to start considering the origins of the universe, you should first have a few difficult concepts in mind. In particular, the idea of spacetime.
Spacetime is one of the main ingredients of the universe, along with matter and energy. It was probably the biggest concept in Einstein’s General Relativity, and we now have a lot of data to prove its existence, and a strong body of theory that explains how it works. That doesn’t mean that we know everything about it – far from it – but we know a lot.
I keep calling it “spacetime” like it’s one thing, not space plus time. That’s because it is one thing, not two. Space and time are the four dimensions that make up spacetime – 3 dimensions in space (length, width, height) and one dimension of time.
Spacetime is what we experience as reality. Without it, there would be no “here” and “there”, there would be no “past” and “future” or “now”, and there would be no causation. That last one is important. One thing could not be caused by something else, since that would require time – a before the thing was caused, and an after it was caused. Without spacetime, there would be no change. In many senses time can be described as change. And without space, there would be no there there, so there would be no experience, no reality.
Spacetime is affected by gravity, and spacetime is an aspect of the universe. We have a lot of data, observations, and theory about spacetime as a part of the universe in much the same way that matter and energy are parts of the universe. Spacetime is an inseperable part of what the universe is – without spacetime there is no universe, and without the universe there is no spacetime. Anyone can propose a universe without spacetime as a theoretical exercise in the same way that anyone can propose a giant turtle that holds the Earth on it’s back. Interesting theory, but absolutely no reason to believe it’s possible.
The connection between spacetime and change is important to wrap your head around. Without a before and after, things can’t change, since there is no difference between before and after the change happened.
Without change, there is no causation. You can’t cause a change when there is no change, and you can’t have change without spacetime.