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Beyond the
Evolving Universe


Topics. In this section we will look to the hypotheses of the things that could happen/have happened beyond the evolving Universe, i.e. before the Alpha Point ('Big Bang') and after the Omega Point. Questions as Who/what created the Universe and Is there some kind of existence beyond the end of times will be treated. These hypotheses will also include concepts of God or another kind of Supreme Being. But this is not a discussion about the question if God exists or not. It's only an enumeration, if and only if there is something before the Big Bang and/or after the Big Crunch, of the hypotheses about what it could have been.

Method. Of course, all conjectures about phenomena beyond the actual universe are highly speculative: they lack every kind of objective argument or evidence. At first glance, only illusions and delusions are possible when one leaves the firm ground of objective knowledge, and scientific reserve should restrain from this kind of non-scientific aberrations. Nevertheless, the study of integrative thinking suggests that fairly plausible hypotheses can be formulated concerning phenomena we never observed and perhaps will never observe. In fact, large portions of our daily knowledge consists of suppositions formulated on the basis of analogy, and from time ot time proves to be highly reliable. The usefulness of this kind of thinking -apart from the intellectual pleasure of penetrating the impenetratable- is a kind of test for the consistency and liability of the knowledge we start from. And also, as is the case with the scientific postulates, it enables us to draw some conclusions otherwise completely uncertain. But thinking beyond the limits of objective science can only be acceptable on some stringent conditions.

(1) We have to take into account all available data, proved as well as highly probable, concerning the field of our hypothesis. This is the fundamental difference between integrative induction and unfounded speculation. Concerning the possible phenomena beyond the Universe, this rule implies that the author is supposed to be aware of the several layers of evolution and of the fundamental laws ruling this universal process. A thorough knowledge of just one or some layers of the evolving universe, even if one excels in such a knowledge, is blatantly unsufficient.

(2) We have always to remember that we are working with hypotheses, that always can be revised. Claiming that this kind of information is revealed by God himself or by any other moral or divine authority, and by consequence undisputably and eternally true, lacks any reference to objective knowledge, and even blocks the possible development of such a knowledge. Let us just look at some "revealed" descriptions in the Bible -the pre-eminent Book of Revelation: from the creation myth to the definition of ? = 3 ("Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about",2 Ch 4:2). On the other hand, a reference to a divine revelator not necessarily proves that the idea is wrong. It can be true by coincidence, or rest upon an intuitive, unconscious integration.

(3) We have to concede that the thesis that there is nothing / no God beyond the limits of time/space is perhaps the most un-scientific thesis we can imagine of. The non-existence of something can never be proved. Only agnosticism, a word coined by Thomas Huxley, reflects the honest attitude we can't know from current evidence.

(4) We have to be aware that many irrational concepts seem to be necessary by the apparently evident conclusions that are derived from them. The rejection of some basic concepts seems to undermine the evidence of some undisputable conclusion. The theories of Galilei, Darwin and Teilhard de Chardin were greatly refuted because they seemed to impair some universal assumptions concerning human value. The existence of ethics seems to presuppose a Supreme Judge and Regulator. Without God, man is free to behave without restrictions of any kind. The presence of a cosmic design seems to prove the existence of a Designer, etc. On the other hand, the presence of phenomena, contrary to the (presupposed) anthropomorphic nature of a Supreme Being, or unacceptable behaviour displayed by (some of) his followers, proves nothing concerning his existence. It only demonstrates that we don't (yet) know (enough) about his nature, or about Nature itself. Or it just disapproves the followers' attitude.

These restrictions and precautions are not just intended for this metaphysic domain, they are elementary in every kind of scientific thinking. If we respect these landmarks, a formulation of some existential hypotheses could be interesting.

So, these hypotheses don't require a prior proof of the existence of God, nor are they a proof for such an existence. They don't even suggest that such an existence should be useful or desirable within any explanatory frame. They just enumerate some possibilities, often mutually exclusive, about the interesting question, if there is something beyond the evolving universe, how such a 'system' could be conceived. We will see that the 'God hypothesis' probably is the least plausible.

Some hypotheses

These can be grouped into two sections: (1) there is nothing, and (2) there is something. Each of the several hypotheses takes into account some universal phenomena observed in nature and/or cosmic evolution.

Of course, the evolutionary hypothesis itself, or parts of it (e.g. the Big Bang) can be disputed. This interpretation is discussed in a page concerning the laws and tendencies of evolution. In this section we take the evolutionary theory for granted.
(1) There is nothing

This approach states that before Alpha and after Omga there probably is simply nothing. The Big Bang emerges from nowhere, and the Big Crunch will discharge into Nothing. Or, to avoid difficult and perhaps unsustainable notions as "Nowhere" and "Nothing": from and back to insignificant chaos. Universe as a meaningless little wave in the uniform ocean of chaos.

A dramatic description of this kind of feelings is brought by Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg.

Some variants of this theory:

1. The closed circuit model. Big Bang and Big Cruch are two aspects of the same singularity: when the Universe disappears, and with it time and space, another (or the same) Universe emerges at "the other side" of the implosion, restructuring the collapsing energies as in a Cosmic Catharsis. This occurs two or several times. Or just one timeless time. As the ouroboros of ancient mythology.

2. The open ended model. This vision simply presupposes nothing before and nothing after. A kind of existential vacuum condensing (auto-creating or just out of nothing) into some structured matter, and transforming this exceptional condition after some billions of years -what are billions on the cosmic scale!- back into structurelessness. The Buddhistic view on the universe is somehow related to this model.

I didn't find any arguments for this approaches, only the claim that no argument for any design of purposeful evolution is convincing, scientifically speaking, and hence that a No-Design hypothesis seems much more plausible. Sometimes, a hint is added that this kind of theories just try to hide or to appease our existential anxiety for the Void.

(2) There is something

This model has several variants.

1. The observable universe is only a part of the story. This vision suggests that the big bang is no more real beginning of evolution, than birth is the real beginning of life. Although things become more or less observable form this point, there are important processes before that, concealed for us. Making projections about this may prove very confusing, if not impossible.

This approach somehow repeats the arguments of the There-Is-Nothing approach, but has of course some good arguments. On the other hand it just shoves the problem a little bit further, without giving any plausible suggestion. In fact, the problem remains the same, even if we accept the existence of one or more earlier stages in Evolution before the one we currently consider as being the first. For that matter, Teilhard's analysis described less stages than the 9 we currently discern. The progress of science added two stages before Teilhard's first one (elementary particles) and intercalated even one between the molecular and the cellular level: the eobiontic stage. However, these additions rather confirmed his view of evolution by cumulative complexification rather than refuting it.

A recenty, interesting hypothesis, founded on mathematical projections, suggests that the Big Bang perhaps could have elicited by a clash between two universes. (the Big Splat). CERN's Maurizio Gasperini discusses in detail a number of Pre-Big Bang theories.

In other words, if we accept the possibility of one or more stages before the Alpha point (and one or more after the Omega point), there is still a gap beyond those stages.

2. There is a Supreme Being that created the Universe. Although there is undoubtedly a psychological "need" for inventing such a God / Creator / Lord / Father / Saviour / etc, and although many naive anthropomorphic -and often dangerous- ideas circulated about the characteristics of such a Supreme Being, the idea in itself has neither to be ridiculous nor offensing for human value. Of course, each era has its limited fantasies about such a being. Our ancestors liked a vehement and sometimes jealous and agressive Judge and Warrior -thanks God, standing behind us. We should rather think of a HAL-like Global, no, Universal SuperComputer. But also this "modern" view will of course prove false one day.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin formulated a hypothesis in which he describes the 'Holy Trinity'. God the Father could be the Creator, and the Creation, an act of universal love, his Son. Teilhard uses to label the cosmic evolution as the Christogenesis as if Christ, or at least his Mystical Body, develops towards the final stage, the Omega point. At this point the universe will be able to 'answer' the love act of God, showing some kind of reciprocal, creative love. This bidirectional creative interaction is labeled as the essence of the Holy Spirit. We will see in the 'Pro-creation hypothesis' that such a God hypothesis is not needed for a plausible explanation of extra-universal phenomena, although Teilhard's description shows some touching lyrism.

Many discussions about the God hypothesis are rather directed against some naive and primitive limitations in the God concept (see point 4 of the Introduction). To quote two frequent and well founded objections:

(1) The idea that God is supposed to intervene frequently in the course of affairs of his creation, by making revelations, granting special graces and other 'sacraments', and being open for prayers and supplications, is not only offending for human dignity, but most of all an offence for his own capability to create a 'perfect' universe, making necessary constant corrections. It is very well conceivable that a Universe should evolve without a constant need for corrections, like a good computer programme.

(2) The existence of pain, disease, aggressiveness and other kinds of 'unhumane' and 'undivine' traits of 'his' creation (and his officers!) is often used as perhaps the most incisive argument against the whole creation idea. The phenomenon of 'evil' is treated in another page (under construction), but anyway got special attention from Teilhard de Chardin. It is still conceivable, perhaps unavoidable, to accept the hypothesis of a designer and the existence of suffering.

3. The pro-creation hypothesis. As the constant  induction ('creation') of ever more complex and conscious organisms seems to be the most fundamental characteristic of universal evolution, and as this preoccupation stimulates humanity to progress in science and technology with the ultimate motivation of reducing and eventually eradicating any form of suffering, at the same time participating consciously in the completion of this evolutionary process, a moment will inevitably arrive where everything is realized, and mankind (or whatever will succeed to it) has nothing more to do, but to enjoy all this unlimited happiness.

This conscious humanity / Global Brain / or whatever may try to continue applying the most fundamental law of existence. And what better idea could we think of (currently...) than a Universal Project, i.e. conceiving and starting a new Universe, perhaps using therefore all available resources i.e. our own Universe. The existing but now completed universe could make the option to consciously restart a new universe, putting all its matter and remaining energy into this project, as do the procreating ovum and spermatozoid.

This could lead to a new universum, and perhaps to a chain of universes, or simply to an ouroboros universe. The 'Creator', sometimes called 'God', appears to be nothing more than our own or another Universe, perhaps the perfect humankind.

This hypothesis could make the God hypothesis obsolete, and reduce the conflict between the pro and contra God factions to a fight against one's shadow. We ourselves appear to be creating God...

Posted 2/02 - Latest Update 6/3/02 - Thanks for some exciting comments and valuable references by Chris Impens