As long as humanity has been around we are intrigued by our universe and how it works. Among many curious questions we had, one which stands out the most and an unsolved one at that is what was before the Big Bang? It’s the question that great thinkers have been trying to answer for many years and each generation we barely come close to the answer but we create more confusion. Even after 13.8 billion years of existence, we have yet to answer this question. But before we try to uncover what happened prior we must know what happened during the Big Bang.
The Big Bang
Throughout many generations, we’ve been under the idea that the universe might be existing infinitely without any start or end date and scientists believed it to be true. It was not until recently that we started to uncover things like ancient cosmic radiation and improved imaging technology that gave scientists a better understanding and established that the universe in fact was born at some point and everything in it is moving further apart. It is really hard to wrap our minds around the concept that everything we know now came from nothing.
According to the theory, it was just an empty space where suddenly a minuscule space appeared that was extremely hot and intense energies which barely lasted for a millionth of a second existed in it. From this quark were born, which we now know as the building blocks of matter, the entire universe is made up of quarks in a sense. But these quarks were constantly colliding into other present energy, which is now known as the Anti-matter. Somehow, matter started to exist and antimatter perished. Contrary to the name which denotes a massive explosion, it was more like stretching. Within 10-7 seconds the universe had expanded over a billion kilometers and continues to expand even today and four fundamental forces were formed which are now known as gravitation, electromagnetism, weak and strong nuclear forces. Following that it was getting cooler rapidly, and new particles were being created with various combinations of quarks in different proportions are creating these unstable neutrons along with other unknown particles. This time is known as Nucleosynthesis Era and all this happened in just one second. Now the temperature was cool enough to allow protons and electrons to be created and the first atom, along with uncountable others are formed. According to the scientists, this took about 100-200 seconds and is known as the Opaque Era. Here scientists believe hydrogen was the dominant gas and most probably the only gas in the universe. Finally, after thousands of years by gravity and clumping of hydrogen gas molecules gave rise to galaxies as we know them. These galaxies were the reason hydrogen gas was reduced in the universe and finally, there was light. The Big Bang term is actually used for the moment it all started, not the process.
Before the Big Bang
Prior to this event, nothing accurately can be measured. As our tools become useless and our theories irrelevant because this metaphorically and literally breaks our minds. There are three main theories that are considered as most likely what may be prior to the Big Bang.
- The Big Bounce Theory: As we are now certain that our universe has a deadline, even though it is after thousands of billion years from now it is most likely to happen. Whether it be due to the Big rip or heat death, scientists believe that this the universe as we know it had undergone this process countless times and the existence in itself is nothing but a cycle of Big Bangs and the death of the Universe. Even though this is very intriguing, scientists still don’t fully understand why and how if something ceases to exist can come back to existence. As we know it the universe is expanding, perhaps all the energies that are utilized in the universe are compiled back in one single point after being subjected to stretched so far out, from this instant implosion another Big Bang occurs and the cycle goes on.
- The Baby Universe: According to some quantum physicists our universe is not entirely the big picture of existence. In this theory, it is suggested that our observable universe is like radioactive nuclear decay. When a nucleus decays it radiates alpha or beta particles. In a similar fashion, our universe is considered a result of the emission of particles from a parent universe. This theory also suggests the concept of a parallel universe is just this: that similar particles, universes, in this case, radiate away from even larger parent universe and all of the off-spring universes co-exist but never interact with each other. Concepts like these really make you wonder what exactly is existence and if this parent universe actually exists. If a parent universe such as mentioned exists, it’d be of a size that we can’t even begin to imagine, comparatively our universe would be non-existent.
- The Nothingness: Even after countless hours of research and theorizing, some physicists have simply come to terms with the idea that seriously nothing existed prior to the Big Bang and even this is nearly impossible for our brains to comprehend as to how can there be nothing? As there is no way or method to know what existed before, it is only logical to accept there was nothing.
A Spiritual Take
When it comes to theories like the Big Bang, science and spirituality go like oil and water. But since we don’t have any scientific means to articulate what might have been around before this event it’s no harm to look at their explanation objectively.
Though there are some religions that just simply ignore the fact that anything like this ever happened, other practices actually give us an insight as to what might have been thanks to the great gurus.
The three that specifically stand out are The Vedas, Buddhism, and Sikhism, they really have a similar understanding, however, Sikhism provides more details. This is a discussion between the Guru Nanak and the yogic masters of the Himalayas. Upon being asked what was at the primal beginning this was Guru Nanak’s response.
The origin of life is under a celestial order, which is also responsible for the Big Bang. The world as we know, we interact with is a result of the projection of our ego. If one is to be liberated from the cycle of life and death they can achieve a state of internal stillness. This stillness of mind is what is considered the state prior to the Big Bang and he also adds that once a person is enlightened then and only then celestial order is understood and known. Also, he mentions pure consciousness without any alterations is the basis of the celestial order and this in fact is considered in most religions as “God”.
As you can see, science doesn’t have the answer to this question but has theories that may or may not be correct. Spirituality has a certain answer but it is only understood after a certain process which is more complex than this question itself. So will we ever be able to know for sure where the universe came from? Probably not and these are during the times we just have to accept that we don’t know and will never know.