A ONE TIME BEGINNING
Hoyle and other scientists fervently pursued alternative explanations to a one-time origin of the universe. Eventually, however, the evidence showed clearly that the universe had a beginning, and the big bang theory was proclaimed victorious. Ironically, it was evidence from Hoyle’s own research that helped confirm that the universe had a one-time beginning.
Today most cosmologists and physicists accept the big bang theory as the scientific explanation of how our universe began. In fact, scientists believe they can trace the history of the universe all the way back to 10-43 of a second. Prior to that point in the history of our universe, all of our current theories break down and science can see no further back. The very beginning of the universe remains a mystery.
Imagine rewinding the universe back to its beginning, a time when there were no stars. No light, matter, or energy. Not even space or time. Suddenly an enormous explosion erupted from this nothingness at a temperature exceeding a million trillion trillion degrees.26 Time begins along with matter, energy, and space.
When a bomb ejects shrapnel into the air, both the bomb material and the space it blows into have already been there. However, in the beginning of the universe, neither space nor matter existed until the explosion. The space surface of the universe and the newly created matter came into existence.
According to the big bang theory, this explosion launched the entire universe, from the most distant galaxy, to the most colorful nebula, to quasars flashing like beacons, to our own comforting sun and nearby planets, to you and me with our questions about where we came from and what it all means. Since man alone thinks about the meaning and purpose of life, the beginning—and the cause of that beginning—must be fascinating to each one of us.
The verdict is in on the question of whether the universe is eternal or had a beginning. The idea that everything in the cosmos originated out of nothing seems mythical, yet it is now mainstream science.