“In the beginning…” always sets my mind spinning with a thousand questions, none of which ever offers any comfortable answers. How did the universe happen? Where did it come from? Where is it going? What does it mean?
Such questions, almost as old as time itself, make me feel like a caveman gazing at a crystal midnight sky. Even though we have come a long, long way from the Stone Age, those most knowledgeable among us still can offer only theories rather than answers.
If there was a beginning, what was before it? A scientist may say matter and energy; a philosopher, nothingness; a logician, the “uncaused cause”; a theologian, “God”; and the rest of us (except mystics and poets), admit we simply do not know.
If getting biblical, “In the beginning…was the Word,” was silence all there was – and endless, dark emptiness – before there was a before?
And, who spoke the Word? If, “In the beginning…” was the Big Bang, was it really a bang if no one was around to hear it? And how did every microscopic bit of matter converge, compress and explode? Or…was there even a beginning? That is, could the universe be eternal? Is evolution simply the workings of movement and constant change? Is some unnameable force involved? Is our Earth a “one and only” phenomenon, or are there other earths out there, somewhere?
See what I mean about questions?
If the Universe is eternal, without beginning, without end, then what need is there for an Uncaused Cause? And what about the stories created to explain our existence? Are they the “inspired word of God” or only stories trying to make sense to an evolving intelligence? If necessity is the mother of invention, is not knowing the birthplace of religion, or the beginnings of faith? Who can say?
How? What? Where? Who? And Why?
Questions that pulse in the midnight sky.
Cave people wondered, as do we,
About just how things came to be.
They didn’t know much, they didn’t have Hubble;
And though we do, we’re still in trouble,
Trying to figure the why and wherefore
Of what there was before a before.
All we can do is guess, shape a theory
That may make sense to some, but leave others leery
And live with not knowing till death makes its call,
Bringing its answers, once and for all.
In the meantime, living with mystery keeps us humble…wondering and searching, always.