WHAT WAS BEFORE THE UNIVERSE?
By Nikhil Handa
The Big Bang; a theory accepted by most and questioned by few (from a scientific viewpoint). It’s quite mind-boggling to think about the universe before any life existed. There was nobody to observe the universe and hence, nobody to describe the universe. It’s an event in the past and we will never be able to witness it in all its glory. But think of something that even pre-dates the creation of the universe; something that boggles the mind even more than the Big Bang does - and you arrive at the question:
‘What really existed before the creation of the Big Bang?’
Let’s ponder on this for a second. The default answer is that ‘there was nothing’. It was just a large expanse of nothingness. If you’re having trouble picturing this, just think of the reasons why Donald Trump should be the president of the United States. Nothing. Zero. Nada.
However, this implies that, well, nothing existed before the universe. Although that might seem obvious, just think about that for a second. There was no such thing as, well, anything.
And that is why I view this question as one of the most thought provoking, confusing, and incredibly annoying questions of all time. That doesn’t mean that people have just given up on trying to answer it, though.
St. Augustine, from the 4th century, had a theory that, you guessed it, nothing existed before the universe. Yes, we have already cleared that up, and it may seem like I’m just meddling with the unhelpful, but his theory goes a bit more extreme than that. Augustine thought that time was the creation of God. So before the universe, as there was no home for God, God didn’t exist (or He was just in this really messed up form that probably had a larger concentration of energy than a combination of five Infinity Stones and Nicki Minaj’s hair). Ergo, time didn’t exist, so there was no before the universe. The universe was the start and that’s it, even if it doesn’t make sense to human reasoning.
And for once, science and religion seem to perfectly agree on this matter. Albert Einstein (you may have heard of him) used the theory of relativity to reach his conclusion on the events before the creation of the universe. The theory of the relativity is that the speed of time is based upon the mass that surrounds you. In essence, a hefty mass will warp time. This means that, technically, although the effect is miniscule, time would run more slowly for someone standing next to a large boulder than for someone in the middle of a completely open field. Before the universe, all the mass for the universe to be was contained in one single spot, meaning that time was basically at a standstill. Because time was at a standstill, this coincides with the theory that Augustine had, that there was no before the universe, as time didn’t actually flow. It all just began with the Big Bang.
Although other ideas do exist, most of them exist within the dangerous, scarier than Boris Johnson being the UK Foreign Secretary, territories of quantum physics. We don’t actually understand this topic enough to create credible theories from it, but the most popular theory among quantum physicists is the theory of the multiverse, and that our universe was birthed from another universe. The multiverse suggests that every time a decision is made, another universe is created that carries out the alternative option. For example, I just decided to say that ‘I hate Pokémon Go’. That means
that another universe was just created, in which I say ‘I love Pokémon Go’ (which is a universe I quite frankly do not want to live in). This works either way however, so we may be the product of another universe, and we carried out an alternative action from that other universe.
But our knowledge on the subject is far too limited to mark this as a feasible theory. But the fact that we are still coming up with new theories just shows that we may not ever know for sure what pre-dated the universe. So, all we can do is keep coming up with them, until another one comes along and trumps all the previous ones, then another comes along and disproves the one before that, and you get the point.
But as long as this system carries on, I thought I might as well throw my own theory out there. Before the universe, I think there was… the word ‘SCOPE’ written in all-caps across the blank space. We literally created the universe. So go follow our Twitter.