Inflation

One of the theories related to cosmology, specifically the Big Bang, is inflation. In the first microseconds following the big bang, the universe is thought to have expanded extremely quickly from an infinitely small point to a rapidly expanding space full of matter and energy. This expansion is thought to have burst forth essentially from nothing growing at super luminal speeds. (Note, while it is thought that nothing an travel faster than light through space, space itself can actually expand faster.)

The aspect of expansion theory that makes it so fun with regard to religion and atheism is that it offers opportunities for both to support their independent goals. One outgrowth of expansion theory is the possibility of multiple universes. The anthropic principle makes a single universe with life, but without God incredibly unlikely (not win the Powerball Lottery unlikely. More like win the Powerball a few thousand times in a row unlikely.) Inflation posits that there may be an infinite number of universes. In a multiverse with an infinite number of universes, one that can support life, while rare would not be unique, and no God is necessary to explain its existence.

On the other hand, expansion theory also gives God a place to live. If the universe burst into existence from a singularity, expanding rapidly in a uniform blast of space, energy and matter, there would be no universe as we understand it. Matter and energy would be dispersed uniformly across space, expanding ever outward and away from all other energy and matter. But that is not what happened, of course. Matter and energy are, thankfully clumped into regions of space, therefore able to form galaxies swimming in galaxy clusters where stars and planets and life can form. Such non-uniformity of the universe could be the result of quantum fluctuations in the singularity prior to, or just following the big bang. It seems also that the uniformity of the laws of physics and common constituents of matter and energy would be supported by this notion. An intelligence outside our universe, perhaps a scientist in a physics lab creating micro-black holes, could control these fluctuations to determine the eventual make up of the entire universe. Further, at a quantum mechanical level, cause and effect are often reversed or decoupled. An intelligence that arose from the birth of the universe, could actually cause the birth of the universe. This possibility arises from a very strange aspect of quantum mechanics.

Essentially, matter and energy at the very smallest levels seem to be effected by our very act of observing it. Further, these effects can be instantaneous over space and even have retroactive effects in time. One of the explanations for this is the multiverse theory. If a photon, or electron exists as a wave, it does not so much exist in the way we understand, but rather it exists as a set of possible states of existence. When we observe them one of two very peculiar things seems to happen. In some theories, every possibility exists. Every fork in the road, from the spin of a single electron to what you ate for breakfast births another universe. There are universes of universes spawning ever more. For every action, for every possible path of a single photon, there exists a universe in which every possible outcome occurs. Each possible outcome spawning additional universes, billions upon billions of times per second. This sounds crazy, but it appears that the only other option is that mind effects reality. That the very act of observing something can change the universe around us and in so doing, change the universe as it ever was and ever will be. By extension if mind can effect reality, and there exists a mind greater than we can understand, then this intellect could create the universe from nothing but variations in the quantum singularity before the big bang. Further such an intellect could theoretically do this after it came into existence as a result of the bang because in the quantum world, effect can precede cause.

Interestingly, in some theologies, including Christianity God does not exist in linear time in the way we perceive the universe. Rather he exists in an eternal now. An intellect that exists outside of time, with the ability to observe existence could be both the cause and effect of the quantum fluctuations that resulted in the creation of the universe. Further the idea of an eternal now, rather than linear time is interestingly a very good description of many quantum effects.

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