13.7 billion years ago the Universe was a tiny, compact atom – or more exactly, a Singularity of quasi-infinite density – ready to explode into a continually expanding complex of galaxies we call the Macrocosm. 78 years ago I was a tiny speck of organic matter, the product of a victorious sperm and a receptive ovum, almost as infinitesimal as the afore-mentioned somewhat singular Singularity at the beginning of the Universe. I was a microcosm. I’ve put on a little weight and volume since, to the point that my doctor has pleaded with me to stop expanding. The similarity between the macro and the micro is striking, to say the least. A few statistics are worth quoting : our brains – well, yours at least, whatever about mine – contain 85,000,000,000 neurones and 1,000,000,000,000 cells, which is more than the number of stars in the Milky Way. Our brains have an electric cable network, throughout our bodies, measuring some 180,000 kilometers – nearly five times the circumference of the Earth. I don’t know about you but I find that pretty impressive.
We know how I happened. I’m still not sure why I did, but I’m glad I did. I have no idea how I turned into me. But WYSIWYG : what you see, mate, is what you get. We not only do not know why the Universe happened; we don’t even know how it happened. It’s not enough to say with Père Georges Lemaître and everyone else since this Belgian Catholic priest-scientist, a friend of Einstein, theorized about the original cosmic explosion that it was, according to Hoyle, because of a really Big Bang. The implicit question remains : how did the initial Singularity happen ? It must have had a cause. A nano-second before my father’s spermatozoïde met my mother’s ovum, I didn’t exist. The sperm and the ovum did. I didn’t. A nano-second before the Big Bang, did that initial atom exist or did it explode immediately it came into existence ? What brought it into existence ? What chemistry was at work to equip it with its mind-blowing potentiality to become the Cosmos ?
The temptation is overwhelming for some to assert not only that a pre-existent Force was its cause, but that a pre-existent Person or even a Trinity of Persons created it. The reason I opt for the former is that the latter is too convenient a short cut to “Intelligent Design”, a jumping to a conclusion entirely without evidence or justification.
I am amazed that somehow I became a collection of cells and finally the complex thinking animal and creative (albeit modest !) creator of this Blog. But at least I can attribute all this to a sperm and an ovum. No one has the foggiest idea to what we can attribute the primeval Singularity, destined (the word is a loaded one …) to become the Universe. But of one thing I am sure : there is no reason to attribute it to the Person(s) many call God. Because most people cannot tolerate not knowing the Cause, they invented a Creator. It makes sense to say “something” caused it. It is by no means obvious that “Someone” caused it. And it makes no sense at all to identify this “Someone” with a figment of primitive, prescientific imagination called Yahweh, the Blessed Trinity or Allah. The cell I used to be turned into me. The atom at Point Zero turned into the Universe. I can identify my parents. No one can identify the cause, let alone the “parent(s)” of the cosmos. Whatever caused it, it is pretty hard to believe that it resembled the God so many people worship. I, for one, am not going to worship an unidentifiable, unexplainable, impersonal chemical trigger of an astronomical chain-reaction. I guess that’s too much to expect from most people who need the comfort that comes from the God to whom they attribute both the macro- and the micro-cosm, and who has been created to explain the beginning of everything and even to assure them that though the former, the macrocosm, will one day cease to exist, they, former microcosms, will not : God, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Eternal Creator of the Universe and their Father who art in Heaven is waiting to bestow on them eternal life and allot them one of the many mansions He has reserved for believers.
There is an exchange in the Ridley Scott sci-fi movie “Prometheus” :
“How do you know ?”
“I don’t. It’s what I choose to believe.”