The Creation Myth — A Brief Look at the Universe
By Alan Thurley
Science is the great seeker of our age. (In past times Religion performed this function, but at the present time the various fragments of the formal religions are too involved in internecine warfare and the seeking of pre-eminence.
What is it that used to be sought by Religion which is now sought by Science? The answer would seem to be knowledge of the initial state of the World and of what preceded it and brought the World into being.
Most religions have some kind of Creation Myth. Science also has such a teaching. I any such description of how the World came into being is to be acceptable today, it should conform to the latest scientific knowledge and be presented in as traditional a form as possible.
Now science has been saying for some decades that the Universe started with a Big Bang between 10 and 20 billion earth-years ago. Somewhat more recently there has been much speculation as to what happened at the beginning. The situation now is that some scientists, notably Professor Stephen Hawking, are actively considering the conditions that might have obtained immediately prior to the Big Bang. It has been suggested that the time taken to form the Universe from an initial Singularity is of the order of 10-35 (one, preceded by 34 zeros and the decimal point) second! Hawking defines the minimum energy of the Singularity, suggests that it need only be a single very massive particle, and affirms that the resultant Universe after the Big Bang must inevitably expand due to the Exclusion Principal. This states that no two particles may occupy the same position in space.
It must be fairly evident that the three dimensions of space have no logical existence prior to the formation of the Universe. It must be equally evident that in order to have any meaning, the dimension of Time pre-existed the formation of the Universe, if only by 10-35 seconds.
This introduces questions as to how many dimensions there are, and as to the definitive quality of a dimension, its character.
First a consideration of what constitutes Dimension. Space would be the obvious place to start, since it is commonly said to consist of three dimensions, and indeed embodies all that is known about Dimension.
Space then consists of three dimensions, commonly recognised as up-down, left-right, and forward-backward, relative to the observer. First can these three shown to exist independently of each other, and what exactly do we mean by one, two, and three-dimensional objects? Also are there any other spatial dimensions?
A three-dimensional object, as we all know, has volume and a measurable extent in three directions mutually at right angles; height, width, and depth.
A two-dimensional object has (conventionally) no height. The nearest approach to this in the real world is an infinitely thin sheet of paper. It is interesting and instructive to note that the two-dimensional character of the paper is preserved even when it is bent into the third dimension. It still retains the characteristic of length, breadth, and no thickness whilst occupying three dimensions. If the sheet were to be intelligent it would not be aware of the third dimension in normal circumstances.
As with the two-dimensional sheet of paper, a one-dimensional object has only length, like a piece of infinitely thin string. Again it retains its one-dimensionality when aid randomly on a flat surface, and also when screwed into a tangled ball.
So we can say that one characteristic of a dimension is that it retains its integrity in higher dimensional frames of reference. What then of a point? In what dimension can this be said to lie? It has no length, breadth, or height, yet it cannot be ignored; it exists. Surely then, the dimension appropriate to a point is the dimension of time. It has a durability, an “is-ness”, a time at which it began, and a time at which it will cease to exist. So Time then must be a dimension. The dimension of duration and relationship. Thus it follows that since the line, plane, and solid all also share the quality of duration, then Time is a prior dimension to Form. Time, in fact, encompasses Form.
Is there then a possibility of further, as yet not commonly recognised dimensions? Can anything deduced from current knowledge of Time
and Space to indicate any fundamental property of Dimension?
One such property would surely be that it had existed unchanged from the beginning of the Universe or before. We have seen already t at rime has so existed; it should be obvious that the dimensions of Space have also. So what else has the property of existing unchanged from the beginning, and of being fundamental to the Universe as we know it?
Modern science has been searching for the fundamental particles of matter that make up our Universe. They have discovered in their search that
with regard to these elementary particles it is impossible to define their position and their energy at the same time. They cannot be captured and measured. There is a ways an uncertainty. These particles and their
interactions can only be described in terms of probabilities. Everything all of matter, is subject to this uncertainty. It’s just that in the world we consider to be normal, there are so very many billions of particles interacting that the overall probability becomes what we would call a normal event with a normally expected outcome.
Now at the dawn of the Universe there were immense numbers of particles (all deriving from the one pre-existent Singularity) and all possible interactions undoubtedly occurred; some more probably than
others. At this point the possible futures of the Universe were essentially infinite. In order for all possibilities to be manifested, a dimension of Space
beyond and above the three known would be needed to “hold” the plurality of possible Universes. This concept of multiple probability Universes is not new. Hawking and his contemporaries have wondered why the Universe should have produced Life in general, and rational Human life in particular. Did the Universe have to develop the way it did, or did it do so in order to produce Man? This latter postulate is referred to as the “Anthropic Principal” and is a perfectly respectable scientific question. The validity of any such plurality of Universal possibility as a dimension as such, is somewhat
harder to justify since it is much harder to recognise and detect. Any such plurality would necessarily have initiated at the same moment as the birth of the Universe, and remained unchanged in its properties thenceforward.
There is another test for a dimension in that humans are endowed with at least one sense which can directly perceive the essence of a dimension. For instance touch can investigate the three dimensions of Space, individually and collectively. Hearing can investigate Time, since sounds are time-dependent vibrations. The eye can do so too with light, and with form. What other sense organs are there? Taste and Smell are specialised touch mechanisms.
The Brain perhaps is a sense organ. Certainly it makes contact with the Universe indirectly through the five senses, but what else does it do? Well now, it is where the process of thought goes on, and is also a channel in contact with the Mind. Note carefully, it is not itself Mind. Mind is something else; something related to thought but not thought; something
accessed by the brain, but not the brain. Is the brain then a sense organ, detecting dimensions unrecognised? Is it that Mind is a dimension?
Mind is a difficult thing to quantify; seems boundless, to extend to the plant kingdom and even to the whole planet (see Gaia — Lovelock). It can
not be said to conform to spatio-temporal co-ordinates, (that is Mind cannot be isolated). Thus Mind shares most of the attributes of a dimension. It only remains to discover whether Mind was present at the Beginning.
At the birth of the Universe all was apparently chaos. But ordered chaos, for it was at this state also that the fundamental physical Laws and Principles occurred which determined the continuation of the Universe. To us today, Laws and Principles are accepted as of the realm of Mind. It is difficult then to deny that Mind was present at the Beginning.
A consequence of this admission is that all things properly the domain of Mind are indeed lodged in this dimension. Thus it could be argued that all knowledge from all of time is already resident in Mind; awaiting access. Hence our common statement regarding an Idea, that “Its Time has come”; that it should be found in Time now. Just such a delving into Mind must have produced the “Creation” myth presented here, for certainly it expressed itself sequentially, and in its present form, spontaneously.
Hierarchically, Mind must have pre-existed even Time, since the pre-existent Singularity conformed to Law. Hawking has pointed out that such a Singularity need only consist of one single particle, and has even ascribed to it a minimum energy (and hence mass) at the point immediately prior to the Big Bang.
What else can be said? Interestingly, all the pronouncements of Religion regarding the Creation have ascribed the process of creation to a Creator who is supposed to have pre-existed “His” creation. Now that Science has delved into the Origin and discovered a Singularity pre-existing creation, one must assume surely, that Science has found God. Are all of the definitions of the Creator now satisfied? One may well suppose so, and yet Science would not claim this, and perhaps on reflection neither would Religion. There seems something unsatisfactory here. A lack of purpose. Religion has persistently claimed that the Creation was a conscious act, that Go had a pre-existent Self-Knowledge or Awareness.
How does this tie up with a pre-existent Singularity as defined by Science? What attribute can be apportioned to such a singularly fundamental object, which equally applies to the concept of a Creator God?
Surely “Is-ness”; an unstructured fundamental “Awareness” of being, is the only valid answer. That this Awareness pre-exists all else, and extends to the present moment essentially unchanged, unmodified, all encompassing, and at the same time unknowable and means it has all the characteristics of a dimension. Perhaps it is even the fundamental dimension? Then prior to Awareness, God, or the Singularity, was Not.
Then all was Void surely?
Void is unknowable, by definition. But it is important, even though it is Not. There is a saying in the Tao Te Ching which perfectly expresses is:
Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub.
It is the hole that makes it useful.
The Void cannot be said to cease when Awareness Is, nor yet when Mind, Time, or any other Dimension Is, either singly or collectively. Thus it is undeniable that Void is Dimension. The fundamental, all pervading, original dimension, supporting all other dimensions. Permitting the Now!
Returning to our present condition, an overall test of validity for the new Creation Myth would surely be that it is to be applicable in the everyday “Real World”. Let us therefore consider the process of waking up, or regaining consciousness after an anaesthetic. If you can remember these occasions in crystal clear detail, you will realise that the sequence of the Myth is the sequence of physical awakening. Unawareness, followed by awareness of Being, of Mind and thought, of Time. Then the sudden awareness sequence of Movement, Expansion, Space, and Uncertainty. And then the involvement in the world of “Normality” and forgetfulness of the process of arriving there. The process of failing asleep, or going under an anaesthetic, is the reverse of course. Awareness of Space precedes Time in falling away, and “Is-ness” is the last to go “into the Void” as it were. These sequences should also be expected to apply to the Birth and Death of the organism, although these processes are not amenable to observation and report.
Why then are we all so unaware, in normal life, of the constant process of creation around us? It is because we know all the things around us, isn’t it? We have given these things, lifeforms, each other, Name. We don’t truly see anything any more; we only deal with Names, and the concepts we have attached to the Names. We see Phiroz as a complex construct of personal memories, and expect him to conform accordingly. The Name, “Phiroz”, is our persona! handle for him; our personal prison for him; our personal set of blinkers to view him through. Is it any surprise that we so rarely understand or truly communicate with him? How much more then, is it difficult to live in the “Real World” and not be enslaved by Name? For to renounce Name is to accept Uncertainty, the reality of the final dimension of the Myth. The uncertainty of every known thing, of every known process, of every relationship.
The only certainty, that Nothing Is Certain.
So to practicalities. Can we experience anything of this re-existent “Is-ness”, is penultimate dimension? (it is perhaps unreasonable to expect to experience Void, since it Is Not.)
We can experience all the other dimensions, and as should be expected, we can also experience the “Is-ness” dimension as well. This again uses the brain as the sense organ. Perhaps “doesn’t use” is a better description, for all that is needed is to be quiet and Be Here Now!
“Now”, of course, is that instant between the Past, which is no longer, and the Future, which is not et. It is the only place where we can be; the only place that is. It is paradox. It is that infinitely short interface between Past and Future, and yet it is Absolute and Eternal. It is not dependent on Time, Space, or Mind, or on any of the attributes of these, such as Form or Thought. Neither does it exclude any of these, for they also are. Now is the realm of the is.
Awareness Is Now!
And yet there is still the Unknown; for there is still the Void, pre-existing even Awareness. It also has all the characteristics of Dimension. Perhaps it is the all-pervading Original Dimension supporting all other dimensions?
Is there no end to this mystery?
- Before the Beginning Is was not for the Void was Absolute and
Inconceivable for it Is-Not.
(And the Evening and the Morning were Uni-Form…)
- At the Beginning is Awareness and the Void Is filled. From the
Beginning the Void always Is-Full.
(And the Evening and the Morning were the first Day…)
- And the Awareness took unto itself Structure and expressed Mind
and the Mind was quiet for it Just-Is Absolute and without Form or
Condition for neither yet was.
(And the Evening and the Morning were the Second Day…
- Then the Was and the Will-Be arose in Mind and the Unity that Is
became the Trinity that Is-Not and a Confusion and a Conflict suffused into
the Void and its Name is Time.
(And the Evening and the Morning were the Third Day…)
- And Time inevitably expressed Con-Sequence which Is Movement
and in this Movement Awareness and Mind are not easily found and
Emptiness Is conceived in the Void though it Is-Full and thus Confusion and
(And the Evening and the Morning were the Fourth Day…)
- As the Is Moved Direction was conceived in Mind through the Was and the Will-Be and a Plane established. Thus it was that Expansion
began and Illusion was born for the Is can only expand if it Is-Not. Nevertheless Expansion Is a very Powerful Expression of Mind and the
second dimension of Movement.
(And the Evening and the Morning were the Fifth Day…)
- As with the Plane the Was and the Will-Be of Mind established a
third dimension of Movement called Space and the Illusion of Expansion in
three dimensions was expressed instantaneously in a Big Bang. Thus the
Universe Is born the Child of Illusion and Mind in which all Dimensions are
Manifest and the Void-Is hidden in Form.
(And the Evening and the Morning were the Sixth Day…)
- Now Form-Is multitude and infinite in its manifestation and capacity
for change. Thus the Universe-Is expressed dimensions of Space of infinite
possibility and Paths called Probability formed in the plurality of the
Universe Is and their Name is Uncertainty for No-Thing Is.
(And the Evening and the Morning were the Seventh Day…)
- Thus Is Form made Attachment through Name yielding a great
Unknowing. And behold Form became legion and Life also and an Illusion of Transience was on the face of the Deep.
It came to pass in those Days that a Life Form wondered the Origin
and Creation of the Manifest Universe and a Quest began and Maps
called Religion abounded as did Confusion and Conflict.
Then did Mind become Re-Cognised as the source of Illusion and the
Is sought between the Was and the Will-Be which Is-Now and infinitely
unique in its eternal exclusion of thought.
Thus is the Quest Paradox.
(And the Even-ing was complete and the Mourning unceasing for
there always Is Now… beyond reach.)
- A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking, Bantam Press
- Gaia, J. E. Lovelock, Oxford University Press
- Law and Order in the Universe, Paul Davies,
New Scientist, 15th October 1988, pages 58–60
- Cyclical Universe Bounces Back, John Gribbin, New Scientist, 19th January 1991; page 27
- Science in the 20th Century, Scientific American, Special Issue 1991, pages 48–79 (not easy reading!)
© 1991 Alan Thurley