The Creation of a Universe
by Kenneth James and Michael MacLean
Note: an updated version of this essay is available in the eBook, "The Creation of a Universe -- Thoughts on Origins, Consciousness and the Geometry of Existence."Introduction“What is the origin of the universe and how was it created?”
Some cosmologists suggest that all of the energy in the universe originated in a very small region of space called a singularity; and then, suddenly, there was a gigantic explosion which propelled that energy outwards. This theory and its offshoots is called the Big Bang theory.
The Law of Conservation of Energy, however, states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. If that is so, then all of the energy in the entire universe must have existed, without reduction or increase, since the beginning of time. This is clearly illogical!
To get around this problem, some suggest that the building blocks of the physical world are one-dimensional extended objects called strings. You may have heard of this, it's called string theory. A string is a very tiny amount of energy that vibrates at specific frequencies. In string theory, the necessity for singularities, and even particles, are avoided.
Others say that our universe may have been created from another, older universe.
It is also suggested that the universe originated in some sort of undetectable quantum excitement at unimaginably small scales. Nobel physicist John Wheeler, back in the 1960's, imagined that space-time has a foaminess to it, with sudden changes that could create infinitesimal wormholes, and quantum black holes that evaporate almost instantaneously. All of this activity would be far below the level of detection of even our most powerful scientific instruments.
This scientific speculation is fascinating, but no matter how deeply we take this process into the microcosmic world, or how far back we go in time, we butt up against the fundamental quandary that it is impossible to create something from nothing. At some point, we have to ask "How did the first something get created?"
The idea that the universe originated in some sort of infinitely small, undetectable process is valuable, however, because it blurs the boundary between matter and a pure creative potential. Such ideas bring us closer and closer to an undetectable and invisible Creative Principle.
Professor Krishnamurthy says, 'The universe was created... by transformation of something which was latent before that. Creation is just a manifestation of what was unmanifest before'".* Something unmanifest would also be invisible to our senses. So in quantum physics we have, almost, a meeting of the minds between science and metaphysics.
Science and religion are not so far apart. The Bible tells us, "In the beginning was the word, and the word was God." What does that mean? It expresses the idea that the universe began as a fundamental vibration, a Word, which came forth from a higher, non-physical consciousness. This primordial vibration of the universe has been called the OM, or AUM, in eastern thought. Quantum physics acknowledges that the observable universe and the particles in it are just an excitation of an underlying quantum field. In string theory, matter and energy are the manifestation of vibrating loops of string.
Common to all of these concepts is the idea that the material universe is fundamentally vibrational in nature. This idea leads to a powerful new way of looking at the universe, and life, which we have detailed in other essays. The point is that prior to the arising of a quantum field, or a vibration, or anything material, is the Creative Principle.
Because matter cannot create matter, we must assume that a Creative Principle is responsible for the origin of the physical universe. We will see later on that there is no contradiction whatsoever between this concept and evolution. We will see that as thought evolves from the simple to the complex, evolution is mirrored into the physical universe.
We will see that there is really no separation between spirit and matter. The two are aspects of the same unifying Principle. (In my movie, "The Unity of Spirit and Matter," I address this question in a multimedia format).
This approach has been acknowledged as valid by thinkers throughout the centuries, from the ancient Hindu scriptures called the Vedas, to the panpsychism of Alfred North Whitehead, to the aether theorists in today's frontier physics. Because there is no way to prove that a non-physical, creative principle exists (such a non-physical principle is, by definition, forever beyond the range of scientific measurement), we must necessarily go beyond the standard scientific model of the universe and into the realm of speculation. But I promise you that this will be a fun and exciting journey!
Using the spirit-mind-body approach, life becomes simplified. We say simply that the animating principle of the universe is the Source behind the activity of all life everywhere. When the consciousness of the flower departs, it wilts. When the consciousness of the human being departs, the body dies and it begins to decay.
I am proceeding in this way because otherwise, our reasoning becomes circular; we say that the universe was created in a singularity, but then we ask where the singularity came from and we go round and round, assuming hierarchies of beings or energies at levels that are logically prior. So we just state that consciousness existed before the universe began, and was responsible somehow for its creation.How that occurred is the subject of this essay.
I am going to say that there is a difference between consciousness and what I call a pure potential. A pure potential, which I call Pure Awareness, is the First Cause; consciousness is the creative and animating principle associated with the physical world.
Sri Nisargadatta says, "That which is prior to consciousness is the Absolute." Nisargadatta also says, "The original state prior to Consciousness cannot be described; one can only be That." In other words, the Absolute is a state prior to the arising of consciousness, and the physical universe, itself!
In this way we can define levels of consciousness in it's association with physical bodies and the material universe; for example, we can say that a human being has a far broader view of the universe than a dung beetle, because the senses of the beetle’s body are more limited than ours. We will explain and elaborate on this idea as we go along.
So with that, let’s begin!Quality vs. Quantity
Let's begin our discussion of consciousness by looking at the difference between a quality and a quantity. A quality we will define as a pure potential, a causative influence which has unlimited scope.
In the physical universe we can observe the qualities people exhibit. We say: 'He has character' or 'She is full of life'. These are reasonable statements but they cannot be accurately quantified. If asked 'why do you say she is full of life?' we may observe that she is always cheerful, has lots of energy, and participates in many different activities. But it would be hard to write a mathematical equation to describe the quality called 'full of life'. The reason qualities cannot be accurately specified is because they stem from consciousness itself, which may change its mind at any time and so exhibit entirely different characteristics. We will say that a pure quality cannot be measured or observed, and that only the creations of the quality exist. In the essay below I will describe how this Pure Quality can create a universe and physical bodies to experience in that universe.
A quantity is much easier to understand: it is something observable. We see quantities all around us, the chair we are sitting in, the house we live in, the sun, moon and stars and everything else we can perceive upon our planet and in our universe.
A quantity is something that exists.
A pure quality does not exist, but is the originator of all that exists.
Everything we see around us is the creation of consciousness, which is the ultimate, pure quality, unmeasurable itself, but the creator of all that is measurable. In this chapter I will attempt to explain how consciousness itself comes into being, and how a pure quality can create a universe in which to experience. The reason for doing so is to lay some groundwork, in order to explain the workings of the Universal Operating System. Many of us have been taught that the universe is a cold and uncaring place, but I will try to show that, fundamentally, the universe has been designed to be a joyful and wonderful place in which to experience!Background
Imagine you are an eternal being, complete within yourself. There is no universe yet, so there are no planets or galaxies, no matter and energy, only a feeling of joy and perfect bliss. Since there is nothing to look at, you are aware of nothing outside yourself, yet you feel a sense of complete fulfillment. Sort of like floating on a completely calm ocean in a perfect state of serenity.
We begin this way because it is illogical to suppose that the animating principle which created the universe is psychotic, or negative. Only a psychotic would want to live a life of eternity feeling lousy; and in fact, only a nutcase wouldn't want to feel as wonderful as it could. So we give the Creator of All the benefit of the doubt, and assume he/she feels pretty good about himself/herself. We begin by assuming that the inherent nature of this eternal quality is one of perfection and infinite well being.
If you were such an eternal being, perfect within yourself, why would you want to create a universe in the first place? Well, the basic motivation for the creation of anything, I think, is to have fun with it. If the creator is an infinite being, then it needs an infinite universe in which to experience (the creator has no gender, bodies have gender). It's the difference between imagining something and actually living it. We will see later on that the beginning of the universe occurred as the result of a profound idea that had never before occurred to the creator, and that the unfolding of the universe is a continuing series of new and evolving concepts.
We will say that the creator was aware before there was anything to perceive, before there was matter and energy. We say metaphorically that the creator, not being satisfied with its dream, had the desire to know Itself, and so the creator manufactured a universe in which to explore the infinite aspects of Itself. This is where we begin our discussion, before the existence of any universe, before even the first atom!
Because nothing exists, we must dispense with words like "exist" "is" and "have." We can, however, use "be," which implies a pure creative potential that we will refer to as Pure Awareness, or Universal Consciousness.
Who or what is the creator of the universe, and what is the relationship between the creator and a human being, or any life form? Each and every human being, each and every life form, is an aspect or extension of the creative principle, the creator of the universe.
Let us, therefore, not assume that the creator is a being separate from you. If you are uncomfortable with the idea that you could be a creator being, then visualize yourself as an aspect, or small portion, of a vastly bigger and grander being. I believe that we have gotten into trouble by holding the concept of God as completely separate from us, for if God created everything in the world, and we see God as something separate, then we also consider all things outside of ourselves as separate from us. This leads to the idea that the whole world is an alien place. It leads to an attitude of 'me against the world'. If we can look at everything in our world as something connected to us, as part of us, then we can stop being victims of life and begin to live life more joyfully.The Short Answer
Truth is simple and powerful, but it is sometimes unsatisfying! We could say, truthfully, that the creator is eternal and made everything in existence, and our discussion would be over. Because that is the way it appears to an eternal being. If we ask, 'well, who or what created this eternal consciousness?' the reply is simply that an eternal being cannot be created, it has always been and will always be; that an eternal being is outside all linear concepts of time.
An eternal being is not an intellectual concept. In my study of philosophy and religion I often came across the idea that the creator is an intellectual being, a vast and infinite Mind. Of course, there are plenty of descriptions of God as an all-loving being, but often in the translation God is depicted as more of a mental than a feeling being. Of course the creator of the universe is an intellectual genius, but that is not his/her only attribute! I believe that the quintessential aspect of the creator must be love, joy, and bliss, for I have observed that the only reason anybody or any life form does anything is because it feels good. This desire for feeling good must be the primary motivation for all life, and so the creator must be, ultimately, a being that feels very, very good indeed. It would be pretty awful to believe that the creator is eternal, and grouchy! I believe that the creator is a being who is so full of love and joy that such a question (who created consciousness) is a meaningless intellectual exercise. If the creator were asked such a question, the creator might reply 'know thyself, and the truth shall set you free.' The profound questions proposed by the intellect can be answered by simply feeling the energy of life surging within you. This energy is so positive, so wonderful, that when fully connected to it, the profound questions of life proposed by the intellect seem almost childish.
But this sort of argument always pisses me off, because it either avoids the question, or gives a circular answer (an eternal being has always existed). Accurately circular, for as we shall see later on, consciousness by its very nature is self-reflexive, which means, it has the ability to modify or change itself. Nevertheless, it is saying, 'God, or consciousness, created itself' which leaves me feeling that the question has not really been answered. So in an attempt to explain things more understandably from the point of view of a human being immersed in the flow of time, lets create artificial hierarchies of awareness. The human mind understands ideas better if they are compartmentalized; even if it is not entirely accurate to do so.
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