This is Essay LXVI of Mr. Stolyarov’s series, “A Rational Cosmology,” which seeks to present objective, absolute, rationally grounded views of terms such as universe, matter, volume, space, time, motion, sound, light, forces, fields, and even the higher-order concepts of life, consciousness, and volition. See the index of all the essays in “A Rational Cosmology” here.
It is often said that if any entity must have a finite age, then the universe must also have originated at some point in time. This is a mistaken view, as an analysis of what is meant by the term “universe” can show.
It is true that any entity must have a finite age at any point in time. The mistake here, however, is quite simple: the universe is not an entity! It is a mere collection of everything that exists.
The purpose of the term “universe” is to serve as intellectual shorthand that substitutes listing every single existent when one wishes to speak of universal principles that are applicable to everything (such as the axioms of existence and identity). The term “universe” is not in itself a legitimate concept. If the sum of Chicago, Quasimodo, a telescope, and a hippopotamus cannot be a legitimate concept, how can the sum of Chicago, Quasimodo, a telescope, a hippopotamus, and everything else be a legitimate concept?
If one were to say that Chicago, Quasimodo, a telescope, and a hippopotamus had a certain single origin in time, the statement would evidently be ludicrous, from any perspective. The more expansive such a statement becomes, however, the more reverence is given to it in contemporary academia! Rationally, though, it must be all the more ludicrous for it.
There is no such one thing as “everything,” nor even “the potentiality of everything.” If there is no such one thing, it cannot have a single origin in time. (It cannot, per se, have any quality, not being a single thing!)
Thus, all the contemporary speculations about a Big Bang that occurred to “initiate everything” and a Big Crunch to occur that will “destroy everything” are sheer blunders, caused by the inability to understand the limitations of a term such as “everything” (or its equivalent, “universe.”) Philosophy instructs the rational man to reject these superstitions right away.
The universe cannot have a beginning or an end, for the term “universe” is synonymous with “existence.” Existence exists. Existence can never not exist or not have existed. A=A.
Every entity has some temporal origin, but it need not be the same temporal origin as any other entity. Furthermore, no entity need necessarily ever cease to exist, though some do. The vast majority of entities that cease to exist do so at different times from those at which other entities cease to exist. Thus, ubiquitous observation refutes the idea that all of existence must have some single time or origin and some single temporal end.
Read other parts of “A Rational Cosmology” by clicking here.