Where and When Did Life Begin?


Clark M. Thomas,


Hubble view of M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy

Nobody really knows when and where Life began. This fundamental question has been hijacked by specific religions for their own purposes, or simply lost to mystery. Nevertheless, this question is not alien to the history of the universe of universes, because life is an emergent manifestation of matter and energy.

We live inside one universe which is itself part of a community of universes, all of which constitute The Universe. Our bubble began some 13.7 billion Earth years ago. Most likely a large portion of the contents of our bubble was here long before our local big bang.

Our big bang occurred when a sufficient amount of matter/energy accreted to create a gravitational force at the center of one black hole which led to the ultimate collapse, a singularity. All current black holes in our universe do not have an unstable singularity, or point without dimensions, just an incredibly dense collection at the center of their event horizons. Theoretically, any current black hole could explode into another universe, given the accretion of enough matter/energy.

The great “big bang” explosion some 13.7 b.y. ago was generated by matter/energy that previously existed. It is absurd to claim that our big bang was something from nothing. We don’t need to invoke an unmoved mover to explain this awesome event. The elegant formula for gravity will suffice. That explosion only required enough accretion to compress the black hole’s core to the final state, whereupon the inward force of gravity precipitated a total collapse to zero dimensions; and immediately led to an equally strong outward force when gravity became zero at zero dimensions. I call this the Yin/Yang equation. Our baby universe first experienced its hyperluminal expansion, after which gravity resumed its role, and the new expanding environment organized itself into what we know today.

What I have written so far may seem weird to those of us who have grown quite comfortable with the parochial expansion model. My model is not a rejection of that big bang model. The new model is a correction that helps to explain why we live in a multiverse, and what was here before our big bang; and it points to the ubiquity of dark matter and dark energy. It also leads to a GUT, or grand unification theory, wherein the ultimate energy can be identified. I have gone more into these matters in another essay, Six Cosmological Fallacies.

The origin of life most likely predates our local universe. Life is robust, and primitive microbes can stay dormant in space for incredibly long periods. Precursor organic chemicals are abundant in galactic clouds. Life could travel great distances to populate suitable worlds. Life is almost certainly not restricted to the Earth or its neighborhood, nor even to our galaxy. Primitive and advanced life forms almost certainly exist both in our universe and in other universes that share energy and matter with us.

Currently we have no way to instantly and independently communicate with advanced beings, except perhaps through prayer. Throughout human history highly evolved beings could have been mistaken for gods. What we identify as aliens could either be independent life forms, or agents of an unmoved mover. If the second option is true, then they might be identified as angels.

Even the interactive presence of highly evolved and independent aliens would not exclude a teleological unmoved mover at the beginning of Everything. At the same time, an elegant viewpoint does not require such a metaphysical being, or fudge factor, to tidy up our theories.

We humans are free within religion to believe whatever we want about God, because we are finite beings dealing with matters far beyond our ability to verify. As honest humans, we should also tolerate alternative explanations for the firmament.

Accepting our limits in time and space would be the wise and humble posture, and it would elevate us humans higher “in the image of god” as both created and creative life forms. Tolerating other religions might also put a damper on some of those wacko religious wars we humans seem to enjoy.