For almost one hundred years, we have known that the universe is expanding. We have traced this expansion back in time, through to the very beginning when the universe occupied an infinitesimal point in space. This was the state of the universe at time t=0, over 13 billion years ago.

It is from this starting point that everything we are familiar with came into existence: protons, neutrons, stars, galaxies - even space and time itself are here. At time t=0, this point began an unprecedented inflation, in this instant time and space were born. This event has become known as the Big Bang.

The big bang is our current, most accepted theory for how the universe began. It was inspired by the discovery that the universe is expanding.

It was an unusual and highly counterintuitive event. It was not an explosion, it did not occur inside anything, rather, everything that we are familiar with: left, right, up, down, cause and effect, the stage for all physical laws, was getting larger.

We possess a natural curiosity of the world around us. We want to know how and why things are the way they are.

This curiousity has served us well because it carries significant survival benefits. If we see an event and ask ourselves why it happened or what caused it, we are more likely to spot a threat before it becomes dangerous in the future.

Our curiosity gives us the ability to look beyond the present moment. From it, we have evolved an urge to look for causes, it is an inseparable part of our biology. Because of this, we really can't help ourselves when we attempt to find a cause for creation, it is second nature for us to ask, 'What Caused the Big Bang?'

Any answer to this problem must begin with a key realization: both time and space are contained within the universe and came into existence only AFTER the Big Bang occurred. The cause of the universe must not include them, they are not available to us. It must come from outside our experience.

In this realm, the solution, whatever it is, will seem very strange to us, and it will almost certainly make no sense to our brains because here, it is possible to have an event with no cause. There is no time, there is no before in which the Big Bang could have occurred, there simply is no cause and effect.

We must somehow come up with a solution that exists outside time and space.


For many "God caused the big bang" is a perfectly reasonable response. This seems to help many cope with the unsatisfying prospect of an event without a cause.

The problem of course is that one is then immediately forced to ask, "From where did the creator come?"

If the answer is "he always existed" then we have a situation, from a causality standpoint, that is no more satisfying than a universe that springs forth from nothing. A creator that has always existed is an entity that somehow exists without a cause.

So this answer doesn't solve the causality issue whatsoever.


Further, the idea of cyclical universes doesn't solve it either.

For reasons having to do with entropy and the second law of thermodynamics the process of an ever cycling universe - one that continually expands and contracts - cannot be perfectly efficient. This means that each successive expansion will take a little longer than the previous one.

If each previous universe is, say, half as long as the one that succeeds it, and the one before that half as long, this infinite sum does eventually converge to a universe with zero length with no obvious past and we are back again to at least one big bang starting for no obvious reason.


The real problem with this question of what caused the big bang is ultimately a biological one; our brains have evolved to assume that everything has a cause, we can't imagine any event ever not having one.

But 100 years ago, we couldn't imagine that our galaxy was only one in an ocean of one hundred billion. 200 years ago, we couldn't imagine that the stars were more than 13,000 light years away. 500 years ago, we couldn't imagine that the Earth revolved around the Sun. If our past enquiries into the universe are any guide, the truth of the cosmos is always more than we have imagined.

The answer to the cause of the universe will almost certainly be something strange and, by definition, wholly beyond our experience. Our occluded brains must always be open the answer, especially when asking questions that push the limits of our capacity to understand.


Wow all the answers to my questions were solved withthe realisation that we still have alot to discover and nothing is off the table?
Jonny jakes - 8th June 2016
So space in the sense of an empty void did not exist prior to the Big Bang? Then what is the universe expanding into? That the sum total of matter and energy within the range of current human perception may be expanding outwardly is entirely plausible. But to state that empty space came into existence at a certain point, along with time-an intangible temporal parameter-appears like a dubious and mystical assertion. For one thing it poses the question, what is non-space and what is non-time? If universe is deemed to be a term that encompasses "everything" then it must take that into account. In terms of the chart/graphic used to illustrate this, the area outside the graphic.
Joe Hansem - 11th June 2016
Can anyone answer Joe Hansem's questions? What is the universe expanding into and what is none space and non time? I've struggled with these question s for years.
Paul Brophy - 4th July 2016
I don't think anyone can answer Joe Hansem's questions because all we know are the space and time that we are part of. Our biology and mind are subject to space and time and explaining what is "outside" of these two measures is impossible for us. However, the fact that we ask these questions in the first place is indicative of some kind of answer which, in my humble opinion, exists but we can't comprehend it in rational terms. It's beyond our imagination because we can only imagine space and time. Therefore, whatever the answer is, it must be part of a system outside everything we know or are made of. It thus becomes a matter of belief.
Mourad Zerroug - 10th July 2016
I do not think anyone can answer 'The question'. When I try to imagine non-space prior big-bang I feel my brain cannot tolerate my torture anymore.
Chinthaka Wijayaweera - 13th July 2016
The "First Something", whatever it was, has no cause. It was eternal. Many scientists once believed the Universe was the eternal, included, First Something (e.g., Eddington, Einstein). But we now know it "began". If beginnings do not happen without a cause, then something that transcends the Universe itself caused the Universe to begin. An eternal, uncaused, all powerful, "Mind" is a plausible option.
Phil N. - 5th August 2016
The universe is not expanding into anything; that is the whole point. It is an expansion OF space, not an expansion in space.
bluesky - 12th August 2016
I know there wasn't any space and time before the big bang. What my thoughts about this matter are that there could have been energy before the big bang which caused the big bang. Energy is always there, now and even then. But I still cannot answer what is non-space and non-time
Jondipan jatunga - 16th August 2016
The laws of physics allow something to be created from nothing. But that means that the laws of physics had to exist before the big bang. So i am confused.
Charles - 12th September 2016
If the Universe is infinite, then why wouldn't time be infinite? Why would there just be one big bang? There may have been an infinite amount of big bangs. Does time begin at each big bang? Does it end when matter spreads too far apart and our perception of "nothingness" takes over? Or is the period of "nothingness" considered part of time? If we travel beyond the farthest reaches of light that occurred from our big bang and continue through the region of "nothingness", will we eventually reach light generated from a different big bang? Now are we part of another measure of time? If space is truly infinity does that make it impossible for time to exists?
Jeff Pelkey - 21st September 2016
What is matter and energy expanding into? what is beyond the universe or multipurse? if it happens in the future that we are able to travel beyond our universe and let us assume there is only one universe, are we not going into a void? Isn't that void a space? .Isnt space synonymous with vacuum beyond the matter,whole matter in the univere.?
lekoona - 25th September 2016
Maybe there is something beyond the physical universe that our senses are unable to detect. We believe the physical universe exists only because our senses are reporting this to our brains. What if something exists beyond our sense perceptions? What if this is only the most recent Big Bang? And some unseen force is constantly creating or becoming the universe and then withdrawing it. Like a breathing cycle. We always assume that the Big Bang was the only one ever, but it may only have been the most recent.
Norman Scherer - 26th September 2016
This is deep. Our natural biology dictates that every thing that has a begining has an end. Natural science attests to this fact. How ever, in order for one to fully digest this all consuming subject of the begining of everything that we can and can not see, one has to somehow seek answers elesewhere. We are being limited by religion, science and philosphy. Its at this point that i realise that mankind is insignificant in this whole drama. Maybe our universe is just a simple science project in a glass container of a young alien of sorts. But this again is giving me a head ache. It just raises more tougher questions than answers. I end here.
Ernest sianga - 28th September 2016

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