“In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth¹.”

–Genesis 1:1


   “But what happened before all this?” asks that kid waving his hand in the middle of the second row of your sixth grade science classroom. His other hand holds down his open Bible to the place where his verse is written.


   The teacher opens his desk drawer and pulls out a book much thinner than the student’s.


   “Here’s what my book says on p.32. It sounds just like you! ‘What happened before all this? What happened before the beginning?’


But to get any more you have to go through the DOOR.




‘Astrophysicists have no idea. Or, rather, our most creative ideas have little or no grounding in experimental science. In response, some religious people assert…that something must have started it all: a force greater than all others, a source from which everything issues. A prime mover. In the mind of such a person, that something is, of course, God.

   ‘But what if the universe was always there, in a state or condition we have yet to identify–a multiverse, for instance, that continually births universes? Or what if the universe just popped into existence from nothing? Or what if everything we know and love were just a computer simulation rendered for entertainment by a superintelligent alien species?

   ‘These philosophically fun ideas usually satisfy nobody. Nonetheless, they remind us that ignorance is the natural state of mind for a research scientist….

   ‘What we do know, and what we can assert without further hesitation, is that the universe had a beginning.’²

   It’s interesting what astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson says–and does not say–and implies (and does not imply) in his delightful and informative thin (208-page hardback that you can slip into your cargo pants side pocket) book Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.

   Here are a couple of dozen-second thoughts that could go on for many pages:

   (1)  Scientists have no demonstrable, or testable, scientific proof of how everything began. None. They can suggest big ideas with fancy words–multiverse, for example–but that’s it.

   (2)  Scientists, however, stand on much more solid ground–and can provide fascinating data–with the idea that somewhere way back when there was a beginning. Cause unknown, however.


   ¹ We usually capitalize Earth–as we would for Mars and Jupiter.

   ² The part in red is from Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Norton, 2017, pp.32-33). Boldface and color added. Nervous school administrators would have a hard time taking this book off any science teacher’s shelf. It’s a wonderful read and I recommend it, though I recognize it’s limitations.