We continue our series of excerpts (and discussion) from the outstanding survey paper by George F. R. Ellis, Issues in the Philosophy of Cosmology.
The first atoms formed about 400 thousand years after the Big Bang. The first stars, at about 100 million years. The emergence of atoms, stars, planets, life, intelligence, humans, morality, a Brahms symphony, etc. are a natural consequence of all the physical laws that existed at the moment of the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago. There is nothing supernatural about the unfolding of the universe, remarkable as it is. It is a completely natural process. The only possibility of anything supernatural, I believe, is the cause of the Big Bang itself. And, without scientific evidence…
We may never know or be able to understand the Big Bang, but the parturient possibilities contained in that creative moment are truly mind boggling: all that we see around us, all that was and is yet to be, existed then in a nascent state. The universe as it evolves is not merely moving the furniture around, but it is creating entirely new structures and entities that never existed before.
Through the emergence of intelligence across billions of years, the universe has, at last, become self-aware. Our consciousness is its consciousness.
Ellis, G. F. R. 2006, Issues in the Philosophy of Cosmology, Philosophy of Physics (Handbook of the Philosophy of Science), Ed. J. Butterfield and J. Earman (Elsevier, 2006), 1183-1285.