What is known about the universe is that over a long period of time (approximately 14 billion years) states of matter became gradually organized and more complex in nature and after a long and very complicated sequence of self-organizing processes at least one inhabitable planet developed life. Then life evolved and changed into systems of greater complexity until living creatures with minds emerged, and then there were observers–human beings. The present fact of human existence proves to us that the formation of life occurs in the universe with a non-zero probability but still it may be only exceedingly rare.
Science has made many discoveries in astronomy of the existence of other planets and their physical and chemical composition and also made many advances in the sciences of biochemistry and molecular biology which have shed a lot of light on the mystery of the origins of life. The known local region of the universe could quite possibly be a zone of stability within an otherwise chaotic universe containing matter in expanding uniform density distribution extending outwards for some finite distance. From what is observed it may be possible that the density of matter diminishes rapidly and we may in fact be surrounded by an infinite void and the total volume of matter in the universe may be limited–finite. Here we should pause to consider past and future eternity.
In our attempts to conceptually think our way through the existence of the universe it is moving forwards into a future-eternity while concomitantly emerging out of a past-eternity. At some very distant moment in the past stars would likely appear to be very few, before the beginning of much physical activity in outer space.
If we examine the universe and attempt to postulate conditions as they could have existed in the primordial universe, the material in the universe would appear to diminish, and the further back in time we regressed the less there would be of physical matter–stars and nebulae and we could think even further back in time and eventually even think back to some remotely distant past when there would have been virtually nothing at all, only emptiness. If we are to attempt any kind of logical thinking about infinity and eternity we must first organize our thinking otherwise we will find ourselves caught up in an infinite series or some equally absurd train of thought.
In our consideration of past eternity, if we stay with factual reality then no matter how far back we try to think we are frustrated by the means by which we may attempt to analyze the relationship between those eternal realities that are paradoxical when they are viewed from our finite perspective–a pre-universe state which has no basis for speculation because we are confronted with a combination of conceptual poverty and ideational confusion, and when we consider future eternity the same situation develops.
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This Hubble image of Galaxy NGC 4565 is quite similar to the Milky Way Galaxy and is about 50 million Light Years distant, which means that it has taken 50 million years for its light to reach our world. Since light travels about 6 trillion miles per year the distance is 300 million, trillion miles.
A curiosity – this is actually looking back in time 50 million years.
Science utilizes known universal laws in its determinations, such as the velocity of light (186,282 miles per second, or 300,000 kilometers per second) and the laws of gravity and atomic energy. This enables the accurate determination of the distances of stellar objects, some of which are gigantic by our standards. Astrophysics and astronomy utilize radiation imagery and visual observation by very powerful telescopes such as the Hubble orbiting space telescope to image the most distant objects possible, some of which are billions of Light Years away. The limitations of the technology are caused by the fact that the enormity of the distances to vastly remote stellar objects precludes the arrival of the light from them from reaching the observers, or in other words not enough time has elapsed yet for the light to reach their instruments…they are beyond the horizon as it were. Now if we speculate within factual reality about remotely existing space we may encounter an empty void reaching outwards forever, into infinity–unending nothingness–and paradox again asserts itself.
How can there be a beginning or ending to time?How can there be a beginning or end to space? Is time only a human concept? Our intellects require logic and sequence and we are quite limited in our perception of dimensions–we are familiar with four–three of space and one we refer to as time–but there are many other dimensions which are not readily apparent. Our ability to observe light and sound is a good example of phenomena out of range of our senses.
Light is visible to us only in a very narrow range of frequencies, and other forms of light such as infra-red, ultraviolet and X-ray radiation are only detectable by instruments. Then there is sound which is inaudible beyond limited frequencies, and radio and television and microwave transmissions which are not percievable to our senses but which surround us and impinge upon us everywhere in our world. There is no doubt that other dimensions exist unrecognized which are unknown unknowns–we don’t even know anything about those, perhaps like some primitive aboriginal peoples who exist completely unaware of modern technology.For instance take the invisible Dark Matter, the effects of which are evident and measured by astrophysicists. It accounts for almost all of the mass of the universe yet it eludes scientists–it cannot be located. Following is an explanation from Wikipedia*
*Dark matter is an unidentified type of matter comprising approximately 27% of the mass and energy in the observable universe that is not accounted for by dark energy, baryonic matter (ordinary matter), and neutrinos. The name refers to the fact that it does not emit or interact with electromagnetic radiation, such as light, and is thus invisible to the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Although dark matter has not been directly observed, its existence and properties are inferred from its gravitational effects such as the motions of visible matter, gravitational lensing, its influence on the universe’s large-scale structure, and its effects in the cosmic microwave background. Dark matter is transparent to electromagnetic radiation and/or is so dense and small that it fails to absorb or emit enough radiation to be detectable with current imaging technology.
The standard model of cosmology indicates that the total mass–energy of the universe contains 4.9% ordinarymatter, 26.8% dark matter and 68.3% dark energy. Thus, dark matter constitutes 84.5% of total mass, while dark energy plus dark matter constitute 95.1% of total mass–energy content. The great majority of ordinary matter in the universe is also unseen, since visible stars and gas inside galaxies and clusters account for less than 10% of the ordinary matter contribution to the mass-energy density of the universe.
The dark matter hypothesis plays a central role in current modeling of cosmic structure formation and galaxy formation and evolution and on explanations of the anisotropies observed in the cosmic microwave background (CMB). All these lines of evidence suggest that galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and the universe as a whole contain far more matter than that which is observable via electromagnetic signals.
Researchers say the image below, in new study called the Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, provides the missing link in star formation. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2014 image is a composite of separate exposures taken in 2003 to 2012 with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3. Astronomers previously studied the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) in visible and near-infrared light in a series of images captured from 2003 to 2009. The HUDF shows a small section of space in the southern-hemisphere constellation Fornax.
Now, using ultraviolet light, astronomers have combined the full range of colours available to Hubble, stretching all the way from ultraviolet to near-infrared light. The resulting image–made from 841 orbits of telescope viewing time–contains approximately 10,000 galaxies, extending back in time to within a few hundred million years of the big bang–almost 14 billion years ago, while the edge of the observable universe is now calculated to be about 46.5 billion light-years away.
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This picture is actually looking backwards in time over 13 billion years
As I have stated elsewhere, finite space and infinite time differ from infinite space and eternal time by a curious geometrical feature – a finite space no matter how large it is can only have one location as its centre whereas an infinite space has its centre everywhere. That is that any and every point is at its centre and mathematically infinite space has an infinite number of centres and any observer is at the centre of infinite space. Likewise a finite period of time has a moment exactly at its midpoint but eternity always has as its midpoint the present moment, which is equidistant from any postulated beginnings or endings.
Therefore because any observer of infinity and eternity is located at the centre of infinite space and is at the present moment at the midpoint of eternity, eternity being an endless succession of present moments, the implication is that each of us exists now together with God who is by His design located at the centre of all things.