JOHN WELLS Evolutionists say the universe is very old. I've heard as much as 17 billion years and as young as 12 billion years. If on one of those dates, or somewhere in between, matter came into existence, what do you say caused (tempted to say created) the matter? Did all the matter in the universe come into being over time (how long) or was it instantaneous? JOE MEERT At this point, the answer is unknown. Technically, it is incorrect to say 'before' since time itself originated at the instant of the big bang. As far as matter in the Universe it was formed over time according to current models. The initial phases of the Big expansion involved energy. This energy was later 'converted' to matter. This is the essence of Einstein's E=mc^2 idea. Heck, many christian astrophysicists put on their philosopher hats and say "God caused the Big bang". JOHN WELLS Just curious though in my devil's advocate roll here. I don't see whether or not time as we know it existed before matter came into being is relevant. But what or Who made matter out of nothing? It would be a real step of faith to conclude that energy and or matter have always existed. If they haven't, well I've gone full circle. JOE MEERT As i said, there are no definitive answers to your question at present. what is known is that time came about when the universe came about. As far as I know, no-one has advocated the notion of eternal energy as part of Big bang cosmology, but I am willing to be corrected on that. JOHN WELLS How do we know that time came about when the universe came about? Eternity past is a difficult concept to grasp. Much more so than eternity into the future. Wouldn't you agree? It sure seems to me that something (not likely) or some being (much more likely) had to create (there goes that word again) matter and energy at some past point in time. THINK PLEASE Science really has nothing to say about the beginning of the universe as of yet, simply because there are no observables from the time before the Cosmic microwave background was emitted. Anything before that time period is pure conjecture. However, if you want pure conjecture, I'm a big fan of the infinite universes theory. Basically, there are an infinite number of universes out there covering an infinite amount of possibilities, one for each decision someone or something had to make at some point in their existence. It gives the alternate historians something to write about anyway... RATMAN_TF If anyone on this thread comes up with some solid answers, let me know. I'll nab it and go apply for a Nobel prize. *YOINK!* Seriously, the Big Bang is a theory to explain the observed expansion of the universe, which was predicted by Einstein's theories, but he hushed up because a universe that was not static was too much even for HIM at the time. Only later, when the red shift of receding galaxies was observed, did he go back and fix his equations. Not to mention the background radiation that permeates the whole of the currently observable universe. Who knows? Maybe the Big Bang model is wrong. There are far smarter people than me working on these very questions. JOHN WELLS ThinkPlease: However, if you want pure conjecture, I'm a big fan of the inifinite universes theory. Basically, there are an infinite number of universes out there covering an infinite amount of possibilities, one for each decision someone or something had to make at some point in their existance. It gives the alternate historians something to write about anyway... Wow! You have far more FAITH than I do. I'll stick with "In the beginning, God . . ." JOE MEERT Nothing wrong with that. However, the infinite universes hypothesis gives us something else to think aboutconsider and, if possible, test. Poof God did it is an answer, but no fun to test. However, the simple fact of the matter is that until science can discover a quantum theory of gravity, we may never get back to the instant time began. By the way, the Big Bang theory is clear that time (in this universe anyway) originated at the instant of the Big Bang. Not much debate on that issue that I am aware of. MILAN Just one minor point for the sake of clarity. Evolutionists deal with evolution. Evolution refers to living organisms. Consequently, evolutionists dont make estimations regarding the age of the universe. This is the realm of geophysicists, astronomers, etc.