Eli5: If the concept of time as we understand it didn’t exist before the Big Bang, can the most popular theories be explained to me as to how “all of it” started?

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Eli5: If the concept of time as we understand it didn’t exist before the Big Bang, can the most popular theories be explained to me as to how “all of it” started?

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Yes. It all started with a point singularity, from which time and space expanded in all directions.

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Space/time are linked in the universe, the farther back you go in time the more closely all of the different forces (gravity, electromagnetic, etc.) get until they are all combined into one unified force.
The theory I’m most familiar with is the big bang wasn’t so much an explosion as a phase change. Think of something like water turning into steam. There was something before the universe as we know it, but right now all anyone can do is speculate about what it was like. This is why the hunt for how to fit the different forces back together comes in. If we can understand the conditions which allow that, we could maybe understand what the universe was like before the big bang.

A common misconception is that the Big Bang Theory explains the origin of the universe. It doesn’t, it only explains its early development. Why *waves hands around* “stuff” *keeps waving hands* “exists” is really more of a philosophical question, and while every physicist hopes to one day have the answer to that question, it’s possible that no “final” conclusion will ever be reached.

Since your question is about philosophy (specifically ontology/metaphysics), not science, there aren’t any theories, per se. The pursuit of those kinds of answers is moreso an exercise in speculation than anything else. (Although I find that kind of existential speculation tons of fun.)

There are no theories of ‘how’ it all started. It’s known that it did start at one point.

And Time is just the observation of the steady increase of entropy. Things break, fall apart, run out of energy and end. Our observation of that increase in entropy is how we separate the past from the present.

Don’t know how. All we have is a video of the universe expanding, and we can “roll it backwards” and use our current understanding of the laws of physics to get pretty close to explaining what may have happened after the Big Bang event. But it all relies on the assumption that the laws of physics are the same, more or less, in time and across space. And clearly the laws of physics break down to something like “divide by zero” the closer we get to the Big Bang event. Or the closer we try to get to traveling at the speed of light.

I don’t think the forum rules permit speculation, but one theory, for example, could be that all the black holes in the universe feed mass *back in time* to be expulsed / ejected at the Big Bang event location and moment.