NPR

From Myth To Science: Can We Make Sense Of The Origin Of All Things?

It may be that to explain where the universe came from is an impossibility for our causally-based, logically-oriented, experientially-functioning minds, but we must keep trying, says Marcelo Gleiser.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveals a cluster of more than half a million stars in the Milky Way galaxy using infrared vision. Source: NASA, ESA and Hubble Heritage Team

This is the "big question" — the one that has been with us in one way or another since the beginning of history.

Every culture that we have a record of has asked the very same question: How did the world come to be? How did people and life come to be? Taken within this broader cultural context, it's no surprise that modern-day scientists are as fascinated with the question of origins as were the shamans of our distant ancestors.

Religions across the globe and across time have dealt with the question of the origin of all things in a similar way. (An exception is Buddhism, which we will leave aside for now.) To create the world, with all its material things, there needs to be a stage where things exist — space — and an account where

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