Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Monday, April 1, 2013

Working Towards a Biblical Interpretation that is both Relevant and Accurate

"Biblical criticism is perennially caught between the Scylla of interpretive freedom
and the Charybdis of irrelevance. Too much hermeneutic freedom and the tradition
disintegrates, losing its epistemological appeal. Too little interpretive freedom and the
Bible becomes merely an irrelevant historical artifact, rather than the living word of God."
Inherently, evangelical biblical interpretation is unquestionably caught between a need
for relevance and the need for textual validity.
- Brian Malley
This quote by Brian Malley back in 2004 is apparently still valid for today, and one that immediately drove me to produce Relevancy22 in the public forum of opinion as a way to reconsider the very old, and long enduring, position of biblical literalism against that of biblical accuracy. Realizing that my evangelical tradition held within it foundational folklores that trembled to considered any other biblical interpretation other than its own as the only right way to hear and obey God's Word. For if we did, we would then need to attend to the necessary reconstruction of evangelicalism's interpretive boundaries against its preferred dogmas where both interpretation and dogmas would fall as one.

And yet, I believed God to be larger than my own myopic view... larger than my epistemological or ideological ideas I had constructed about Him, His Word, and around my faith... and larger than the restrictive boundaries I had raised to wall off a disbelieving world out-of-covenant, and out-of-time with my idea of God and biblical faith. Or so I believed, until deciding that with what remaining years I had left I should at least attempt a small reprise to the doctrines I grew up with for the several years His Spirit might grace my soul with passion and discernment in this area. Allowing my mind and heart to reconsider each doctrine in reconstructive renovation within a broader interpretive range of ideas not only biblically-generated, but extra-biblically-generated as well. Not merely using the biblical hermeneutic of contextual, grammatical, historical interpretation as discourser to biblical anatomy, but by allowing non-biblical sources to inform as gained from the ideas and discoveries within science, philosophy, public opinion, and even from other religions. To me, God is within the world that He created. He has not been excluded from it. And by listening to this world it can better inform the biblical reader to God's incomprehensible heart and intent.

This does not mean that the Bible is less regarded. Nay, on the contrary. I wished to have a Bible that was richer, fuller, bearing the knowledge of the ages to its berth of wisdom and direction. Not just from my own branch of religious opinion, but from the many branches of insight and discovery left too long dormant upon the steps of the church in disregard, if not abject dismissal itself. Whether from the realms of the philosopher, the archaeologist, the behavioral scientist, the political scientist, the sociologist, the chemist, the Imam of Islam, the Rabbi of Judaism, the Buddhist monk of the East - even the man on the street in his wisdoms and observations. If God's Word was to speak to all of us it had to come from all of us - in all of our own settings, dispositions, reliefs, cultures, customs, traditions, and meaning. It was not the exclusive property of any one branch of the church or religious society. It had to tell us who we are by opening our minds and hearts to what we think and believe. The age of the Internet has caused this awareness. The age of travel, technology, and interlinked global communications is to blame. To do less is to refuse knowing God's gracious heart and mind. This is God's world that He has given to us to enjoy with one another as with Himself. As such, He has something to say about it and we must do better at listening to Him speak through ancient biblical records become irrelevant should we lock down its hoary words to our own stylistic preferences and biases.

In my opinion, this personal reconstruction lay long overdue while the more important operations of supporting and raising a family and business took my time and energy. Moreover, I overly relied on my evangelical faith to do the job for me with its bastions of scholars, academicians, preachers, teachers, missionaries and evangelists. But lo-and-behold after 35 years the evangelicalism I knew and loved had simply fortified its walls and laid waste upon the disbelieving world around it... proscribing a Jesus who served with conditions and threats of damnation lest any not abide to the evangelic doctrine trumpeted by my faith (however, and whatever, that has now come to mean in this day-and-age). And while I blithely, if not ignorantly, went about the business of living and supporting church ministries, the church in its structures and organizations drew away from the world in which I lived as if it were an evil thing, unholy and unblessed, by the God who created it. Who loves it. Who gave it life. Who died for its sins and daily death. Who seeks to bring to it healing, presence, blessing, wholeness, and life. As such, I believe its time to knock down a few religious walls and allow in heaven's celestrial airs of freedom and redemption, liberty and light, that move heavily around us though we know it not by our evangelical faith become too restrictive to comprehend. Calling for dismissal to those who dare speak up about violence in the OT; for removal to those evolutionists that dare breathe God's name into this unholy science; for anathema upon the heads of those advocating the rights of gays and lesbians; who might preach a gospel where God's love wins rather than a gospel of hell and electorial exclusion.

And after listening for-a-dozen-or-so-years to emergent Christians revisioning a Jesus faith of love and mercy, peace and goodwill, to local ministries and global missions, I thought I too should join in and try loosening a few bricks of the sturdy Berlin-like wall my insular faith had built around itself through its popularized books, media enterprises, missions, films, TV shows, pulpits, churches, and schools. And so, Relevancy22 has been produced to lay a groundwork for direction and discussion.... Probing with questions and statements ideas foreign to those doctrines and dogmas that I had grown up with.... Perhaps wandering towards neo-orthodoxy on the one hand, and liberal evangelicalism on the other hand. Trying to find that middle ground of faith expression that would allow in a brighter shaft of light, and the fresher air of the gospel, through the Spirit-window of inspiration and grace, illumination and mercy. A Spirit-window that could allow in a personal renewal of belief and re-commitment to the faith of the God of the Bible by first destroying all sure ground around it. Unconcerned with protecting God but more concerned with not protecting my windowless religion and faith. To allow in consideration of foreign ideas, thoughts and expressions without jumping in horror to every biblical fallacy and misdirection presented. To be wise enough to discern direction so that the Gospel of our Lord could be heard again by a foreign people reacting to my religion and not to my God. To destroy the evangelic walls of dissembly, its distance from society, its retrenchment from the world, and allow in the foreigner to the blessed lands we never were to hold for ourselves. This is the biblical faith. One that is shared but also one that communes with others in an amazing world much larger than our own constructs of it. To hear of God's Word from an Eastern perspective, a Muslim perspective, a Jewish, or scientific, or philosophic perspective, and not simply our Americanized, modernistic, secular perspective.

And well that it has... for once the foundation of biblical literalism was revisited I knew at once that a truer hermeneutic more-in-line-with my now reconstructed orthodox faith - and not my older evangelic faith - must be reconstituted as one that addressed postmodern societal angst and ideological deconstruction should ever Jesus be heard again from the Scriptures beyond the sieves of mine own dogmatic preferences. I needed a relevant Gospel that was more contemporary to societal needs. More accurate with the discoveries of surrounding scientific disciplines. More personalized to the human condition and narrative story of redemptive evolution occurring across all stratas of cultures and customs. And more receptive to the human story of defeat, sorrow, pain, destruction, woe and failure. A faith that when shared seemed reasonably attune with contemporary, global, society today - and less out of tune with the secular modernism and harsh judgmentalism I had been raised within. One that was in-time and in-place and not out-of-time and out-of-place. A gospel from God and not a gospel from man.

So that, in Brian Malley's opening quote we find a truism that in order to grow in Christ and in His Word we must learn to reopen our minds and hearts in how we would read the Bible and understand its authority for ourselves within not only our own daily lives, but for the world at large. If not, we are left with a religion-of-walls like Jesus had encountered in His day... with Scribes and Pharisees that held the bastions of religion so legalistically and fearfully tight that they neglected to see in Jesus God's imprimatur of Himself as the Son of Man, their Savior - who was their Life, their Light, their Law, and their Lord.

Let us not repeat this same mistake made so easily (and repeatedly) over the past 2000 years of church history by allowing the monarchs and civil magistrates of our faith to decide for us. Nay, let us bear some responsibility for it's pronouncement in ourselves by questioning our assurances and being more willing to reassess what we have heard with what we know. Not in displacement of the Bible but in replacing our misdirected ideas of the Bible with ones more accurate and less filled with personal dread and fear. And for any who wish to join with me, I submit all past articles written over these past several years, as various testaments to my pained questions, renewing vision, and restorative faith, for examination. It has been a long journey that required a newer, meatier gospel than the one I followed. Thank you in joining with me on this journey of faith and enlightenment, prophetic announcement and spiritual healing to the One who has come to heal the wounds of our lands, the rifts between nations, the dark hatreds we hold with one another. It was never meant to be ever so, even now in this Age of Grace and Mercy, Love and Forgiveness, Peace and Assurance.

R.E. Slater
April 1, 2013
* * * * * * * * * * *
Tim Keller on Homosexuality and Biblical Authority: Different Crisis, Same Problem.
”Large numbers of evangelical Christians, even younger ones…will continue to hold the view that same-sex marriage runs counter to their faith, even as they increasingly decide they either support or do not oppose making it the law of the land.”
As he often does, Keller has his finger on the pulse of evangelical culture. My own experience is admittedly more limited than Keller’s, but my ear to the ground picks up the same sort of distant rumbling.
In the world of public prominent evangelicals voices, there aren’t many like Keller who seem genuinely interested in finding a third way between a polemical theological tradition and practical realties of contemporary life. Some, I know, call him a compromiser, but that is an unfair assessment. He is trying to work things out, and is often called to do so in public settings.
But what really caught my eye was Keller’s observation concerning evangelical biblicism, which has far wider implications than for homosexuality:
“If you say to everybody, ‘Anyone who thinks homosexuality is a sin is a bigot, … [y]ou’re going to have to ask them to completely disassemble the way in which they read the Bible, completely disassemble their whole approach to authority. You’re basically going to have to ask them to completely kick their faith out the door.’”
Here, too, Keller is right. To change their views on homosexuality will require evangelicals to “disassemble the way in which they read the Bible, completely disassemble their whole approach to authority.”
This raises two questions: “What’s wrong with some disassembling?” and “Why does disassembling have to be tied to having or not having faith?”
Leaving aside the specific issue of homosexuality, Keller’s observation about evangelical notions of biblical authority is correct but also concerning. In my opinion, Keller has, perhaps unwittingly, put his finger on the entire problem evangelicals face when confronted with any issue that runs counter to evangelical theology: “You’re asking me to read my Bible differently than my tradition has prescribed, and so I can’t go there. If I do, my faith is kicked out the door.”
What drew my attention to this comment is the fact that I regularly hear the very same response with respect to many other issues–like evolution. The big impasse for evangelicals is that accepting evolution requires them to rethink how they read their Bible, specifically the story of Adam and Eve. Reading that story as fundamentally historical is “the way in which [evangelicals] read the Bible” and to ask them to do otherwise “complete dissemble[s] their whole approach to biblical authority.”
To me this raises an obvious question: Maybe the way in which evangelical read the Bible and conceive of its authority is the problem in the evangelical system that needs to be rethought, rather than being the non-negotiable hill to stand and die on for addressing every issue that comes down the road?
This isn’t about evangelicals accepting or rejecting the Bible. It’s about thinking self-critically about how they read it and their approach to biblical authority.
The problem, though, is that the evangelical view of the Bible as God’s inerrant authority for the church is its ground floor raison d’etre. Evangelicalism exists, at least intellectually, to defend and promote this view. To ask evangelicals to do a critical self-assessment of how they read the Bible is in effect to ask them to assess the entire system.
Here is where I feel Keller’s ear should be closer to the ground. I see this sort of re-assessment happening now all over the place–evangelicals looking for an alternate “explanatory paradigm,” other than an tradition that rests on an inerrant Bible, for how to live on this planet.
The only real question I see is whether this process will continue as part of the evangelical experiment or will have to move wholly outside of it.

Visually: The World As 100 People

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The World as 100 People

The Quantum Evolution of the Early Universe

[Excerpt from Everything Quantum...]
What do you think caused the Big Bang? What were the physical properties of the Universe when it was (10 ^ -43) one hundred tredecillionth of a second old?
The Era of Galaxies
The formal question is a bit more vauge so let's explore the latter first. For the past few billion years we have lived in the era of galaxies. The era of galaxies consist of the complex causal phenomenon in which energy and mass are interchangeable, hence the equation E = MC^2. This interchangeable energy produces massive particles such as fermions (which are quarks and leptons) and bosons which accelerate through the Higgs Field and thereby gain mass.
Exchange particles such as gluons (which hold protons and neutrons in atomic nuclei together), photons (which produces charge for the electrons in atomic orbitals thereby creating the matter necessary for chemistry & biology) and gravitons (which holds together large scale structures such as planets, stars, galaxies and superclusters) are not affected by the Higgs Field.
Yet the exchange particle that deals with nuclear reactions (W & Z bosons) is affected by the Higgs Field thereby affecting the rate of radioactivity. This complex causal structure of matter has produced everything we recognize in the universe today.
The Standard Model includes 12 elementary particles of spin-½ known as fermions. According to the spin-statistics theorem, fermions respect the Pauli exclusion principle. Each fermion has a corresponding antiparticle.
The fermions of the Standard Model are classified according to how they interact (or equivalently, by what charges they carry). There are six quarks (up, down, charm, strange, top, bottom), and six leptons (electron, electron neutrino, muon, muon neutrino, tau, tau neutrino). Pairs from each classification are grouped together to form a generation, with corresponding particles exhibiting similar physical behavior (see table).
The defining property of the quarks is that they carry color charge, and hence, interact via the strong interaction. A phenomenon called color confinement results in quarks being perpetually (or at least since very soon after the start of the Big Bang) bound to one another, forming color-neutral composite particles (hadrons) containing either a quark and an antiquark (mesons) or three quarks (baryons). The familiar proton and the neutron are the two baryons having the smallest mass. Quarks also carry electric charge and weak isospin. Hence they interact with other fermions both electromagnetically and via the weak interaction.
The remaining six fermions do not carry colour charge and are called leptons. The three neutrinos do not carry electric charge either, so their motion is directly influenced only by the weak nuclear force, which makes them notoriously difficult to detect. However, by virtue of carrying an electric charge, the electron, muon, and tau all interact electromagnetically.
Each member of a generation has greater mass than the corresponding particles of lower generations. The first generation charged particles do not decay; hence all ordinary (baryonic) matter is made of such particles. Specifically, all atoms consist of electrons orbiting atomic nuclei ultimately constituted of up and down quarks. Second and third generations charged particles, on the other hand, decay with very short half lives, and are observed only in very high-energy environments. Neutrinos of all generations also do not decay, and pervade the universe, but rarely interact with baryonic matter.
Particle classifications
Mesons are bosons and hadrons; and baryons are hadrons and fermions. In particle physics, a hadron /ˈhædrɒn/ (Greek: ἁδρός, hadrós, "stout, thick") is a composite particle made of quarks held together by the strong force (in the same way as atoms and molecules are held together by the electromagnetic force). Hadrons are categorized into two families: baryons, such as protons and neutrons, made of three quarks and mesons, such as pions, made of one quark and one antiquark.
Gauge bosons (see Addendum: "Gauge Theory" below)

In the Standard Model, gauge bosons are defined as force carriers that mediate the strong, weak, and electromagnetic fundamental interactions.

Interactions in physics are the ways that particles influence other particles. At a macroscopic level, electromagnetism allows particles to interact with one another via electric and magnetic fields, and gravitation allows particles with mass to attract one another in accordance with Einstein's theory of general relativity. The Standard Model explains such forces as resulting from matter particles exchanging other particles, known as force mediating particles (strictly speaking, this is only so if interpreting literally what is actually an approximation method known as perturbation theory).

When a force-mediating particle is exchanged, at a macroscopic level the effect is equivalent to a force influencing both of them, and the particle is therefore said to have mediated (i.e., been the agent of) that force. The Feynman diagram calculations, which are a graphical representation of the perturbation theory approximation, invoke "force mediating particles", and when applied to analyze high-energy scattering experiments are in reasonable agreement with the data. However, perturbation theory (and with it the concept of a "force-mediating particle") fails in other situations. These include low-energy quantum chromodynamics, bound states, and solitons.

The gauge bosons of the Standard Model all have spin (as do matter particles). The value of the spin is 1, making them bosons. As a result, they do not follow the Pauli exclusion principle that constrains fermions: thus bosons (e.g. photons) do not have a theoretical limit on their spatial density (number per volume). The different types of gauge bosons are described below.
  • Photons mediate the electromagnetic force between electrically charged particles. The photon is massless and is well-described by the theory of quantum electrodynamics.
  • The W+, W, and Z gauge bosons mediate the weak interactions between particles of different flavors (all quarks and leptons). They are massive, with the Z being more massive than the W±. The weak interactions involving the W± exclusively act on left-handed particles and right-handed antiparticles only. Furthermore, the W± carries an electric charge of +1 and −1 and couples to the electromagnetic interaction. The electrically neutral Z boson interacts with both left-handed particles and antiparticles. These three gauge bosons along with the photons are grouped together, as collectively mediating the electroweak interaction.
  • The eight gluons mediate the strong interactions between color charged particles (the quarks). Gluons are massless. The eightfold multiplicity of gluons is labeled by a combination of color and anticolor charge (e.g. red–antigreen). Because the gluons have an effective color charge, they can also interact among themselves. The gluons and their interactions are described by the theory of quantum chromodynamics.

The interactions between all the particles described by the Standard Model are summarized by the diagrams on the right of this section.

Higgs boson

The Higgs particle is a massive scalar elementary particle theorized by Robert Brout, François Englert, Peter Higgs, Gerald Guralnik, C. R. Hagen, and Tom Kibble in 1964 (see 1964 PRL symmetry breaking papers) and is a key building block in the Standard Model. It has no intrinsic spin, and for that reason is classified as a boson (like the gauge bosons, which have integer spin).

The Higgs boson plays a unique role in the Standard Model, by explaining why the other elementary particles, except the photon and gluon, are massive. In particular, the Higgs boson would explain why the photon has no mass, while the W and Z bosons are very heavy. Elementary particle masses, and the differences between electromagnetism (mediated by the photon) and the weak force (mediated by the W and Z bosons), are critical to many aspects of the structure of microscopic (and hence macroscopic) matter. In electroweak theory, the Higgs boson generates the masses of the leptons (electron, muon, and tau) and quarks. As the Higgs boson is massive, it must interact with itself.

Because the Higgs boson is a very massive particle and also decays almost immediately when created, only a very high energy particle accelerator can observe and record it. Experiments to confirm and determine the nature of the Higgs boson using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN began in early 2010, and were performed at Fermilab's Tevatron until its closure in late 2011. Mathematical consistency of the Standard Model requires that any mechanism capable of generating the masses of elementary particles become visible at energies above 1.4 TeV; therefore, the LHC (designed to collide two 7 to 8 TeV proton beams) was built to answer the question of whether the Higgs boson actually exists.

On 4 July 2012, the two main experiments at the LHC (ATLAS and CMS) both reported independently that they found a new particle with a mass of about 125 GeV/c2 (about 133 proton masses, on the order of 10−25 kg), which is "consistent with the Higgs boson." Although it has several properties similar to the predicted "simplest" Higgs, they acknowledged that further work would be needed to conclude that it is indeed the Higgs boson, and exactly which version of the Standard Model Higgs is best supported if confirmed.

Earlier Eras

The Era of Atoms saw the formation of atoms and the release of photons to form background radiation. During this time mega structures began to form from the plasma abounding. This occurred when the universe was 300,000 years old.

When the universe was around 3 minutes old the temperature was around 10^9 kelvin. This era was known as the "Era of Nuclei" which consisted of the hot plasma of ionized hydrogen nuclei, helium nuclei, traces of lithium nuclei and free electrons. This era lasted for around 380,000 years.

When the universe was 0.001 of a second old it was compiled of protons and neutrons which was left over from a previous era thereby fusing into heavier nuclei. This was known as the "Era of Nucleosynthesis".

The Particle Era held powerful radiation that filled the universe spontaneously produced matter and antimatter particles that almost immediately annihilated each other. Here, the electromagnetic and electroweak forces became distinct. Around this time the Universe was 10^ -10 of a second old and the temperature was 10^15 kelvin.

At 10^-35 seconds The Electroweak Era began marking a very important transition in the physical universe (it is called the "Electroweak Era" because Scientist believe that at this time the electromagnetic force and weak nuclear forces were one unified force).  The temperature at this time was 10^15 kelvin.

The GUT Era (which is an acronym for Grand Unified Theories) is a bit more mysterious and ambiguous for Scientist. During this time the universe was around 10^ - 43 of a second old and the temperture was around 10 ^ 29 kelvin which means this era only lasted for a trillion-trillion-trillionth of a second.

And lastly there was the Planck Era which was when the universe was older than (10 ^ -43) one hundred tredecillionth of a second old and temperatures were above 10^32 kelvin. According to quantum mechanics there was a plethora of energy fluctuations that produced a rapidly changing gravitational field that randomly warped the spacetime continuum.

The Planck Era's random fluctuations are so stochastic that it causes discrepancies between our scientific knowledge of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics (similarly to the mathematical discrepancies that appear when you surpass the event horizon and enter the singularity of a black hole). Perhaps Heterotic String Theory can answer the question of the "Planck Era" and the beginning of the universe. This is an area where bosonic string and superstring theory are hybridized. By asking the question what happened before the Big Bang brings us to the question of multi-universes (multiverses) and how they are birthed and affect one another.

In conclusion, What do you think cause the Big Bang? What were the physical properties of the Universe when it was in the Planck Era? And moreover, Do you think there was something before the big bang?

- Excerpt from Everything Quantum


- The instant of the Big Bang was a symmetry breaking event. Time, now released, allowed the progression of events that followed. None of the fundamental forces were in operation and unbounded, Energy and Matter were equivalent, the speed of light, c, was not even yet a property of the Universe. Prior to this existed elementary particles whose quantum states decayed into the Universe that we presently exist in. An easy to understand analogy is a star going nova, it's core collapsing into a black hole, and our Universe's quantum event structure may be postulated from within this new singularity of spacetime.

I've been privy, as of late, towards the idea of the cyclic Universe theory, either through rotating membranes or quantum gravity (the latter more than the former). If you look at all the cycles found in just earth alone, it seems logical to me that the pattern could be extrapolated to the rest of the Universe. And though I'd say Quantum Fluctuations in a preset vacuum are probably a cause, it doesn't mean I don't think something spiritual was possibly behind it. And with that, I'd say that Spiritual Entity is what existed before, and maybe the Universe formed FROM it? But thats not science, thats philosophy and religion. Really, a lot of things are up in the air for me, I just have preferences and speculations.

Addendum: Gauge Theory
[Excerpt from Everything Quantum...]

Phases of gauge theories

One of the most fundamental questions we can ask about a given gauge theory is its phase diagram. In the Standard Model, we observe three fundamentally different types of behavior:
QCD is in a confined phase at zero temperature, while the electroweak sector of the Standard Model combines Coulomb and Higgs phases.

Our current understanding of the phase structure of gauge theories owes much to the modern theory of phase transitions and critical phenomena, but has developed into a subject of extensive study. After reviewing some fundamental concepts of phase transitions and finite-temperature gauge theories, we discuss some recent work that broadly extends our knowledge of the mechanisms that determine the phase structure of gauge theories.

A new class of models with a rich phase structure has been discovered, generalizing our understanding of the confinement–deconfinement transition in finite-temperature gauge theories. Models in this class have spacetime topologies with one or more compact directions. On R3 × S1, the addition of double-trace deformations or periodic adjoint fermions to a gauge theory can yield a confined phase in the region where the S1 circumference L is small, so that the coupling constant is small, and semiclassical methods are applicable.

In this region, Euclidean monopole solutions, which are constituents of finite-temperature instantons, play a crucial role in the calculation of a non-perturbative string tension. We review the techniques used to analyze this new class of models and the results obtained so far, as well as their application to finite-temperature phase structure, conformal phases of gauge theories and the large-N limit.

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