Stephen Hawking reveals what happened before the 'big bang'
Being an atheist (or at least an agnostic), I'm a firm believer in the Big Bang. While I can offer no explanation as to how it happened - due to the fact that I'm actually awful at science and the concept of space simply frightens the living daylights out of me - I don't believe that the universe was created by a supernatural being who oversees all life on Earth.
Of course, this line of thought comes with religious people querying, "if there is no God, then how was the universe created?"
Well, luckily for us, some people do have scientific theories as to how the universe came to be and one of them is Stephen Hawking. The legendary physicist has said that whatever occurred before the Big Bang exists outside of our current understanding of time and space. In fact, Hawking's theory is surprisingly similar to that of a religion-based faith.
At the moment, we know how time and space work on Earth and we sort of have an idea of how it works in space, but those laws didn't actually exist before the Big Bang, or they existed in a way that we're not familiar with yet. This is something Hawking discusses when talking to Neil deGrasse Tyson on a Popular Science special:
"Nothing was around before the big, big bang. According to Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, space and time together form a space-time continuum or manifold, which is not flat, but curved by the matter and energy in it.
"Ordinary real time is replaced by imaginary time, which behaves like a fourth direction of space.
"In a Euclidian approach, the history of the universe in imaginary time is a four-dimensional curved surface like the surface of the Earth but with two more dimensions.
"The boundary condition of the universe is that it has no boundary.
"The Euclidian space-time is a closed surface without end like the surface of the Earth."
Hawking goes on to explain that the best way to picture this is by thinking of an imaginary time and a real-time beginning at the South Pole. There is nothing south of the South Pole and there was no time or space before time and space (or our understanding of it) existed. Yeah, don't worry - I don't get it either.
Basically, space and time didn't exist as we know it on Earth before the massive explosion which happened 13.7 billion years ago, and it's believed that the universe has continued to expand at a huge rate. Also, theories regarding the Big Bang don't actually illustrate how the universe was created, rather they just focus on "the existence of energy, time and space" of the explosion.
So, according to Stephen Hawking, the concept of time and space didn't exist before the Big Bang. Unfortunately, however, this theory doesn't give us atheists a clear answer to use when someone tries to preach the gospel to us.