I thought when I died, I would instantly know the answers to all the mysteries of the universe. Was Darwin, right? Does life exist on other planets? How did they build the pyramids? The reality is I didn’t learn a darn thing. The mysteries of life did not present themselves as I had expected. Once my soul left the body, and I passed through those pearly gates, I didn’t care if I knew those answers or not.
Even though I’m poo-pooing solving the world’s greatest mysteries, the one mystery that kept gnawing at me was how the universe began. I never bought into the Big Bang Theory.
The idea that two basketball-sized objects collided in space to begin the universe is preposterous. Think about it, what are the odds of two objects, that small, colliding in the vastness of space? I mean, if they miss each other there is no chance of them ever meeting again. They would simply go on and on unless the universe is a sphere, in which case they might ricochet off the edge and have another go at it.
Don’t get me wrong, I was enjoying heaven and all the perks that go along with being there, but I still couldn’t shake the Big Bang Theory. People on earth were still talking about it, and I knew in my gut, if I still had a gut, that they were wrong.
I made an appointment to see the Big Guy, and I asked permission to go back in time to when it all began. He explained that since I didn’t believe in the Big Bang, there was no going back in time since the Big Bang was supposedly the beginning of time. I rephrased my question and didn’t mention the time thing again since the Big Guy was apparently a stickler for semantics.
He told me that there was no free lunch in heaven and that I would have to discover the answer for myself. He called over another spirit and told him to join me. “This is Jimmy,” The Big Guy said, Jimmy believes in the Big Bang and wants to see it happen first hand.” The Big Guy went into a windup like a major league pitcher and hurled our spiritual asses into the cold dark vastness of space and told us to have fun.
Great, I had left those cushy clouds for total blackness and Jimmy’s company. Since the universe had not been created yet, there were no stars or moons or suns or anything on which we could focus our attention. I looked down at my auric glow and felt like a ship on a moonless night. I looked over at Jimmy, who had a huge grin on his spiritual face. Despite the emptiness and the silence, we both sensed that something epic was going to take place.
Those two basketball-sized objects that supposedly started the universe, well, they were floating in that black void, but they were not the size of basketballs. Instead, they were monstrous rocks. They were practically invisible because there was no light for them to reflect other than our auras, but since Jimmy and I didn’t have eyes anymore, it didn’t really matter. Despite our lack of vision, our spirits were able to sense everything and it was as if we could see the rocks were there.
“Basketballs, huh?” I yelled at Jimmy. Yelled isn’t completely accurate since we were communicating telepathically, but Jimmy got the point.
“It’s all relative,” Jimmy said. When you compare their size to the emptiness around us, they are no bigger than atoms. So, describing them as basketballs isn’t too far off.
Dang, it. Jimmy had gone one up on me. I should have taken a debate class in high school.
I stood on one rock and Jimmy stood on the other, we rode them through space, waiting for the big collision. I watched as Jimmy’s rock missed mine by a mile. Well, more than a mile.
He transported himself over to my rock and stood with me. It turned out the massive rocks didn’t collide as I had surmised. Instead, they missed each other by a hundred million light-years. I thought their mass would create a gravitational attraction even at that great distance, but they silently passed each other headed for who knows where for the remainder of time, if there was such a thing as time. I was right; there had been no collision, no big bang.
“What do you think now, Jimmy? No crash. No Big Bang.” Jimmy looked puzzled.
Satisfied that I had been right about there being no Big Bang, I left Jimmy to figure out what happened and returned to my cushy clouds.
“So, did you learn how I created the universe?” The Big guy asked.
“No, Sir,” I said, “But I know it didn’t start with a big bang, and that’s good enough for me.”
“Well, that’s not good enough for me. Now get back out there and find the answer to your question.”
The Big Guy was tougher than my physics teacher. I found myself back in the dark vacuum with Jimmy.
“Why did you come back?” Jimmy asked.
“The big guy wants me to stick it out and see how he created the universe.”
“Maybe there are more than two rocks,” Jimmy said. “I still think a collision is imminent.”
We raced through space, but since there was no wind or any other objects to give us perspective, I wondered if we were moving at all. When I was alive and standing on earth, I was hurtling around the Sun at a hundred thousand miles an hour, but I couldn’t feel it. Standing on this rock felt the same.
Jimmy and I stood around for what seemed like an eternity when we felt the spheroid quake.
“Something’s happening,” Jimmy said.
“Do you really think there’s another rock that we’re going to crash into?” I asked.
“Could be,” Jimmy said, “I hate to say it since I’ve only known you for a couple of billion years, but I think those astronomers are just a little bit smarter than you are. If they say two rocks collided, I believe them.”
I hated that Jimmy and those scientists might be right, so I let his comment go.
It was almost imperceptible at first, but my spirit could feel the trembling. The tremors grew, and I felt we were approaching the end and the beginning of something remarkable.
I focused all of my attention on the rock that was now generating heat. I felt an increase in pressure. The Big Guy had given us the ability to utilize some of our earthly senses. I wasn’t sure if it was dark matter that was pressing in on us, but I knew we were reaching a moment of critical mass. The pressure was increasing exponentially. The ground shook harder and a minuscule crack appeared in the asteroid. “Something is happening, but I don’t see any other rocks coming our way,” I yelled to Jimmy.
“That’s because there’s no light,” he replied.
Dang, it. Jimmy had an answer for everything.
Gas spewed forth, and my excitement grew. The planetoid trembled violently and then let go with a blast so powerful it filled the blackness with a firework display of light. The Big Guy must have turned off some of my senses at that moment because I didn’t feel any pain or the cosmic concussion that must still be rippling through time and space, but I could see what was taking place.
Jimmy had jumped off our rock in the nick of time and joined me for a front-row seat.
Simultaneously, or so I sensed, the other rock underwent a similar fate. Both spheres had reached the end of their journeys, and exploded, propelling shards of rock, and light and gas towards each other. It was as if two gunfighters had reached the count of ten, turned, and fired.
Each piece of granite and iron grew to enormous proportions. The gasses coalesced and formed galaxies. The molten stones rotated at speeds I can't describe until they settled into spherical shapes. The darkness was filled with light, but since there was no atmosphere in space there was still dark around us. Incredible.
The blasts represented the beginning of two timelines. Earth existed in one of the universes, but did it also exist in the other? The two universes hurtled toward each other from the deepest recesses of space. Was this the beginning of everything?
Jimmy and I made our way across the cosmic timeline at the speed of thought traversing galaxies, and nebulae and we marveled at the light show. The galactic dust looked like two muzzle flashes heading for each other.
“God must like westerns,” I said.
“Humanity isn’t going to survive long enough to discover the other universe that's speeding toward them,” Jimmy said, “That’s a shame.”
“Just as well. Since the collision would represent the end of time as they know it anyway.”
“Well,” Jimmy said, “I have to admit that you were right and I was wrong. What are you going to dub this event?”
“I kind of like, The Gunfighter Theory.”
“Not much of a theory since we saw it happen.”
Jimmy and I had our answers. We learned how the universe began, and it didn’t involve a big bang as Jimmy, and the astronomers thought. But unraveling one mystery only presented me with a couple of others. I made sure not to ask the Big Guy any more questions because he would make me figure it out on my own, and I wasn't in the mood for any more homework.
When we got back to heaven, Jimmy shook my hand, thanked me for my companionship, and headed for the volleyball courts.
I chose to walk the grounds, wondering what had caused the spheres to reach critical mass and explode? I was deep in thought and hadn’t noticed the Big Guy was watching me. “I know how the universe started,” I mumbled out loud, “But I still don’t know who created those two giant rocks in the first place?” The Big Guy cleared his throat.
I looked up. “Oops, sorry, Big Guy.”