The universe is like a game of cricket - we just hope we don't have to face too many googlies.

### Marking Time - July 2

I rewrote this reflection for Sunday, July 2, on Saturday morning, July 1, and the way the second test between that evening between the All Blacks and the Lions transpired served to prove my point...

Marking Time”

Are we just marking time?

Imagine a game of rugby - the All Blacks v the Lions, for example.

Rugby us governed by a set of rules, but the outcome of any match is not predetermined. There are so many variables: the toss of the coin, the ball, the climate, the players.

The oval shaped ball can bounce in different directions or it can hold up in the wind, the ground can be dry or wet and muddy making the ball slippery. The way the ball is kicked, whether players choose to run or pass or set up a ruck or maul, scrum tactics, the referee's interpretations of the rules, the temperament of the players and the mood of the crowd all play a part.

Even given a few simple laws, the way the game can play out is infinite - but all we really care about is who wins.

In the television series “Human Universe” Professor Brian Cox explains the universe is like a game of cricket.

Scientists have come up with some relatively simple rules based on observations made since the beginning of human existence on planet Earth - the laws of physics to help explain the universe, to get a glimpse of the past right back to the “big bang” and even to predict the future.

But there are so many variables, the outcome cannot be predetermined – even our existence today could have simply come down to whether or not a certain collection of dust particles collided 10 billion years ago.

The way the universal game played out, leading to our existence was not predetermined by the rules of the game alone. Chance played a part as well.

And yet, like the game of rugby between the All Blacks v the Lions, we only really care about one outcome - the fact we exist.

Changing the rules of the game

Change the rules of the game, reduce the number of players to seven aside and play seven or 10 minute halves instead of 40 minutes and you get a totally different set of dynamics, different players excelling, different people watching, different outcomes - like Japan beating New Zealand at the Olympic Games last year.

Change the rules of the game in the universe and what would be the outcome? Would the universe exist or the Milky Way Galaxy exist? Would we be here?

Change the strength of gravity or the speed of light and what would have happened?

It raises the likelihood of there being an infinite number of possible universes. There are believed to be about 200 billion stars in this galaxy and billions of galaxies in this universe - so maybe there are billions of universes.

Professor Cox compares it to buying a lottery ticket - there are infinite possibilities and we drew this one. Was it the winning one?

Or maybe there is an infinite number of “me” out there - scary thought, I know.

The mind boggles - maybe there are no limits.

Which raises an interesting question, who wrote the rules of the game?

Some would say God. It is a question science has not been able to answer, yet.

Scientists believe they have traced time back to what is known as the “big bang” about 13.7 billion years ago and have even captured an image of what is believed to be the afterglow about 380,000 years later.

There is no nothingness

Which raises another mind-blowing question, what went before the big bang?

As child I dreamed of being an astronomer or astronaut. I had a fascination with space, of what was out there.

But then at age 10 or 11 I had nightmares - my brain was trying to figure out or comprehend how the universe came into being. I could not imagine nothingness, so I chickened out.

Now with an adult brain, but with a childlike imagination - some might call it madness, which apparently is normal among scientists - I am ready to see that a beginning is simply an end of something else.

Perhaps there really is no beginning and no ending in real terms.

There is no nothingness.

As Professor Cox says, “things have to happen - nothingness or emptiness is about the only thing forbidden in the rules of quantum mechanics”.

There is always energy

There is always energy.

Scientists believe the same amount of energy which exists in the universe today was present at the “big bang”.

The amount of energy is constant, but how it is distributed through the universe changes over time.

This is where the theory of “inflation” comes in.

The energy was all in one place, bubbled away for a time and then went “BANG” and has been spreading out or “inflating” into the universe ever since.

One day it will probably expand out too far and then collapse back in on itself - and that's probably what ultimately led to the “big bang” in the first place.

A constant flow of life over trillions of years - an eternity. Enough to blow your mind.

Why am I here?

So what does that mean for us? Why am I here?

Well, if there are an infinite number of universes evolving throughout eternity, Professor Cox suggests this ultimately means “the existence of the whole thing is inevitable - we are here because we have to be”.

The fact we are here now, at this time and in this place may have been pure chance. But the fact we do exist at all, at some point in time, may have been inevitable.

But, why do we exist at all? Do we have a purpose?

Well, science hasn't been able to answer that, perhaps nobody knows.

So, as Professor Cox says: “the answer is up to you, what do you think?”

### Marking Time

June 4 – Arbor Day

Marking Time”

Psalm 104: 19

You have made the moon to mark the seasons, the sun knows it's time for setting.”

Roxette “Spending My Time”

“Spending my time
Watching the days go by
Feeling so small
I stare at the wall”

Marking Time

Are we just marking time?

Imagine a game of cricket.

The rules of the game have been largely the same since the 1800s, but the outcome of any match is not predetermined. There are so many variables: the toss of the coin, the ball, the climate, the players.

The ball can swing in overcast conditions or when there is dew on the ground, or the ball can scuff on a hard, dry ground. The way the ball is bowled, the shot selection of the batters, an umpire's decision, the temperament of the players and the mood of the crowd all play a part.

Even given a few simple laws, the way the game can play out is infinite - but all we really care about is who wins.

In the television series “Human Universe” Professor Brian Cox explains the universe is like a game of cricket.

Scientists have come up with some relatively simple rules based on observations made since the beginning of human existence on planet Earth - the laws of physics to help explain the universe, the get a glimpse of the past right back to the “big bang” and even to predict the future.

But there are so many variables, the outcome cannot be predetermined – even the our existence today could have simply come down to whether or not a certain collection of dust particles collided 10 billion years ago.

The way the universal game played out, leading to our existence was not predetermined by the rules of the game alone. Chance played a part as well.

And yet, like the game of cricket, we only really care about outcome - the fact we exist.

Changing the rules of the game

Change the rules of the game, bring in a limited number of overs to play the game in a day – a One Day International instead of a five day test match - or shorten it to play in a evening - a Twenty20 International - and you get a totally different set of dynamics, different players excelling, different people watching, different outcomes.

Change the rules of the game in the universe and what would be the outcome? Would the universe exist, the Milky Way Galaxy? Would we be here?

Change the strength of gravity or the speed of light and what would have happened?

It raises the likelihood of there being an infinite number of possible universes. There are believed to be up to 200 billion stars in this galaxy, a billion (or billions) of galaxies in this universe - so maybe there are billions of universes.

Professor Cox compares it to buying a lottery ticket - there are infinite possibilities and we drew this one. Was it the winning one?

Or maybe there is an infinite number of “me” out there - scarey thought, I know.

The mind boggles - maybe there are no limits.

Which raises an interesting question, who wrote the rules of the game? Some would say God. It is a question science has not been able to answer, yet.

Scientists believe they have traced time back to what is known as the “big bang” 14 billion years ago and have even captured an image of what is believed to be the afterglow from13.7 billion years ago.

There is no nothingness

But, what went before the big bang?

As child I dreamed of being an astronomer or astronaut. I had a fascination with space, of what was out there.

But then at age 10 or 11 I had nightmares - my brain was trying to figure out or comprehend how the universe came into being. I could not imagine nothingness, so I chickened out.

Now with an adult brain, but with a childlike imagination - some might call it madness (but I couldn't possibly comment - I never question my sanity, I am insane) - I am ready to see that a beginning is an end of something else.

There is no nothingness.

As Professor Cox says, “things have to happen - nothingness or emptiness is about the only thing forbidden in the rules of quantum mechanics”.

There is always energy

There is always energy.

Scientists believe the same amount of energy which exists in the universe today was present at the “big bang”.

The amount of energy is constant, but how it is distributed through the universe changes over time.

This is where the theory of “inflation” comes in.

The energy was all in one place, bubbled away for a time and then went “BANG” and has been spreading out or “inflating” into the universe ever since.

One day it will probably expand out too far and then collapse back in on itself - and that's probably what led to the “big bang” in the first place.

A constant flow of life over trillions of years - an eternity. Enough to blow your mind.

Why am I here?

So what does that mean for us?

Well, if there are infinite number of universes evolving throughout eternity, Professor Cox suggests “the existence of the whole thing is inevitable - we are here because we have to be”.

The fact we are here now, at this time and this place may have been pure chance. But the fact we do exist at all, at some point, may have been inevitable.

But, why do we exist at all? Do we have a purpose?

Well, nobody knows. So, as Professor Cox says: “the answer is up to you, what do you think?”

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