One of the great unanswered questions in cosmology is why the universe exists at all. The Big Bang should have created equal amounts of matter and antimatter. Eventually, all of those bits should have found each other and annihilated everything. We are here, so what happened?
The riddle is called Baryon Asymmetry and no one knows if it will ever be solved. Baryons are things like protons and neutrons that make up all the ordinary matter that we are and know. There must have been more protons created than anti-protons and more neutrons created than anti-neutrons. But the Standard Model shows that the creation of matter from energy must happen in matched pairs. In fact, we know it’s real because it happens everywhere, all the time. Empty space is not really empty. It is filled with particle pairs of matter and antimatter that wink in and out of existence constantly. The universe is crackling with activity. The diagram above, first proposed by physicist Richard Feynman, is a schematic representation of a particle pair winking out of existence, turning into a photon (light) and then reappearing again.
This is yet another amazing page in the book of creation that can inform our theology. First is the notion of creation itself. Creation isn’t just a story, or something that happened once upon a time. It is a reality that happens all around us at all times. Dis-creation also happens around us at all times too. The second big idea is that there has been slightly more creation than dis-creation. We don’t know whether this was a one time event at the Big Bang, or whether there is a minuscule bias toward creation going on all the time.
I like to think that the bias toward creation is happening still, because it is so much like the creation and dis-creation that we see in the Old Testament and in our own lives. When everything is falling apart, when society looks like it is going to hell and all the things we love are being destroyed, there is always a glimmer of hope. There is always a remnant. There is always a tiny bit more goodness than evil in the world. There is always a little more creation than dis-creation in everything.