Q: You said the other day that no one is interested any more in questions like “who created the universe?” but a recent edition of ‘Time Magazine’ devoted considerable space to an article entitled “In the Beginning: God and Science.”
The basic theme of the article was that science and religion have been brought close together by the “big bang” theory of creation in which the universe is supposed to have come into being through a vast fireball explosion, fifteen or twenty million years ago.
Time says that this sounds very much like the story which the old testament has been telling all along, namely that the universe began in a single flashing act of creation.
What is wrong with the hypothesis that the universe was created, that it had a beginning? And why do you assert that it did not? Is it not a step in the right direction when science and religion agree?
Subhuti, the first thing to remember is, for three hundred years religion has been losing its territory continuously. First, religion tried to destroy science. It was unable to do it – because you cannot destroy truth, and science was truer, as far as the objective world is concerned, than religion. In fact religion has no authority to say anything about the objective world.
When you are ill you go to the physician, you don’t go to the poet. The poet has no authority; he may be a great poet but that is irrelevant when you are ill. He may be a great poet, but when something goes wrong in your bathroom you don’t call him, you call a plumber. The plumber may not be a poet at all, but the plumber is relevant there. You don’t call Albert Einstein – he may be a great physicist, but what does he know about plumbing?
Religion was proving to be utterly wrong. It was wrong about the objective world. Once science started investigating the objective, organized religion was very much afraid. If there had been a Jesus he would not have been afraid, he would simply have said, “About the objective, listen to science.” If a Buddha was there he would have said, “Listen to science.”
Organized religion tried to kill science –
they could not,
because truth cannot be killed.
Slowly slowly science has possessed
the whole territory of the objective world.
But there was no buddha in the West where science was growing. And people like Galileo and Copernicus and Kepler were tortured in every possible way because organized religion, the church, became very much afraid: what they were saying was going against their scriptures.
The scientists were saying that the sun does not go around the earth – and The Bible says it does. The scientists were saying the earth goes around the sun… now, if The Bible can be wrong in one thing, then why not in others? That was the problem, that was the fear.
The person who said that the earth goes around the sun was called to the court by the Vatican. Galileo had to appear, in his old age – he was more than seventy, ill, on his deathbed, but he was forced to come to the court to declare there that whatsoever he had said is wrong.
He must have been a man of great humor. He said, “Yes, if it offends you, I declare that whatsoever I have said is wrong – that the earth does not go around the sun, but the sun goes around the earth.”
Everybody looked happy, and then Galileo said, “But sir, nothing will change by my statement. The earth will still go round and round the sun – my statement makes no difference! If you are offended by my statement I can take it back, I can refute it. If you want me to write another treatise, I can write that too. But nothing will change by that. Who cares about my statement? Neither the sun nor the earth.”
Organized religion tried to kill science – they could not, because truth cannot be killed. Slowly slowly science has possessed the whole territory of the objective world. Then the natural tendency of mind… science started claiming that which could not be claimed by it. Science created the same fallacy as organized religion, which was saying, “About the objective world also, we are right.” They were not. They are right about the subjective world; about the interior most being of existence they are right. But they are not right about the circumference of it, that is not their dimension. But they were claiming that they are right about both.
The same started happening with physicists, chemists and other scientists. In the beginning of this century, science became very arrogant – the same type of arrogance, just the authority shifted from the priests to the scientists. The scientists started saying, “There is no God and there is no soul and there is no consciousness, and all that is rubbish.”
This type of arrogance has always remained with man. We have not yet learned anything. This is again the same game being played. When science became very arrogant, naturally religion became defensive. It was losing, it became defensive. So anything that is discovered by science religion tries to appropriate. It tries somehow to make it fit with itself, because the only possibility for it to survive now is if it proves itself to be scientific.
…this big bang theory
is not totally accepted,
there are many other theories.
These are all guesses;
they are not proved yet,
nothing is proved.
In fact I don’t think that
it can ever be proved
how the world came into existence.
In the beginning it was just the opposite. If a scientist was to survive, the only way was to prove that whatsoever he has found is according to the scriptures, that it proves the scriptures, that it is not against.
Now the whole thing is just vice versa. Now if religion wants to exist in the world, it has continuously to look up to science. Whatsoever science discovers, religion immediately jumps upon and tries to prove, “This is what we have been saying all along.”
This “Big Bang” theory has nothing to do with the religious attitude and the religious theory of creation. In the big bang theory there is no God, it is all an accident; it is not creation, remember, because there is no creator in it.
But religion is very defensive, continuously searching for anything to cling to. The big bang theory says that in a sudden explosion, in a great flash of light, the world was created. Jump on it; you can always find some way, some logical way. You can say, “Yes, this is right, this is what we have been saying all along. God in the beginning said, ‘Let there be light’ – and now the theory says there was a great explosion, the world was suddenly created.”
But the basic thing is missing – don’t be deceived. Religion has been saying that God said, “Let there be light.” The base is not the light, the base is God saying, “Let there be light.” That God is missing in the big bang theory: there is no God, it was a sudden accident, not creation.
Something was always there –
whether it exploded or whether it grew slowly,
in one day or in six daysor in one single moment,
There must have been something before it,
because only something can come out of something.
Even if you say there was nothing,
and it came out of nothing,
then your nothing is full of something,
it is not really nothing.
And one more thing: this big bang theory is not totally accepted, there are many other theories. These are all guesses; they are not proved yet, nothing is proved. In fact I don’t think that it can ever be proved how the world came into existence. It is impossible, because nobody was there to witness it, you cannot find an eyewitness, so all that they can do will be just guesswork.
And it happened fifteen or twenty billion years ago. You cannot even be certain whether Krishna ever existed or not, just five thousand years ago. You cannot be certain even about Jesus, whether he was really an historical person or is just a myth – and he was only two thousand years ago. Do you think you can be certain about something that happened twenty billion years ago? All guesses.
And still I say the world was never created, there was no beginning.
Why do I say that there was no beginning? Subhuti, it is so simple. Even if you believe in the big bang theory, there must have been something that exploded. Do you think nothing exploded? If there was something, x, y, z, – any name, I am not much interested in such nonsense things, x, y, z, whatsoever it was that exploded – if something was there before the explosion then the explosion is not the beginning. It may be a beginning but it is not the beginning.
And when I say there has never been any beginning, I mean the beginning. Something was always there – whether it exploded or whether it grew slowly, in one day or in six days or in one single moment, doesn’t matter. There must have been something before it, because only something can come out of something. Even if you say there was nothing, and it came out of nothing, then your nothing is full of something, it is not really nothing.
Hence I say there has never been any beginning and there will never be any end. Maybe a beginning, maybe many beginnings and maybe many ends, but never the first and never the last. We are always in the middle. Existence is not a creation but a creativity. It is not that it begins one day and ends one day. It goes on and on; it is an ongoing process.
That’s why, Subhuti, I say that all these guesses are useless and there is no need for them and they serve no purpose. This was Buddha’s approach too. Whenever somebody would ask a question like, “Who created the world?” – whether the world was ever created or is uncreated – Buddha would answer by other questions. He would ask, “If who created the world is decided, is it going to help your enlightenment? Is it going to help you become more silent, more meditative, more aware?”
Certainly the person would answer, “It is not going to help. Who created the world doesn’t matter. It will not help my enlightenment and it will not make me more meditative.”
Then Buddha said, “Then why bother about all this? Think of things which can help you to become more meditative, think of things which can help you become free of all the ego-clinging, think of things which can ultimately lead you into the state of samadhi.”
My approach is also the same: these are all irrelevant questions. And because of these irrelevant questions there has been so much controversy down the ages and thousands of people have wasted their lives discussing who created the world, when exactly, what was the date – and so on, and so forth.
I think these people were neurotics. I don’t think them healthy, normal, sane people. Who cares? For what? It does not matter at all, it is immaterial.
Osho, The Book of Wisdom, Ch 28, Q 3