About thirty-five years ago, I routinely enjoyed coffee with my uncle and grandfather at a diner in Muncie, Indiana. One afternoon, we discussed astronomy and scientific theories on the universe’s beginning. I tried to explain how the visible universe originated from a single point at the origin event called the “Big Bang.” My grandfather’s eyes rolled as he quipped, “The entire universe compressed to a point; I cannot even imagine compressing a beer can down to a point!” He couldn’t envision squeezing down a solid mass like that. You put a car in a garbage compactor, with all its power and might, and you still get a relatively large volume at the other end. How could planets, stars, and galaxies compress to a point? It seems ridiculous.
The key to getting past the barrier of doubt regarding the beginning of the universe is to recognize everything is space, nested within space. Solids are nothing more than space and energy. The energy manifests as fields that give the illusion of something uncompressible. When you try to join two powerful magnets of the same polarity, you feel the magnetic force push and resist. These energy fields exist at different regimes in the physical world. Ultimately, however, it’s space nested within space, and with enough energy, the universe can fit in a thimble.