Here's something that not many people understand (and I didn't) that perhaps explains the paradoxes of being within something that is created from nothing, where one conceptually wants to add an outside cause to it. Now I'm one of those folks who is happy to go along with the idea that the universe came from nothing, and then debate what constitutes nothing. I don't jump to the God solution, which is a cop-out of causality, as Gods are left to create themselves and so the same problem exists, only a shift in the rules. Make the universe as God and the rules now apply throughout. If this is paradoxical (is it?), that the created creates, it's no more puzzling or greater than one paradox so very difficult to grasp until someone just suggests the answer (but with implications).
It's this. How is it that to look back in time we have to look out, further and further? And if we look back in time further out, we look over there and over there, into a vast space, in different far directions, for galaxies to get younger and younger, when presumably space was smaller.
So looking out, over there, and then over there, where is actually the smaller and smaller space where the universe began? Which is the tiny pinprick out there in this vastness?
The answer is perplexing, until you get it given by someone who knows. I watch QI on the BBC and treat a lot of what it says with a little extra scepticism. In one edition brainbox Stephen Fry referred to the start of the universe as out there or out there or wherever it is, waving his stretched arms about. Professor Brian Cox as a guest of course had the answer to the conundrum. It started here.
The smallest expanse of space, inflating rapidly, has to be where we are, and smaller than where we are (whilst within it, but before we could be). The paradoxes of space are having to look out and far in order to look in; it is sort of a reverse way around.
To me, that inside-outness of reality is an assistance to the non-God God question, in that it gives the God thing a complete internal part-of the reality of how things are, all within and sort of flipped back on itself.
The issue of space isn't solved, but basically rules were far more flexible in the very small, so there is a difference between the very small then and what is now, and we can reproduce the very small for that quantum flexibility. So space must have actually expanded. But in so doing the fact is we look out in order to look back, and it seems to be the wrong way around, but we can only do so from the inside. Sometimes things have to be 'wrong' to be right, just as we can explain consistent yet vastly intricate patterns from the simplest equations thanks to virtual numbers reiterating.
There may be parallels in the 'out there' and 'in here' metaphors regarding God, but I'm a bit resistant when these could be different language game discussions. I'm also resisting (but not very well) referring to Honest to God, 50 years old, which had behind it John Robinson's close, weak, personalist God and a rejection of theological systems, and yet went off to Tillich in large part who was a systematic theologian. Here was a creative, jumbled up, reuse of ideas via the ahistorical text-man (the 'kerygma') Bultmann, and the shift of thinking Bonhoeffer in which secular ideas had to be the mode of religious thinking, but hadn't worked out how that might go. From him (and Barth's neo-Calvinism) came the secular theology that was an antithesis from the questioning-self systematics of Tillich's Christian answers.
I think Honest to God is a shaker of things but a diversion, as Robinson wanted to preserve the uniqueness of Christ with all the logic of a football team supporter. We all have equal access to the most noble of self-sacrifices, and we don't all have the Romans to give a brutal response.
I think, rather, instead, we have to be sparing with religious metaphors and run better with the scientific paradoxes, even in order to be religious. The question of having to look outward into a vastness in order to look into smaller and smaller spaces is paradox worth examining.
And, no, it is not the same as looking back in time in the family tree, to the power of two in every generation but into a shrinking population. That's because we can count the same person twice. The space question is a far more interesting paradox with a less easy solution that raises the question of reality in a far greater fundamental sense.