But what if the universe was always there, in a state or condition we have yet to identify--a multiverse, for instance? Or what if the universe, like its particles, just popped into existence from nothing?
Such replies usually satisfy nobody. Nonetheless, they remind us that ignorance is the natural state of mind for a research scientist on the ever-shifting frontier. People who believe they are ignorant of nothing have never looked for, nor stumbled upon, the boundary between what is known and unknown in the cosmos. And therein lies a fascinating dichotomy. "The universe always was" goes unrecognized as a legitimate answer to "What was around before the beginning" But for many religious people, the answer "God always was" is the obvious and pleasing answer to "What was around before God?"