John, pal, you wrote: ” I just don’t get how it all started.” Yes. You’re back on Home Base, with all other honest people. We have many conjectures about origins and terminations.
I go with Immanuel Kant and the General Semanticists on this: Starting and Ending, time, space, mass, motion, force, discrete “physical” objects, mental entities including objective and subjective “reality.” These are all conceptual categories “inside our heads” and part of what we can be aware of as the neurological processing of sensory data “coming in” to our so-called “existence” or domain of thought and feeling. We know only these “categories” or non-Platonic “ideas.” We project them upon whatever “is really out there” where sense-data comes from. In short, our perception “negotiates” between Inside-stuff and what we trustfully assume is Outside-stuff. We’re not capable of sensing “bare reality.”
So, then, to talk of cosmic beginnings and endings is absolutely beyond anything but “exercises” of imagination whether as science or science fiction, and the ‘religiosi’ simply have to join us in growing up.
If you’ve bothered to read much of my stuff, you’re aware of my effort to expand people’s stock vocabulary by adding the word “Transtheism” to simplify the can of worms about Theism/Deism, Agnosticism & Atheism. To the Transtheist, the whole argument of Existence versus Non-existence is moot, by transcending all our common “bifurcations” or polarizing, conceptual spits, such as natural/supernatural, humane/divine, animal/human, etc. Even self is not purely distinct from non-self, save in verbal imagination. It was Jimmu Krishnamurti who wrote: “You and Nothing are a joint phenomenon.” How “Asian” is that?