I love this question... but, remember any answer is completely hypothetical. If the multiverse idea is wrong and everything began at one moment then that moment would most likely be the first moment of time. If the multiverse is reality then we have more questions. Does time begin anew? Is it a new branch on an already existing line? Can time even be measured the same in all universes? But of course there is the philosophical question of, if there is no one around able to ask the question or conceptualize time's existence, can time have any meaning? There are lots of questions related to your question but there are no answers, I am not even sure that answers can be determined...ever. I really hope a lot more people respond to this. I am very interested in what others think.
Well, obviously, we cant know the answer at this moment, thats why i ask for opinions.
But Byron, I dont know exactly in which point the science are about this question, I really dont know if Hawkins, Witten and others reject the idea of time in other form, before plank moment (in the singularity), even if there are no other universes.... the time and space could exist before plank moment in a way that we actually cant know, or is this ilogical?.
Brian Greene in the documentary The Elegant Universe discussed the theory that the big bang was caused by colliding "branes" or parallel universes (?). If that were the case, I suppose each universe would have its own time frame.
For the moment, ignoring the fact that being able to OBSERVE anything before the big bang is a paradox in and of itself, let me throw this out: time is at least in part a measurement of CHANGE. If, as may be, all of what would become the Big Bang was in the form of virtual particles and therefore unobservable, the state of reality before the BB would be a state of NO CHANGE and therefore NO TIME.
[shrug] I'm no theoretical physicist here ... just taking a wild shot.
In his Confessions, Augustine deals with the idea of time before creation, in effect, time before the Big Bang. Rather unexpectedly, he begins with a joke. Admittedly, he twists this around a little, saying that he won’t answer the question, “What was God doing before he made heaven and earth?” the way someone else did, but nonetheless the joke is there in the alleged reply, “He was preparing hells for people who inquire into profundities.”
Augustine’s initial argument is simple. Assuming by “heaven and earth” we mean every created thing, rather than literally those two places then God certainly wasn’t making anything before the moment of creation because anything he made would be created, and you can’t have created something before everything created was made.
Then, however, Augustine gets to the crux of the matter. He says, “If someone’s mind is flitting and wandering over images of past times” and is astonished that God didn’t bother to do anything for all the ages before the moment of creation, then that person should “wake up and take note that his surprise rests on a mistake.”
According to Augustine, just like Einstein, time was part of the same bundle as space. And if time didn’t exist before that bundle of creation, there was no sense of God sitting around waiting for an arbitrary moment to begin creation. Before the creation there was simply God with neither time nor space. As Augustine puts it, there was no point asking what God was doing then because, “There was no “then” when there was no time.”
In the eternity that existed before creation, Augustine says, it was always the present. There was no past, no future. This isn’t an easy concept to handle. Time, Augustine concedes, is a difficult subject on which to get a handle. “What, then, is time?” he asks. “Provided that no one asks me, I know. If I want to explain it to an inquirer, I do not know.” It is easy to sympathize with him, yet it’s important to grasp this idea of timelessness.
Once you have a feeling for the nature of timelessness, there is a simple answer to the question of why the Big Bang happened when it did. If there was no time and space “before” the Big Bang then there can be no “when.” In this picture, the Big Bang happened and time began. That had to be the start, because there was no before, thus there was no sense of something (it doesn’t have to be God, it could be quantum perturbations if you prefer a godless universe) having to decide “now is the right time to do it.” Something happened in that eternal “now” and that became the start of an definition of when.
Time is the consumer of all things. Energy, emotion, matter, thought, all these are susceptible to the eroding properties of time.
In the measuring of time all things must succumb. The only constant is that nothing is forever. All things pass, from the lowliest insect to the star that warms the insect to the galaxy within which it resides. Time is susceptible to the destructive forces of the universe, including time itself. Throughout the cosmos intense gravitational forces warp, bend and rip the regions of space around them. At the same time, (time) bends to the will of those forces causing time to run down, sucked into a single point of space and time. At this singularity nothing can move or escape, so time here ceases to exist. Hawking may argue this point.
There is another time destroying element in the universe, time in and of itself. The concept of time eating its self is all but unimaginable. As I have written, “Time consumes all things”. Time while an abstract concept like emotion or imagination is a “thing”. It is real and has meaning. Time is a creation of the conscious mind, and thus susceptible to the changing of thought and thus to the changing of time as a concept.
“Causality….”, as time eats it destroys the consciousness that created it. With out consciousness time dies so as a conscious species (such as humans) dies out with the running of time so too dose the concept of time, for the process of time consumes all things.
So like the proverbial fallen tree, if none is around to notice the passing of time dose time really pass? Hmmmm….I guess the tree doesn’t make a peep.
We all live in a perpetual state of "now" only difference is we have the consciousness to record all the "nows" that came before. If there is a supernatural being that got the ball rolling then this being would by definition have to be super conscious and there for super aware of the passing of time from one now to the next now. Now a good theist would say, "what do we know of how God perceives time?" To this I would have to say, time is not a mater of perception as time is always perceived the same for every one in any relative state. A being moving near the speed of light still sees his watch moving at the same constant pace as ever. Time is a mater of consciousness, and consciousness implies motion and bodies in motion require the passing of time. The only reason in fact that there is time is because of the ability of conscious beings to register change. In essence, Time didn't begin at the big bang or the moment God created it or what ever, It began with the first being capable of registering the implications of motion and change. In other word it began when that being, somewhere in the mega-verse, first notices shit happens and then happens again and can remember when it happened the first time. It is we that have pushed the existence of time back to the big bang through extrapolation. Or I could be talking out of my ass.