Also in his book, Many Worlds In One, Alex Vilenkin concludes with a discussion about mathematical equations, how they develop in human thought prior to scientific discovery, and then are available when needed to forge new models of reality. With a diversity of mathematical tools at hand, cosmologists are successively discerning fundamental laws of the universe; and the laws that were our best understanding of reality in the past eventually yield to more fundamental laws constructed from newer mathematical tools that we’ve devised. These cosmological theories about how the universe came to be and what will be its ultimate demise are our best contemporary understanding of reality — of what is there. Given all the stuff of the universe, we’ve got some emerging understanding of the laws that govern how things came to be, how they interact with other stuff and change over time, and what happens to it all in the end. But what are these fundamental laws, really?
The picture of quantum tunneling from nothing raises another intriguing question. The tunneling process is governed by the same fundamental laws that describe the subsequent evolution of the universe. It follows that the laws should be “there” even prior to the universe itself. Does this mean that the laws are not mere descriptions of reality and can have an independent existence of their own? In the absence of space, time, and matter, what tablets could they be written upon? The laws are expressed in the form of mathematical equations. If the medium of mathematics is the mind, does this mean that mind should predate the universe? This takes us far into the unknown, all the way to the abyss of great mystery.
So is mind the precursor to all the universe? Is that what God is? Great mystery indeed.