LIFE: a natural stage in the development of Matter

November 1992

by George F. Hart Ph.D.

From the energy burst that heralded the dawn of time, and the searing furnace where heaven and hell are synonymous; and, in a place where the wizards, warlocks, gods and poets are replaced by mathematics to describe the way of our Universe, matter was ultimately born [see Davis and Gribbin, 1992]. Neither religious commandment nor a persuasive god was needed for this feat [see Paul Davies, 1983]. With Genesis but a second ago our Universe was a 300,000 km ball of energy with a temperature of 10 billion degrees. A chaotic mass of light particles, a brew of protons and neutrons, electrons and positrons, and entities born during the first fraction of a second of time. As the electrons began to join with the atomic nuclei to form the simple atoms of hydrogen and then helium, photons were produced as a by-product, and our Universe was bathed in an intense light that made spacetime transparent.

As the cosmos cooled the Atomic Era gradually gave way to the Galaxy Era: galaxy formation and the origin of the stars, planets, and associated celestial bodies. Our Milky Way Galaxy and the Solar System, with it’s associated planets eventually formed. But our star system was not early – for it is a second generation star. An earlier stellar system had formed and exploded as a super nova, and within this explosion new matter, the heavier elements, were cooked. With heavier elements available Earth-like planets could be formed. These contained carbon, and phosphorous and sulfur and the many other elements that are necessary constituents of living material.

It is instructive to note that the main elements that make up living matter are amongst the most abundant in our Universe, four of them are indeed within the top five [C, O, N, H], and two others [P, S] are ninth and sixteenth respectively. How fortunate, but then again how necessary. It is possible to conceive of a scientific explanation of how this material formed in the living matter without much trouble but there remains the nagging thought that the mixture was correct in the first place, for the process of life to develop as a natural stage in the evolution of matter within our Universe. Our scientific explanation for creation, cannot decide whether or not our Universe could have happened without a super-natural input. However, in addressing the origin of space, time, matter, life and mind science does reject the need for an interfering deity once our Universe was formed, and at the same time it may offer a more certain path to god than does any religion.

Geologists and astrophysicists both agree that the Earth of 4 billion years ago had an atmosphere with a high content of hydrogen gases: H2S [hydrogen sulfide], CH4 [methane], H2O [water] and H3N [ammonia]. Natural combinations of these materials, found today in deep space and in the atmosphere of other planets, and in the sterile rocks brought back from our Moon, are the very building blocks of living matter. In the laboratory scientists can retrace the key steps inanimate material had to follow to form organized cells [see Fox, 1988]. In the hot atmosphere of early Earth the amino-acids which form the basis of all proteins were easily formed, as was adenosine triphosphate [ATP] the chemical responsible for short term energy storage in all living cells, and the nucleotides that make-up the DNARNA molecules. The early Earth was abundant in these components and the waters of the oceans have been likened to a warm soup. Pre-living cells in the form of thermal proteins have been formed in the laboratory and converted to organized proteinoid microspheres which can perform many of the functions of living matter, including the development of primitive cell membranes, but contains no DNA or RNA. The cell membrane is critical for it allows the retention of large molecules and passage of small ones thus acting as a chemical sieve protecting the chemical activity of the inside of the cell from the harsh variable environment on the outside, yet the cell remains an open system. Interestingly, fossilized proteinoid microspheres from ancient Pre-Cambrian rocks are indistinguishable from those formed in the laboratory.

The early microbes lived by fermentation, and by photosynthesis. The earliest photosynthesizes used the hydrogen compounds to produce their energy and did not expel oxygen. However, they rapidly changed the atmosphere to one much more like that of Venus with 98% CO2 and small quantities of N, O2, and H2O. The primitive proto-cells did not function as individual units – agglomerations of interacting chemical sites in which one reaction provided material for an adjacent reactive site was the way in which they worked. This is how the primitive bacteria [prokaryotes] behave even today. Nitrogen fixation is a function seen only in the prokaryotes and developed in the cyanobacteria. Our Sun produces the compounds that were used in fermentation [some of these early prokaryotes could use carbon dioxide] and eventually a form arose that used sulphate to generate ATP and produce sulfur gases [as does modern Desulfovibrios]. This led to the synthesis of the porphyrin ring which passed electrons and generated ATP along the way. With this development true photosynthesis began, in which the light energy is stored and then used to break carbon dioxide derived from the atmosphere. At the same time Clostrida, Azobacter, and Rhizobialike cells extracted the N from the atmosphere and converted it to ammonia-like compounds for use by other organisms.

Autotrophs, in the classical forms, adsorb energy directly from sunlight, using chloroplasts within which the chlorophyll molecule can absorb the light energy, and store it as chemical energy [as chemical bonds], which is then used to make glucose from water and carbon dioxide. The chlorophyll is simply a catalyst for the energy transfer. From the glucose, the starch, cellulose and other polysaccarides can be derived.

Heterotrophs cannot synthesize the necessary material from inorganic matter but must use pre-formed organic molecules such as glucose or starch. This process involves respiration which is taken care of by the mitochondria in the cells. Mitochondria are self reproducing systems that originated as primitive proto-organisms i.e. they are capable of division. They have their own nucleic acids and enzyme synthesizing system, and respiration takes place within the mitochondria,

Finally a chemical system evolved [mutated] that solved the hydrogen problem by generating a second photosynthetic reaction center which took the light energy absorbed by the first reaction and split H2O, thus providing abundant hydrogen to combine with carbon dioxide to produce nutrients [see Margulis and Sagan, 1986]. This single change was apocalyptic: Earth would never again be the same for the efficiency of the method meant it’s success and general dominance. As this life form evolved so the oxygen content of the atmosphere began to build-up, and oxygen is toxic to organic matter! The evolution of this system led to processes which had the ability to use oxygen in respiration: a method that generates much more ATP per unit of expended energy than does fermentation. In time the adaptation of this process led to cells that required oxygen: these were the obligate aerobic organisms. Aerobic respiration is controlled combustion in which the organic molecules are broken down to yield CO2 and H2O plus energy in amounts eighteen [18] times that of fermentation.

Ribosomes, which were once possibly primitive organisms themselves, are small granules of RNA protein that participate in the formation of protein and are capable of division. In the archaebacteria of thermal springs, such as Thermoplasma and Sulfolobus, the organisms have distinctive ribosomes and ribosomal RNA, and can withstand high temperatures and acidity, such as would have existed in the Proterozoic Era. The DNA in primitive prokaryotic cells is a simple strand that replicates itself: referred to as a large replicon. Small replicons are small fragments of DNA derived principally from other bacteria: they are plasmids, episomes, prophages, phages, and when they replicate and encase themselves in protein they become viruses. Fragments of DNA can enter the cell and insert themselves into both the large and small replicons – thus altering the genetic makeup. The small amount of genetic material in a prokaryotic cell restricts their metabolic activity thus the exchange of fragments of DNA provide the genetic diversity necessary for survival and adaptation – it is far more versatile than that seen in advanced mitosis and meiosis.

The primitive bacteria have a method of motion called the proton motor, made out of protein which is propelled by electric charge on the molecule. From this developed the Spirochete organism which is possibly the precursor of every motile cell that has developed since [e.g. Trichonympha], and seems to be the basis of mitosis and meiosis reproductive strategies.

The DNA of the Eukaryotes is 100 times greater than that in the prokaryotes. The nucleus is 40% DNA and 60% protein. An important theory is that the Eukaryotes arose by symbiosis from prokaryotic ancestors. Kwang Jeon, at the University of Tennessee, actually showed this could happen when he incorporate a bacterium into an Amoeba and successfully bred this as a new species. In one sense he actually domesticated bacteria!

In the evolution of the Kingdom Plantae primitive organisms in the form of plastids were ingested but not eaten, and became part of the organism, living in symbiosis. The bacteria Prochloron, which lives on a sea squirt, is in fact very much like a chloroplast. Rhodoplasts, which are photosynthesizing structures using red-light, probably had as their ancestors the cyanobacteria. Chlamydomonas, for example, has a DNA structure in the chloroplasts that is similar to that found in the cyanobacteria. The evolution of cellular life on Earth is a legacy system not an innovative system i.e. later life-forms build upon chemical systems that came before.

Human beings have 1016 bacterial cells but only 1015 animal cells in their bodies.

Margulis and Sagan, 1986


  1. Paul Davies and John Gribbin, The Matter Myth, Simon & Schuster Inc, 1992.

  2. Paul Davies, God and the New Physics, Simon & Schuster Inc, 1983.

  3. Sidney Fox, The Emergence of Life – Darwinian Evolution from the Inside, Basic Books, Inc., NY, 1988.

  4. Lynn Margulis & Dorian Sagan, MICROCOSMOS – four billion years of Evolution from our Microbial Ancestors, Summit Books, NY, 1986.

  5. Lynn Margulis and Michael Dolan, Early Life. Science Books International, Boston. 1982.


Adenosine triphosphate [ATP] This is the immediate energy source for most cell functions. It consists of a N-base [nucleotide adenine], a sugar [ribose] and a phosphate group. Splitting of the outer two phosphate groups generates energy and leaves ADP or AMP. There are three major pathways that generate ATP in a cell” fermentation, photosynthesis, and respiration. Margulis, 1982, p:15, notes “Once an ATP pathway evolved it never died out. The enzymes that catalyze these reactions are also stable.

Aerobic respiration This is a key way in which cells gain energy by oxidative metabolism, using oxygen to convert nutrients into carbon dioxide and water..

Atomic Era

Fermentation The process of deriving energy from the oxidation of other organic compounds.

Galaxy Era The Era of our Universes history that began some 12.7 billion years ago and when localized regions of Hydrogen and Helium were gravitationally attracted to begin the formation of the galaxies. At a certain stage density has increased and the core temperature rises above 106 kelvin where nuclear fusion begins, essentially H produces He and energy, forming a stars.

Interfering deity A mythical super-natural being or magician, call God, that can alter the entropy of a system, in ways not possible by science, and thereby alter the course of the history of our Universe.

Meiosis The kind of chromosomal replication that occurs in sexually reproducing organism resulting in the formation of germ cells

Mitochondria Mitochondria are circular molecules of DNA that occur outside of the nucleus of the cell. They probably originated as isolated sites of chemical reactions during the proto-biologic phase of evolution of organic matter, but today they are localized within a cellular system. Mitochondrial DNA [mtDNA] is inherited only though the maternal line, derived from the maternal germ cell. The mitochondrial DNA does not recombine with any nuclear DNA, although its function is partially controlled by the nucleus i.e. it is passed on unchanged except for mutations.

Mitosis A process that makes a copy of each chromosome during the division of the cell such that the two new daughter cells that result from cell division contain replicas of the DNA in the original cell.

Obligate aerobic organism An organism that requires oxygen to oxidize material in order to obtain energy.

Photosynthesis The process whereby a cell uses the energy from sunlight to produce chemical energy.

Plastids These are major organelles found in plants and algae responsible for photosynthesis.

Porphyrin ring These are pigments found in protoplasm giving the cell color, such as green chlorophyll and red hemoglobin.

Thermal proteins Amino acid chains formed by heating [see Fox] to 160-210oC, thereby producing polymers of a molecular weight of 300,000. When washed with water protenoid microspheres of a diameter of 20,000 Ao are formed essentially forming proto-cells.

Is Zero a better name than God: for the phenomenon that created the Universe?

November 1992

Reprinted from the 1993 distributed pre-print.

By George F. Hart, Ph.D.

It started with the birth of Natural Science and blossomed in the work of Darwin; attacked religious foundation in a way more persuasive than the Copernican earth model; and, it manifests itself in evolutionary biology – the death of God!

The final blow was delivered by paleontologists but the death knell is being tolled by physicists who are pushing towards the point where reason has no logic and chaos reigns supreme – beyond point Zero.

If humanity is to mature into the New World Order a uniform logic for existence must prevail. History has shown that successful religions come to accept the facts of prevailing logic. Modern logic, in the form of science, explains how time and our Universe began; how Earth originated, and how life grew from the inanimate; and conclusively, the inevitable end of everything. History thus predicts the ultimate fall of the tribal religions that dominate much of humanities present thinking. Religious interpretations and the variety of Holy books hide these truths by a cloak of irrationality and a semantic web, and if we are truly to attain an understanding of nature, the Gods of old must die and be replaced by a concept acceptable to all people. Allah, Jehovah, Christ, Krishna, Buddha and even Satan must all be one and the same; and, modern science tells us that this concept – a basis for a unified religion – is ZERO.

No heroic creature is necessary to bring our Universe into being. No wizard or warlock, no mythical god, no poet, philosopher or magician. Our Universe began out of nothing. Modern science accepts this as a known fact. Our Universe will end as nothing. Modern science predicts this in heat death of our Universe, when entropy is zero and perfect order rules. In the meantime reality is real and we exist; and life, and death and all things form a holistic whole. Our existence, our reality, is merely the space-time occurring between these nothings. Is our existence then simply a dream by God?

In the beginning there was nothing, not a point, not a void, not a time, not a space. This was before creation, outside of time. But something was astir at the boundary of this nothingness, some hazy, frothy, unfocused darkness was popping in and out of existence from beyond the 5th dimension. Virtual space-time bubbles less than 10-33 cm in diameter and existing for less than 10-43 seconds, before they are pulled back into multidimensional chaos by super-gravity – or is it super-time. Then – for time begins – a stir, a ripple, something minimally small, an inconceivably little;thing has popped into existence. But within this thing is the whole of space-time, of energy, of matter; and ultimately, of all dreams and desires and yearnings. Super-gravity has had a quantum transition and within the quantum world you can really get something from nothing.

Our Universe is at Planck Time and has a size of Planck Length: it has started. A super-gravitational warp into the 5th dimension and space-time exists, The temperature was over a trillion, trillion, trillion degrees and the grand unified particles condense as bosons [photons, X-particles and their kin] and fermions [lepton-quarks]. At this temperature only gravity and the grand unified law controlled the interactions within our Universe. All this in a universe the size of a raindrop. This universe contained no matter at all – not even dimensionless matter. It was pure energy.

The energy accompanying this Big Bang was so colossal that it contained within it all the radiation and matter of our entire future Universe. From this moment of inception the Universe cooled, and as it did so it underwent a phase change, as a heated iron bar does when it cools and develops electromagnetism; or as a body of water cools and suddenly freezes. By 10-35 seconds at a temperature of 1026 degrees the photons froze-out and the physical laws of the strong force and the electro-weak force, along with gravity, held the energetic universe together as it continued its cooling and expansion. But other things were formed at the instant time began and during the first moments of existence: neutrinos, and possibly undetectable things such as dark matter, cosmic strings, and texture that give the present universe the bulk of its mass and its detailed structure. And for every thing there was an anti-thing. Anti-neutrinos, anti-photons, maybe anti-grande unified particles. This universe must have been asymmetrical from the beginning, with more things than anti-things. We know this because we exist!

As the blob of space-time begins to expand and inflate like the surface of a balloon, nature had a wonderful simplicity about it that science can unfold. From 10-33 cm to 100,000 kms across in a fraction of a second and the great bang that heralded creation still reverberates throughout our Universe and is heard by our modern instruments as the back-ground radiation. These facts prompted Pope Pius XII to remark that everything seems to indicate that the universe has in finite times a mighty beginning [address to Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Rome, 1951].

Cooling still more the leptons and quarks became separate entities when at 10-10 seconds expansion had lowered the temperature to about ten thousand, trillion degrees. At these temperatures the electroweak force is no longer applicable. It is replaced by the electromagnetic force and the weak force and the four laws of physics that govern particle interaction today are now all manifest – gravity, strong, weak and electromagnetic, controlling the behavior of the leptons, quarks and photons. Curiosity these particles are dimensionless and our universe had size only in terms of the space-time occupied by its energy – a size about that of our Sun.

As our Universe grew in size so it’s energy occupied a greater volume and it’s temperature dropped. By space-time 10-6 seconds the temperature had dropped to below a thousand trillion degrees – a level that the quarks combined into nucleons [neutrons and protons] and anti-nucleons – the building blocks of our modern common-place matter. Quarks could no longer exist alone and the four forces of nature then played out a dance with the particles and anti-particles of our Universe such that by 10-4 seconds they had magnified the original asymmetry resulting in the destruction of most of the anti-particles and the survival of one nucleon to 109 photons. Now as the temperature dropped to 100 billion degrees and our Universe is one hundredth of a second old [10-2] the nucleons split into neutrons and protons.

By time one second [100] our Universe was a 300,000 km ball of energy with a temperature of 10 billion degrees. A chaotic mass of light particles – the fertile brew of creation. And in this brew moved protons and neutrons, electrons and positrons, and entities born during the first fraction of a second of time, in that searing furnace at the dawn of time.

Conflict and clashes between light particles spawned electrons and positrons which were stable at the temperature of the one second universe. Now we see why Einsteins insight was a key to creation. The brilliance of the idea that: E=mc2. That energy and mass are the different sides of the same coin and can be transformed one from another … and so mass was born our of light energy. Genesis was already a second ago – Creation ex nihilo! The supreme scientific myth [3].

But what of God? Pre-christian religion recognized an entity prior to our Universe. The High God Zervan, who existed beyond light and darkness, was worshiped by the Zervanites. Our Universe was formed by the interaction between light and darkness, good and evil. This idea pre-dates the Babylonian concept of a divine space-time and has more in common with the cosmic dimension of oriental philosophy. Judaism and eventually Christianity made the dualism of the origin of our Universe and anthropocentric concept, shifting the cosmic struggle of good [light] and evil [darkness] to a spiritual struggle with the soul of person. St. Augustine saw our Universe as created with time not in time. A God existing outside of spacetime cannot alter phenomena within spacetime.

Imagine multidimensional spacetime, pure consciousness, a holistic mind. From this spawned the ripple within the nothingness before our Universe began. From this was ejected the black cosmic blob of Grande Unified particles into the fifth dimension. From this was given the Grande Unified Law that defined the behavior of our Universe: the laws of physics. Gravity permeated the system. Is God then the supreme holistic concept, perhaps many levels of description above that of the human mind? [3].

And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.

The book of Genesis, Christian Bible.


  1. John Barrow, Theories of Everything, Clarendon Press, 1991

  2. David Darling, Deep Time, Dell Publishing, 1989

  3. Paul Davies, God and the New Physics, Simon & Schuster Inc., 1983

  4. Paul Davies and John Gribbin, The Matter Myth, Simon & Schuster Inc., 1992

  5. James Trefil, The moment of Creation, Collier Books, 1991

  6. Andrew Welburn. The Beginning of Christianity, Floris Books, 1991

  7. Malcolm S. Longair, The Origins of our University, Cambridge University Press, 1990


I thank my long time friend Dr. Faith Lagay for kindly criticizing and editing this manuscript.


Planck length 10-33 cm. At this very short distance gravity manifests its quantum effects. Below this size the Universe does not exist as we know it i.e. the universe popped into existence with this initial size!

Planck time 10-43 seconds. This is the time it takes light to travel a distance of Planck length. Below this is the quantum level at which time does not exist. The universe did not truly exist until this time i.e. there never was a time zero!

Gravity and Super-gravity Gravity is a kind of geometry that describers how space-time is shaped or warped. It is not a field existing within space-time but it is space-time. Super-gravity is the gravitational effect at the quantum level and exerts itself over distance of <10-33 cm [Planck length].

Virtual space-time Volumes of space-time <10-33 cm in diameter which pop in and out of existence of less than 10-43 seconds within the Void that is the pre-universe. It can be considered a projection of the 5th dimension into the 4th dimension of space-time. The universe started to exist when one of these virtual space-time volumes continued to exist for longer than Planck time and expanded as our Universe.

Chaos, entropy and heat death of our Universe Anything that arises from virtual space-time is in a maximum state of chaos or disorder. Entropy is a measure of this disorder. High entropy is maximum disorder and as our Universe evolves it's total entropy decreases i.e. it becomes more ordered. When it decreases to it's minimum all motion will have stopped and, from the concept of the heat death of our Universe, every particle will be at an infinite distance from it's neighbor.

Matter and anti-matter E2=M2C4 is a formula that has two roots [+ and -] and leads to the idea of anti-matter. It predicts that every sort of particle has an anti-particle. Moreover, the energy locked up in a space-warp can be created into both matter and anti-matter. This is why matter appears spontaneously our of the Void of virtual space-time.

Background radiation The cosmic microwave radiation pervades the whole universe and is thought to be the relic of the electromagnetic energy generated by the explosive origin of our Universe.

Cosmic strings and dark matter Material that is theorized to have formed at the time our Universe began. Dark matter is invisible material that must exist if our Universe is closed. Cosmic strings are extremely small tubes of energy left over from the big bang, comparable with the cracks formed in ice as water freezes. Inside the tubes are bits of the universe frozen in the quantum state they possessed at the time of their origin at 10-35 seconds.

Fundamental forces of nature The strong, the weak, the electromagnetic, and the gravitational force are the basic forces of nature. In the early phase of our Universe the strong, weak and electromagnetic forces were combined into a single force which controlled the actions of the material universe.

Fundamental particles Bosons [photons, neutrons and X-particles], fermions [leptons, quarks, electrons and neutrinos] are the particles that formed in the early universe and later gave rise, under control of the laws of physics, to the everyday materials we know today.

Since writing this in 1993 the idea that our Universe will continue expanding forever  has gained in importance.