The universe is often used as a general term for the entirety of existence. This is often conceived of in strictly physical terms, in which it contains all the matter and objects which exist and all the space in which events occur or could occur. There are various multiverse hypotheses, in which some physicists have suggested that the apparent Universe might be one among many universes which exist with little or no direct or discernible interaction.
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- [L]'universe […] est une machine à faire des dieux.
- The universe is a machine for making gods.
- Henri Bergson, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion (1932). Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2002, p. 317.
- It is clear that there is no classification of the Universe that is not arbitrary and full of conjectures. The reason for this is very simple: we do not know what kind of thing the universe is.
- Jorge Luis Borges, in "The Analytical Language of John Wilkins" in Other Inquisitions (1952), as translated by Will Fitzgerald
- We can suspect that there is no universe in the organic, unifying sense, that this ambitious term has. If there is a universe, its aim is not conjectured yet; we have not yet conjectured the words, the definitions, the etymologies, the synonyms, from the secret dictionary of God.
- Jorge Luis Borges, in "The Analytical Language of John Wilkins" in Other Inquisitions (1952), as translated by Lilia Graciela Vázquez
- Every notion that any man, dead, living, or unborn, might form as to the universe will necessarily prove wrong.
- What blessedness it is to dwell amidst this transparent air, which the eye can pierce without limit, amidst these floods of pure, soft, cheering light, under this immeasurable arch of heaven, and in sight of these countless stars! An infinite universe is each moment opened to our view. And this universe is the sign and symbol of Infinite Power, Intelligence, Purity, Bliss, and Love.
- William Ellery Channing, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 610.
- Even atheistic scientists will wax lyrical about the scale, the majesty, the harmonly, the elegance, the sheer ingenuity of the universe of which they form so small and fragile a part. ... Science reveals that there is a coherent scheme of things, but scientists do not necessarily interpret that as evidence for meaning or purpose in the universe.
- The overall organization of the universe has suggested to many a modern astronomer an element of design.
- The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive; others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear; others are being slowly devoured from within by rasping parasites; thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst and disease. ... In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.
- Richard Dawkins, River out of Eden (1995) pages 131-132
- I do not feel like an alien in the universe. The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known that we were coming.
- Science and religion are two windows that people look through, trying to understand the big universe outside, trying to understand why we are here. The two windows give different views, but they look out at the same universe. Both views are one-sided, neither is complete. Both leave out essential features of the real world. And both are worthy of respect.
Trouble arises when either science or religion claims universal jurisdiction, when either religious dogma or scientific dogma claims to be infallible.
- I went to our Theological College lately, Westcott House, and we had a sort of chat. He told me that without him it was impossible to understand the universe, and I came away having forgotten to reply that it did not occur to me to try to understand the universe. I must not run on like this so. Or rather what I mean is I have just finished the biography of my great aunt. Undersanding, or partially understanding, her has been quite a large enough job.
- E. M. Forster, Selected Letters: Letter 411, to Lionel Trilling, (1 August 1955)
- Science could predict that the universe must have had a beginning.
- Stephen Hawking, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays (1993)
- All things are connected with all things throughout the universe, from the insect to the archangel; from the sand-grain to the mountain and the globe; from the dew-drop to the ocean; from the rain-drop to the rainbow; from the pebble on the shore to 'the sun that blazes in the firmament; from the zephyr that sings among the flowers of the field to the ocean that pours its wild bass in the great anthem of nature. Not only are all things connected with all things, but there is a concatenation of events, so that the character and effects of no one event can terminate in itself. As each event owes some portion of its nature to that which preceded it, so it imparts some of its nature to that which succeeds it, and thus perpetuates the blended good or evil of itself and its predecessors. The single event may thus live on in its influence along the line of all the ages, assuming new shapes, or if clothing itself in the drapery of new events, ever marching onward and upward in the continually growing affairs of time.
- John Lanahan, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 611
- The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
- Eden Phillpotts, A Shadow Passes (1918) page 19
- The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms.
- Muriel Rukeyser, in "The Speed of Darkness" in The Speed of Darkness (1968); sometimes misquoted as "The Universe is made of stories not atoms."
- The universe was made on purpose, the circle said. In whatever galaxy you happen to find yourself, you take the circumference of a circle, divide it by its diameter, measure closely enough, and uncover a miracle — another circle, drawn kilometers downstream of the decimal point. There would be richer messages farther in. It doesn't matter what you look like, or what you're made of, or where you come from. As long as you live in this universe, and have a modest talent for mathematics, sooner or later you'll find it. It's already here. It's inside everything. You don't have to leave your planet to find it. In the fabric of space and in the nature of matter, as in a great work of art, there is, written small, the artist’s signature. Standing over humans, gods, and demons, subsuming Caretakers and Tunnel builders, there is an intelligence that antedates the universe.
- The universe is God’s son.
- Dejan Stojanovic, in The Sun Watches the Sun (1999) “God’s Son” (Sequence: “Is It Possible to Write a Poem”)
- I cannot imagine how the clockwork of the universe can exist without a clockmaker.
- Voltaire, as quoted in More Random Walks in Science: An Anthology (1982) by Robert L. Weber, p. 65
- The universe confounds me! I cannot imagine that such a ‘clock’ can exist without there being a Clockmaker.
- As quoted in The Book of Nature and the Bible (1988) by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York Inc.