In his novel, Contact, Carl Sagan explored the idea that our universe was created and the Creator tried to communicate with us. Sagan suggested that the Creator might have selected the physical properties of our universe and in some way encoded a message to us in the very structure of space/time. In the story, human scientists discover how to read that message, using the tools of science to discover proof of the Creator’s existence.
Sagan further suggested that beings like ourselves, using the tools of science, might be able to create new universes. Similarly, In The Last Question, Asimov imagined that humans will eventually learn how to create a new universe (or, at least, re-start our own).
It was implied in Sagan’s story Contact that the Creator could do no more than create our universe. After the creation, events proceeded according to natural processes, with no further intervention from the Creator. Other science fiction stories have explored the idea that we humans were created by a god-like being. In The Last Answer, Isaac Asimov imagined an apparently eternal being who created humans.
Asimov asked: why would an apparently eternal being create humans? The answer, in The Last Answer, is that the apparently eternal being has nothing better to do, and hopes that eventually some thinking creature, human or otherwise, will discover the last answer, the ultimate fate of the apparently eternal being.
Is that all there is to existence for beings such as us? Is it the fate of all thinking beings to simply come into existence (by one means or another) and then have nothing else to do but try to understand their existence? And possibly find a way to put an end to that existence? Or possibly find ways to create new universes where yet more thinking beings will ponder their existence?
Arthur Clarke wrote an amusing story (The Nine Billion Names of God) in which it is imagined that humans were created as a tool for finding all the possible names of God. Eventually humans develop a computer that can complete the task and then, mission accomplished, our universe is terminated.
We live in the Age of Singularianism, where some people, other than fiction writers, anticipate that humans will soon attain god-like “superintelligence” and limitless technological powers. Is it possible for human-like beings to avoid such a “technological singularity”?
In The Start of Eternity it is imagined that a human-like species, the Huaoshy, found a way to exist, relatively unchanged, for hundreds of millions of years. When I say “relatively unchanged” I mean that there is no superintelligence in The Start of Eternity and no god-like beings with apparently eternal existence.
If the Huaoshy are content to remain, through hundreds of millions of years, as a species of individuals living in their human-like bodies, then we must ask: what do they feel is the purpose of their existence? The answer is: they enjoy the process of traveling from galaxy to galaxy, finding worlds like Earth, and making sure that human-like species evolve on such worlds. The Huaoshy are masters of a vast intergalactic civilization where millions of human-like species peacefully coexist.
In The Start of Eternity it is imagined that the Huaoshy came to Earth about 7 million years ago and started shaping the course of primate evolution so as to create –us– a species similar (in form and thought processes) to the Huaoshy.
What is the reaction of humans upon discovering that they have been created by the Huaoshy? Sometimes they are resentful, but, as told in The Start of Eternity, very few humans ever learn the truth about human origins. The Great Law of the Huaoshy says that, “It should APPEAR to every type of sentient being that they have self-determination and are not being controlled by more technologically advanced life forms.” To satisfy this law, the Huaoshy prevent humans on Earth from knowing about the existence of the Huaoshy.
The Huaoshy find it useful to take some humans off of Earth. There is a small human colony on the Moon where the Huaoshy perform their experiments and make new human genetic variants. In The Start of Eternity a freak accident occurs and the human residents of the Moon are released from Huaoshy control. Then the fun begins.
The Start of Eternity is being collaboratively written. Additional collaborating authors are welcome.
Image. This image of Carl Sagan is in the public domain (source).