Cosmogony, or cosmogeny, is any theory concerning the coming into existence or origin of the universe, or about how reality came to be. The word comes from the Greek κοσμογονία (or κοσμογενία), from κόσμος "cosmos, the world", and the root of γί(γ)νομαι / γέγονα "to be born, come about". In the specialized context of space science and astronomy, the term refers to theories of creation of (and study of) the Solar System.
Attempts to create a naturalistic cosmogony are subject to two separate limitations. One is based in the philosophy of science and the epistemological constraints of science itself, especially with regards to whether scientific inquiry can ask questions of "why" the universe exists. Another more pragmatic problem is that there is no physical model that can explain the earliest moments of the universe's existence (Planck time) because of a lack of a consistent theory of quantum gravity.
Cosmogony compared with cosmology
Cosmology is the study of the structure and changes in the present universe, while the scientific field of cosmogony is concerned with the origin of the universe. Observations about our present universe may not only allow predictions to be made about the future, but they also provide clues to events that happened long ago when...the cosmos began. So—the work of cosmologists and cosmogonists overlaps.
– National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Cosmogony can be distinguished from cosmology which studies the universe at large and throughout its existence, and which technically does not inquire directly into the source of its origins. There is some ambiguity between the two terms; for example, the cosmological argument from theology regarding the existence of God is technically an appeal to cosmogonical rather than cosmological ideas. In practice, there is a scientific distinction between cosmological and cosmogonical ideas. Physical cosmology is the science that attempts to explain all observations relevant to the development and characteristics of the universe as a whole. Questions regarding why the universe behaves in such a way have been described by physicists and cosmologists as being extra-scientific, though speculations are made from a variety of perspectives that include extrapolation of scientific theories to untested regimes and philosophical or religious ideas.
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