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A world egg or cosmic egg is a mythological motif used in the creation myths of many cultures and civilizations. Typically, the cosmic egg is a beginning of some sort, and the universe or some primordial being came into existence by coming out of the cosmic egg.
The cosmic egg is also a cosmological concept developed in the 1930's and explored by theoreticians during the following two decades. The idea comes from a perceived need to reconcile Edwin Hubble's observation of an expanding universe (which is also predicted by Einstein's equations of general relativity) with the notion that the universe must be eternally old.
The Cosmic Egg Theory
The theory maintains that many billions of years ago, the entire mass of the universe was compressed into a volume about thirty times the size of our sun, from which it expanded to its current state (the big bang). The theory also maintains that gravity is gradually slowing the cosmic expansion, and that at some future point the universe will again contract into another cosmic egg (the big crunch). The universe will then "bounce back" into another phase of expansion, and the process will repeat itself indefinitely.
A rival attempt to reconcile an eternal universe with cosmic expansion is the steady state theory developed by Fred Hoyle and others. According to Hoyle, no such event as the big bang ever occurred, and cosmic expansion is itself eternal; new matter is continuously created to maintain a constant density. Both theories stand in opposition to the more recent no boundary model proposed by Stephen Hawking, in which spacetime emerged from a singularity in the big bang. In this model, any question of what happened "before" the big bang is meaningless, since time itself was created at this instant.
Influences on Science Fiction
The cosmic egg concept has caught the imagination of many science fiction and fantasy writers, including the creators of the Marvel Comics character Galactus. Galactus was the sole-survivor of the previous big crunch who, preserved in the cosmic egg, emerged as a being of immense power in the present universe.