This is the Truth
Now some folks find that a bit hard to swallow, so they say instead that this is the truth
Nothing existed. Zip, Nil, Nada. No time, no space, no thing at all.
According to quantum theory, we can't be sure that nothing was there because uncertainty is too big when you get down into the sub atomic world. It's not that we can't measure precisely at that range, it's that there's no such thing as measuring precisely at that range. (There's a difference between accurate and precise. Accurate means you've measured correctly. Precise means you can duplicate the measurement. The distinction is crucial in the quantum world.) Without getting too technical, at the sub atomic level, the universe itself is uncertain about where and how much stuff there is. We can measure it accurately 100 different times and come up with 100 different answers, and each one is accurate, but the precision of the measurement is limited by the quantum nature of the universe. Now you have to understand that we are not limited by our ability to measure; we are limited by the construction of the universe.
So, since we can't know what the actual state of nothing is, whether it's actually nothing, or maybe a little something, or a little less than nothing, (yes, less than nothing is an actual possibility in the quantum world) then all we can say is that statistically, there was nothing, or on average, there was nothing. Now this gets kinda funky, because remember, it's not our measurements that are in error, it's an uncertainty inherent in the structure of the universe. This means that it's not a measurement of nothing that is varying, it's actually nothingness that is varying.
A provocative concept.
I see a question from the back?
Variance is a measure of change over time. If there was nothing, no matter, no space, and no time, then how could nothingness vary?
Ah, very good, very perceptive question!
In order for us to have variance in a system, we have to have time. But in 0 dimensional space, you can't have time. Just ask Mr. Einstein. So we have to invent a different kind of time. Physicists call this new kind of time imaginary time and according to them, it runs at a right angle to our conventional time, so we don't notice it.
So, getting on with our story, nothing was fluctuating through imaginary time, when suddenly, due to a mathematical anomaly in the statistical variations of nothing, the value of nothing explodes into something, and we get a universe filled with matter, energy, space and, oh yeah, real time. Like most imaginary playmates, imaginary time disappeared, having been replaced by real time.
Let's sum up: According to our best and brightest scientists, in the beginning, there was nothing, but that nothing might have been something, or less than nothing, and it varied between those three states in imaginary time, until something happened, and nothing became something, at which point, we had our universe in real time.
And they say scientists lack faith...