• Energy can change state, if it reverts back to a singularity, it will still be energy
  • Energy has always existed in one form or another. Universes are created and destroyed by powerful forces of energy.
  • Although the energy cannot be created or destroyed according to the first law of thermal dynamics, it does not therefore mean the universe always existed in its present form.   So this does not conflict with what Stephen Hawking said.   It only means the energy was always there, as far as we know.   So the universe is not eternal only the energy. To suggest the universe is eternal is to suggest an infinite number of big bangs and collapses.   From what we know, the universe is expanding and at an ever increasing speed. This evidence highly suggest this was a one shot deal.   This is the first time there has been a physical universe.   How this energy always existed and how it produced the physical universe as we know it is a great question.
  • Your mistake is in thinking that time extends infinitely backward. It doesn't. Time was created in the big bang. There was no time before that event. There is no such thing as "a second before the big bang". All the matter/energy that now exists in the universe existed at the moment of the big bang. None has been lost since then.

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