Origin of the universe

If we say the universe was caused by something, aren’t we excluding that thing from our definition of the universe. Why? If the universe means everything, it either arises from nothing, creates itself, or has always been, no? Of these three choices, the third seems least unlikely.

Here is a sample response I have received when posing this question elsewhere:

[If we say that the universe was caused by something, aren’t we excluding that thing from our definition of the universe.]

Not a priori. We ask ourselves about self-created things and about the concept of infinite pasts. Then we see where we are. Then we move forward.

[If the universe means everything, it either arises from nothing, creates itself, or has always been, no? Of these three choices, the third seems least unlikely.]

I presume that the universe is all material things. So to me the idea that material things created themselves or that they have existed eternally is unlikely, if not logically impossible. So the third option becomes a consideration (unless I’ve already decided not to consider it.)

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