I am curious if this understanding is in line with Buddhist thought, if not could someone explain where I've gone wrong. (I wrote this in attempt to describe Buddhist philosophy to a friend.)
Eternity is in the present moment. Think about everything you see, hear, smell, taste, touch.. how many of those things could be present before you, without everything else?
For example, when you look at a tree, how could the tree be there without the soil, water, sunshine, so what is the 'tree'? Is it just a symbol that represents everything it takes in order for that 'tree' to exist?
Expanding on that, every other single object we come into contact with shares this same abstraction, it does not exist by itself, nor does it contain any inherent properties, when you look at a desk, it is the product of trees, rocks, and humans, all of which are also the product of other things, and this process will never stop.
So, the entirety of our lives is composed of this sort of abstraction, our experience of the world is of a unity, a singular experience, the tree is also the sunshine, the tree is also the earth from which it grows, the tree is also a product of the awareness which is able to perceive it.
That awareness makes up our entire being, and that awareness is inseparable from the things which we are perceiving.
In essence, the entire universe is one, nothing in the universe can exist without the rest of the universe and similarly, physical existence can not exist without nothing-ness.
So by saying the universe had a very definite beginning, you are saying that at one point.. there was: something less than nothing.
Which makes no sense, and nothing is the very same substance from which something exists. they are inseparable in the same way that sound is impossible without silence.
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein