The problem of the origin of the Universe is old, perhaps the oldest philosophical problem mankind has ever faced.
If we define the universe as a set of all existing things and if we assume that the physical elements contained in it follow rules or laws – such as the laws that Physics supposes to exist – we can conclude that the theories proposed so far are not completely satisfactory. In order to compensate this shortfall, I herein propose a new hypothesis that, although not testable and therefore not scientific (to Popper), it is a legitimate philosophic theory, since it satisfies the “Occam's Razor”; it is self-consistent and does not go against the observed facts.
Criterion of Evaluation
Before we explore the analysis of these theories, I want to propose some criterion that should be satisfied by the proposed solutions. The best theories should satisfy, as much as possible, the following requirements:
Not be contradictory.
Not be inconsistent with the observable reality.
Be compatible with the “Occam's Razor” in relation to the concurrent theories.
Be capable of explaining the observable universe.
We can also classify the theories about the origin of the universe in two large groups:
Religious and natural theories.
Religious-based solutions about the origin of the universe evoke a metaphysical entity called “God”. God would be something like a “Great Ghost” that created the Universe with his power and endless wisdom.
Religious theories, although widely accepted by the majority of people, do not pass the majority of evaluation criterion proposed above:
Criterion flaw one: the theory of the “Great Ghost” is not logically consistent since according to the definition of universe, if God existed it should be also a part of the Universe, since it is defined as a set of all existing things. Thus, God would only be useful to explain the generation of the physical elements of the universe, but not the generation of the universe itself. If the theory needs to explain the origin of the universe, then it needs to explain the origin of God.
Criterion flaw two: the “Great Ghost” usually comes with other attributes such as consciousness, omniscience, omnipotence and kindness, that generates incompatibility with the observable reality (see “Jocaxian Little Blue Devil”, chapter I.2)
Criterion flaw three: the “Great Ghost” is also incompatible with the “Occam's Razor” because, since it is hypothetically gifted with endless wisdom and power, it does not follow the criterion of simplicity demanded by the “Occam's Razor” in relation to the physical theories about the origin of the universe. That is, when we talk about explanations on origins, it is nonsense to evoke a more complex entity that explains a simpler one if there is no explanation about the more complex entity itself.
Natural theories (or non-religious)
Natural theories are preferable to religious ones since they do not assume the pre-existence of a highly complex being. Natural theories can be divided into two groups:
Physics-based natural theories and philosophy-based natural theories.
2.1- Physics-based Natural theories
Physics-based natural theories are not satisfactory due to the following flaws:
Criterion flaw one: if the physical laws exist and are used to explain the universe, then they should also be explained, since they are part of the universe we wish to explain. That is, the majority of them, as we will see, attempt to explain the origin of the universe by adopting some principles of Physics such as the “ Principle of Conservation of Energy” and laws of “Quantum Mechanics” or even “general Theory of Relativity”, without however explaining the origin of these laws.
The majority of these modern natural theories based on quantum mechanics come from “Almost Absolute Nothingness”, something like a “Quantum Vacuum” with no matter or energy but they can explain the appearance of physical elements that would have originated the Big-Bang, without violating the physical laws of conservation.
The explanation for the appearance of matter without violating the law of conservation of energy is that the gravity produced by particles would have a negative potential energy that would counterbalance the positive energy of the particles created, therefore creating a universe with total energy equal to zero.
Let us see some examples:
Quotation  extracted from “Creation Ex Nihilo – Without God” by Mark I. Vuletic 
“There are something like ten million million million million million million million million million million million million million million (1 with eighty [five] zeroes after it) particles in the region of the universe that we can observe. Where did they all come from? The answer is that, in quantum theory, particles can be created out of energy in the form of particle/antiparticle pairs. But that just raises the question of where the energy came from. The answer is that the total energy of the universe is exactly zero. The matter in the universe is made out of positive energy. However, the matter is all attracting itself by gravity. Two pieces of matter that are close to each other have less energy than the same two pieces a long way apart, because you have to expend energy to separate them against the gravitational force that is pulling them together. Thus, in a sense, the gravitational field has negative energy. In the case of a universe that is approximately uniform in space, one can show that this negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy represented by the matter. So the total energy of the universe is zero. (Hawking, 1988, 129”
From “Mark Zero” by Jomar Morais , we highlight:
“Where does the universe come from? Guth's answer is: from nothing, from zero. The first particles would have come from a simple “vacuum fluctuation”, an alteration process of an electric field that classical Physics did not know about, but quantum mechanics, which came up last century, ended up revealing to scholars in subatomic intimacy. According to this conjecture – known as inflationary universe theory -, primordial particles emerged from the emptiness… Guth's theory claims that… At first sight it seems that the phenomenon conflicts with the principle of conservation of energy, which presupposes a balance of the total energy in all transformations in the physical world, but that did not happened. In the inflationary process, the positive energy of the matter was counterbalanced by the negative energy of the gravitational field, in a way that the total energy has always been zero. When, at last, the negative gravity matter started to decay, diminishing the pace of the expansion, the “primordial soup” was formed (gas at very high temperatures), presented as the initial condition in the Big-bang theory”.
- From “The Uncaused Beginning of the Universe (1988)” by Quentin Smith :
“ A disadvantage of Tryon's theory, and of other theories that postulate a background space from which the universe fluctuates, is that they explain the existence of the universe but only at the price of introducing another unexplained given, namely, the background space. This problem is absent from Vilenkin's theory, which represents the universe as emerging without a cause "from literally nothing" (1982, p. 26). The universe appears in a quantum tunneling from nothing at all to de Sitter space. ”
We can notice that the appearance of the matter from “nothing” is not new; science knows it for a while. Besides that, non-caused phenomena (that happen without a cause) are not privilege of exotic entities: consider an excited atom in a high energy orbit. There is no formula – or physical explanation – that can foresee when this electron will go from its high energy orbit to a low energy one. This event is considered as totally random (without causes). When the electron decays from an orbital, a photon (a light particle that did not exist) is created. That is, even in a simple atom we have an example of the existence of phenomena with no cause and the creation of a physical entity that did not exist before (photon). Formerly, some scientists claimed that the cause existed but was not known. This theory was named as “ Hidden Variable Theory”. Later, it was demonstrated that if there was a ‘hidden' cause for those events it would violate a mathematical theorem known as Bell's Inequality. Nowadays QM understands that there are events without causes in the universe.
In order to complete our list, we should also include the two main theories about the origin of the universe with no initial creation, the Big Bang Crunch and the Stationary State .
Stationary State Theory 
Fred Hoyle (1915-2001), Geoffrey Burbidge (1925-) and Jayant Vishnu Narlikar (1938-) suggested in 1993 the ‘ Almost Stationary State Theory' in an eternal and infinite universe alternating expansions of approximately 40 billion years with contractions. The mass is eternally created in white holes with Planck mass Ö[ch/G] = 1019 baryons. The mini creation triggers a universe expansion that reduces the average value of the creation field, deposit of negative energy. After the expansion, the field value is reduced, making it hard for a new mini-creation to happen. Gravity then overcomes the expansion and the Universe is contracted, enhancing the field until a new creation occurs.
I think the “Big-Bang-Big-Crunch Theory” is quite elegant; however, it is not compatible with the last cosmological observations that show that the universe is in process of accelerated expansion, that is, far away from a possible contraction. Another inconveniency of this model is that it seems to violate the second law of thermodynamics that says that the entropy must not be reduced. It seems then that the “Big-Bang-Big-Crunch Theory” is unfortunately defeated.
Another problem with the physics-based natural theories is their difficulties to explain the observable universe in relation to some physical parameters – constants that physical laws use – what would turn our physical laws into a set of highly improbable rules. For instance, it is claimed that a little alteration in the electron charge, in the neutrino mass, etc, would make our universe quickly collapse. Let us see some texts about that:
“ ... The so-called "anthropic coincidences," in which the particles and forces of physics seem to be "fine-tuned" for the production of Carbon-based life are explained by the fact that the spacetime foam has an infinite number of universes popping off, each different. We just happen to be in the one where the forces and particles lent themselves to the generation of carbon and other atoms with the complexity necessary to evolve living and thinking organisms.” (Stenger, 1996) ” 
“ ... That suggests a new answer to another intriguing question : how where the laws of physics so perfectly tuned in a way that they permitted the existence of stars , planets and living beings ? The classic answer was : fantastic chance or divine miracle . But n ow there is a third alternative : if each universe has different physical laws , perhaps we live in one of the rarest whose laws allow the emergence of intelligent life . ” 
We notice that the answer usually given by those theories about the claim of improbability of physical laws is that there must be infinite or multiple universes parallel to ours and yet somehow, disconnected. Thus, our universe would be only one, amongst infinite existing universes, each one with its own physical laws. But this is not consistent because:
If physical laws – as theory M , for instance, or multiple bubbles from Guth – were evoked to explain the appearance of the universe, either ours or the infinite other ones, how can one say that physical laws would be different in those other universes? If all universes came from the same initial physical laws, we should expect those laws to be preserved in all universes generated by them!
The models that appeal to infinite rolls of the dice so they can explain the appearing of the number “six” in one of the dice, although can solve the question, they are really strong and seem to contradict the Occam's Razor, since we do not have evidence of any other Universe besides our own cosmos. A continuous sequence of Universes or a finite number of them would be more reasonable, but not totally satisfactory.
The explanation that says the bubbles that generate parallel universes have GAPS that disconnect them from each other is also unsatisfactory. For what reason would not matter be continuously created in the same bubble? What would make those gaps disconnected? Why would those universes be unable to communicate?
Nevertheless, the main flaw of the theories that try to explain the origin of the universe by means of a physical base is that they do not explain the origin of the physical laws used for their own generation. We could ask: “Why must the principle of conservation of energy be obeyed?” or yet “Why does quantum mechanics need to be real?” Those theories come from something (physical laws) that already existed. Physical explanations, however, are preferable to religious ones, since a set of laws is simpler than the existence of a supposed being of infinite complexity.
2.2- Philosophy-based natural Theories
Philosophy-based natural theories about the origin of the universe are the ones not based on physical laws to explain their appearing, but they can explain the appearing of the laws capable of governing it. From that point, if necessary, the universe could be a consequence of physical laws, as it was proposed by physical theories, or some other way.
The Origin of the Universe according to Jocax
In order to solve the problem of the origin of the universe, I created a theory that uses the “Occam's razor” to its full potential. Thus, I start from the simplest state possible, the one that does not need an explanation to exist: the “Nothingness”.
But the “Nothingness” which people think of is not the same “nothingness” I start from, not even the “nothingness” physicists base on. For that reason, I will call my nothingness the “Jocaxian Nothingness”, or simply JN. The JN is defined as the state of nature in which the following conditions are satisfied:
There are no physical elements of any kind (neither matter, nor energy, nor space).
There are no laws whatsoever.
The "Jocaxian Nothingness" is different from the "Nothingness" we usually think of because when we think about "Nothingness" we think of a real "Nothingness” plus the following rule: “Nothing can happen from this Nothingness ". Thus, the Nothingness people often think about is not the purest possible; it is a Nothingness with a rule !
Another way people often think of “Nothingness” is by making it a synonym of inexistence . This "Nothingness" as a synonym of inexistence is far from being the "Jocaxian Nothingness" since the JN is something that exists and has properties; it would be something similar to an empty set which has no elements, but is still a set.
The "Jocaxian Nothingness" is a "Nothingness” that exists, it is a pure nothingness, an Absolute Nothingness, and therefore, has no rules to be followed, not even the rule "Nothing can happen”, and much less the laws of conservation of energy or the principles of Quantum Mechanics in Physics.
The reader could say that "having no rules" is also a rule to be followed, and therefore the definition of the "Jocaxian Nothingness" would be inconsistent. The answer is - Not having rules is the initial state of the "Nothingness”, not a rule it has to follow, just like having no matter or energy. Let us explain:
When a system has no rules (or laws) of any kind, it means there are no restrictions laws, and therefore "anything" could happen ... As much as nothing could happen as well ! That is, the inexistence of laws implies that "something may happen", as its negation, "something may not happen" which includes "nothing can happen" and that represents all the possibilities that a system can have. It is therefore a tautology, an absolute truth. Not a rule. We consider the sentence "anything can happen" in its broad sense, which also comprehends "nothing can happen" so that a system that has no laws is a system in which "anything can happen" (including nothing happening at all) .
Therefore, we conclude that the simplest system possible - the "Jocaxian Nothingness" - is actually a Toti-Potent system where "Anything can happen."
If "anything" can happen, then this nothingness can generate, at random, anything. But if nothingness can randomly generate anything, it can generate the universe or the physical laws that would allow the appearing of the material universe. On the other hand, the "JN" could also generate the law "Nothing can happen" and in this case there would be an everlasting nothingness with no possibilities for anything else to happen. This is the idea we normally have in mind when we think of the "Nothingness". But this is only one of the endless possibilities the "JN" can generate.
Thus, I propose that the origin of all was the "Jocaxian Nothingness" that because it does not have laws or rules of any kind, "Everything" - in the broad sense of the word - could happen. As there were no rules for what could happen or not, we conclude that RANDOMNESS must be an intrinsic feature of this system, since it can be defined as the unpredictability of what might happen.
If you're reading this and the hypothesis of the JN is true, we conclude that, fortunately, the JN did not "randomize" (generated randomly) the rule "nothing can happen". If the JN had generated this rule we would not be here reading this text. On the other hand, if we suppose as true the claim that it is highly unlikely that a set of physical laws randomly generated can generate life, then we would have a problem: it would be extremely unlikely (yet not impossible) that the JN would have "randomized" our universe, and thus it is convenient that we seek an answer to this improbability.
Our JN has a "card up its sleeve": as it does not have to obey physical laws or other rules of any kind; anything could happen, even the JN having "randomized" our universe in the way we have it today, everything created at this very moment, where our memories would have been created consistently. Of course, although this is theoretically possible, it would yet be very unlikely. One of the ways of solving the problem would be plagiarizing the theorists of the pre- Big-Bang and say that the JN would have randomly created infinity of bubble universes, each one with its own physical laws, also random. Thus, our universe would be the only one of many "bubble universes" whose physical laws, fortunately, led to life.
Another possibility, even simpler and more interesting, is the creation of the universe with expiration date: the JN would randomly generate a universe with physical laws also randomly generated but with a term or condition of validity, also random. At the end of that period or condition of validity, it would die out and we would come back to the original "Jocaxian Nothingness", which again could "randomize" a new different universe, and so on. This mechanism could explain the "physical laws" of our universe without the need to create infinite parallel universes. There would be a problem if, by chance, the JN generated a universe that was the " Trivial Nothingness ": the Nothingness with the following law "Nothing else can happen." In this case, the JN would create the end of everything, forever.
Some questions may come to the reader's mind:
1-Would not the JN feature of not having rules or laws be a rule itself?
No. One rule establishes some form of restriction that must be obeyed. If I say, for example, that "my car is red", this is not a rule but a STATE of the car, a condition in which the car is today. Eventually, the car could be painted blue (or not). Establishing the state of nature, in the conditions defined by the “JN”, is not a rule to be followed, but an initial state of the system. A rule would be "my car should be red" or yet "my car cannot be red"; in these cases the color of the car would be somehow restricted by a rule.
2- Would saying that anything could happen be a rule? An imposition to the JN ?
No, because this is a logical consequence of its initial state, not an imposition to the system. Moreover, it would be a rule if we forced the JN to generate something and this is not what we are saying. As we saw in the text, I emphasize that from the JN anything MAY OR MAY NOT happen. And this is not a rule, it is a LOGICAL TAUTOLOGY- an absolute truth in any circumstances - This implies that the JN , just like everything else, follows a tautology (an absolute truth) and not a rule.
3- The JN has no physical elements or laws, but does it have any POWER?
If we call "power" the possibility of transforming itself, then the answer is yes. But we must remember that possibility is not certainty, and it could never become or generate anything. It is impossible to say that the JN will necessarily generate something. Thus, "power" is nothing more than a possibility, not pre-defined a priori , but derived from the initial conditions that define the JN .
4-Would the "Trivial Nothingness", where nothing can happen, be more likely to have always existed than the JN ?
No, the nothingness that people think of (the Trivial Nothingness) is infinitely more unlikely to happen as the origin of the universe than the "JN". That is because the "trivial nothingness" has actually ENDLESS rules to be followed: it cannot generate a chair, it cannot generate physical laws, it cannot generate god, it cannot generate a Big Bang, it cannot generate life, it cannot generate particles etc...
We should also note that if the JN is an existing physical system, then we conclude that the universe has always existed, although time does not exist in the JN, we can say that the JN was the universe itself in its minimal state.
Portuguese Version: http://stoa.usp.br/cienciafilosofia/weblog/67134.html