Hi Paul

[The Big Bang started without any matter]
"How do you accomplish that feat?"
I don't. I don't have the slightest clue how it can be.

"are you saying there was nothing except energy?"
Yes. Well, at least, that's what the Big Bang theorists are saying...

"in my world energy cannot exist without matter."

We have to remember that, since Einstein's E=mc^2 (and notably, since the atomic bomb) it's been known that matter and energy are two sides of the same coin. Note also:

"Physicists at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in California have succeeded in producing particles of matter from very energetic collisions of light. The team, which included researchers from Stanford University, the University of Rochester in New York, the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and Princeton University in New Jersey, published an account of their work in the September 1, 1997, issue of the journal Physical Review Letters." Microsoft Encarta 2006. 1993-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

The initial conditions in the Big Bang, prior to 10^-43s (the Planck Epoch), are unknown, because the known laws of physics could not have applied. After that time (for an instant) there was only energy in the form of photons. As space expanded, temperature dropped and some of the photons became quarks. As temperature dropped more, quarks formed protons and neutrons (baryogenesis). Eventually, the lightest elements - hydrogen, helium, and lithium - formed.

The theory says that there were almost equal amounts of matter and antimatter, and all the matter in this unbelievably immense universe is just the minute fraction (one billionth) that wasn't involved in the mutual annihilation with antimatter.

http://livefromcern.web.cern.ch/livefromcern/antimatter/academy/AM-travel02.html

http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/gr/public/bb_history.html#qc
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"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler