You throw out the fact that we only know the world through our feelings and perceptions. This is certainly true, but these systems have evolved for their ability to help us percieve and understand the physical world as best as possible. Our cognitive processes, including feelings, are abstractions that help us to guess what will happen based on prior experience and integrate our different drives to make a decision. Language is a way to link us together and it therfore has elements relating to both the details of our perceptual and cognitive processes as well as the physical world we're set in. However if both our internal representation and the external physical world are purely material then language has meaning in a similar sense to DNA, only the coupling processes are much weaker. If one still posits that there is a non-material element to man or life as a whole, then that opens the door to all sorts of non-material aspects and effects in the universe. You keep wanting to look to origins for answers. In the context of the evolution of life, if it indeed evolved from a state where there was no life as science seems to suggest, then any non-material component arose from the material world and therefore is derivable from it under the right circumstances. In the context of looking all the way back to the beginning, one could ask - Is it possible that the universe had a more fundamental non-material cause or that the eternal aspect of the universe is something more fundamental than material? I would say yes it's possible. I certainly have no capacity to grasp what it is though. I think there are a lot more immediate issues that are of more utility to discuss because we have more information about them and have more immediate relevance to the world we live in. A weaker question - is it possible that the posited non-material aspect that provided the basis for the universe is the only reason life came to be? I would argue that if it generated life through a material process life must be describable in solely material terms and therefore no. Would knowing how the universe originated inform me on the topic and put things in a clearer light? Yes. But In my mind the only reasonable path to that is studying the material world it clearly gave rise to and we exist in. Trying to logically deduce something like that without extensive information and understanding of what it gave rise to is of questionable value. Saying that if everything is physical then either matter came from nothing or is eternal, doesn't really help any argument about nonmaterial aspect of the origins of the world because you can ask the same question about the non-material aspect. It just pushes it back a level (I do agree that those are the two options). Further anything that interacts with matter is understandable in material terms, and further if it follows rules that aren't inherently different than those relating to matter it doesn't add anything new to the picture. If philosophers say there is a non-material component, I would guess they mean information that is stored in matter and therefore it is understable in wholly material terms. I could be wrong about what they think - I got tired a long time ago reading translations of subtle writing where I felt too much was lost in translation. In any event it's what I think.