For the past 2500 years there has been a metaphysical disagreement among philosophers… and it all started with Plato.
Plato taught that what we perceive in the world around us are imperfect forms. Everything around us, trees, buildings, birds, even people, are dim representations of perfect, ideal forms. Furthermore, these ideal forms are eternal and always existed.
How do we recognize these perfect forms? Because we once existed alongside of them.