Space is so astronomically big that humans can hardly comprehend it. What if our universe was just one of many? Imagine if the universe we observe is like one tiny bubble in a boiling pot full of bubbles that constantly come and go. You, my friend, have just found yourself in a multiverse. You might already be familiar with the concept from the hundreds of science fiction and fantasy stories that have utilized this concept. The multiverse is the general idea that there are countless, maybe even infinite, different universes alongside ours with slight variations. As strange or unbelievable as it may sound, this is a concept taken very seriously by many scientists. How can we make sense of this within Christianity? What do Christians need to know about the multiverse?
Why the Multiverse is “Necessary”
One of the more compelling arguments for God’s existence is the fine tuning of the universe. The conditions required for life to exist are so staggering that it is not reasonable to conclude that it happened by chance. However, there is one way to get around that issue which some atheists resort to. What if we are in a giant multiverse, with an infinite number of parallel universes, all with slight differences? If you keep on cranking out different universes, sooner or later you’re bound to get one like ours that can support life. It’s similar to idea that, given enough time, a monkey randomly banging on a typewriter could turn out the works of Shakespeare. Sure, most of the universes would be inhospitable messes, but you only need one success to explain how we got here. No designer is required when you have an infinite number of possibilities, right?
Is There Any Evidence?
The big downfall of this theory since its inception has always been the lack of evidence. The multiverse, as interesting a concept as it is, has always been just that; a theoretical concept. We wouldn’t be having a serious conversation about the multiverse if it was just a cool storytelling device. The multiverse is relevant because it’s just about the only out atheists have for fine tuning. How can we explain the extreme precision of the universe and life by random chance? If we think of it like rolling the dice and trying to get a specific number, you might miss on your first roll. If there’s some kind of multiverse generator constantly pumping out new universes, it’s like getting to reroll those dice an infinite number of times until you get the right result. The chances of rolling correctly are small, but you only need one success to be able to say, “We’re here!” The simple response to any atheist appealing to the multiverse is that there’s no evidence, and it’s no more rational than belief in God.
Jeff Throws Us a Curve-Ball
All of that was the case, but then Dr. Jeff Zweerink, at Reasons to Believe, threw us in the Christian community a bit of a curve-ball. Dr. Zweerink didn’t come up with this, but for me, and many other Christians, he was the first to bring attention to it. While hardly conclusive, it turns out that there are certain factors in our universe that point to the existence of a multiverse. It gets pretty technical, click here for Dr. Zweerink’s article summarizing the evidence. Or if you want to hear him discuss the evidence in a conversation with an atheist, listen to the “Unbelievable?” episode about it here.
Currently it is thought that even if there is a multiverse, there’s no possible way to observe it. There’s very little information we can draw from it. As is, all we have is a theory that can never truly be tested and confirmed. The big takeaway is that we can no longer simply shrug off the argument as irrational and lacking evidence. We now need to actually talk about this.
The Multiverse Doesn’t Solve the Problem
At first, one might think that this evidence supporting a multiverse would be bad news for Christians, especially Christian apologists trying to have this argument. In reality, Christians really have no reason to worry about the multiverse theory. The biggest issue is origins. The universe had a beginning, and something had to cause it. Ah, but perhaps there is a giant universe generator responsible for all of these universes, and that is our first cause. Then we must ask both where did that generator come from, and how did something so complex come about by chance? The multiverse doesn’t solve anything, it just moves you a step further back. Maybe that generator doesn’t have a cause. What if it’s timeless, space-less, and immaterial? In that case you’ve just become a theist, because your multiverse generator is essentially God. After all, if God wants to create a multiverse, why would that bother us?
What do Christians need to know about the multiverse? First, know why it matters and why atheists appeal to it in the first place. Second, know that we can’t just entirely shrug it off as irrational, because there is some evidence for it. Third, remember that ultimately even if it is real, very little is changed by it. We can’t realistically observe the other universes, it doesn’t explain the origin of the universe, and it doesn’t even totally resolve the issue of fine tuning.
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