Should Christians believe in a multiverse? 7 Reasons Against
Non-believers will likely consider the above scripture irrelevant and unpersuasive and will ponder the wisdom of starting an article on the multiverse with a verse of scripture. In so doing they will have confirmed the scripture (blind to spiritual truths) while setting up my two points: First - this is not merely a discussion of physics - but of metaphysics. (Metaphysics being those things that lie beyond the realm of observable physical reality and so strictly speaking, are beyond the realm of the questions that physics can answer.) Second, not only is the multiverse "pure metaphysics" as Christian apologist William Lane Craig puts it, but many scientists seem blind to the fact that they are engaging in metaphysics - not physics - when proposing the multiverse as a "scientific" answer to a number of the problems their theories have. They have fallen into the same error that philosopher of science and apologist John Lennox chides theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking for: engaging in metaphysics while failing to recognize he is doing so.
Truth in advertising
Having identifying theories of the existence of a multiverse as claims that deal with the metaphysical, we can make the following observations:
Observation regarding authority
The more serious problem with claims about a multiverse is that such claims are presented as science. In this article, I will also be making claims about the multiverse. Some will be based on science - some will be based on philosophy and Christian revelation - which is beyond science and thus appropriately considered metaphysics.
What makes those arguments appropriate and valid is not that as a seminary graduate, I can more appropriately be considered an authority on such philosophical and spiritual matters. No rather, the appropriateness comes from truth in advertising. I'm telling you up front that some of the arguments I make will be philosophically/spiritually based. I'm not trying to masquerade them as science. Thus the persuasiveness of the arguments is not based upon a perceived authority, but rather on the clarity of the argument and how closely it corresponds to reality. (Some of you will recognize that last statement as a definition for "truth".)
Recognizing that many theorists are passing off the multiverse as pure science, when it is pure metaphysics while using both science and philosophy to justify their reasoning, it is appropriate to respond with answers that are part science, part philosophy. In so doing I will point out both the foolishness of the concept of a "multiverse," as well as show how it is incompatible with a Christian worldview. Consequently what follows are 7 such reasons why Christians should not believe in the multiverse. Those who would object to the philosophical/metaphysical arguments should first bring their objections to the scientists who introduced the metaphysical claim of a "multiverse" as science.
Different Strokes for Different
As we begin our examination I should clarify that there is not a single type of multiverse, but 4 different types; and there is not a single reason that various scientists believe in these various types of multiverses. Thus there is not a single "theory of multiverses" rather various physicists and cosmologists are saying the multiverse is a "side effect" of other theories and thus they can "infer" it's there because it's "a consequence of theories we believe." Some put it even stronger: "So with the multiverse the physics says very strongly, that these things are there. And for them not to be there something really weird would have to happen with the laws of physics as we know them - they'd have to be quite different in a way that's very implausible."
I'm suggesting that what's very implausible are some of the theories from which they derive these multiverses, and the flawed logic used to arrive at the conclusion that the answer to some of their problems is a multiverse. Since they arrive at these conclusions by different means, there will be a number of different reasons why none of the theories of the multiverse make sense. As a reference to the multiverse in view as I point out the various errors, following is a brief description of the various types of multiverses physicists are claiming might exist.
Different Types of Multiverses
Level 2. The Inflationary Multiverse
Level 3. The Quantum physics "Many Worlds" Multiverse
Level 4. The M theory Brane driven Multiverse
1. The Multiverse is based on a
false account of Origins that cannot account for fine tuning
Some of the problems with the big bang are:
The Horizon Problem
The Horizon and Smoothness problems are related in that they both deal with the expected outcome of an explosion (which is not evident in the big bang - another problem), and scientist "solve" both problems with another rescue theory called inflation which we'll look at next. The speed of distant galaxies problem is solved with another ad hoc solution called "dark matter". I discuss the problems with that here.
There are many, many problems with the big bang, and now because of the observed fine tuning of the universe which cannot be explained by the big bang theory, scientists are reaching in desperation to another un-observable un-provable ad hoc rescue theory yet again. William Lane Craig sums it up well:
Indeed they will hypothesize anything. Their attempt to explain away fine tuning has created the Level 4 Multiverses - where somehow (they're not sure how, but when in doubt invoke a quantum fluctuation) multiple universes are made, each with different physical characteristics. When you do that an infinite amount of times (as the theory states) you're bound to come up with a universe with the physical characteristics that ours exhibits.
Again - they have no evidence of this theory. They only have a need to explain away fine tuning, and so Shazaam! We now have a multiverse that can explain away fine tuning.
2. The Multiverse is Based on Bad Science
The problem is: fanciful story telling is not science - unless you can explain it with observable science. And scientist have no explanation for -
With regard to the last item, in the quantum physics world, all forces are carried by particles. The electro-magnetic force for instance is carried by the photon. Scientists have thus theorized there must be a particle that carries the "Inflation" force, so they are busy looking for such a particle, which they've named the "inflaton." They're searching for it, but have yet to find it. Skeptics of Creation Science criticize it saying it makes no predictions. Here is a prediction: I am so certain that the "inflationary period" of the big bang never happened, that I can confidently predict that scientists will never find an inflaton - a particle capable of doing what they claim happened during the inflationary period. Nor will they be able to prove it by observing such a particle doing what they claim it did in the big bang. (That caveat is necessary to prevent naming any old particle an "inflaton" - regardless of whether it can do what is claimed for the big bang inflationary period or not, and claiming they've found it.)
As scientists play with the idea of inflation, they've come up with the idea that inflation never stopped - thus "eternal inflation" which makes multiple universes thus creating both level 1 and level 2 type universes with the multiverse.
But there's no reason to believe such an inflationary period ever existed. And until scientists come come up with a real "inflaton" particle that can reverse gravity, change its magnitude, and start and stop inflationary fields at precise intervals (without being directed of course) as claimed by the big bang theory, there is no reason to believe that Multiverses like the Level 2 type exist.
3. The Multiverse is based on
It started with the observation that
particles, when sent through the familiar double slit experiment:
Though the theory itself is questionable, the conclusions drawn from it are clearly fallacious. Consider the conclusion drawn by physicist Michio Kaku:
Or consider this tidbit of scientific wisdom based on the the "many worlds" theory:
So because scientists believe at the quantum level particles can exist at multiple places at the same time, we are supposed to believe that at the macro level of the universe the same laws apply? Why should they? The laws of Quantum physics are incompatible with the laws that govern large bodies like planets and suns - namely Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Thus the search for the TOE - the theory of everything that combines them all into one elegant theory - which Einstein searched for but was unable to discover - goes on. Therefore one does not expect what happens at the quantum level to be true at the non-quantum level of large bodies like people, planets and stars.
And even if they find such a theory of everything, there is still a fundamental problem with their reasoning. You've probably already spotted it. It's known as the fallacy of composition. Here is an example of the fallacy of composition:
Many of you will recognize sodium chloride as common salt - a non-poisonous solid (not gas). It should be immediately apparent that just like whales are not tiny and almost weightless, and salt is not a poisonous gas, there is no reason to believe that the "many worlds" interpretation of what supposedly happens at the quantum level is what happens at the level of people, planets and stars. In fact, we don't even know if true at the quantum level - and I suspect it isn't. But this application of a quantum explanation applied to non-quantum large bodies is precisely what physicists are saying happens to create multiverses. Read again what Kaku said. He is clearly saying because physicists believe it is true at the quantum level, it must also be true beyond the quantum level - the level of people, planets and stars. There is no evidence that such an interpretation (of "many worlds") is true at the quantum level - much less the non-quantum level of people, places and stars.
Remember this started out as a way to
explain the dual slit experiment. Aside from their story about universes
being created when you flip a coin, roll the dice or choose a course of
action, they have no evidence that a multiverse exists, or a "splitting"
into multiple worlds takes place. There could be other dynamics at work
to create the wave pattern from quantum particles. One scientist has
particle duality. That may or may not be the case. But whatever the
case, until they come up with some evidence to suggest the world is
actually splitting into multiple worlds every time some choice is made
somewhere, there is no reason (or evidence) to suggest that such an
interpretation is valid at any level - quantum or otherwise.
Like most if not all secular theories that
try to explain the origin of life or the universe, eventually they run
into a problem of origins, a problem of the first cause. We see
this in evolution: What is the origin of the first life? What is the
origin of the information in DNA? We see this in the big bang: What is
the origin of the singularity? What is the origin of the first star? And
now we see the same problem with the multiverse theory: What is the
origin of the multiverse? For secular scientists, most of these
questions have no answer. Where they do provide an answer they are
clearly an ad hoq, made up story to rescue the theory. For example, to
answer the questions some scientists will tell you:
That question can, of course, be applied to all of the "answers" above (where answers are given): What is the origin of the aliens who supposedly supplied the information for DNA? What is the origin of the 'branes' that supposedly caused the singularity? What is the origin of Dark Matter? (The singularity is no answer - since there is no answer to where the singularity came from.)
All these theories fall to the same
question - what is it's origin? Skeptics of course like to turn the
question around and ask, who created God? What is his origin? But
that's a nonsense question similar to asking how do you make a square
circle? That is a contradiction in terms. So is asking who created God,
because God is an eternal being without beginning, and thus without a creator.
That's why His name is I AM (Ex 3.14) - he has always been. That's why the psalm
says "from everlasting to everlasting, you are God." (Ps 90.2) He is
without beginning and without end. That's why the Kalam Cosmological
argument is so powerful. The first premise being, "Whatever begins
to exist has a creator." God never "began" to exist so he has no
creator. On the other hand believers in the Big Bang and it's spin offs
- like the Multiverse - believe they began to exist. Thus they must have
creator. Yet scientists can't tell you ultimately, who or what that creator is.
This makes level 2, 3, and 4 multiverses impossible. Even their ad hoq rescues fail them in this matter.
5. Mathematics alone cannot account for a multiverse
The level 1 multiverse is a mathematical argument. It assumes the universe is infinite. If that is true, and the universe consists merely of patterns of atoms and molecules, surely given an infinite combination of atoms and molecules, you will have repeating patterns. And thus, they suppose, our world would be duplicated somewhere in an infinite universe.
The problem with a strictly mathematical argument is that math does not necessarily have to describe reality as any gamer will tell you. If you've played video games, you have likely come across games where the laws of physics are simulated - but do not precisely mirror real physics. For instance, you can crash cars at 200 mph, and have them suffer no damage. Or have normal people jump 20 to 50 feet in the air unassisted in normal earth gravity. All these things can be described by math. That does not mean that the description they paint is an accurate picture of reality.
One thing scientists fail to consider in their mathematical "roll of the dice" model is that the patterns of molecules don't just happen as the dice metaphor suggests. (Stating that it does is an example of the fallacy of false analogy) They must come about - in their theory - by undirected, unguided, blind forces. That being the case they run into the problem that blind forces cannot create every pattern. One obvious example are the very complex structures of life, which are, as Michael Behe puts it irreducibly complex. This means that random forces cannot create them. That means even in an infinitely large universe with infinite possibilities, they would not exist. Let's consider first Behe's claim:
The bacterial flagellum is just one of many irreducibly complex systems. Between biological systems and other physical processes there must be a high number of irreducibly complex systems. I don't know the number so let's be generous, pick a number. Scientists tells us there are 1080 atoms in the universe, so let's say there are 1040 ways that those atoms have been arranged in an irreducibly complex way. That's trillions upon trillions upon trillions. So now there are 1040 of items that cannot be produced by random processes.
Now let's consider: We have an infinite universe, of which 1040 number of processes cannot be replicated anywhere in the universe. How much does that reduce the size of the universe? That's a trick question. There's no need to calculate how many processes exist per universe. The answer is the size is not reduced at all, because the universe is infinite. So whether the processes are all in one universe, or the processes are scattered among 1040 universes, it doesn't matter, because the size of an infinite universe would stay the same. Infinity minus any finite number is still infinity. If you doubt that, check out the paradox of Hilbert's Hotel.
The point: There is some finite number of things that cannot be created by natural processes. And so even in an infinite universe - such things do not exist - except where intentionally created by an intelligent designer: on earth by the creator. So even in an infinitely large universe - that does not guarantee that all combinations of matter and chemicals that exist here in our universe will be replicated elsewhere in the universe.
That's one reason the level 1 universe fails. Following is another.
6. The Multiverse is contrary to a Christian worldview
Universes in Level 1 and Level 3 multiverses are often depicted as a world similar to ours but either very distant from us (in the infinite Level 1 universe) or in another dimension (in the many worlds Level 3 universe). But within these universes according to the theories, there are copies of us - doing the range of possibilities that never happened here. Alan Guth, creator of the theory of inflation, puts it this way:
Multiverse theorists like to put a positive spin on things, so they are fond of pointing out benign things that may have happened. What they neglect to mention among the "anything that can happen, does happen" realm of possibilities, is all the evil that could come about. Instead of being a law abiding citizen, in a parallel universe, you and I could be mass murderers along the order of Hitler. This raises a number of thorny theological questions.
I'm sure you can think or many more questions along this line that secular scientist who believe in multiverse theory either didn't think of, or more likely don't care about - since they don't believe in the existence of spiritual things like "the soul" anyway. But we can quickly demonstrate that the idea of people in multiple universes is false one - according to a Christian world view. We'll use the same approach the Apostle Paul used in Gal 3.16 to demonstrate that the prophecy in Gen 3.15 referred not to many people, but to Christ.
Consider first Anselm's Ontological argument for the existence of God from Maximal greatness. If you've not heard of it, you can see a brief video that describes it here. A simplified version follows:
Anselm's goal was to prove God's
existence - which I believe he does. If you understand the concept of
"God" and believe it's possible for God to exist, then you understand he
Scripture says "God so loved the world". The word in the Greek for "world" is Κοσμος (Kosmos), from which we get cosmos. Here's the argument from the Apostle Paul: Paul saw significance in, and made a distinction between "seed" and "seeds." Likewise the word here is singular - God so loved the "world" not "worlds."
If Christ died for people in other worlds, why does it not say, "God so loved the worlds" (plural)? Apparently Christ died only for people in this world. Additionally the power of the resurrection message is the eyewitness testimony to it (1 Cor 15.5-8). But scripture is clear: Christ died once for all (1 Pe 3.18) and that death was here on this planet earth. Since Christ died only on this planet, there are no eye witnesses on other planets, and thus no testimony to preach on other worlds. Therefore they remain dead in their sins, unable to call upon the only one that could save them since they would never know about him and his sacrifice - which he only made on this earth.
I suggest the entire multiverse scenario is inconsistent with the God who loves this particular world that he alone created. The reason he died once for all only in this world, is because this is the only world where living creatures exist, and in particular, it's the only world where creatures made in his image exist.
7. The Multiverse nullifies God's Wonders
But if there is a level 4 multiverse, that suggests:
I suggest the above is not only not true, but it stands in direct contradiction to what God claims about his works and his words: That they are meaningful and intentional, and most importantly - done by him to achieve his purposes. One of his purposes is to inspire awe and wonder, that we might appreciate his greatness and be drawn to him. In contrast the multiverse does just the opposite. It thus becomes clear what the true purpose of multiverse theories are: to make God and everything about him unnecessary and irrelevant.
The same is true of the multiverse.
Until they can come up with a way to test any of the theories of the
multiverse - it remains outside of the realm of science, squarely in the
realm of metaphysics. And as long as scientists are dabbling outside of
their realm of expertise and into the metaphysical, they should make
clear they are doing so and stop calling theories of the multiverse
science, and call it what it is: An addition to their secular religion.
A religion supported by the twin clay pillars of the big bang and
Darwinian evolution, to which they now want to add the multiverse.
Duane Caldwell | posted 9/5 /2016
3. Lawrence M. Krauss, No, Astrobiology Has Not Made
the Case for God Jan 24, 2015,
4. Anthony Aguirre, Univ of CA, Santa Cruz ref from
Space's Deepest Secrets episode "The Truth behind Parallel Universes",
Science Channel Documentary, 2014
6. Reference: The Universe episode "Parallel
Universes", History Television science documentary, 2008
16. Laura Mersini-Houghton, University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill, says evidence of "Cross talk" between multiple universes
should be observable as dark spots in the CMB (Cosmic Microwave
Background) and claims this has been observed.
Featured image: The Patchwork Multiverse - © Duane Caldwell - images -
public domain Hubble photos
Double slit particle diffraction pattern