Multiverse Musings – Are We Simulations?

Multiverse Musings – Are We Simulations?

In past Multiverse Musings TNRTBs, I have described not just one, but two bizarre implications of the multiverse. This TNRTB addresses a third.

Due to its box-office acclaim, most people are familiar with the Matrix trilogy. The series’ premise presents a scenario where the world experienced by human beings results from a vast computer simulation piped directly into each human’s brain. Neo, the unwitting yet key player in the fight against the Matrix, meets Morpheus, leader of a band of free human rebels, who presents Neo with a choice: escape to the gritty reality of the real world or remain in the blissful ignorance of the Matrix simulation.

Alternate universes such as those in The Matrix may be things of fiction, but if the multiverse exists and if sufficiently complex simulations exist, then a remarkable scenario ensues. Simulated universes with simulated beings vastly outnumber any sentient life in “real”, physical universes! Sir Martin Rees explains the consequences of the multiverse in this way:

“All the multiverse ideas lead to a remarkable synthesis between cosmology and physics….But they also lead to the extraordinary consequence that we may not be the deepest reality, we may be a simulation. The possibility that we are creations of some supreme or super-being, blurs the boundary between physics and idealist philosophy, between the natural and the supernatural, and between the relation of mind and multiverse and the possibility that we’re in the matrix rather than the physics itself.” (See Paul Davies, The Cosmic Jackpot, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston (2007): 179-90.)

However adequately multiverse theories address the fine-tuned appearance of our observable universe and the events that made advanced life possible, they still raise more complicated questions than they answer. To the previously highlighted bizarre questions (Do multiple copies of me making slightly different choices exist? Do random processes spontaneously pop sentient beings briefly into existence?), we must now ask: Are we just part of a highly complex, but unreal, simulation?

Interestingly, the picture painted by the Bible shares much with the idea that we are a “simulation.” For instance, one reason God created this universe is to provide an arena for the conquest of good over evil. Upon completing that conquest, God will replace this universe with a more permanent creation where humans will enjoy an intimate relationship with Him—which is the ultimate reality.

However, unlike simulations where everything ceases to exist, God will transport us into the new “simulation” where wonders beyond our imagination await. Furthermore, death, decay, and pain will no longer exist because the old “simulation” will have passed away.