Multiverse Musings – The Beginning
The cosmological and teleological arguments represent the two strongest evidences (with scientific relevance) in support of the Christian God. Obviously, the multiverse models impact these two arguments and Christians need to be prepared to address these concerns. Here I will focus on the cosmological argument, whereas a past TNRTB addressed the multiverse’s effect on the teleological argument.
Generally, the cosmological argument is articulated like this:
- Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
- The universe began to exist.
- Therefore, the universe had a cause.
As described in Ken Sample’s TNRTB on the relationship between origins science and theism, the relatively recent discovery of the universe’s beginning surprised many scientists because they assumed the universe was eternal. In fact, the singular beginning implied by big bang cosmology readily supports the Christian doctrine of creation ex nihilo.
So do the multiverse models eliminate the beginning?
Consider the most common multiverse model derived from inflationary big bang cosmology. Alan Guth developed the first viable inflation mechanism, where our universe is contained within a bubble that formed in an otherwise inflating space. The model predicts that other bubbles (besides ours) exist that contain other universes (the Level II multiverse). At first, this model seemed to indicate that the inflating space that produced our universe operated eternally into the past and future. However, a theorem developed by Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Alex Vilenkin demonstrated that the inflating space must have a beginning.
Typically, we like to think of the big bang’s occurrence 13.7 billion years ago as the beginning to all creation. The multiverse argues that creation existed prior to the big bang. While the details are too specific to include here, all viable multiverse models still require a beginning! Although these models make the issue more complex and nuanced, the fundamental Christian doctrine of creation ex nihilo still stands on firm ground. In fact, research into multiverse alternatives to a single universe has made the case for a beginning even more robust than big bang cosmology alone.