Multiverse Musings: What about Theistic Evolution?

Multiverse Musings: What about Theistic Evolution?

I recently attended The Vibrant Dance of Faith and Science conference held in Austin, TX. The stated mission of the conference was:

To provide pastors, church leaders, and scientists with quality, accessible explanations of the relationship between science and Christianity. This information will have solid Biblical and scientific foundations and will enhance their comfort and effectiveness as they dialog in matters that touch on the scientific in their local settings.

Hugh, Fuz, and I knew going into the venue that theistic evolution1 would permeate most presentations as the best explanation for reconciling the supposed conflict between science and Christianity. However, as I prepared for my breakout session on the multiverse, I realized that those advocating an “evolutionary creation” approach must deal with the multiverse in a way different from what I’ve advocated. Here’s why.

The evolutionary creation position argues that the “laws of physics” that govern the universe arise from God’s sustaining care of this creation. God did not search out some pre-existing laws of physics, subject the creation to those laws, and then sit back and watch the universe develop. Rather, we detect His intimate care of creation as the laws of physics. Were God to cease to sustain creation, it would instantaneously vanish. I agree whole-heartedly up to this point. But, I strongly disagree with the evolutionary creation argument that the diversity of life—from the simplest single-celled organism to humanity—arises simply by God’s sustaining care without any other intervention on God’s part.

I’ve advocated an “agnostic” position regarding the existence of the multiverse and have focused instead on whether the multiverse fits more comfortably within an atheistic or Christian worldview. From a naturalist’s worldview, the multiverse amplifies philosophical problems regarding whether scientists can trust the inferences they use to draw conclusions about the universe and may undermine the whole scientific enterprise. Furthermore, I have outlined a number of requirements multiverse models must meet to aid the strict naturalist in the quest to understand the universe without reference to God.

However, the evolutionary creationist approach adopts a position that causes significant problems when combined with the multiverse—namely that human beings arise solely from the outworkings of the physical laws without any further divine intervention. Given that position, these laws will produce human beings throughout the multiverse and in such a way that results in many identical copies of each person here on Earth

In contrast, RTB’s creation model argues that humanity’s arrival on Earth is something completely new, indicative of God’s intervention beyond just sustaining the universe. Thus, regardless of the size and variability of the multiverse, creatures reflecting God’s image only happen as a result of special creation. 

If you would like to see a question about the multiverse addressed in this forum, send it to [email protected].

  1. Advocates of this position at the conference asked that a new term like “evolutionary creation” be adopted to emphasize God’s creative activity.