Where Science and Faith Converge
Reasons Newsletter

The Naturalist's Multiverse

By Jeff Zweerink - January 1, 2009

From the cosmic battles between good and evil in Star Wars to the simulated realm of The Matrix, the happenings of other worlds intrigue countless people. The scientific interest in the multiverse parallels this widespread fascination and greatly expands our idea of how vast the creation may be. However, many Christians remain wary of the multiverse, often asking “Isn’t the multiverse a threat to our faith—or at least to our apologetic efforts?”

It is important for believers to differentiate between multiverse models that advocate strict naturalism and those that promote the Creator. In order for a strictly naturalistic multiverse model to provide an adequate explanation for the universe and our existence, it must meet a number of requirements.

First, any naturalistic multiverse model must be self-contained. It cannot exhibit a beginning or true design because each requires an external agent—a Beginner or a Designer. Any proposed model must explain the apparent design acknowledged by the scientific community without allowing any aspect of the model to reflect actual design.

Second, a successful model must account for all relevant observations and data. In other words, any proposed multiverse model must naturally produce a region that looks like the observable universe. In addition, since any multiverse would, by definition, lie forever beyond the reach of observation, any model must make predictions about what scientists will detect in our observable universe. Otherwise, no scientific tests can verify or falsify the model.

Third, the model must provide a mechanism that produces a sufficient variety (for probability’s sake) of universes. Unless a model meets this requirement, it cannot explain the fine-tuning observed in the known universe—specifically in the laws of physics, the fundamental constants, the characteristics of the Milky Way Galaxy, and the features of the solar system’s Sun, Earth–Moon system, other planets and moons, and more.

Fourth, our universe must be one of the possible universes in the model.

Fifth, for a naturalistic multiverse model, life must be solely physical. Although this requirement flows from the first, it bears separate mention. All naturalistic multiverse models I have encountered so far implicitly make the assumption that life is completely physical. However, if human life possesses a nonphysical component, such as the image of God, then no amount of tweaking the laws of physics and rearranging the stuff of the universe will produce a human being.

While this list of requirements may seem impossibly daunting, a number of scientists have nevertheless attempted to build completely naturalistic multiverse models. Will these models bring a new hope for naturalism? Or will they suffer the same fate as the Death Star? RTB’s latest booklet, Who’s Afraid of the Multiverse?, explores this theory and explains its impact on biblical creation models.

See how current models stack up against these requirements in Who’s Afraid of the Multiverse?

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