Saturday, December 5, 2015

Did our universe come from the multiverse?

The multiverse theory (the idea that our universe is just one among many other universes out there) is an exceedingly popular idea among science fiction fans.  I mean, think of all the movies or star trek episodes that take advantage of multiple, parallel worlds? 

But the multiverse is also popular with atheists.  Why?  Even though there's no scientific evidence for it (and can never be), these champions of rationalism prefer the multiverse theory because it seems to solve two phenomena that are often attributed to God: the beginning of the universe and the fine tuning of the universe.

But does the multiverse really solve these problems?  (Hint: the answer is no.)

First, we will explain the problem.  Traditionally, scientists thought that the universe was eternal and uncaused.  But now we know the universe had a beginning 13.8 billion years ago.  At that point, all space, time, matter, and energy came into being seemingly out of nothing, with no explanation, in an event called the "big bang."  But since it's absurd to posit that the universe really came into being from nothing, with no explanation, this begs the question: what caused the universe to come into existence?

As explained previously, the cause to the universe must be something that is beyond space and time, and God fits this bill.  Note that simply asking, "Well, if God created the universe, then who created God?" is not a viable objection, because by definition, God is eternal and uncreated.  Also note that this is not a cop-out, because the traditional explanation is that the universe was eternal and uncreated.

But now, with the multiverse hypothesis in play, there is another cause that could also "fit the bill" of being beyond space and time: whatever generates these universes!  This "multiverse generator" is often called the quantum foam, or a roiling sea of energy that has the potential to bud off bubble universes due to random fluctuations in this energy.  So even if our universe had a beginning, maybe the eternal, uncaused entity is the quantum foam?

Unfortunately for multiverse proponents, the quantum foam itself must have had a beginning.  So appealing to the multiverse to avoid the theistic implications of the beginning of the universe just moves the problem back one step.  You are still looking at a cause for the quantum foam that must be eternal, uncaused, powerful, and personal.  This doesn't quite uniquely define the God of the bible, but we are close.

We will discuss the implications for fine-tuning in a later post.

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