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The Multiverse and Reality

Friday, December 14, 2018

I posted a few years ago on the question of the Subjunctive God in which I raise the issue of divine omniscience being perfectly compatible with our freewill. God knows all the ways in which we might act in any given situation.

This raises some interesting possibilities in itself as it seems that we influence reality itself in the decisions that we do and don’t make. It is our decisions that make the potential actual and, although we create nothing, our existence as described in Genesis ii does seem to suggest that we have a power over creation.

“And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” (Genesis ii.19)

Of course, the naming of things has a deeper significance in the Pentateuch. To know a name is to hold some power over the thing names: the noun becomes a symbol of mastery which is why we are never given the true name of God other than a verification that He is.

What do we mean by “Reality”? Good question. As I try to think this through, my working definition (and one that is likely to change) is that Reality is all that is, how it acts in regard to its members and how it presents itself to conscious thought. Is God part of reality? In that He is, yes. In that He is the same as His Creation, no. God’s existence is not contingent on anything else. Science tells us that the Universe is a bundle of contingencies described by Laws of Physics which posit that it must itself exist. The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem based on scientific principles tells us that any inflationary universe is not past-complete: if a Universe is expanding, then it must have a beginning.

Many scientists posit the existence of other universes set inside a grand Multiverse. They do so due to irregularities in the behaviour of gravity and the question of dark matter, dark energy and the theory of M-brane theory which arises from String Theory. In the late 20th Century, it was speculated (by Turoc, I think) that the Big Bang occurred as a result of a collision between two vast membranes floating in the universe. Of course, the existence of parallel universes is going to be as difficult to prove as the existence of God. Many scientists seem to have replaced the untestable hypothesis of God with an untestable hypothesis of the Multiverse. Even then, apart from applying the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem to the Multiverse, we still have the question as to why M-branes are colliding, why quantum fluctuations happen, and why there is something rather than nothing, and by nothing, I mean no thing.

I firmly believe that in God we live and move and have our being. This might smack of panentheism: God-in-the-Universe but it’s how we break that word “panentheism” up that really matters. Clearly God is distinct from His Creation otherwise there is Sin in God because there is Sin in Creation. I favour pan-entheism i.e. God present in all things, not panen-theism i.e. all things part of God, yet God standing beyond. I don’t think I’ve made that very clear in myself and see it as part of my development in my relationship with God.

 It is how we live and move and have our being that the empirical physical science strives to answer. The paradoxes of Quantum Mechanics seem to present us with a challenge to our understanding of reality. The double-slit experiment tells us that a particle can effectively be detected in two places at the same time, whilst Quantum Entanglement seems to suggest a “telepathy” between particles that is faster than light. These paradoxes do give rise to deeper research and deeper theories. Nothing can be completely observable to human measurement. What actually is may be different from what we observe. Can it be that Quantum Mechanics gives us a separation between Aristotelian Substance and Accident?

Clearly, in the Omniscience of God, all possibilities and modes of Existence are present at once to Him, yet there is only one of those possibilities that becomes actual and we seem to be responsible for that becoming through the exercise of our will.

Does this put us in the role of creators with God as this sounds like the exaltation of the human at the cost of the Divine Kingship of God. Are we gods?
No. I’m not saying that, though I believe that our sanctification by God permits us to share in His Divine Nature as He partakes of our Human Nature. We are beings endowed with the faculties of intellect and choice however imperfect they may be. Sin is the result of us having choice, and it is through our faith God in Our Lord Jesus Christ that we will find the way to repentance by turning always to Him.  We find ourselves in the presence of God who loves us so much as to give us space to be ourselves as He wants us to be, and to respond to His love with autonomy being drawn to Him by the glory of His Being, not coerced to Him by His power. He can and does wield that power very clearly though not always perceptibly. What we do does affect reality – we can’t deny that for that is how Sin spreads through the Cosmos. I merely speculate on a mechanism as to how, given the understanding of Science, this might be the case.

Unlike Fr Anthony who seeks the Truth through a Romantic and Classical Liberal Philosophy, I must remain a Scholastic and one who understands things through a Platonic Mathematics. I hope not to be as self-defeating as Frege or Ayer in their taking of logical positivism to unnatural and indefensible extremes. However, I am coming to see the business of being human as a voyage through the realms of the possible and bearing witness to what is the reality and what is a false impression of the reality. My understanding of what is will, I hope, always be on the ascent to the Divine with many a swoop and a dive, I expect. 

Nothing is certain in Science, but things are certain in Mathematics and Logic, though these require the Revelation of God to get us toward the truth as they do nothing without Him. To my mind, these are the waters upon which the Church has set sail. They may be ten dimensional branes, or they may be the brainwaves of God. In either case, our Science can only be perfected in Him and He is the limit to which we tend.

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