Re: many worlds

Murphy (
Fri, 19 Sep 1997 17:33:40 -0400

Loren Haarsma wrote:

> But let's go a step further. Let's suppose that quantum many-worlds is
> true AND that our decisions correspond in some way to quantum
> measurements, so that any decision we supposedly make splits the
> universes. In that case, the theological problem seems to be a loss of
> Free Will. Who-we-are-right-now is no longer dependent upon our past
> choices the way we usually think of choices; instead, who-we-are-right-
> now is simply the victim of our previous quantum world-history. Is a
> loss of Free Will a problem for Christianity? Interestingly enough,
> some theologians such as Jonathan Edwards have argued "No." It might be
> worth checking out their arguments.

Nothing unique about Edwards here - it's the classic Calvinist &
Lutheran position. Cf. Luther's _Bondage of the Will_. The point isn't
whether or not we have free will to choose what to have for breakfast
&c, but that sinful humans aren't free to make the decision of faith.
In the MW context, it may be helpful to look at another notion
of Luther's, that Xns in this life are "at the same time justified and
sinner" (_simul justus et peccator_). As Tillich points out, this means
also "at the same time believing and doubting". IF there is any
relation between the quantum measurement process & the decision of faith
(a dubious assumption, as Loren notes), then perhaps its simply a
radical expression of this existential ambiguity we all experience.

George L. Murphy