> I've recently been reading a book by physicist
> Lee Smolin, entitled *The Life of the Cosmos*. (The general concept, in
> one form or another, called "multiverse," has also been discussed by
> John Wheeler, Andre Linde, Martin Rees, Victor Stenger, Nick Bostrom,
> and others.) The idea is that what we commonly call the origin of the
> universe could just as surely (or unsurely, if you will) be thought of
> as the *formation* of the universe, using the "origin" versus
> "formation" conceptualization that you have referred to.
If I understand correctly, these are all theories about the possibilities of
one form of 'something' (perhaps a non-material form, like 'the vacuum
state') self-transforming into 'something else' (perhaps a material
universe; perhaps a multiplicity of diverse universes). If that is the case,
they are all theories about the formation/transformation of some entity that
already has being (as contrasted to an authentic nothing, which has neither
potentialities for being something nor capabilities for transforming its
nothingness into any form of something). This is an arena for some
interesting, if a bit speculative, scientific theorizing.
> Of course, there is nothing in this that is inherently antithetical to
> creation, though it can (and has) been interpreted that way. It *is*
> a very non-traditional way of perceiving creation, and I'm not familiar
> with any theologians who have pondered the multiverse concept from a
> theological perspective, other than to automatically attack it as being
> an "origin" issue that is not and cannot be a "formation" issue that
> science can investigate.
I think we're on the same page here. One of the basic questions addressed by
the Judeo-Christian _doctrine_ of creation is, "What (or Who) is the
_origin_ (in the fundamental sense of 'source of being') of the something
that now exists?"
Whether the something that now exists is a single universe or a multiplicity
of universes that formed by transformation from some primeval and even more
fundamental state of being is a question about the formational history of
the 'something' to which the Creator gave being. The _doctrine_ of creation
deals with the question of ultimate origin (source of being). What the
sciences deal with are _portraits_ of the universe's formational history
(what-happened-and-when stories). These scientific theories do not at all
negate the _doctrine_ of creation, but they do, of course, differ from those
familiar _portraits_ of the universe's formational history generated by
literalizing the metaphors of ancient revered text.
Howard Van Till
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