Re: [asa] Multi-worlds, parallel histories, and theology

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Fri Mar 21 2008 - 10:23:21 EDT

It's important to distinguish between 2 types of multiple worlds theories.
In what's commonly called the Many Wortlds Interpretation (MWI), the
observer & his/her/its world splits whenever a measurement is made. Thus
there will be parallel worlds like ours differing only in details - but the
details may be large or small.
In one the 20 July bomb killed Hitler & but in others the effects were only
sliughtly different from what we know & Hitler again survived.

OTOH what's now called a "multiverse" theory is one in which what we see as
the big bang actually gave rise to many universes with different physical
properties. Ours is just one bubble which expanded at a particular rate in
a vast foam of bubbles expanding at various rates. Some may be similar to
ours but there's no particular reason to think that any have to have
exteremely close correspondence with ours - e.g., that there was anyone we
would recognize as Hitler. Robert Mann's article "Inconstant Multiverse" in
the December 2005 PSCF is worth looking at on this.

For some of the related theological issues I'll mention again the paper I
gave at the 1987 ASA annual meeting, "Parallel Worlds, Quantum Theory, and
Divine Sovereignty." It's pre-word processor (at least pre-my word
processor) & I don't have an electronic text but will be glad to send a copy
to anyone who wants it - snailmail address required.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Christine Smith" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, March 20, 2008 9:36 AM
Subject: [asa] Multi-worlds, parallel histories, and theology

Hi all,

I was pondering the multi-worlds hypothesis last
night, and came across a question that I don't think
has yet been specifically addressed on the listserv

As I understand it, the multi-worlds hypothesis states
that there is just one universe (with one set of
physical laws), but that within this universe, every
possible outcome at a quantum level (and by extension,
the macroscale level) occurs. Assuming my
understanding is correct, would this imply that in
other "worlds", Biblical events such as the Babylonian
exile, the crucifixition and resurrection of Christ,
the conversion of Paul, etc. would not happen?
Likewise, would that imply that of the multiple copies
of "me" in other worlds, some would be Christian and
some would not? What would this then imply about the
nature of heaven and hell, and of God's plan of
salvation? Indeed, would there be some worlds where
"the fall" never happened?

In short, although multi-worlds could be broadly
consistent with Christianity (or perhaps Theism is the
better term here) in the sense that it does not
contradict the doctrine of God as a sovereign Creator
of a rational universe, how would/could it be
consistent with other Christian doctrines, if at all?

In Christ,
Christine (ASA member)

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Received on Fri Mar 21 10:26:28 2008

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