People who truly know me, know that I am no stranger to exploring new, unconventional ideas. I have always had a curiosity that drives me to research, learn, and contemplate theories that challenge our traditional ideas of “reality”. To be clear, I explore ideas that have scientific grounding, not just fairytale ideas that have no basis in reality. Typically, I keep quiet about whatever theories or concepts that I am currently contemplating, but recently, I have been opening up and sharing more of my ideas about the vast matters of life that truly fascinate me. Sometimes I’m thinking about the philosophical distinctions of Plato vs. Aristotle, or futuristic predictions of transhumanism and a-mortal humanity, or sometimes I’m thinking about how quantum mechanics can scientifically explain “supernatural” and charismatic phenomena.
More recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the theory of a Multiverse. A multiverse is the idea that there are multiple universes in existence, including our own. It is an important distinction that the technical term, “Universe” includes all that exists. Often times, when describing our universe, we are merely discussing our observable universe. If multiverse theories are correct that means they are still a subset of the all-encompassing Universe.
Now obviously I am no physicist, but I am a fan. I’m going to do my best to summarize some of the main theories that have stood out to me and I will then share some of my personal thoughts on the implications. Most of my research has been on the work done by Max Tegmark and Brian Greene. Tegmark has four possible models for how a multiverse operates which I will share. Brian Greene has as much as 9 models, so that’s for another time!
Multiverse theories are mathematically plausible due to the fact that space-time is (assumed to be) flat and stretches out infinitely. Level I of Tegmark’s models explains that if space-time is infinite, and there is only a finite number of ways for particles to arrange, then eventually everything will repeat itself. This is why it is possible for there to be infinite versions of you, doing the exact same thing, except maybe with a different color shirt on, or completely different career choices.
Level II is the “post-inflation bubble” multiverse theory. This is due to the Universe expanding at such a fast rate, or “eternal inflation”, that it creates “bubbles” of multiverses where pockets of the universe stopped inflating and allowed the process of development to begin. Therefore, our observable universe would be one bubble among many other bubbles with their own set of physical laws. Think of it like bubbles in hot soup or in the vast ocean.
Level III is possibly my favorite. This is the “Many Worlds of Quantum Physics” theory. At a quantum level, whenever an event appears to have a random outcome, “all outcomes in fact occur”. So essentially, anything that can happen, does. Within this model, there are infinite manifestations of every possible scenario, allowing for everything to take place within a spatially and dimensionally infinite universe. Again we are speaking about the quantum level, but we assume that it levels up to everything we see because we are all just manifestations of quantum phenomena. For example, if you threw a six-sided die in the air, there would be a corresponding universe for each observable outcome. Or again, if you reached a crossroads where you could go right or left, the present universe would give rise to two other universes: one where you went right, and one where you went left. Brian Greene also explains that, “in each universe, there's a copy of you witnessing one or the other outcome, thinking — incorrectly — that your reality is the only reality,".
Level IV is the Ultimate Ensemble. This is the idea that universes governed by other equations are equally real. Level IV allows for all models of multiverses to exist. The assumption here is that the Theory of Everything – the way to unify relativity with the standard model of physics, can’t be explained by human terms. So the Universe is everything that exists, doesn’t exist, can be imagined, and can’t be imagined. The Universe is ultimately and completely indescribable in human terms, including mathematically.
I do want to be clear and state that these multiverse theories have no experimental support whatsoever. Multiverse models come from mathematical attempts to resolve the differences between the standard model of physics and general relativity. However, contemplating the vast, complex, and indescribable Universe ought to create a sense of awe and wonder within us.
As we expand our view past the horizon of the Multiverse, there is still an observing Mind that allows all of this to be. I am then able to pray and somehow feel connected to the God who is responsible for it all. I can appreciate the Jesus of history who was the very Cosmic Christ incarnate. In all of the infinite possibilities and unfathomable realities, I still breathe and see the beauty of God’s fingerprint on all of Life. A deeper contemplation on cosmological theories and astrophysics should humble any theist and our arrogant beliefs that we have any ultimate understanding of God. I am comfortable to say that I know that I don’t know what I don’t know – and still, in this Mystery of Life, I can feel the Presence of God’s Spirit within and around me, progressing me along with the rhythm of our infinitely expanding Universe.
Here’s some good resources for you to explore Multiverse theories!