By Reverend Mark Hunnemann
Recently I was communicating with Laura Maxwell regarding a discussion she had with a man who stated that he was ex-New Ager, but he believed in alternate realities or universes. Numerous insights shared here came from Laura, The idea is that there are allegedly infinite incarnations of each of us in every conceivable situation, in infinite universes. Infinite means infinite, not just a whole lot. What are the ramifications of this belief, and are they compatible with Christianity? Does the bible have any insights on cosmology, and how many universes there are?
First, let’s lay the foundation. The bible/Proverbs says that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of both wisdom and knowledge. Though these two are closely tied together in Proverbs, “knowledge” tends to focus on correct understanding of the world and our place as creatures, while “wisdom” is the acquired skill of applying that knowledge in a way that pleases God. May God enable us to please Him in our pursuit of accurate understanding of the totality of His creation and our place in it.
Again, the idea is that there are infinite realities and some see these universes as bubbles, and each one may have different scientific rules and moral codes.
This notion is common in occult/New Age circles, and is used to express New Age concepts, such as quantum jumping. However, mainstream theoretical physicists and cosmologists are championing this idea on print and on TV frequently. Our concern is that this notion is becoming quite common amongst professing Christians as well. Just as some drugs may act as gate-ways to more serious drugs, so some beliefs are gate-way beliefs which often to lead to a slippery slope down into the darkness of occultic beliefs and practices. And that is my concern about Christians embracing this concept of multiverse.
I need to affirm that of all people, Christians should let their imaginations soar to the stars because we have a solid foundation to distinguish between reality and fantasy. So, anything I say here should not be construed as a squashing of a PROPER use of our imaginations. Positing infinite universes as fact (and not in fiction) is not a proper use of reason, the Word, or imagination.
A new word appeared in cosmology literature—multiverse…instead of universe. Here are my reasons for challenging it:
1. Multivese or infinite universes is a contradiction in terms because the universe is supposed to include everything.
Definition of ‘universe’—all existing matter and space considered as a whole; the cosmos. By definition, the universe contains everything there is. Hence, the notion of infinite universes is infinitely absurd and internally self-contradictory.
You cannot have multiple/infinite everythings. Most physicists and cosmologist are not Christians and have non-biblical presuppositions which guide how they interpret the data/phenomena—and it’s NOT the fear of God. You can look at the same evidence and different presuppositions will lead to radically different conclusions (e.g. cosmic background radiation). Arguments for infinite realities/universes are often circular in nature…assuming the very thing to be proved.
Some scientists appeal to the Anthropic principle, and state that we ‘create’ universes by existing to observe it. However, creating reality through our minds is classic occult belief. We cannot create anything from nothing, much less a universe, which is something only God can do.
We believe in the basic reliability of the sense perceptions because, the same God who made the external world also made our 5 senses to accurately perceive God’s world. There is a correspondence between what we see, hear, taste, touch, and smell and the external world, because God created both. Immanuel Kant dropped a bombshell on modern man with his distinction between noumena (thing in itself) and the phenomena (what we observe), and never the twain shall meet. But the Christian has no such problem!
2. Occam's razor (principle of preferring simpler explanation)would clearly prefer the simplicity of a single universe, which easily and comprehensively explains the phenomena. The notion of infinite universes raises more questions than it answers, and unbelief was the assumption that gave rise to it. It adds infinite complexity and confusion, which is contra Occam’s razor principle.
3. The teaching is that there are infinite variations of all of us. If there are infinite Mark’s, then which one will be judged? The absurdity of it would be humorous if it weren’t so tragic. Hebrews 9:27 states that each person will die once (not infinite times), and will immediately face judgment. Infinite variations of me/you is inconsistent with personal judgment. I have to keep my points brief. J
If everyone has infinite identities, then so should Jesus and Hitler. That is blasphemous and utterly heretical. And there would be universes in which He didn’t die for our sins…again, unthinkable. In fact, there should be a universe in which you/me were Jesus. Or Lucifer is good. It is utterly arbitrary to affirm infinite identities, except balk when it comes to being God’s Messiah. That is special pleading, an informal logical fallacy. That just shows that folks can’t live with the logical extension of this absurd notion.
4. The word ‘universe’ is a combination of two Latin words-uni (one), versus (turned)…or combined into one, whole. The idea is that of unity amidst vast diversity of the cosmos. This is a faint but lovely picture of the unity amidst the diversity of the Trinity. For millennia, philosophers dealt with the ‘one and many’ problem in an attempt to explain reality. (Unfortunately, modern philosophy, for the most part, has given up on such discussions) How can we explain how the unity and diversity that we observe on the macro and micro levels, or the one and many, came to be? Look around and see/feel the unity amidst the diversity in nature! Whether you are looking through a microscope at the complexity of a cell, or a picture from the Hubble Telescope, this phenomenon is staggering! A recent trip to the NC Zoo accented the diversity of animals, and yet they are all animals.Which is more ultimate: unity or diversity?
The pre-Socratic philosophers were consumed with trying to explain the nature of reality, and especially how there can be such unity in nature with all its mind-boggling diversity? Ancient philosophers like Heraclitus and Parmenides came to opposite conclusions. One stated that unity was ultimate and the other that diversity/change was ultimate. There were even the ‘atomists’ who posited atom like particles that explained the unity and diversity! So, which is ultimate?
The biblical answer is that both are equally ultimate, as reflected in the oneness of God, but existing in three Persons. What a fantastic answer we have for modern man who is lost in the darkness of their autonomous reason…and has no basis for true and accurate knowledge of God’s world. “He who trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” (Proverbs 28:26)
My point is that the notion of a uni-verse was born out of a Christian worldview in which scientists understood that Jesus is the Logos that coheres all reality together (Colossians 1:16-17; John 1:1-3)), and that the vast diversity of the cosmos reflects the unity amidst the diversity in the Trinity. In other words, the universe was seen as a thing of wonder and mystery which reflected the very character of God Himself. (Romans 1:18ff)
ALL that God created is contained in this one universe in which there is a mind-boggling unity amidst the staggering diversity of God’s universe. The scientific laws we have discovered are really God’s laws which He implanted into the very fabric of reality or the universe. They display the unity and diversity principle as well, whether it is astronomy to zoology. When I walked outside today, taking in the loveliness around me, I saw a jet 30,000 feet up. How wonderful it is that God has created a world in which, through the cultural mandate in Genesis, we can discover His laws in the warp and woof of the universe, and make such fantastic inventions!
However, the notion of a multiverse brings in its wake chaos-which is demonic. The unity/diversity model is lost and chaos reigns, with infinite bubble universes bumping into each other, and there is no cohering principle. The multiverse model is a sign of how far how our culture has drifted from the Triune God into foolish flights of cosmological fancy, which leads to a horror of great darkness because there is no meaning or coherence in this model of infinite universes.
5. Which leads me to my next point. Those who espouse the notion of multiverse have to assert, if they are consistent, that each alleged universe (here the inner self-destructive nature of its language appears)has its own scientific rules and moral codes. Each universe has its own understanding of truth regarding all aspects of life. Focusing on the latter, we see that this notion is at odds with the biblical insistence that Truth is objective and absolute because God’s law is based on His unchanging character. As Laura pointed out, the notion of multiple truths is absurd and is contrary to God’s Word regarding truth being unchanged and unchanging. Infinite truths leads to a horror of great darkness, in which wrong is right, and vice versa.John 17:17 says that God’s Word is not only True, but it is Truth itself (Greek, alathea, noun),and is thus the standard of truth against which everything else must be tested or compared)So, the notion of multiverse has serious problems from which there is no escape.
6. The notion of infinite universes is impossible because only God is infinite—even the universe, though enormous, is not infinite. If there were infinite universes then they would be God because they are infinite, which is an aspect of divinity. Infinite is not a whole lot—not 10 to billionth power comes even close to a speck compared to infinity. Infinity means there is no end….endless numbers of universes. If this does not concern you, then it should because it is an attempt to become like God, through the guise of science. The infinity of God is what theologians refer to as an imcommunicable (non-transferable) attribute of God. Just as God’s omnipotence and omniscience are divine attributes, so is infinity.Our God is too small!!
7. Are we to believe that Satan is a good being, possibly the Messiah, in one of these other infinite universes? God forbid! But it shows the ugliness and absurdity of this view.
8. Anyone familiar with the Judeo-Christian worldview, will instantly realize that the notion of infinite universes is hostile or contrary to their/our worldview. This is especially true when it comes to the biblical teaching regarding the nature of reality. The growth of the occult worldview has opened the door to this heretofore unthinkable model of reality.
9. Let us now look at the biblical data:
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1) Bereshith bara Elohim shamayim we ha eres (Hebrew)
3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.(Hebrews 11:3)
1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2. He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things (panta, Greek) were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. (John 1:1-3)
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things, (ektisas ta panta, Greek)
and by your will they existed and were created. (Revelation 4:11)
16 For by him all things were created (ekthisthe ta panta, Greek), in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together…. 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.(Colossians 1:16-20)
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.(Romans 8:18-23….bolds added to several texts)
I quoted these texts because they answer most the questions pertinent to this discussion.
Notice that in most texts it is explicitly stated that ALL THINGS (not just one of infinite others) that were created through Jesus, and it’s a clear reference to the universe created in Genesis 1:1.All things means all things-what we call the universe.
Genesis 1:1.is a fundamental presupposition that runs through the entire bible. In this verse we see the creation of matter, and the space-time continuum. This is not a summary verse; it is God’s first act in which the one universe was spoken into existence—the very fabric of space and time. Heaven and earth is an expression meaning ‘everything’ ;seen or unseen. This interpretation is supported by the New Testament (see Hebrews 11:3 and Revelation 4:11) It is the biblical teaching of God creating the entire created world/universe ex nihilo (out of nothing). Contrary to other pagan beliefs, Moses and NT authors tell us that God did not create from pre-existing matter. By His sovereign, all mighty power, God spoke the entire creation into existence. Hebrews 11:3 emphasizes the ‘out of nothing’ aspect of creation.
Genesis 1:1 tells us from the outset that God created the heavens and the earth, which means EVERYTHING. It is an amazing comment about God creating everything he created, and there is no mention of alternate universes. The same is true of the other verses. Note especially John 1:3 where it says that ALL things were created through Him, And to make sure we heard him correctly John adds, that nothing was created that Jesus did not create…NOTHING. John could not have been clearer. It is as if He said—“there is nothing that exists anywhere that I did not create. My creation of the universe includes all that I created.” Does that not exclude alternate universes? Everything that was created, was created by Jesus, and is identical with our universe, both visible and invisible. Only by eisogesis (reading into text ones views) can one extract the notion of multiverse from these anti-multiverse verses.
In Colossians, Jesus not only created everything but He sustains it as well. In John 1:1-3, the Logos/Logic (Jesus, and Greek word can be translated either Word or Logic) created and holds the fabric of creation together. Jesus is the Logic of the universe.
The New heavens and earth in Revelation in 21 and 22 indicate that the space time continuum will be sustained through eternity because heaven will be here on earth and we will have glorified but material bodies, which occupy space and live in time. (2 Corinthians 5; 1 Cor. 15) Eternal life in heaven does not necessarily entail the end of space and time. Why should it? You don’t have to worry about CERN or anyone else changing the basic fabric of God’s creation which He upholds with His omnipotent right arm, and will extend through eternity. Whatever Cern is doing, they can’t mess with God’s basic creational pattern which is eternal in nature. I was going to mention the Mandela Effect but think that is an issue for another day. The alleged bending of time/space is a distinct issue from alternate realties.
In Genesis 3 and Romans 8 (see above) the Fall of Adam effected the entire creation—ALL that God had created. In Romans 8 it states that the universe/all creation ‘groans’ due to the Fall, and longs for Jesus’ return so that it, too, will be liberated from the consequences of Adam’s sin. In v.22 it states explicitly that ‘all creation groans’ due to Adam’s sin. How can this jive with infinite universes because that would mean that ALL CREATION does not mean what it says. In fact, it would seem to mean the opposite, since infinite other universes were allegedly not touched by Adam’s Fall. But the Word of God is explicit that all creation was touched by both the Fall, as well as the cosmic ramifications of the blessed Atonement.
The Fall caused:
1. Man separated from God;
2. Man separated from other men (beginning of violence between humans);
3. Man’s separation from himself (origin of psychological problems);
4. Man's separation from nature (hostility and fear between man and animals),
5. Separation of nature from nature (nature became ‘red in tooth and claw’)
Jesus’ death had cosmic ramifications for the entire creation. (see Col. and Romans) Ephesians 1:14 says, “..A plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and on earth.” Nowhere do we see alternate realities that were not affected by the historical Fall, nor by the scope of Christ’s atonement. The central theme of the drama of redemption is that the work of Christ on the cross is the central axis for the history of God’s entire creation, whether in heaven or on Earth…and He silenced all demonic powers. All of human and comic history revolves around the cross. That is, ALL of God’s creation was affected by the Fall, and has now been (or will be at Christ’s return) experience full liberation. The cosmic nature of Christ’s death is often overlooked. He not only defeated sin, Satan/demons, death, but He secured the redemption of the entire universe.
Instead, this is powerful refutation of infinite universes because we see that Adams Fall affected everything—except heaven. The universe, as we know it, was affected to its outer reaches. You cannot fit infinite universes into this drama of Fall and redemption.
So serious was this sin problem that God gave His all—He couldn’t have given more—and are we to believe that there are infinite me/you that do NOT need salvation? That is both repugnant to the Word and reason. The bible says that Jesus died ONCE for ALL. Any view that diminishes the perfection of the Person and Work of Christ, is a HUGE red flag, and is The Litmus Test for whether a belief is biblical or not.
As Laura reminded me, Hebrews states that Jesus died “once for ALL.” If the other alleged infinite universes are inhabited by intelligent beings, as is stated to be the case, then they either didn’t fall, or if they did, then Jesus would have had to have taken on infinite incarnations (each to be appropriate for the fallen inhabitants…Hebrews 2) and die infinitely. This is monstrous and contrary to Jesus dying “once for all.” Surely the folly of man’s autonomous knowledge of the world is nowhere more evident than here. If God The Father ever has to choose between the singular honor and dignity of His only Son, and our unrestrained imagination, then He will always choose His Son.
10. Contrary to many people’s opinions, the earth IS the center of the universe—not spatially, but in terms of it being the singular focus of God’s affection and love, from all eternity; past present and future (See Ephesians 1). All the mysteries and beauty of the entire cosmos were created for God’s glory and for our pleasure. From Genesis 1 to Revelation 22,, the earth was to be the temple of God, as well as His footstool.
In Genesis 2, after finishing creating of ALL things, God rested and saw the earth as His temple, which is where it will be for all eternity after Second Coming (Revelation 21-22) Again, how can one fit this in with the concept of infinite universes? God will reign here….Immanuel—God with us!
When Satan fell, where was he sent? Earth, and not one of infinite possible dimensions. We see in Job and elsewhere, that Earth is the locus of God’s enemy, and not some alternate universe. This is implicit evidence of this being the only reality or universe. The location of the battle royale of the ages is our planet—not some far off galaxy or alternate universe.
So, unless we want to think that, when God said that He created ALL things, that God meant only our “little bubble” but not the infinite other bubbles, then we need to take God’s Word at face value.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Bereshith bara Elohim shamayim we ha eres. God said it. That settles it. I believe it. Thus, I will not preface my comments with: “In my opinion…”
It is this existing universe, mentioned in Genesis 1 and Revelation 21-22 in which the Triune God will reign on THIS Earth for all eternity, with all of His adopted sons and daughters, through Jesus Christ. How can there be infinite other universes if God has said that the planet we live on will be His dwelling place forever and ever? Can’t we see that this notion could only have arisen in a culture riddled with an occult/Gnostic worldview?
Let us rejoice that, as Isaiah says: “…God created the Earth so that it might be inhabited…”, and that for all eternity we shall reign with God over His redeemed creation.
Mark Hunnemann is the author of Seeing Ghosts Through God's Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits. It's also available in eBook format.