Thursday, July 2, 2009

Too Esoteric, Even for Me

An utterly random thought from today, a clear indicator that summer has addled my brain:

This morning at poolside, I was redigesting something I'd read from a conference sponsored by the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life. It was a short presentation by Francis Collins, the Director of the Human Genome project at NIH and quite possibly the most articulate defender of the basic compatibility of science and faith.

In part of that presentation, Dr. Collins described what he saw as the dichotomy between the theistic understanding of a single, perfectly constructed universe and a multiverse. In his understanding, the basic structures of our universe are so marvelously interwoven as to be nonrandom. So many different elements of physics have to be just so if the universe is to "work," and it seems impossible that such an interplay could occur without intentionality. Ergo, God is responsible.

Against this, he suggested that the atheistic position was the idea of a multiverse, an infinite panoply of all possible forms of being, expressed across an infinite number of variant spacetimes. Within that approach, he felt that God ceased to be relevant.

Though I have big huge respect for Collins, I disagree with him on that front. I tend to think that a multiverse is the nature of being, and that it does two things. One, it makes the idea of God more than just an idea, but a very potential reality. Two, it is a theologically necessary correlate if we assume God is omniscient.

That thought lead to this morning at poolside, where I found myself wondering about the nature of the multiverse. I'd typically envisioned it as an infinite array of non-overlapping spacetimes, stacked and separate like a pile of paper as tall as Shiva's infinite lingum.

But today, for some reason, it felt more like a blossom, in which each moment has within itself the possibility of generating an infinite array of universes. Every moment, every choice, every infinitesimal twitch of a subatomic particle...all of these variances complete the fulfillment of all possibility. Each is, in its own way, as generative of what is to come as that first moment of divine self-articulation from singularity.

And we're a part of that. Our choices matter, because each choice leads to a particular future. Some more gracious, some more full of sorrow and horror, but all fully known to the One who made them all.


I suppose I should probably start thinking about something organizational now.