The increased interest in the idea of the multiverse—the theory that a vast number of universes lie beyond the limits of what we can observe—has led Christians to develop differing opinions about its plausibility. Some argue the scientific merits of the theory. As physicist, and First Things board member, Stephen Barr, has said , “There are physics reasons why the multiverse has to be taken seriously as an idea. It absolutely is not kooky.” Others believe it is posited primarily to circumvent the evidence for fine-tuning of our cosmos. As science-fiction writer, and First Things contributor Robert Chase wrote in this month’s issue :

We are asked to believe in the existence of myriad universes for which we have no direct evidence and that must always be unobservable because the alternative, God, is emotionally disagreeable to the theorists. The multiverse may even be true, but until it can be shown to be a necessary result of established physical laws, or somehow submitted to proof, it will never be science.

Since it can never be empirically tested, it’s difficult to imagine how the multiverse could be proven true (or false). But while it may be relevant for producing scientific theories, it may not be as useful for getting around God. In fact, as philosopher Alexander Pruss explains , the multiverse theory leads to an intriguing conclusion: given a multiverse, it is just as reasonable to assert the resurrection of Jesus as it is to assert the existence of China.


Suppose one thinks both (a) that the multiverse should be invoked in order to explain the origins of life, because the probabilities in one universe are too low (or, presumably, to explain fine-tuning of constants) and (b) the resurrection of Christ is too weird to believe. Well, in an infinite (naturalistic, I suppose) multiverse, someone very much like Christ does in fact get resurrected—it is very unlikely that the particles should move in such a way as to reverse death, but in an infinite multiverse even such unlikely things will happen. Isn’t that an interesting thought? (It reminds one of David Lewis’s observation that on his view the Greek gods exist, though he thought—I don’t know with what justification—that they didn’t exist in our world.)

And, I add, such a thing will happen in infinitely many universes, given an infinite naturalistic multiverse: In infinitely many universes, a monotheistic religious leader named “Jesus” is crucified and rises again on the third day, with all the details being as Christians claim. In our universe, it is claimed by otherwise credible witnesses that this happened—and these witnesses are not contradicted by other alleged eye-witnesses. Why not take their claim at face value, and say that we just are in one of the infinitely many universes where it happens?


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Articles by Joe Carter

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