Friday, August 17, 2018

The Mormon multiverse

This is related to a recent post I did, but I'd like to narrow the focus. It's my impression that some Mormon apologists invoke the multiverse to sidestep monotheistic passages in the Bible. The argument is that passages about idolatry pertain to the god of our universe. Yahweh is the god in charge of our universe. As members of this universe, we must confine our worship to Yahweh. But other gods have jurisdiction over other worlds in the multiverse. The monotheistic passages don't apply outside our universe. 

i) To my knowledge, the scientific evidence for a multiverse relies on one particular interpretation of quantum mechanics. Because quantum mechanics conflicts with the theory of relativity, there's the question of whether quantum mechanics is a final theory. And even if quantum mechanics is a final theory, there are competing interpretations. 

The multiverse might be true or it might be false. So it's a precarious foundation on which to build theology.

ii) I'm sympathetic to a version of the multiverse, but the same God who made the multiverse. One Creator of the multiverse. 

iii) In classical theism, God preexists the world he made. In Mormon theism, the world preexists the gods. The gods are contingent rather than necessary beings. The gods are products of a preexistent reality. A Mormon multiverse fails to explain the origins of the multiverse. It simply pushes the cosmological argument back a step.

iv) Is the idea that each god only exists in one universe? No god exists in more than one universe?

But according to the logic of the multiverse scenario, each parallel universe corresponds to changing one variable, with whatever adjustments that requires, while leaving other things intact. In one timeline I'm raised by my parents. In an alternate timeline I'm an orphan. In another timeline I'm raised by my dad. In another timeline I'm raised by my mom. In one universe I have a brother, in another universe I'm an only-child. In one universe my hometown is New Orleans, in another universe my hometown is Albuquerque. 

However, it wouldn't be a different god for each parallel universe. Changing the god is one variable, with a parallel universe (or more) corresponding to that altered variable. But many altered variables don't entail changing the god in charge. So the same god would exist in more than one universe. Even if we play along with the thought-experiment, Yahweh will have jurisdiction over a vast number of parallel worlds. 

Just run through OT history and mentally change a variable. Suppose Yahweh calls Abraham's brother out of Ur rather than Abraham. Suppose Isaac runs away rather than submitting to sacrifice? That creates alternate timelines, but Yahweh is the same deity in those alternate world histories. 

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