Day 34: Living Daily in Reality: Quantum Physics and Parallel Universess

by Ernest O'Neill

One of the most difficult things to understand is theodicy. How can we have free wills yet live lives foreknown or foreordained by our Creator ? The Maker of the universe must know the potentials of what he has made and therefore must know in detail what will happen to every bird, proton, and human being. This presents a problem if he wants any of his creatures to have the freedom to reject his will: how can he make a creature like man who could choose nothingness rather than him ? How can he reconcile with his own love the creation of a person who will choose the nothingness of non-existence ? In other words, how can the Creator make a free-will agent who can choose to love him or decide to hate him - if loving is wanting the best for another ?

For more than fifty years now, quantum physicists have been studying the behavior of the tiniest particles that make up our universe. They have produced and rejected countless theories of how these sub-atomic particles like neutrons and quarks operate. One of the most incomprehensible actions they have observed is the seeming influence of one electron’s spin on the action of another electron ten billion light-years away: yet they know about each other in a split-second ! Einstein called this "spooky action at a distance" and rejected its possibility in this universe. Since then physicists like Bell have shown it to be true, and for years scientists have tried to reconcile this fact with relativity.

Gradually physicists have come to respect the theory of an American physicist called Everett who has posited the theory that there are parallel universes – many of them – as many as the choices you make moment-by-moment in your life. So, faith does not seem so incompatible with reason when it states that God has made an old Adam and a new Adam: the old rejects Him and embraces autonomous nothingness and the new Adam embraces Him as our loving Father upon whom we depend. As we acquiesce in one or the other so goes our life here and beyond ! So our omniscient Maker knows everything that will happen and governs it all by his honest love for each one of us.

Gradually the world of science and the world of faith seem increasingly to merge. Just as physicists are driven to the idea of parallel worlds to explain the simultaneous influence of electrons on one another separated by millions of light-years, so theologians are driven to the idea of two worlds to explain the simultaneous action of the Creator’s will and man’s will. As David wrote in Psalm 139, "even before a word is on my tongue, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether; in thy book were written the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them". Only the Maker’s protective attitude towards our free wills prevents his omnipotence from forcing upon us "the building we have from God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens". But we are here in the space-time of earth to choose whether we’ll live in that or in a personality cobbled together by our own independence.

So here in the sequential temporal world we see life without God in all the horror of its increasing violence, brutal indifference, and destructive greed on one side; and on the other, shafts of sunlight from the simultaneous eternal world that makes life bearable with unselfishness, kindly acts, and encouraging words. So every day we are faced with the freedom to choose whether our own knowledge of good and evil will govern our lives or whether the Christ-life from our Maker will course through us. Finally there is only one reality and one Creator, but he is a loving Father who sees all of time in one millisecond – yet endures patiently the distortion of his world until we acquiesce in what he has planned for each of us.

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