Christ of the Klingons
Above the Heavens
These aren't Star Trek-style mirror universes, in which duplicates of each one of us live on parallel Earths where Hitler won the war or the Twin Towers never fell. The multiverse made possible in M-Theory predicts an incredibly diverse array of possible universes with different sets of physical laws—maybe as many as 10500 possible realities. We likely cannot ever reach them, and only a few would be hospitable to human life. Some suggest that universes are continually created, and maybe destroyed, as branes collide with one another.
According to Hawking, the multiverse eliminates the need for God. "M-Theory predicts that a great many universes were created out of nothing," he writes in The Grand Design. "Their creation did not require the intervention of some supernatural being or god. Rather, these multiple universes arise naturally from physical law."
But Collins says Hawking can't escape God that easily: If the universe arose from the laws of physics, then who designed the laws of physics? Why does the multiverse work the way it does? Trying to apply science to the question of God, Collins said, "is where scientists are way overstepping their area of competence."
"One of the problems with those arguments is it really puts God … in a very small box," Cleaver says. "It portrays God as someone who can only fill in the gaps that science can't explain. As theists, we need to perceive God as the primary source, the fundamental laws of physics as the secondary."
To Cleaver, M-Theory's multiverse, with its dizzying variety, unending moments of new creation, and perhaps infinite scope, makes perfect sense as the work of "a God of the infinities, who creates eternally." If God is truly eternal, infinite, and self-consistent, Cleaver wrote in a 2006 paper, "We should expect God to create eternally and infinitely, or not at all."
A scientist stepping on philosophy's turf? Maybe. But Collins expressed similar thoughts.
"Paul says in Romans 1 that creation manifests the eternal attributes of God—God's eternal and infinite power," Collins says. "You may expect an infinitely creative being to create more than one universe—in fact, many, and maybe more kinds of realities."
The Lion, the Klingon, and the Carpenter's Son
Once again, speculative fiction writers are way ahead of scientists. C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia includes one of the classic depictions of a multiverse in Western literature. The protagonists of The Magician's Nephew (1955) stumble into the Wood Between the Worlds, a quiet forest full of pools through which they can enter not just Earth and Narnia but countless universes stretching off into the distance. In the course of the story, the heroes see an old universe destroyed and a new one created—and meet the one Lord over all of them. And at the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952), Aslan tells Edmund and Lucy, "You must begin to come close to your own world now …. There I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name."