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Thanks! -Jason Wisdom
"All Hail The Cosmic Hamburger Making Machine!"
When it comes to food, I am a pretty simple guy. I like my hamburgers with only bun, meat, cheese, ketchup, and mustard. No lettuce, tomato, or onions. If I wanted a salad, I wouldn't order a hamburger. I recently went into a burger shop that had an interesting sign on the wall which read: "Have your burger 10,000+ different ways." You might be thinking, "how could there be that many different types of hamburgers?" But it is actually quite simple. It isn't that they have 10k different hamburgers, but they offer at least that many different possible combinations of toppings and cooking preferences for their burgers. Regardless, at the end of the day, the number of options doesn't matter to me. I still want my burger the same way--bun, meat, cheese, ketchup, and mustard.
You are probably wondering, "What on Earth does this have to do with Christianity? Did becauseitstrue get taken over by the Food Network?" If you haven't figured this out about me by now, I have a really strange way of thinking about ordinary things. So, believe it or not, the sign in the burger shop got me thinking about the multiverse. I told you. I'm strange. Anyway, for those who are unfamiliar, the theory of the multiverse (multiple universes) is often advanced as a way of explaining the apparent fine-tuning of our universe. If our universe is the only one that exists, then it seems reasonable to conclude that it has been intricately designed for the existence of life. The likelihood that it would be this way by chance alone is virtually zero. Obviously, there are some theological implications that naturally arise from this--implications that make some people rather uncomfortable. Namely the idea that design implies a designer, and fine-tuning implies a fine-tuner. Those who do not believe in a supernatural creator need to find another, naturalistic way to understand the appearance of design.
An increasingly popular way to get around this implication is to theorize that our universe is actually just one in an ensemble of many, potentially infinite, universes. How exactly does the multiverse theory avoid the problem of design? The idea is that if there are billions (maybe an infinite number) of randomly ordered universes, it isn't hard to imagine that at least one of the universes in such an ensemble would turn out like ours. Sure, you could still say that it is still "finely tuned" for the existence of life (a point that is hardly contested), but on this view, the tuning was not guided by any intelligence. It was not designed to be the way that it is. It just happened.
There is one glaring problem that I see with this hypothesis, and it takes me back to the burger shop. Let's suppose that, after enjoying my burger, I returned to the counter and said to the cashier, "I would like to thank the person who made this delicious burger." Then imagine that the cashier replied, "I'm sorry sir, there is no one to thank. All of our burgers are randomly generated by a burger making machine. It only makes sense that, given enough time, it would produced one just the way you like." Now, I don't know about you, but my reply would be something along the lines of, "Wow, that is an amazing machine, who designed it? That person really knows how to make a great burger!"
I am sure that you can spot the problem by now. Even if no one made the burger, someone had to design the burger making machine. But what if the cashier said, "Oh, no sir. Our burger making machine was randomly generated by a much larger apparatus that produces all different types of food making machines"? Would that solve the problem, or make it any simpler? No. It would just kick the can down the road. Who made that machine? On top of that, it actually makes it more impressive. Think about it. Most of us aren't impressed by a ketchup dispenser at a restaurant (a very simple machine), but we would be blown away if someone designed a machine that randomly generated fully functioning restaurants (complete with ketchup dispensers). Pushing it back only makes it harder to imagine what such a machine would be like. The same issue plagues the notion that we can explain away design in our universe by appealing to a mechanism and/or process that randomly generates universes (which would itself have to be incredibly designed). I wouldn't shrug my shoulders and say, "Oh well, I guess you're right. All you need is a burger machine and then there is no need for a designer." So why should I do that in response to the multiverse theory? I think a more appropriate response would be: "WOW! Who or what designed the thing that generates universes?" And to that point, Colossians 1:16 tells us, "For in him [Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him."