I never watched The Golden Compass, except for this one trailer that really bugged me. After some introductory scenes, we cut to a university where some guy says, “I propose to discover a world, much like our own in a parallel universe,” when a tightwad sitting next to him angrily retorts, “THAT is HERESY!” (If I had written this film, the next line would involve the first guy kicking him into a black hole and standing over it yelling, “THIS IS SCIENCE!”)
Here’s the trailer, the part I mentioned starts at :50.
Why would a parallel universe be heresy? If such a thing existed I would be the first person in line to check it out, and I would laugh at anyone who thought something ungodly was going on.
First things first, however, I’ve never bought into the idea of parallel universes, or multiversal cosmology. There’s no evidence for it and not much fervor for it in the scientific community. (Not to mention, it normally makes for bad sci-fi – LOST being a notable exception to this.) It’s fun to talk about, but I don’t think the idea holds much water.
But, what if it were true? What if there are multiple realities where things are different from our own? One well circulated theory suggests that this could create a situation in which God is not necessary in the creation of the world. While this theory uses multiversal cosmology to deconstruct the Christian view of creation, it does not mean that the existence of parallel universes would somehow disprove God’s existence.
Pictured: Scientists who opened a door to another dimension.
Assuming such a multiverse is even possible, it’s not a problem for a theologian. God’s omnipotence is not threatened by time paradoxes any more than than it is threatened by a person moving across time zones; He is still God no matter how His universe is structured, and if He is seeing over a multitude of different realities than it just shows us how grand He really is. The fictional concept of opening up a door to another universe should be as heretical as opening up a door to a big front yard.
But what really bugs me is that movie trailer. Have Christians been so anti-science that people will believe that we would stand up and fight against such harmless cosmological theorizing? I guess so, and that upsets me, too.
UPDATE: Jared made a good point in the comment section, below. Since C.S. Lewis’ classic Narnia tales take place in a parallel universe, it doesn’t make sense to say that Christians would find the idea heretical.
Update II (This time, it’s not update I): Just for the record, when I wrote this I put parallel universes and multiversal cosmology together in my assertion. Obviously, these are not the same thing, but I put them together because the same arguments work for both.
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)