About 18 months ago I was writing another blog, which I have since abandoned. In December of 2005 I wrote the following post on that blog:
Last month, I read a physics book, Schrodinger’s Rabbits: Entering The Many Worlds Of Quantum by Colin Bruce. This month, I am making my way through Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe. A comment I read in the latter just last week has been turning itself over and over in my mind: “According to quantum mechanics, the universe evolves according to a rigorous and precise mathematical formalism, but this framework determines only the probability that any particular future will happen – not which future actually ensues.”
Bruce had built on this concept of quantum to argue in favor of the so-called “many worlds” (or “multiverse”) model of reality. In a nutshell, this idea suggests that there are an infinite number of universes: for every potential outcome of every action (however improbable), there is a reality which embodies it and the consequences which flow from it.
A long time ago I read a lot of books about process theology. If I recall all of that reading correctly, process thought holds that God’s role in creation lies in God’s giving of the initial aim to each “energy event” as it begins to create itself. God’s initial aim is an ideal series of eternal objects (or “possibilities”). God is the One Who Calls, the initial energy event who calls all other energy events forward to greater complexity or beauty. God offers novelty and also limits, thus making growing complexity possible. Because the creation is free, however, the universe moves from the ideal “downward”. The ideal is that possibility for this energy event at this moment that will lead it (and reality as a whole) to greater complexity and intensity of feeling, which process thinkers define as beauty or enjoyment.
Something about the “many worlds” vision fostered by quantum physics and its basis in probabilities seems to me to dovetail with process theology’s understanding of God’s creative activity. I’m not sure yet how these two fields of study intersect, but the multiverse and God’s infinite capacity for goodness and granting freedom to the creation just seem to me to be complementary …. in any event, this is the sort of thing that occupies my idle moments of theological reflection.
I still don’t understand string theory, branes, and all that, and I’m not sure I really understand Whiteheadian process thought and process theology … but I’m still convinced there is a convergence (or at least an intersection) between these fields. It’s still the thing that occupies my idle moments of theological reflection.