Caught in Amber

One idea that physicists have debated is the “many worlds” or “parallel universes” concept. The idea is that the universe is constantly dividing into an infinite number of different universes, where each is created by the possible choices that could come to pass, so that for each possibility there is a universe where that possibility was the one that came true. In science fiction, Roger Zelazny wrote a series of novels (the Amber series) where there were characters who could will themselves to move from one parallel universe to the next.

God didn’t confirm or deny the viability of this theory. Instead he told me to consider him as a kind of writer whose medium was not novels but realities. He could choose to set each reality that he created in the same universe, much as the several Star Trek TV series all shared the same universe, or he could create whole new, completely unrelated realities, much as Star Trek, Babylon Five and Battlestar Galactica are all set in the future and in space but have little else in common. If he wanted, he could go back in time and fill in new details in gaps that he had ignored, much like the second Back to the Future film added new details to scenes from the first movie without invalidating anything that was in the original scenes. Or he could do like George Lucas and go back and modify what had once been true to no longer have been true.

He wouldn’t say if he did edit the universe like this or if he didn’t, but he did say that it seemed fundamentally unfair to go back and change things that had already passed.

So, if the whole universe was just the playing out of ideas in God’s mind, I asked, where was the room for us to exercise our free will? I thought, for a moment, that I might have actually caught God in a logical quandary.

He told me my mistake was in thinking that he was incapable of holding contradictory thoughts and beliefs all at the same time.

I decided that pursuing that thought any further was likely to lead to places I just didn’t want to go.

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