The many worlds solution to the problems of evil and suffering

Recently, a small handful of philosophers have offered “many world” solutions to the problems of evil and suffering. Here I will informally explore my own version of this sort of argument.

Imagine a multiverse where all logically possible universes/worlds exist. An idea like this, a vast and perhaps infinite multiverse, is of course motivated by real science (and science fiction :).

In this multiverse, there are universes that are “better” than ours. Some may have fewer earthquakes and much nicer weather. In some of these universes, people make better decisions, for whatever reasons, and human life is significantly better and more cooperative.

Some universes are worse than ours, including those universes where people have made worse decisions. Some of these universes have more frequent natural disasters. In some of these universes, people may have ruined their environment with their own progress.

Some of these universes are so different that it’s hard or perhaps impossible to imagine them. Many of these universes may have different laws of physics and/or fundamental constants than our universe has. Some might have life unimaginably different than life on earth.

Perhaps it is even the case that, in some of these possible worlds, God chooses to intervene more often. Some of these worlds may start off very similar to our own. But as God goes around intervening (saving lives, healing, etc) the world ends up being quite different than our own (it would be a butterfly effect on steroids) and there are different people living in this world (you, I and those we love probably wouldn’t exist).

Now assume that you are God. You have the power to create any possible world that you want to create. You can also create as many universes/worlds as you want to create. You can even make all possible worlds/universes if you want – much like the multiverse that is conceptualized by many scientists.

Would you (as God) create the universe that we live in? Is our universe so full of suffering, natural disasters, famine, mankind’s self-interested decisions, etc that you would choose to not create it? Would you only create universes that are significantly better than this one, that have less or no suffering, even if you (as yourself) and all those you love in this world would not exist? Would you only create worlds where you intervened very regularly? Or would you decide that this world was worth creating because of the good that is in it and despite it’s suffering? If there is a multiverse with many different possible universes/regions in it – as some scientists suggest – would a good God be justified in making the universe we live in?

%d bloggers like this: