Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.
Part of what drives fascination with this is the need some materialists feel to get past the immense fine-tuning that lies behind the universe—a fine-tuning that tends to awaken the inner artist in the human person and get him thinking unwholesome thoughts about the possibility of You Know Who. One way to avoid that is to come up with some reason for supposing that our universe is not just a one-shot event with a beginning, middle and end (like the Judeo-Christian conception. So the eternal Big Bang/Big Crunch cycle has appeal in appearing to held out promise. But then, as the evidence began to mount that the universe is a one-off and will end in heat death, the new trendiness became popular: that the universe is just one of an infinitude of multiverses.
Main problem: there is no (and by the nature of the case cannot be any) evidence of other universes. But the materialist has his own wish fulfillment fantasies and religious dogmas that are not slowed, even by his own alleged commitment to so-called rationalism and evidence. So we get these hopeful stories based on the notion that if you posit lots and lots of universes, then the extraordinary fine-tuning of this one will be drowned in a great stew of statistics and you won’t have to think about it.
Of course, the joke is that St. Thomas saw no particular reason the universe couldn’t be eternal and only accepted the idea that it had a beginning due to revelation. The Christian concept of creation, ironically, doesn’t depend on the notion of a universe that started with the great Cue Ball of Creation getting things going 13.5 billion years ago. That God chose to create a universe with a beginning is up to God. But he could have chosen to create a universe with no beginning, as St. Thomas points out. Either with a beginning or without one, it would still be a universe that is radically contingent and which cannot sustain or explain itself without Being who is not contingent. And that Being is what everybody calls “God”, points out St. Thomas. It’s a matter entirely beyond science’s power to prove or disprove. The real question, no matter how many contingent universes might pop out of the quantum foam is, “Why is there anything?” It is at this point that our Brights who constantly proclaim their worship of rational thought tend to solve the problem by refusing to think and ridiculing St. Thomas for not joining in their refusal. This is but one of the many reasons that I have so little confidence in those who worship the intellect instead of using it.