The Problem of Evil, part 3 - And God Saw The Multiverse, And It Was Good

If the multiverse, with the collection of all possible histories, really does exist, what does that mean for the Problem of Evil? Why does that solve it, or tell us anything about it?

At first glance, it may not help much. After all, if there are an infinite number of worlds with different histories than ours, we must assume that the amount of evil and suffering in creation is not just huge, but infinite. God created trillions of human beings only to suffer through short and horrific lives.

But the key thing about the multiverse is what it tells us about God's nature.

Why did God create anything? The traditional answer has been that he wanted something to love, or that his essence is creation. He had to display his All-Loving nature by creating finite beings to express his love through and towards.

I think this is correct. God has an innate desire to express his love through creation. And look at how abundantly he did this! He didn't just create another intelligent being to discourse with, he created a whole chain of creatures from bacteria to land animals to sea creatures, from birds to plants to the cosmos itself. He built a universe 20-billion light years across, and as far as we can tell, we're the only intelligent life-form in it. How wasteful! And yet, to God this is not waste. It's creation. It's creativity. It's love.

God's love is expressed in the existence of bacteria, which will never know him, just as it is in the existence of humans, who have the opportunity to be like him. God's love and majesty is expressed in 20 billion light-years worth of intricately shaped rock, dust, gases, stars and galaxies, just as it is in the crumbling of a small piece of sandstone.

And God's creative love, we have now discovered, is even more infinite than we thought. God didn't just create an enormous beautiful universe for us to inhabit; he did it trillions of times over, for different people and different creatures, with different structures and different patterns, holding different beautiful things we cannot fathom.

We should not recoil in horror at this image. We should stand back in awe at the creative work of God.

And this gives us a crucial insight into God. For the God we love and worship holds the suffering of his creation to be serious indeed. The rape of a poor woman, the torture of a Jew, even the unhappiness of a child, are serious things to our God.

Because he is All-Loving, there is only one thing that he could hate worse than the suffering of his children: their non-existence.


When I was 15 years old, I was in a bike accident, and busted out my front tooth. I ended up with 15 stitches INSIDE my mouth, and some pretty impressive scarring on the outside. Because of that accident, I went through months and months adjusting to the replacement that had been made for me. I got used to eating again. Then, in examining my mouth, the doctors discovered that I had four extra teeth growing under my normal bottom teeth, a pretty rare situation in humans. That was only one of a host of different odd situations that happened in this process.

It's certainly conceivable that this experience affected my confidence and personality as I finished high school and went on to college. It would be hard to assess whether this effect was positive or negative, but it definitely had an effect.

Due to having this experience, a host of other experiences resulted, including specific conversations I had with people that are very memorable to me. The chain of events leading from that one event grew and grew, including the one where I am writing about it now.

If that one event had never happened, some parts of my life would have turned out very different. I would have different memories, a somewhat different personality, and a slightly different set of pyschological tools to work with.

I would be a different person.

Not as different as, say, two random strangers walking down the street. But different enough. More different than the difference between my teenage self and my adult self. If I could meet this alternate self, we would have different memories and experiences to discuss; some shared thoughts, but also some different thoughts. We would recognize that we were indeed different people. We would even look slightly different.

But according to physics, this other self DOES exist.

Make no mistake - busting out my front tooth was suffering. Relatively minor suffering, but suffering nevertheless. The God who numbers our very hairs knows about this suffering. He empathizes with it. He felt it when it happened.

And he could have stopped it from happening.

But consider our two Micahs - one who got a busted tooth, one who didn't. Which does God love more? Which does God value having?

Doesn't God value both of us the same? Doesn't God love the version of me who got his face busted just as much as he loves the version of me who didn't?

So which one would he create?


If God was choosing to create the universe, and he could choose to create one in which I never had that experience, or one in which I did have that experience, which would he choose? I think we can now see the answer to that. God would look at the results of these two possible universes, and see people he loves just as intensely as he ever loved anything. And instead of choosing only one of these people to exist, he would express his infinite love by creating BOTH.

Truth be told, God had the option of creating a universe where no evil existed. In fact, he DID create that universe. That universe does not hold you and me, however. It probably does not even hold anyone like you or me. It is a world without suffering, but also a world without us. Without sin and evil, the genealogies that led to us never happened. God hates the sin and evil that have existed in our history, but he would hate our non-existence more.

And so God also created other universes, universes which contain you and me, and every version of you and me that is possible. God's love for his creation is so intense, he could not stand to let any possible creature miss its chance for existence.

When God began to create, he got to choose which universes (which histories) he would actualize. And from his perspective, the only choice was which of us got to exist. Which of his children would live? The good and unbroken, undamaged ones? Or the broken, suffering, victimized ones? The ones who never had a moment's worry? Or the ones who underwent unfathomable suffering?

If God had chosen just one universe out of the many, we would have a legitimate question: why this one? Why actualize all this suffering?

But the fact that God chose ALL reveals to us his overall nature: unfathomable love expressed in the infinite act of creation, the act of creating brokenness as well as wholeness, health as well as sickness, evil as well as good.

Because God is love.

Part 1, 2, 3