The idea of a multiverse is that there are lots and lots of parallel universes, and that the universe that we live in is just one of many universes. Science fiction programmes on the television such as Star Trek and Doctor Who portray us as being able to use machines such as the TARDIS to travel from one universe to another and back again. This provides all sorts of opportunities for interesting story lines, predicaments and close shaves.
But how many universes are there? The scientific evidence for a multiverse is flaky at best, but, surprisingly, the Bible often refers to different universes: There is the cosmos (where we live now), there is heaven (where God lives) and there is hell. They are three separate universes that do not overlap at all and (science fiction fans) it is possible to travel between these universes!
But the snag is that only very limited travel within the three universes is possible: We can leave the cosmos (universe) when we die and go to the heaven (universe) or we can leave the cosmos and go to the hell (universe). Both are one way tickets. The TARDIS remains science fiction.
In the Bible, Jesus tells a story about a rich man who was dressed in designer clothes and lived in luxury every day. In the same universe, actually at the rich man’s gate, lives a beggar called Lazarus. He was always ill and hungry, longing just to eat what went into the rich man’s garden composter. The dogs licked Lazarus’ sores. Perhaps, even they felt sorry for him.
Lazarus died and changed universes. He went to live with his famous ancestor Abraham in the heaven universe.
The rich man also died and changed universes, but he arrived in the hell universe where he was in torment. Now this was a complete surprise, because the rich man was also a descendant of Abraham; why did he not go to be with Abraham in heaven too?
Furthermore, the rich man had enjoyed God’s favour all his life. Surely God was pleased with him to make him so rich? Surely there is nothing wrong with being rich, is there? Abraham himself was filthy rich! God approved of Abraham didn’t he? Abraham is in heaven, so why did the rich man’s one way ticket take him to hell?
To be so surprised at which universe he ended up in, the rich man had obviously ignored what Moses and all the Jewish prophets had written for his benefit, including the parts about being kind to starving beggars who share your universe.
Well, it turns out to be impossible for Lazarus to travel from the heaven universe to the hell universe to give the ex-rich man a drink. It also turns out to be impossible for some-one to return from hell to the universe where the rich man’s brothers are still alive to warn them not to be like their ex-rich brother.
Abraham explains to us that the only way to avoid getting a one way ticket to hell is to get a one way ticket to heaven by changing your mind about Moses and the prophets – that’s a Jewish way of saying, “You need to take the Bible seriously now before it’s too late!”.
You see, the rich man had lived his life ignoring the Bible, so he automatically got his one way ticket to one universe rather than the other.
The poor man had taken seriously the Bible’s teaching about Abraham. He had learned that it doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor; all that matters is that you have put your trust in God who created this multiverse thing in the first place.
It is no use trusting in your health and wealth (your savings, your pension, your health insurance, the NHS) like the rich man did. It is no use relying on having some sort of religious association with God via Abraham (if you are Jewish), priests, vicars, ministers, pastors, your family or anyone else (if you are not Jewish).
Find out from the Bible how God promised to send a saviour as one of Abraham’s descendants. Find out who that saviour is. Trust God’s saviour for yourself and then, even if the rest of life stinks, you will have the right one way ticket out of here.
To listen to the long version of this story, click here.