Recently I’ve been thinking about the Catholic teaching of Original Sin and how it relates to historical and scientific inquiry.
What’s been on my mind though, is what theories in cosmology are reconcilable with the Catholic doctrine that rational humanity is descended from one pair of parents that commited the first sin of disobedience.
One intruiging theory in cosmology is that, because the curvature of space is zero, it is possible that the universe is in fact infinite in size. That, combined with the thesis that the inflation and matter distribution of the universe is homogenous, easily implies that there are in fact several versions of Earth in the far cosmos that resemble our own, which means there could easily be other humans on distant Earths in the universe that evolved seperately from ourselves.
Now, this idea that the universe is infinite in size and that matter distribution is homogenous is in fact a legitimate scientific theory that is held by some cosmologists, and as such it seems to me we should treat this idea not as something far off into speculation territory, but a possibility worthy of discussion.
Another, even more popular idea among many contemporary physicists is the idea of a multiverse, where our universe is just a bubble floating alongside many other bubbles in a large multiverse. It is then quite possible that these other bubbles, amongst a myriad of other ones, could also be parallel universes to ours and contain versions of humanity but with different histories.
How do these ideas relate to Original Sin and an original pair of rational humans? Well, remember when Pope Zachary condemned Virgilius’ idea that humans exist on planets beneath the earth, with another moon and son? The condemnation was done because it went against the idea that Adam and Eve were our first parents.
Now, if, say, there were other humans living in other corners of an infinite universe, or in other universes in a vast multiverse, would this discovery negatively impact Catholic doctrine?
Is the doctrine of Original Sin commited by a first pair of rational humans reconcilable with these above scientific theories? Or is it not?
And if it is not, do you think that we could, say, speculate that the Fall occured, say, in another dimension or another timeline, and the multiverse and all other versions of humanity are, in some way, descendants of that first human pair?
This idea might seem far reaching, but it does make sense if we admit that all of creation was affected by the Fall, and thus space and time as well, which would make appeals to evolution or multiverses or even an infintely big universe futile. The Fall of our original parents would thus have occured in a different dimension or timeline that existed before our own and was prior and more fundamental.
So what do you think?