Ben, Matt




Main Topic



Much more in-depth than the first parallel universe episode. Another great melding of sci-fi and theology.


Matt has an email from Ben from July 2010 that he's just now replying to.

Ben is about to release a video review of a Game of Thrones beer.

Ben is promoting moderation and enjoyment for alcohol and smoking.

7:09 Take that, listeners!

Main Topic

The hosts and the listeners try to define terms again.

  • Divergent timeline: create parallel universes
  • Parallel universe: similar universe to ours
  • Alternate universe: completely different universe, like Narnia
  • Alternate history

Aaron Reini thinks of reboots as alternate universes.

Matt says parallel universes are very unlikely to have, for example, another Ben and Matt, because of the butterfly effect. If there are infinite parallel worlds, wouldn't even "very unlikely" worlds have to exist?

Ben says it's surprising Hitler didn't win. He gives a Sci-Fi Christian tip: if you invade Russia, do it in the summer.

Do parallel universes require time travel? No?

Is there an alternate universe where Jesus didn't die?

Alternate universes would require us to completely rethink our theology.

What would it mean if we discovered a parallel or alternate universe without religion? Matt thinks it would disprove Christianity. Ben disagrees: what is the difference with African tribes that have had no contact with Judaism or Christianity?

What about a parallel universe where every religion existed except Christianity?

If Judaism existed, you could say they're still waiting for the messiah.

What if Islam existed but not Christianity or Judaism?

What about a parallel universe where Gnostic Christianity won over Orthodox Christianity? Ben would want to see how the theological conversation proceeded; what would the pope think? What would the inevitable council decide?

Very few things should completely destroy faith. Paul says one would be the resurrection not happening.

What about a parallel universe where Jesus was not resurrected?

A parallel universe where there never was a fall?

How do you reconcile God's immutability (unchangeability) with the incarnation?

Ben says Augustine's De Trinitate and Aquinas's Summa Theologica argue that nothing in God changed with the incarnation. Nothing was added to the divine part of God.

49:01 Ben says early Christianity was touchy about the Arian heresy (God the Father created Jesus) And that's where the whole formula, "100% God, 100% man", comes from. It's an attempt to get around that exact point. And it really mathematically doesn't make any sense. No. No. He's 50-50. Let's be honest.

Western theology starts with one God and works to three persons. Eastern theology starts with three persons and works to one God. That makes Eastern believers more susceptible to Arianism, and Western believers to modalism.

Legend goes that Saint Nicholas punched Arius in the face at the Council of Nicea.

52:09 Take that, Arius.

What about a parallel universe where the incarnation happened at a different time period? Was there a reason Jesus came when he did? Ben thinks it's significant that Jesus came before the destruction of the second temple. It proved Paul was right against the Judaizers in saying that Gentiles did not need to become Jews.

Dr. Wise (a professor both hosts had) said the destruction of the temple was as unthinkable to the Jews as finding Jesus' body would be to Christians.

If the temple weren't destroyed, Christianity probably remains a sect of Judaism, or at least much closer in relation. With the destruction of the temple it became primarily Gentile.

What if Jesus came today?

  • Would Jews be TV evangelists? No, they don't evangelize.
  • Islam is connected to Christianity, so that might not exist.
  • After the fall of Rome, maybe you have polytheistic paganism at least through the Middle Ages. Does the Enlightenment even happen?
  • Religious platonism (deistic belief in God, emphasis on mythological value of God) continues as intellectual religion.


1:05:14 Take that, John.

1:08:53 Sci-Fi Christian Story Time: Ben Gets Busted