Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Life on Other Planets

So James McGrath pointed out a recent article in the Huffington Post called, "Earth 2.0: Bad News for God." I found the point and the tone of the article bizarre.

For one, I am always taken aback at this kind of tone. It's like the person who commented on an old blog post recently that "someone with a religious agenda such as yourself has no business discussing anything other than religion." I am neither a cultural warrior nor a fundamentalist, so it's always sobering when people just lump me in with the Christians who are in the public eye. "My brothers ate sour grapes but my teeth are set on edge."

I seem to remember some of my college professors at SWU raising questions such as this article raises. Did Adam's sin affect the laws of physics in the whole cosmos? If there is life on other planets, did it become fallen as a result of Adam's sin? Did Christ become incarnated on those planets? Did he die for them as well?

I must say that I'm not bothered by these questions and issues in the slightest. But I suppose I've already endured a "questions" phase to my faith in seminary and doctoral work. This article seems like such old news to me. Think C.S. Lewis. To me, Genesis is more profound than some straightforward videotape of creation. And the theological point of view he ridicules is as much Augustine as it is the Bible.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Chad Gibbons said...

I had several friends post this article to Facebook and a few criticize me personally for being a simpleton to believe in God at this point. Like you, it seems like a bizarre accusation to me.

Christianity has always had the existence of angels, which are (at least) sentient life from outside our planet. Of all people, we should be the ones most ready to understand new and interesting life forms.

The question does touch on some important aspects though: Paul seems to talk about the cosmic scope of the atonement of Christ. Do you see that relating to other planets? Hebrews mentions that the atonement wasn't for angels because Christ has come as one of Abraham's descendants specifically. Are we still in the realm of orthodoxy by saying the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection are solely for humans and give God the freedom to handle whatever other covenants he might have with other planets?

You said to see C.S. Lewis on this point. In the Ransom trilogy, Lewis seemed to place human life above all others in the cosmos because of the uniqueness of the incarnation (listen to what the Oyarsa say about it in Out of the Silent Planet). Is that the right paradigm for us to think about it?