Is there life on other planets?
He is not quite persuaded by my responses and so writes:
I’m going to offer the guess that John Mark Reynolds has watched the Sci-Fi channel remake of Battlestar Galactica – such was my instinct when he noted, wisely, that a species of atheists would probably have wiped themselves out already…sorry Star Trek, but the dreams of an atheistic, utopian Federation exist only in the fevered imaginations of naive progressive liberals.
I have started the new Battlestar many times, but Hope does not like it so I have yet to get past the opening movie. To me, Battlestar still has a male Apollo who is still am tempted to say “frack.” My belief that space travelers wil be religious hinges on the observation (not original to me) that secularized societies seem to look inwardly. Men used to face their demons by getting into rockets and shooting themselves into space, now we are medicated and play Star Trek Timelines on our mobile phones.
Religious societies have kids, push them to be “good,” and have missionary zeal. Secular societies tend to form as the religious society grows rich enough to forget serious problems and begin to worry about falling into the show hole, having no new series to binge on Netflix. If the religious have a problem, it is that we value challenges and accept suffering too easily. We sometimes rashly go where only the bold should tred.
I see no evidence that left-of-center secular democracy can sustain big projects like space travel. We lack the attention span and discipline without religion.
I’ve always been amused by Star Trek’s insistence that the Eugenics War was the ‘wrong turn’ that humanity survived and transcended, defeating Khan and banishing the ‘ubermensch’ aspect of our psyches into space. O pshaw – the truth is that creating a society where both money and God are obsolete but people still chip in to build starships, and everyone has IQs over 250 (or whatever) – that would take the sort of eugenics program that would make Goebbels faint. No borders either, with all cultures embracing the Meta-culture of the Federation while preserving their quaint little Amok Times and Kahless worship for shore leave retreats – sounds just like Merkel’s plans for Europe. Again, the great Communist expansion of humanity into space would have to shed oceans of blood in abortion, genocide and genetic engineering to make such a nightmare possible. All the free porn and otherkin pronouns in the world are not going to inspire people to set aside their self-interest for the collective progress of trans humanity.
Maybe, maybe not. I do know that Star Trek Utopianism is more absurd than the time travel in the series and that is very bad. Let us not think of the reboot movies or we shan’t be able to enjoy them. CS Lewis had this right in That Hideous Strength, the most important novel for the next one hundred years: the power we are getting is not over “nature,” but over other people. That is dangerous and to get the Utopia that Gene Roddenberry believed possible, the numbers who would have to die (given our resistance to his “good” world) would be staggering. I am against Khan and the Federation if the Federation means a homogenized world. Kodos the Executioner was bad to practice his own eugenics, but right to argue against the brutal inhumanity of the so called humanists who ran the Federation.
If he was tired of them, I am too.
Something else leaped out at me in your post. You suggested as a possibility that extraterrestrial life might not be in need of salvation because they may exist in an unfallen state. But isn’t one of the offered explanations for the problem of natural evil the fact that Adam’s fall was a cosmic catastrophe that affected the entire universe, thus why Might makes Right appears to be the default position of nature red in tooth and claw?
That’s a bad extrapolation from what we know I think. We might have messed up the cosmos, even cosmically, but in the broken world another species, against the odds, could still choose wisely. We are their Satan, putting the temptation to hate us or to give up because of the broken world before them. They have resisted and their resistance would be a heavenly story.
I would call it: We fell, nevertheless they persisted.
You could be avoid a fall in a broken world: Jesus did.Nature is red in tooth and claw here, but on some, God save it from us, Perelandra perhaps there has been a reprieve of sorts where the difficulties we have caused are lessened. There sits Enoch, Elijah, Arthur and so many others who have escaped our world. This at least could be and seems as likely as an entire race dedicated to warfare getting to the stars. That seems ludicrous to me.
Did the Fall not damage the entire created universe so that the Flood over planet earth was just a tiny isolated rain shower by comparison? If aliens did predate Adam and Eve, surely they couldn’t survive such a universal catastrophe.
This strikes me as a failure of imagination. Our first parents survived. If so, then Earth would be the locus of a downfall that would sadden every race that existed. A great wave of pain would have swept the cosmos, yet just as we survived in a broken state so the innocent could have as well. For the innocent, provision would have been only just. They must look, if they exist, at us as the Typhoid Mary of the universe until Mary the Thetokos came to undue all the pain.
A great balm would have come at the Incarnation so that even the stars would have rejoiced. We are Atlantis dragged to the bottom by the great wave of the wrath of God, but the rest of the cosmos could have lived in the rubble as the children of Noah did after the world perished.
And if, as is more likely (I use probabilities very loosely here) they were living concurrently or arrived on the scene later – are we to believe that living, ensouled creatures (so not angels) could exist in an unfallen state in a fallen universe that is nature red in tooth and claw? That would suggest a planet full of Jesuses and I find that too big a Mormon-full to swallow.
Try instead a planet of Sorn in Out of the Silent Planet. They could live in the rubble we made, having chosen better than we did, without being very God of very God. Yes?
It seems to me that if intelligent life does exist, then it too must have fallen at some point. In which case, we can ask whether Jesus has died on more than one cross, or whether His work at Calvary was even greater than what was already beyond our capacity to fathom. It would be interesting to know whether they too fell when Adam fell, making them truly our neighbors – ensouled ‘humans’ from another planet. In which case, we would certainly offer them the Gospel because they would be refugees, just from a little further away than a different continent.
We know so little speculation is accceptable. This is my point: we live in a cosmos alive with possibilities even if (as I believe) all the data from revelation is true. What were Adam and Eve doing before the Fall? How long was this time? Are there sheep we do not know? Did they participate in the Fall?
If there is another Incarnation, it would not be like our own, but fit the story of that planet. The Narnia books help here. Aslan’s death is what Narnia needs, but is not for Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. They need Calvary.
I just hope they land somewhere in the South where there are lots of Calvinists who know the Gospel. Or perhaps in Russia, far away from Putin’s people but close to an Orthodox monastery…otherwise, they’re going to have travelled an awfully long way just to hear Joel Osteen tell them to believe in themselves so that God can make them rich.
If they land near Calvinists, they will gently (I assume) correct them to a better God. If they land near Russia, God have mercy on Putin, but the aesthetics will rejoice. Joel Osteen? If you have defeated space, then you have nothing to learn from Joel Osteen and much to give him.
This is all speculative, of course, but I have to say…the demonic is sounding a whole lot simpler to me, especially given the nature of alien ‘contact’ in so many cases. I saw a claim recently which said ET has been visiting earth since 1947, via inter dimensional travel. I tell you what, if one of those things visited me, my instinct would be to throw some holy water at it, rather than ask it to take me to its leader.
This is an important point: saying your ET does not make you ET. Being able to do tricks and cool science-things (or magic!) does not make you worthy of worship or belief. If an alien came and said: “There is no God,” we could discuss the ontological argument and see what she said. Angel, devil, Sorn, Vulcan, Jedi, or Barterran, they must follow the Logos (as we do) where it leads.
It would be an interesting discussion!
If you are reading this unfallen ET, we know you will not destroy us, but do pray for us. If you pass, like some angels do, undetected (generally) in our midst, welcome. Ask the Lord God to have mercy on our souls.
*Not his real name.