The Answer, in Case You Were Wondering, is No

Does new life form mean God is Dead????!!!!

Honestly. Where do they find these people? Science discovers something new to Science! That must mean that God got caught with his pants down, because anything *we* weren’t expecting must mean that God was blind-sided too!

It’s like children who cover their eyes and think you can’t see them.

All this news means is that God, under carefully controlled laboratory conditions, can do whatever he likes. I recall no passage in Genesis that says “No arsenic-eating bacteria”.

It will mean precisely the same thing if we ever dig up a critter on another planet. As I wrote sometime back:

[S]everal basic criteria that have to be met before life on other worlds would pose a theological problem to Christianity.

First, it has to exist, which we don’t know.

Second, it has to be sentient. Alien oysters cannot sin any more than ours do.

Third, it has to have fallen. An unfallen race is not in need of redemption.

Fourth, we have to know that, being fallen, it has been denied the chance of redemption by God. How on earth we’d ever figure that out beats me.

Fifth, we have to know that the redemption will be *forever* denied this hypothetically existent, hypothetically fallen race. After all, if you’d visited earth 10,000 years ago you would not have seen too many obvious clues that redemption was in the works for us.

Sixth, we have to know that redemption via an incarnation, death and resurrection is the *only* way in which God redeems fallen creatures and that such a redemption will never be granted such creatures.

As Lewis says, if our faith never encounters a bigger challenge than this, we are sitting pretty.

As to the existence of non-human intelligences in the universe, the Faith answers this with a definite affirmative: they are called “angels”. The existence of *organic* creatures with intelligence is therefore not an insuperable obstacle. God can do as he likes.

That said, there *are* certain facets of the Tradition that present problems for the traditional sci fi scenario. One of them is St. Thomas’ teaching that “Man is the form of a rational animal.” In other words, if you want to see an intelligent critter made of matter, we’re it. That’s deeply offensive to us because we think it is arrogant to say that we are alone. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if that turned out to be the case. As Rare Earth has done a fine job of demonstrating, the Copernican Principle (i.e., the notion that planets like ours are dime a dozen in the Great Grand Scheme of things) is waaaaaaay over-rated. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if our planet is one of the few in the galaxy to have complex life and the only one with intelligent life. If the universe is crowded with alien civilizations, then, as Enrico Fermi asked 50 years ago and projects like SETI are making more acutely felt with each day, where is everybody?

Finally, re: preaching the gospel to aliens. Until C.S. Lewis’ questions are answered I doubt there would be much point. Indeed, as Lewis Space Trilogy suggests (almost alone in the canons of science fiction that I know of), the reality may well be that an unfallen race would be way ahead of us in their knowledge of Maleldil, just as the angels are. That only stands to reason since the universal God who reveals himself *to us* in Christ Jesus would be present to the souls of unfallen creatures without the hampering effects of original sin. Missionaries to an unfallen planet might find themselves embarrassed by the knowledge of their students, who would all speak “with authority, not like the scribes and Pharisees.”

I tend to side with Lewis in his speculation that, if there *are* any intelligent critters out there, the vast distances of space are designed to be a quarantine. If we ever made contact with a technologically inferior race, we would murder and enslave them as we have murdered and enslaved weaker members of our own race. If they were technologically superior, they would very properly annihilate us in self-defense.

But, as I never tire of saying, that won’t happen, because we are never getting off the earth and we will never contact any aliens.

By the way, one good thing about this piece is noted by the reader who sent it:

One thing I always find very encouraging when stuff like this comes up: When the media wants an “official” ruling from Christians, there’s only one place they go: The Vatican. Pat Robertson is never approached, nor anyone at Bob Jones University. As Lenny Bruce rightly said, “There is only one ‘the Church,’ ” and even the world, whether they’ll admit to themselves or not, seem to know that.

Yep. All atheists are Christian atheists. Very little energy is spent railing at Zeus or Quetzlcoatl.


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