Intergalactic Comparative Theology

Intergalactic Comparative Theology September 2, 2016


Blogging Theology reminded me of the above image from TheologyGrams, which I shared here once before a while back, comparing the views of Calvin, Arminius, and Darth Vader. And on a similar matter of space theology, Remnant of Giants explored the question of how the discovery of extraterrestrial life might impact theology, offering differing perspectives from Jerome Eckstein and C. S. Lewis – together with this picture:


Steve Wiggins also blogged about our galactic neighborhood, and suggested that in an infinite universe, ” There will always be other planets to explore, and maybe even new orthodoxies to accept.”

The intersection of speculation about space and religion can be a serious topic. But it can also be a lot of fun!

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  • Phil Ledgerwood

    You know, a lot of people don’t really appreciate Darth Vader’s contributions to the Reformation. He’s basically the John Huss of a galaxy far, far away.

  • David Evans

    Remnant of Giants asks “Does the plausibility of alien life-forms make traditional religious dogmas like incarnation, salvation, and the Trinity a bit parochial, in the perspective of the wide universe?” I don’t think so. God tells us what we need for our own (parochial) salvation, not more. A prophet who spoke of other inhabited planets would have been regarded as deluded or heretical (cf Giordano Bruno), and not made it into the canon.

    • Is this a request for a version of Canon: The Card Game that includes Giordano Bruno? 🙂

      But seriously, on what basis did you decide that someone who spoke about other worlds would have been regarded as deluded or heretical? We know that the realms associated with the planets, the celestial spheres, were thought to be inhabited by most ancient people. And so your assertion strikes me as surprising!

      • David Evans

        I think I was influenced by modern discussions of extraterrestrial life which are normally about beings not too unlike us – with physical bodies and minds shaped by evolution and therefore subject to error and capable of evil and (if you think in those terms) possibly in need of redemption. Such beings would indeed pose theological problems, and I presume that was one reason for Bruno’s fate. On the other hand the inhabitants of the celestial spheres were (as far as I recall) thought of as unfallen and in no need of redemption.

        • The celestial spheres were a realm in which falling from grace was possible and was believed to have happened, as one sees in the myth of fallen angels.

          I have not researched Bruno extensively, but what I have read in print (as opposed to in comments on the internet) consistently attributes his condemnation as a heretic to views he held about matters other than planets and whether they were inhabited.