Why do we care about other worlds and other civilizations? So much emphasis is placed on worlds where humans are the inhabitants with some variation. In other scenarios, non-humans are the speculative life form.
Is it because the presence of such extraterrestrial life, if found, might pose an existential threat to God? What might happen to religious worship if advanced or primitive beings were found elsewhere?
The recent news media has been ripe with stories of pilots’ testimony and video footage of unknown aircraft traveling at high speed and seemingly impossible flight patterns.
There are really only three possibilities as to the origin of such aircraft.
- They are highly classified, experimental aircraft developed by the present-day government.
- They are aircraft from our future where time-travel to our present day may be possible.
- They are extraterrestrial aircraft.
For believers, this is really more than the “Dinosaur moment”. It is well known that the existence of dinosaurs seems to pose a Biblical anomaly in that such beasts are not mentioned anywhere in sacred text. But such beasts do not really pose a threat to Divine Creation. They were simply beasts that existed on the Earth and died before the Fall that is described in the Bible. Here is a link to an interesting apologetic point of view on this topic from Cold Case Christianity.
With regards to our topic, while the existence of experimental aircraft poses no threat to religious belief, the possibilities of humans traveling through time and space or the existence of extraterrestrials do pose some existential threats to the known doctrines of Christianity and all the major religions for that matter.
Time Travel and the Domain of God
Let’s just take the matter of time travel in isolation here for the moment. Should we really care if humans from the future figured out a way to bend or warp time and travel to our past?
There are really only two things of concern within our time. Visitors from the future would need to be treated as extraterrestrials since they may be hostile and may pose a threat to our present day. This was the premise of the movie “Terminator”. While that specific scenario may be unlikely, consider the following. Humans from the future who have dominion over time travel yield a weapon more powerful than any nuclear weapon. They are capable of straddling the boundaries of time and changing events in our present day.
From a religious standpoint, such travelers would be assumed to potentially cause chaos and evil as they would be flirting within one domain of God which is eternity. For when one can travel through time, one can potentially achieve eternal life with all other variables held constant.
In fact, humans with dominion over time and space for that matter would redefine our species existential nature and would also raise again the question of what properties must we have to “exist”.
Many would ask if this existence devoid of time, would constitute the logical evolution of our species. At the very least, it might raise the notion of “variant existence” which would then require the attribute of our regular chronological time or else time set equal to zero. In other words, would human existence be differentiated into two classifications? The first classification of being would remain the same as we understand it today where we exist within linear, chronological time. The second classification of being would constitute our existing in absolute time where absolute time has no value, so we effectuate a variant form of human existence within all times. More plainly put, humans in this latter case would exist eternally.
Such speculative philosophy aside, if such time travelers are indeed found to exist, we must still keep in mind that they would still not be omnipotent as God and, as such, they couldn’t really see Him. Humans are after all, still humans. If humans were ever capable of breaching the domain of time and space, they would not necessarily be transformed or be perfect as is God. The eternality domain is just that. It is akin to a road or pathway. It is not the culmination of perfection.
But What Is Perfection? Why Can’t Humans Ever Be God?
Although different schools of philosophy maintain differing views on what it means to exist, time is just one domain within the sphere of existence. Yet it (time) doesn’t exist within itself. Think of it this way. Your winter coat can be blue or green or any color but it must have a color in order to be seen. The color in this case, represents a property of the coat. However, the coat can indeed exist within or without this property and still be a tangible coat.
Thus, if humans can ride on the time-travel superhighway, they are really only riding on a road but they can’t really bridge the gap between time and perfection. Absolute time where time equals zero becomes a property of humans attempting to bridge the gap into eternal existence. However, the quest towards a “perfect” existence is more than just living a lower level human species in perpetuity. Remember that God is not human. Per Christian doctrine, His superiority is the origin of which man is the image. Thus, man cannot exist in parallel, in the complete domain of God but solely within domains created by God.
Aliens, UFOs in the World of Man
Once we get over the time travel debate, we go on to the extraterrestrials question. While the existence of extraterrestrials wouldn’t necessarily discredit the existence of God, it might indicate that we don’t know the whole story. That is the key argument that raises a much stronger argument versus Christianity than the aforementioned dinosaur problem.
The principle of the completeness and inerrancy of the Bible comes into question with any potential discovery of extraterrestrial beings.
Such UFOs were well documented numerous times during the 20th and 21st century. Most recently, the declassification of military pilots, eyewitness accounts and some video footage of unexplainable UFOs have been broadly publicized by the media. One notable sighting occurred in the UK during World War II which was followed by an apparent order by Prime Minister Winston Churchill to not release such sightings to the public during wartime so as to prevent any potential loss of Christian faith.
Then of course, there is the famous “Ring” or “Wheel in the Sky” apparition of Ezekiel that has been frequent fodder for those “Ancient Alien” theorists who believe that aliens actually visited the Earth, engaged with and possibly influenced human development.
All this aside, there are large issues with the acceptance of extraterrestrials from a practical standpoint because of the unlikelihood of their existence. Although “Ancient Alien” advocates and other atheists would relish at the discovery of such beings, the mathematical probability of finding other high-functioning beings inhabiting an alternate world where balanced ecology exists such that could support their existence and development is low. The “sweet spot” we’ve achieved here with the Earth’s resources capable of sustaining our carbon-based lifeforms is indeed “mathematically miraculous”.
For all Abrahamic religious believers, God’s great miracle requires only our witness of it to know that He exists.