Life On Other Planets?

April 27, 2007, 10:30 am; posted by
Filed under Articles, David  | 4 Comments

According to USA Today, an observatory in Europe has discovered a new Earthlike planet that holds the promise of life. Because of its position circling a red dwarf star in the Libra constellation, it is thought to stay at a temperature between 32 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit, thus making water, and life, possible.

Is this “discovery” accurate? Just a few weeks ago I was perusing a textbook from 1901 that stated the “fact” that Mars was the only earthlike planet in our solar system, showing “pictures” of rivers and continents, clearly visible on its surface. Maybe they have or maybe they haven’t seen what they think they have — the star is over 121 TRILLION miles away and appears only as a wobble crossing starlight, with all the rest just an extrapolation — but if it’s true, we have the latest hope yet for life on another planet. So does life on other planets threaten the veracity of Christian truth?

I read an essay by C.S. Lewis several years ago on these issues, called “Religion and Rocketry.” He laid out a list of certain things that would have to be incumbent in this “life” before it would in any way discomfit Christian truth. The life would have to be like us, of course; it would have to be sentient and show the ability for rational thought. But his best point (I thought) was that the race would have to be fallen.

In other words, our special claim to God’s attention here on this planet, above all else He created, is the fact that we fell from our original place and needed redemption. Christianity is all about that. That’s the whole point — he created us, we fell, and he is reconciling us through his Son, Jesus Christ. If there are other races out there like us, who never tasted sin and fell, then perhaps for them the Gospel would be irrelevant.

So under those conditions, is there room in our theology for life on other planets? Could there be un-fallen races? Is it possible that there is more to the vast physical universe than cold emptiness and scattered stars?

I remember addressing this with my spiritual mentor (David, the Maxon patriarch, father of three Bweinh!tributors) when I was newly saved. I showed him the Scripture where Jesus said, “other sheep I have which are not of this fold,” and asked, “Could that mean UFOs and aliens are real?”

No words were necessary; his expression was enough to momentarily daunt me. Still I ventured further. “What about this scripture in Luke, where it says plainly that Jesus went ‘UP INTO THE SHIP’?”

The look I received was enough to make me drop the subject for the next 29 years . . . but now, after all these years, is it possible?


Comments

4 Comments to “Life On Other Planets?”

  1. aaron.guest on April 27th, 2007 1:26 pm

    I concur. I always liked Lewis’ point on whether or not another race would need to here the Gospel. Or if it would be relevant to them at all. Afterall, Christ became human…I would image that would have no impact on another sentient being who is non-human. Like Klingons. I also liked his idea that what if the myths on our planets were realities on others. Perhaps my favorite short story ever.

    And hilarious. Up into the ship… Hilarious.

  2. Job on April 28th, 2007 11:37 pm

    Did Lewis touch on these E.T.’s having to have also been made in the image of God?

  3. Dsweetgoober on April 30th, 2007 9:32 am

    Never mentioned that. Good question.

  4. dsweetgoober on May 2nd, 2007 10:14 am

    Actually I think he does cover that in “They would have to be like us”. I plan to re-read the essay tonight.

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