Archive for January, 2009
Here’s another article that I thinkwe can all benefit from in some respects. Some of it is material I’ve already blogged about, but other parts are items I’ve not yet commented on. It’s a good instance of current scholars thinking about the issue of the interface of Christianity and an ET reality. The full citation is: Marie I. George, “ET Meets Jesus Christ: A Hostile Encounter Between Science and Religion?” LOGOS 10:2 (2007): 69-94.
Yes, this is possible. One could believe that life on earth came from space and that there was an intelligence behind that process / mechanism. One need not have space aliens as the intelligence. In the same way theistic evolutionists argue “God was in the process of evolution,” one could argue “God used natural forces in/from space to seed the earth with life and then was also engaged in the process of evolution from that beginning point.” That is the gist of this post on a leading intelligent design blog.
I hope you see how easy it will be for people who WOULD say space aliens were the causation of directed panspermia (“intelligent designerS“) to steal the theistic intelligent design arguments.
Check out the post by Mac Tonnies (thanks to Nick Redfern for posting this).
I think much of what Mac says here is quite coherent. I’ve recently offered to do a lecture in Roswell next summer on the topic of why, in terms of biblical theology, intelligent alien life forms (if they exist) may be physical beings and yet not angels or demons. The argument goes like this:
1. The Biblical theology of (a face-value take on what the Bible says about creation) requires that there be a firm distinction between the Creator and everything else (the created). This Creator-creature distinction is a necessary dualism for biblical theology, and has been recognized as such ever since we’ve had a Bible. If the Creator-created distinction fails (if the God of the Bible is a created being), then all really is One, and we have Gnosticism, no Big Bang, no beginning, no ultimate separation from God (Hell), and no need of salvation (we all go back to God anyway). Obviously, these are attractive ideas in today’s climate. I note them here only in view of the question as to whether they are biblical. They cannot be biblical given the firm Creator-creation dichotomy. That’s the point.
2. Number 1 means that ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that exists, other than the Creator God, must be made of SOMETHING – i.e., it MUST, of theological necessity, be material, or composed of matter. If not, then it is uncreated — but there can only be one uncreated Being (the Creator).
3. This in turn means that if, say, there are “inter-dimensional” beings (beings we cannot see in our dimension, but which can enter and leave our dimension), they must be made of something. The “invisible world” of the Bible fits this description: real entities, though invisible to us, which can “enter our space” and even alter their materiality in our space, who have intelligence and will and can choose to do good or evil. Christians (among others) awkwardly call this the “spiritual world” – even though it still MUST be material, and therefore natural to maintain the Creator-created distinction.
4. Number three yields the “inter-dimensional being” hypothesis biblically coherent. The next question is: are what we think of as ETs angels, demons, or something different? What separates (in part) the angels and demons (and gods) of the Bible from ET descriptions is a dependence on technology (some craft). Angels and demons are never described as being DEPENDENT on technology for what they do. I would also say that they are never described as USING technology to do anything, either. This isn’t the case with presumed ETs who need craft to appear or disappear. ETs in craft that do “interdimensional things” would suggest a third category, other than angels or demons. Think of it this way. If we as humans ever develop the technology to move interdimensionally, that wouldn’t make us angels or demons. Yes, one can said we could be misconstrued as such by lesser beings, but if those lesser beings are capable of written description and describe our ships, that resulting description would not be what we see in the Bible, a document produced by a literate culture.
5. If ET was not a demon or angel, as a rational being, its behavior deserves to be judged by other rational beings. This is especially true if it is superior in rationality. We, as humans, would largely agree that it is ethical to treat lesser beings respectfully, especially if that lesser being can somehow communicate its needs, fears, pain, etc. to us. We have an ethical responsibility to respond in a way that does not harm the lesser. If we have superior technology (which stands to reason), we would be ethically bound to use our smarts to treat the lesser in a way they would want to be treated. If a superior ET isn’t doing that to us, who can communicate pain, abuse, fear, etc., we have a description for that (human rights abuse) and a single word for it (evil).
Again, all I’m arguing for here is that the IDEA that an ET could be real (material) is reconcilable with a face0value reading of biblical theology.
Don’t believe it? Check it out.
And I highly recommend Jihad Watch and its partner blog, Dhimmi Watch, as great blogs to follow for information on radical jihadist Islam.