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[Thanks to Cris for this link.]

According to the Washington Post, the Pentagon apparently spent $100,000 for a workshop on interstellar space travel, which included a session that asked, ”Did Jesus die for Klingons, too?” Taxpayers aren’t thrilled, to say the least. I’m irritated, too, but for different reasons.

Readers know I’ve put a lot of thought into the question of the relationship between Christianity (of the conservative “Bible believing” perspective) and the question of extraterrestrial life (see here and here). My answer would be that no, there’s no need for Jesus to have to die for ET if ET exists — no exegetical argument can be mounted for such a need. But most theologians who address this question aren’t doing exegesis in the biblical text; they merely theologize (i.e., they share opinions sprinkled with God-talk). People who believe the Bible is inspired and that biblical theology should be rooted in the biblical text (as opposed to canon law, the opinions of a magisterium, the writings of a church father, etc.) could care less about such theologizing. I presume that the Pentagon, if serious about the subject, probably feels some concern over the impact an ET reality would have on conservative evangelical Christians, precisely because that’s where the most negative reaction would manifest. But then why not look for someone who knows that religious spectrum well and cares about the subject? I have no reason to be optimistic that any serious consideration of the biblical text occurred at this symposium. Typically these things gather clerics whose training is in philosophy, philosophical theology, sociology, and astronomy (this is an easy conclusion to draw from a bibliography of peer-reviewed literature on this subject). Little effort is made to include a biblical scholar. That omission is one of the reasons I decided to make the issue a centerpiece of The Facade, my novel.

If I try to be kind to DARPA here, maybe the problem is that they couldn’t find an evangelical scholar who has published under peer review on the topic.  I think I’ve read what’s been published in peer-reviewed literature, and I’ve never seen an evangelical publish on it in a journal. Perhaps I should make an effort to do that rather than devote effort to blogging. But it’s a bit hard to imagine that DARPA couldn’t find me (or anyone else they cared to find).

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21 Responses to “Jesus, Klingons, and DARPA”

  • Cris Putnam says:

    Mike,

    Here’s an article that summarizes the talk, apparently they hired a philosopher from Germany Christian Weidemannof – at least he is a protestant – and he seems to have accounted for the major issues, but it would be nice to have more details.

    http://www.space.com/13152-aliens-religion-impacts-extraterrestrial-christianity.html#

    Apparently, he doesn’t think Klingons are saved. I look to Colossians 1:20 “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” And from this text argue that anyone (or thing) that is saved – is necessarily saved by Christ’s sacrifice (on earth) at the cross. Apart from that there is no salvation. Even so we do know that there are plenty of “extraterrestrial beings” who seem to have forfeited that opportunity. “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Mt 25:41)

  • Bert says:

    Frankly I think what the Pentagon said was a bit childish. In my opinion they don’t seem interested in finding an academic who is well versed on this topic (like Michael for example) to relate to about Christ and ET. They seem quite happy to ask any old Church Pastor off the street and then post his reply on official websites, Newspapers, Media, heck they would even telegraph it to China. Whether the “pastor” knows anything about the subject, I doubt they would care.

    I believe they get a huge kick from dragging the Name of God in the dirt.

  • MSH says:

    Thanks for the link. For me, the work on the cross (on earth) is designed to undo the problem of human sinfulness. Scripture is pretty specific there. But the rest of creation (via Colossians) benefits from that work. If that means the Klingons, wonderful. So, while Jesus didn’t die a substitutionary death for Klingons, and there is no reason (from Scripture) to suppose he needed to), they might still benefit.

  • MSH says:

    it’s hard to know what they’re thinking when it comes to stuff like this (or if they’re thinking at all).

  • Cris Putnam says:

    I can see a legitimate national security concern in the question of if people might panic. While they have a legitimate reason to pursue that “what if”, it really does seem odd that they are asking specifically about ET salvation. Since when is DARPA and the military industrial complex worried about salvation of anyone, even themselves? Perhaps they should start at home.

  • Christian gains says:

    Mike, when I think & pray on the likelihood of ET’s, and, the effect their existence might have on modern Religion, I am struck by the simplicity of the Gospel’s message, and the significance of that simplicity.

    Yeshuah didn’t delve (in the Bible’s text), into intricate Doctrinal applications or reasoning, HE simply stated John 3:11 – 21. And, THAT was to a HIGHLY Torah knowledgeable, and educated, Pharisee, Nicodemus.

    Then, (that “ignorant & unlearned” fisherman), Yohanan made the outrageously simple declaration “In the beginning was the Word,…ALL THINGS were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made, that was made”…”and the WORD was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory AS OF THE ONLY BEGOTTEN of the Father), full of GRACE and TRUTH” Jn. 1:3 & 14). “ALL THINGS THAT WERE MADE, kind of hints at a broader reality than simply chairs and tables…don’t you think?

    And, then again, (if we simply believe), Jesus’ declarations & applications in Jn. 6, & 8, give clarity to the motives behind such “Seminars”, or gatherings of “Officialdom” and “power and the glory of them” [Lk.4:5 - 8].

    No doubt, it IS wise to “KNOW YOUR ENEMY”, and be “…not ignorant of the Devil’s devices”, but, also, we must ALWAYS keep ever before us that “It is the SPIRIT that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the WORDS that I speak unto you, THEY are SPIRIT and THEY are LIFE”![Jn.63]

    And, as Paul so succinctly put it: “For they that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit, the things of the spirit. For, to be CARNALLY minded is death; but, to be SPIRITUALLY minded is LIFE and PEACE…Because the CARNAL MIND is enmity against God, for, it IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE LAW OF GOD, neither indeed can be. So then they that are IN THE FLESH cannot please God” [Rom.8: 5 - 7]. And, to better grasp THAT concept (ver. 8), simply return to Yeshuah’s answer to Nicodemus’ question [Jn.3:4]: “How can a man be ‘born again’…” and Yeshuah’s explanation of “HOW” & “WHY”. [Jn.3:3 - 12]. Nothing comlpicated, really, just straight forward TRUTH.

    BTW, than thanks for taking the time to stimulate us, and agitate our “comfort zones” enough to get us “thinking out of the box” of TRADITIONALISM & the “commandments and DOCTRINES of men”!

  • Michael says:

    I clicked on the link to the article, ”How UFO Enthusiasts Understand and Misunderstand Christians Interested in UFOs and ET Life“, referenced in the intro to your Fundamentalists and ET series page, but all it brought up was the page with the aforementioned title but no text beneath. Don’t know if it’s a problem on my end or yours, and I tried the link a few times to see if it just wasn’t loading properly, but got the same result each time. Thanks.

  • MSH says:

    you’re welcome!

  • MSH says:

    thanks – I’ll check; I’ve never had anyone note this before.

  • MSH says:

    I just opened it; worked fine – ?

  • Hi Mike…I’m curious….You state that you’ve “never had anyone note this before…?”

    What? That…they never noted that Jn. 3:4 & 3:1 -12 were related…Or what?

    PLEASE do not take this as an accusation…(Mike I think possibly you know how “ignorant & unlearned” I am), but, I’m just astonished that no one has caught this connection…..?!?

    The CONTEXT of the Nicodemus class is SOOOOO clear…(sorry..I mean, to me), that it astonishes me that Christian Theologians have not connected the “EXCEPT ye be born of flesh AND spirit ye cannot ENTER OR SEE the Kingdom of God” with the “BORN AGAIN” reality. Is that what you mean?

    I submit, (and will gladly support throughout the Scripture, — [try Jn.14,15,& 16], the SIGNIFICANT REALITY of being “led of the ‘SPIRIT’ …or…’HOLY GHOST’…OR…the ‘HOLY SPIRIT’”.

    Please understand Mike..I KNOW and APPRECIATE that I’m communicating with a studied Scholar, so I do NOT MEAN, in ANY SENSE, to contradict you…Or…ANY Scholar, I just am submitting this as what I believe the Spirit [Jn. 14: 17 & 26] has shone me. I don’t read either Hebrew or Greek — (I spent 12 years in South America, and never was able to gain above a third grade level grasp of Spanish…I’m NOT a “LINGUIST”), but I DO have a HIGH (98%) comprehension rate of English…so, my question here is, what am I missing here?

    Or, am I misunderstanding your statement: “I never had anyone note this before…”?

  • MSH says:

    I’m actually not sure what I was replying to (that is, I can’t recall or tell from this what I was thinking with the “never had anyone note this” reply). Succinctly, what is/was your point?

    (Sorry, but I’ve been answering email for the last six or seven hours; trips away just kill me; just got back from a conference, so I’m not sure I can just pick this up). Of course I know about sonship language. It’s strewn through the second half of my divine council book. But I can’t tell what it is you’re angling for (how it relates to Klingons!).

    Your comment also sounds sarcastic, so if you can eliminate that and distill this, it would help. If not, I won’t bother.

  • I understand PERFECTLY! No problem…just give the two exchanges (mine and yours), your attention as you are able, and get back to me.

    Here’s the gist of it: Jesus pointed out to Nicodemus that “EXCEPT YE BE BORN of WATER & SPIRIT” you can neither “see” nor “enter” the KINGDOM of God.

    Now, [to my understanding], this is not a human’s ability to WORK their way into those realms, but, rather, the REQUIREMENT of the “anointing of the Spirit”, {as with Jesus & the ‘Dove’ ascending upon Him, and HE receiving the ‘SPIRIT’) — Jn.1:32 – 33; — and — Jn. 14:16 & 26; — 15: 26 – 27; and 16:7 thru 14!

    In other words, what I believe that the Lord is revealing, is that HE CHOOSES, and we simply have the CHOICE to yield, and obey, or not. (I Sam. 15:22 – 23).

    Take your time Mike…This is a VERY SIGNIFICANT MATTER…or…NOT. I look forward to your response. And, THANK YOU for giving me yourtime and consideration…I am humbled and honored…

  • MSH says:

    ah – this is clear.

    I don’t see *election* language in John per se (more of a declarative statement of condition), but that language is certainly used elsewhere in the NT. I’d agree that we don’t “regenerate ourselves”; that is a work of the Spirit. With respect to “choices,” that takes us down the “TULIP” road (Calvinism — predestination, free will, that sort of stuff). That’s more for the Naked Bible, as I have blogged my thoughts about the issues of foreknowledge, predestination, and free will over there.

    Why introduce this with respect to this particular post (the Klingon thing)?

  • Well, — to answer your “Q”: Because I’m genuinely LEARNING and IGNORANT…and didn’t realize that I WAS “…introducing this…(“election”),” with “respect to this particular post”.

    Sorry!

    But, “election”…??? Hmmm…??? Please explain. No challenge, honestly Mike, I’m JUST still LEARNING.

    “Election” is, (in my understanding) God’s choice: (Abraham; Moses; Saul; David; E’li’a'kim, [Isa.22:15 - 25]; Even Yeshuah, and each of the Disciples….and, even EACH of us… RIGHT? (Rom.11:5; I Thes.1:4; II Pet.1:10).

    So, how does this distract from Yeshuah’s Jn. 3 explanation to Nicodemus, as to how to be “Born again”, and ENTER INTO, & SEE, the Kingdom of Yahwey?

    Maybe I’m confused, but, doesn’t “ELECTION” lay in YAHWEY’S (or Yeshuan’s) authority?

    Whereas, the “anointing” or rather the receiving of it — of the “born again” experience, — isn’t that a mater of our individual choice, or yielding to God’s/Yahwey’s WILL?

    In other words, doesn’t “ELECTION” come from Yahwey’s WILL — DESIRE, — while “BORN AGAIN” comes from OUR WILL to receive it…to allow Him to REBIRTH us?

    And, (as to my interjecting this entire thought / suggestion, into this post), how about the possibility that “being ‘born again’, is a reality that invalidates “E.T.’s” [EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL] supposed significance; in the question of salvation? Or, better said: E.T. is no different than Joe Blow, (who has refused / rejected Yeshuah’s sacrifice & reality as Ha Messiach, or his Savior — or hasn’t).

    IF, E.T. has either likewise refused/rejected Yeshuah…and, therefore, cannot be “BORN AGAIN” by “receiving” the input of the Holy Spirit!?…OR has RECEIVED that promise, and thereby receives Yeshuah’s promise of “eternal life”…and, is able to be “BORN AGAIN”, if willing — (The concept that Jesus was pointing out to Nicodemus)…How is this distracting to the point that E.T. is REALLY no different than JOE SIXPACK…the PRINCIPLE of SALVATION — “HOW TO” receive it, still applies..

    In other words…E.T. is absolutely no different than Joe sixpack, in his responsibility to “believe on the Son” or not…regardless of WHERE E.T. comes from…here, or there! 4th, 5th or 10th Dimension.

    So…where is the LINE OF DEMARCATION?…regardless the dimensional origin?

    Isn’t THAT more significant a question?

    WHAT REALLY IS “SALVATION of the SOUL”? AND, “What determines whether such an “extra-dimensional being” HAS a SOUL”? And, “HOW DO WE determine what that means”?

    I tend to lean towards the conviction that THESE questions, (due to their definitely confusing influence on our present understanding of reality), are the VERY SIGNIFICANT bottom line as to WHY we were given the Scriptures.

    THEY, (THE Scriptures / WORD), were carefully protected, and given to us, just for such realities…(which our predecessors could not have envisioned or calculated for) — I tend towards the conviction that this is also why Yahwey felt it SO ESSENTIAL to declare HIS uniqueness to us: [Isa. 41: 21 - 23; & 26; and 42:5 - 9].

    Am I REALLY detracting from your central thesis Dr. Heiser? Isn’t this the CENTRAL / ESSENTIAL question here?

    IS E/T/ any different, in the question of loyalty and belief, than “Joe SIXPACK”?

    Isn’t the MAIN REALITY whether a living “ENTITY” ACCEPTS / BELIEVES upon the Lord Ha Messiach, Yeshuah, as Yahwey’s “only begotten Son” & the “Lamb of Yahwey”..the sacrifice for their “disobedience” …their Savior? Am I making sense here?

    I GENUINELY, and MOST SINCERELY apologize if I’ve distracted from your central point. But! Have I?

    PLEASE feel free to tell me straight forwardly if I have, (you always have), AND please explain the “why & HOW”.

    I’m REALLY challenged by your blog, and I LOVE this exchange…it’s EXTREMELY invigorating & stretches my knowledge of the WORD! THANK YOU for that!

    PLEASE feel PERFECTLY FREE to correct me, rebuke me, or simply dismiss me…I will learn from each response, and take no offense.

  • BTW…I just realized that I’d missed you first response! NO SARCASM intended at ALL! Sorry if it seemed so! Dr., I APPRECIATE your time, and willingness to put up with my ignorance. Sorry if I came off so…Not intended!

    A new thought just came to me! Isn’t Helel’s rebellion significant to this thread?

    I mean…He IS an “E.T.”…and he is UTTERLY REJECTING Christ’s sacrifice & forgiveness.

    Isn’t this what we’re REALLY dealing with?

    Isn’t this the REAL CORE of the E.T. question?

    And, He IS going to bring LITERAL “HELL ON EARTH” to us, due to his rejection & rebellion, [Rev.12:9 & 19:11 thru 20:3]…

    Isn’t THIS why the Pentagon is not interested in bringing you into the conversation? Because Helel’s rebellion is SOOOOO REAL….and hard to cover up? Hmmmm???

    Dr., you’ve been a REAL help, and challenge to my spiritual growth & learning. PLEASE…accept my thanks, and know that ANYthing I say is said in respect for both your proven expertise, educational achievements, your Scholarship, and demonstrative wisdom. If I “come across” as either skeptical or disrespectful, I apologize…it is CERTAINLY not intentional.

    While I will not “just agree”, I would NEVER intentionally “dis” you sir. My Father was a University Professor, (head of two Depts. in EMORY Dental School), and highest paid of the university…so, I learned EARLY ON, that the Prof. deserves respect, (whether you agree with him or not!), and you NEVER speak to him disrespectfully. Again…please feel free to speak directly & pointedly…I will NEVER be offended by honesty.
    Well, I just realized what I SHOULD HAVE DONE early on! Here’s your response. And I SHOULD have simply “copy/pasted” it and then responded to it directly…hmmmm.
    ———————————————————————————
    YOUR RESPIONSE:

    “I don’t see *election* language in John per se (more of a declarative statement of condition), but that language is certainly used elsewhere in the NT. I’d agree that we don’t “regenerate ourselves”; that is a work of the Spirit. With respect to “choices,” that takes us down the “TULIP” road (Calvinism — predestination, free will, that sort of stuff). That’s more for the Naked Bible, as I have blogged my thoughts about the issues of foreknowledge, predestination, and free will over there.

    Why introduce this with respect to this particular post (the Klingon thing)?”

    ———————————————————————————
    Firstly…my response above (this section, beginning with your “I don’t see the ELECTION language…” post], is due to my lack of certainty as to what YOU see as “ELECTION”. But, I’m pretty sure that I agree with you, (as I do not see Jesus dealing with “election”, but rather, dealing with our “choice” to yield to the Spirit’s influence, or input). BUT! What exactly do you mean by “…a declarative statement”? I THINK you’re meaning that He’s DECLARING that the “in filling”, or / the SPIRITUAL BIRTH, is essential to “SEEING” or “ENTERING” the Kingdom of God. Right?…But…”…statement of condition…” just has me a bit uncertain. Have you the time to elaborate a bit…clarify?

    Then there’s that “…with respect to “choices”, that takes us down the “TULIP” road…”. Sorry, ( I have ventured into the “Naked bible” a couple of times), but this loses me…Can you clarify this a bit? No…I don’t mean a lengthy explain…just, What’s “TULIP”? Or…just point me to a reference or section of the Naked Bible” section….I’m ALL ears! (Just realized you DID that…O.K., I’ll dig into the “Naked Bible” more intensely…sorry, you needn’t reply to that request!)…I’m not big on PRE-destination, (tho I DO see a LOT of “God’s WILL” effecting individual’s directions in life)…but, I see that as THEIR “free will choice”…(I’ll do my home work there!)

    I’ll definitely get back to you on this, as, I do not see how we can remove the personal accountability…CHOICE…from our “walk” with the Lord.

    But! I’m not “learned” in Calvinism, so that’s a factor…but, “personal choice” seems to me to be an underlying principle of Jesus’ entire Ministry…from His “calling” each of the Disciples, to His CHOICE to keep Judas, to His CHOICE to be the “sacrificial Lamb”, and EACH of their choices to follow HIM….So…I’ll DIG into the “NAKED BIBLE” section, see what you postulate, and then be back. Thanks again!

  • Michael says:

    Still not getting the link to work; everything else appears correct (background colors, sidebar links, title, etc.) but just no text. Oh well, thanks anyway.

  • MSH says:

    check the Naked Bible on the election thing.

    ET isn’t rejecting Christ — we don’t even have an ET that exists, so that’s a pointless trajectory. The question posed by the DARPA panel wasn’t rejection anyway. The question concerned the necessity of an atoning sacrifice (of Christ) being offered to ET. There is nothing in biblical theology that requires it.

    It’s “Yahweh” not “Yahwey”

  • MSH says:

    what browser are you using?

  • Michael says:

    >”what browser are you using?”

    IE9

  • MSH says:

    try it in Firefox or Chrome (those are the two I use).

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