Sunday, October 9, 2011

Will God Save the Space Aliens?

Are there intelligent life forms elsewhere in the universe? Does God love them as much as He loves us?

Beliefnet goes even further, asking, “What is the Christian missionary responsibility if life is discovered on other planets? Does the Great Commission call followers of Jesus to evangelize Alpha Centauri? After all, John 3:16 says that God ‘so loved the world…’ – not the worlds. Or moons.”

These are out-of-this-world crazy questions. Why are they being posed? Because a philosophy professor from Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany named Christian Weidemann gave a speech at the “100-Year Starship Symposium” in Orlando, Florida.

The professor's lecture was entitled, “Did Jesus Die for Klingons, Too?”

“According to Christianity, an historic event some 2,000 years ago was supposed to save the whole of creation,” Weidemann pointed out.

However, how would that work if all of creation includes 125 billion galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars in each, as astronomers think, and what if some of those stars have planets with advanced civilizations, too?

Does Jesus’ atoning death on the cross on planet Earth save souls in outer space?

MSNBC reports, “The discovery of intelligent aliens would be mind-blowing in many respects, but it could present a special dilemma for the world’s religions. … Christians, in particular, might take the news hardest, because the Christian belief system does not easily allow for other intelligent beings in the universe, Christian thinkers said at the 100 Year Starship Symposium.”

Really? We can’t accept “other intelligent beings”? God created the universe. I’m pretty sure God is an intelligent being. God’s not an idiot. Some people refer to creation as “intelligent design.” That implies a smart Creator – and He doesn’t live here on Earth.

Christians refer to angels and demons. Those are other-worldly, and most likely intelligent. They can’t all be stupid spirits. We speak of heaven. Is that filled with dummies?

It’s arrogant to think that we’re the only “intelligent beings” God created. We’re not the only ones, and we don’t have exclusivity on brains. (Heaven help us if that were the case, as some humans are really stupid!)

Many theorize that the discovery of life forms on other planets would destroy Christianity because Christianity is based on the idea that God came down to Earth in human form to save humanity.

If there are advanced life forms in other parts of the universe, why would God decide to save just Earthlings and not the rest of His intelligent creatures?

In his talk, Weidemann presented three possibilities:

1) God likes us best. He decided to save us and abandon all the other life forms. “If so,” Weidemann conjectured, “our position among intelligent beings in the universe would be very exceptional.”

2) Only humans need to be saved. Perhaps humans are the only “sinners” in all of God’s universal creation, and thus are the only ones requiring a Savior. Humans are flawed; the aliens are perfect.

3) God decided to save all, with an incarnation of Himself sent to each planet.

“If there are extra-terrestrial intelligent beings at all, it is safe to assume that most of them are sinners, too,” Weidemann theorized. “If so, did Jesus save them, too?”

The Christian Post reports on the professor’s possible solution: “In order for that to be possible, however, he says multiple incarnations of God would have to exist at the same time. Assuming each incarnation took about 30 years, and based on how long civilizations are expected to survive, he estimates that there would have to be approximately 250 incarnations of God present in the universe at any given time to cover the sins of each civilization.”

That same article also says, “Another professor from Ruhr-University Bochum, Michael Waltemathe, acknowledged that this theory would be much more difficult to reconcile with Christianity than it would with other world religions, many of which either believe in multiple gods or don't assert that God's incarnation came specifically to Earth to save His creation.”

“It seems to be only a problem of Christianity,” Waltemathe said.

MSNBC paraphrases Waltemathe: “In Islam, for example, Muhammad was a prophet, or messenger of God, not God incarnate, so additional prophets could have simultaneously visited other planets to save extraterrestrial species, he said. And Hindus already believe in multiple deities, so accommodating more to guard over alien civilizations may not be difficult.”

Actually, I don’t have a problem with multiple incarnations. Maybe Jesus showed up on those other planets, or maybe He didn’t have to.

So let’s answer Professor Weidemann’s question. Did Jesus die for Klingons, too? Sure, why not? Perhaps Jesus’ death and resurrection on this planet was enough to save everyone on every planet.

Central to the Christian faith is the fact that Jesus Christ was born. As the Gospel of John tells us, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1: 14, NIV).

This is why we celebrate Christmas. And at least one space alien does, too. If Marvin the Martian observes the birth of Christ, what’s to prevent other extra terrestrials from doing so as well?

Let’s review our choices. God saves humans and screws the aliens, or God saves humans and doesn’t need to save the aliens, or God saves both humans and aliens by sending Jesus all over the universe.

There could also be a fourth possibility. Maybe God came up with a different way to deal with the aliens. God coming in the flesh on Earth is the one way He chose to save humans. Maybe that wouldn’t work in other worlds.

Perhaps the alien salvation plan is something else entirely. Like what? How should I know? We can’t even conclusively prove that there are alien life forms, and you want me to divulge the spaceman’s salvation method?

By the way, what are the chances of crucifixion existing in other worlds?

The ultimate goal of salvation, of course, is eternal life. When E.T. phoned home, was he trying to reach heaven?

Will all the life forms go to the same heaven? Will we even be able to distinguish the various life forms? If all become spirit, then it won’t matter what the bodies looked like.

If humans were created in God’s image, maybe the aliens were, too. Perhaps they look a lot like us. Perhaps they need salvation, too – by whatever means God chose to manifest it.

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