Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jesus and The Space Aliens

I am not a lover of science fiction.

I rarely watch movies about space, aliens or anything else that does not take place on earth. Star Trek and Dune bored me and I have not seen any of the Alien movies. I tried to read C.S Lewis's Space Trilogy, but kept falling asleep.

In fact, I am pretty sure that I have not seen all of the original Star Wars movies, never mind the newer ones. My Apologies to James McGrath.

But some people do think about whether or not there is life on other planets. I am not sure why because I am not sure that I care. But for the religious, however, this can lead to questions about God, creation and what bearing the existence of life elsewhere may or may not have on our "earthling" theology.

But an article in the International Business Times suggests that for many, the existence of extraterrestrial life is not a threat to their theology. A meeting of theologians and scientists at the London royal Society determined that some people wonder if the incarnation may have take place multiple times in multiple places.

According to Ted Peters, who is a theologian at the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, if people believed in the existence of aliens, it could make them ask if Jesus Christ has appeared more than once in the universe.

"It's been argued for a couple of centuries now whether one incarnation of God as Jesus Christ for the entirety of creation is sufficient, with some thinking that God would do so multiple times as appropriate for the capacity of any individual species to comprehend."

Peters conducted a survey of 1300 people from a variety of religions and concluded that for most, the discovery of extraterrestrial life would not be a threat to their religious system.

Of course, what does this mean about religion in other universes? Will we one day encounter missionizing aliens from outer space? Do aliens go to heaven? Do they believe in a rapture? If there are aliens, what kind of stories are in their Bible? Do they have or need a Bible?

Hmm, now I am beginning to wonder. Maybe Ed wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space was supposed to be an evangelistic tool?


  1. you wrote: "But some people do think about whether or not there is life on other planets. I am not sure why because I am not sure that I care."
    As for me, I'm not convinced that there is intelligent life on Earth.

  2. I love science fiction and read it often. The possibility of life elsewhere in the universe poses no threat to my theology or faith. In fact, I would expect a redemptive God would do for another planet this God created the same as God did/does for us.

    This has left me with a strong desire for aliens to exist so that we can learn their Jesus narrative. The names and some details may well be different because God would interact with them in ways that made sense to them (I think), but how awesome it would be to have brothers/sisters (in the spiritual sense) in Christ on another planet and to learn their testimonies when we meet them! Or maybe there is a species out there, created by God, that didn't "bite the apple."

  3. don't gravitate toward the alien movies either. But when I have ventured into alien territory, I kind fall in love with the creatures.

  4. I recall that a couple of years ago the Bible was translated into Klingon. Translation where no one has translated before.

  5. Extraterrestrial life certainly presents interesting theological questions. Science fiction I think can help us creatively engage science and theology. I recently read a collection of sermons by George Murphy called, "Pulpit Science Fiction." It wasn't the greatest book but it got me thinking creatively about God and His creation. I think of sci-fi as a type of midrash to help me think about God.

    For me, Lewis's Space Trilogy did think. The first two books in Lewis's Space Trilogy can be a challenging read. I really like the third, "A Hideous Strength." It presents a world in which original sin never occurs and helped me to think about what the new heaven and new earth might look like.

  6. Wasn't that Perelandra, not A Hideous Strength?
    I thought Lewis' imagination really shined in the Trilogy.

  7. I have literally heard people claim that there are aliens in the world, and amongst us, because it clearly says so in the Bible. How many times is the actual word "aliens" used? Like 8x in the NIV. Seriously, they were speaking of extraterestrials as being proven in the Bible. Kind of left me speechless.

    Love the space alien Jesus picture. I take it Jesus is sending miraculous lasers to the spacecraft? Reminds me of the youtubes a few years ago featuring "Laser Cats."

    Hard to believe you've never seen Star Wars...a mainstay in our house with 3 boys. We lived and breathed it for years.

    1. What bible pages have you been smoking? Beth, I dare you to name even one passage in the ENTIRE Bible, old or new testaments, that references "aliens". Good grief, people are just nuts. For myself, I have no problem with other beings and being a Christian. I'm sure there is life elsewhere, it makes no sense to me to have a zillion, zillion other worlds floating out there completely devoid of life. Many are sure to be lifeless of course, but every single last one of them? Unlikely. In the end though since it can't be proved either way we should focus on the fact that God loves us. Whether we are part of a galactic family or not is irrelevant. HE cares about us in a way that transcends anything else that matters.

    2. Just a few examples were the Holy Bible used the word "aliens." Tho they do not mean others from space.

      Lamentations 5:2 Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens.

      Ephesians 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

      Hebrews 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

  8. Oh, Beth . . Aliens in the Bible. That is scary.

  9. While it would not surprise me if there was life on other planets, I do wonder what life on other planets would do for our understanding of the Genesis narrative. How do we understand revelation in Scripture in the midst of life on other planets? I know this was suggested by other commenters, but it does make me reevaluate my understanding.