And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. John 10:16a (English Standard Version)
Tonight my family and I were watching the Science Channel documentary, Are We Alone? which deals with the “What if?” should we ever come into contact with extraterrestrials (or “ETs”). This documentary, and other media of this subject, asks the age old question: Are we alone?
This question was probably first asked when our distant ancestors in Africa gathered together at night, gazed at the vast night sky, and wondered if anyone lived beyond those little points of light. Despite all the many “theories” we hear-especially the more way out ones-this has been a question bandied about for ages. Even now, this question becomes more profound with out high-tech astronomical equipment on Earth and in space constantly scanning the cosmos (like Kepler in the image above).
The existence of extraterrestrial life, and the potential for direct contact (they come here to Earth), makes for interesting thought. Even though the Church has welcomed the idea of extraterrestrial life-save for those who think they’re “demonic”; to actually come face-to-face with extraterrestrials could be a whole different subject. To actually look an extraterrestrial intelligence face-to-face, especially someone from an older and more advanced civilization may prove to be discomfiting.
Imagine the ramifications it would have on the Church. First, it would throw a monkey-wrench into Creationism; especially since we’d no longer be the only fish in the intelligent life sea. It may also bolster Evolution arguments if the ETs are some variant of “future man”. Second, what would our concept of God be if our ET friends don’t look like us? Remember the “demonic” looking ETs from Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End? Or how about the cybernetic Borg, or creatures that are pure thought from Star Trek? They may not be human, or may be a whole different specie altogether. What if they do look like us; how would that impact our view of God?
And last, what about extraterrestrial concepts of the Divine? Do ETs they have any? Would they drop some heavy (theological) stuff on us so deep it would make us question our Bible? What if-and this is a big if-all the personalities we ascribe in our Bible-both divine and diabolical-were really ETs described by ancient writers as some would theorize? That “God” and His/Her pals were ETs? That we were “created” as some experiment, or we were “colonists” related to these beings?
The list of potential questions are endless, and I could take the rest of the day to present them. I also know this is a digression from my Lenten posts, however sometimes we need a break from the norm. Plus, this has been a question on my mind for some time that was fueled by the aforementioned documentary.
Are we alone? That’s a very good question. Something tells me we’re not. I can only imagine what will happen we truly make contact.