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Think about the Earth – it is a tiny little planet in the solar system, which is also only one amongst many other solar systems in our galaxy, which in turn, is also only one amongst gazillions of other galaxies.
Why would this little planet that disappears in the middle of the Milky Way, be the only one to develop life, as if life were the exception and not the rule in the universe?
Perhaps one of the greatest obstacles to the theory of life on other planets is the religious argument. Let’s look into what the Church says about extraterrestrial life and explore the reasons why, from a philosophical standpoint, alien life is not necessarily incompatible with Christianity, as many people argue.
Many schools of thought of the ancient world (but not all of them) understood that life came in many different shapes and races in the universe, and that the existence of extraterrestrial life was a matter of logic.
Hindus, Egyptians, Mayans and some Pagan cultures of Europe, all of them included aliens in their folklore, as extraterrestrials were part of their philosophical systems and also their history.
Only with the advent of Christianity, the western world moved away from the ancient knowledge and started to defend the thesis that the Earth was the center of the universe, as humans were God’s special creation, leaving no room to alien brothers in this restricted space.
Eventually, the conception that the Earth was the center of the universe was proven wrong, but somehow, the idea that humans were God’s only creation remained alive.
For some philosophers, the theory that we are alone in the universe is not compatible with the certainty that the universe is much bigger than first advocated by the Church and the fact that the Church’s cosmological view was wrong also invalidates the idea that humans could be God’s only creatures.
For some reason, Christians feel threatened by the possibility of the existence of alien life almost as if life on other planets would automatically invalidate all their beliefs about Jesus, God and salvation, however, from a philosophical standpoint, this is not necessarily true.
Philosophically speaking, let’s examine the reasons why extraterrestrial life doesn’t have to be a concept against Christian teachings:
If God created other beings, even if they look completely different and live in a diverse environment, this still does not mean that these other creatures have a completely different sense of ethics, moral and values – they could also be subjected to an universal ethics taught to humans through religion.
The fact that God made people to His own image remains valid even if aliens look different. Did you know that between you and a rat, there’s only 1% of genetic difference?
For Christians, Jesus is the saviour of humanity. Assuming this is true, why would only humans have the privilege to be graced by a saviour, and extraterrestrials wouldn’t?
There are two possible explanations for this: either only humans have sinned or aliens have their own saviour. The idea that there might be other messiah in the space does not invalidate the importance of Jesus for earthlings because Jesus’ teachings would still be the path to salvation, just like in other planets, other saviours would be teaching the same concepts.
Finally, since God is omniscient, omnipresent and eternal, it would be illogical to believe that God’s only creation (humans) are imperfect, temporary and limited. God’s ability to create has to be proportional to His greatness.
Some of the ancient religions, especially eastern belief systems, included life on other planets in God’s plan – life was the rule and not the exception in the universe. Here is a list of articles that explain other religions’ views and philosophies on alien life:
The Plurality of the Worlds, Philosophical Views on Alien Life explores the philosophical theories about life on other planets;
Vimanas: the Flying Machines of Ancient India explains how the Hindu mythology speaks about alien visitors;
Are There Aliens Living on Earth explains how various cultures refer to extraterrestrials and how some believe that there may be alien souls living on Earth;
Extraterrestrials and the Vatican talks about how the Church is changing its view about the possibility of alien life.
It’s our duty to ponder whether the assumption of being alone in the universe comes from the need to believe that we are special, from a revelation or from a logical argument.
In many cases, people believe that it was revealed that we are God’s only creation, but a close look at the Bible may indicate that by removing the erroneous theory that the Earth is the center of the universe (as proven by science), the idea of being alone in the space becomes improbable. The main question here is: do we really have the power to define the limits of God’s ability to create?