© charles taylor – Fotolia.com
I’m a Sci-Fi fan.
Yes, I’m a ‘Trekky’. I’ve always loved having an imagination, and particularly love reading books by people who imagine what the future might be like (whether I agree with them or not; for instance I strongly disagree with the rampant humanism of Star Trek). My favourite author is the late great Isaac Asimov, an astounding polymath who wrote fiction and non-fiction, including works on Shakespeare and the Bible.
My favourite living author is Alastair Reynolds, and I have read almost all of his books. In his latest book Blue Remembered Earth (Gollancz, 2012) one of the characters speaks about finding life on another planet. It is assumed that this is an earth-shattering find that changes everything. It seems to me that many people have such an idea in their heads. They seem to think that finding life “out there” would change everything. So it’s worth asking the question: would it?! If we found life on another planet, would it be earth-shattering? And what might it mean for the Christian faith?
A word in my defence before I proceed. If any Christian reading this thinks this topic beyond the realms of serious Christianity, let me remind you that authors like C. S. Lewis wrote science fiction. Furthermore we are addressing an issue that is a live one in people’s minds.
So, would the discovery of life on other worlds be earth-shattering? Maybe, but I doubt it! I can’t understand the excitement myself. I admit that scenes in Star Wars or Star Trek of mixing with beings from other worlds seem fascinating. However barring the fiction of warp travel I imagine this would be impossible anyway. In any case I for one would not be surprised if there were life on other planets. In the Bible there are other beings: angels. Why not other beings from other planets? But I also admit that I don’t really care! I can’t see why such a thing would be earth-shattering at all.
Recent movies and TV series have portrayed such aliens usually as hostile. This goes back to H. G. Wells and The War of the Worlds. However it makes one wonder whether aliens might be more like angels and we might be more like hostile aliens in the movies? Perhaps aliens are aware of our planet and shake their heads over us in mourning at our violence and sin. Perhaps they could even come here by ‘warp drive’ if they wanted to, but we are not aware of their existence because our planet has a “do not disturb” sign put on it by God to keep us from tainting other beings! Would aliens want to involve themselves with such a sinful, selfish race as we human beings? Humanism, so rampant in Hollywood, portrays us as wonderful, good, enlightened beings. Aliens are often hostile. Perhaps it is the other way round?
Well, it’s all speculation isn’t it?
Would it change anything for us as Christians if life was found on other planets? I sincerely doubt it. God would still be God. He would still be our maker and creator. Sin would still be sin. Judgement would still be looming over us. Jesus would still be our Saviour. These things don’t all apply to angels, and they might not all apply to aliens from another world. But it’s fascinating to speculate that aliens from another world might be believers who have not fallen, like angels (not demons). Perhaps they would evangelise us. One can only hope.
Life on other planets: earth shattering? Hardly. Would it change anything for Christianity? No. What do you think?