Aliens and the life of faith…

I was thinking about aliens today.

Like you do…

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

God does not change.

Truth is eternal.

The Protestant adventure is made up of a thousand battles over truth, as if doctrine was ever the most important thing.

But our understanding of God and our grasp on what is truth certainly does change. If it does not, then faith will be broken as perspectives shift. But always there is this tension between those who resist the change, and others who feel drawn into new theological (heretical) adventures.

It was ever thus.

The medieval world view of the nature of the earth and the heavens, and the sun and the stars (gleaned from a reading of Genesis) was blown apart by people who circumnavigated the globe, and others who mapped the orbit of the earth around its distant sun.

The modern age dawned with constant scientific discovery- each one seeming to make God smaller- to force him into the gaps where superstition was yet to be replaced by hard science. And Christians had to accommodate this new age of enlightenment, reinventing faith as a kind of science- with the Bible used as a technical blueprint to engineer disciples.

But back to the little green men…

What if we are not alone in the universe?

What if in all the millions of galaxies out there, there are lots of planets just like ours- with just the right combinations of atoms and energy to make genesis and then to sustain unfolding life?

Or what if the conditions on earth that allowed for creation to unfold are unique? What if we are indeed a kind of one in one billion billion accident? Might there come a time when we know this for sure?

Either way- what implications does this have for the life of faith?

I would suggest that either way- Hebrews 13 verse 8 remains true.

But we Christians might have to rethink the narrow boxes that we tried to place God in…

A time to hate

There is a time for all things under heaven…

.

One summer evening I lay on my back as the light leached from the passing day

And watched the stars slowly flicker into the frame of the darkening sky

At first one here, another there

Then all of a sudden the sky was infinite

Full of fragile tender points of ancient light

Some of which started its journey towards us before there was an ‘us’

And I wonder

Is there someone up there

Raising his tentacles to the night sky

And using one of his brains

To wonder about me?

.

And should this unseen and oddly shaped brother across the huge expanses

Seek contact

What would he make of us?

.

I heard an astronomer speak once about the possibility of life elsewhere

In this beautiful ever expanding universe

He had come to believe that intelligent life will always

Find ever more ingenious ways

To destroy itself

.

And I fear the truth of this

That somewhere in the messy beauty of humanity

We nurture an evil seed –

Grow it in an industrial compost of scientific creativity

Water it with greed and avarice

And hot house it in a mad competition for the first fruits

Lest our neighbours get to market first

And once we work up production

There is no going back

No squeezing back the genie into the oil can

There is only the need for bigger, better

.

And the defending and defeating

And the ranging of rockets

Exploit whoever

Denude wherever

And if anyone should get in the way

Dehumanise

Overcome

Or destroy

Set up barb wire borders

Teach one another

To hate

.

So for the sake of green men

And Scottish men

May we yet stand before the eternal night

And decide that truth and beauty and grace will be our legacy

In this fragile passing place that God gave us

.

May we decide that now is not

The time

To hate

From ‘Listing’.

4 thoughts on “Aliens and the life of faith…

  1. How dare we confine G-d through our puny imaginations. How dare we continue our parochial attitude to the importance of self (man). G-d is infinite, G-d has more than us. How can we possibly force our self-centred, tiny conceptual abilities on His vastness?

    • Hi Carl

      Thanks for the comments!

      I suppose however that ANY attempt towards a life of faith, and an encounter with God, forces us to do just what you say- we try to make sense of it. And then we collectivise these understandings, or learn from the understandings of others. This seems to me to be a good thing- but also something that should be done lightly and with a huge dose of humilty. The difficulry I have is not that others might have come to a different- even a more concrete- understanding than mine, but rather those who insist that their understanding is total, and complete.

      Cheers

      Chris

  2. Hi Chris

    Life of faith – leave that for the moment.
    “encounter with G-d” – come back to that.

    “try to make sense of it…with humility” – My humble take:-
    “insist their understanding is total…”. E.g. Dawkins! – Reality is just the universe, everything is explainable by the visible and detectable, there is no space for anything more. Anything else is just wishful thinking on the part of feeble-minded individuals who aren’t capable of accepting the notion of their mortality. – sort of thing.

    What a shock he’ll get when he finds out the (un)reality (nod) of it all. Thing is, that’s the most beautiful part about it. G-d created this fantastic (un)reality of hard material matter, that we really think is actually hard, material, matter. Enwrapped in it so much, the scientists are busy spending all our money for us on the Large Hairdryer Collider, smashing particles together to try and make out what they’re made of. Hehe, ‘they’ don’t exist. Matter doesn’t exist. Matter is the name we put to a formation of waves. In the matter-verse or (un)iverse (nod) everything is just waves.

    Our normal starting point (Dawkins) is that matter is all there is. Descarte started to understand something with his “I think therefore I am” dualism. If you can accept dualism, then you can start to speculate on how the real reality could be something different to what you are forced to think it is whilst inhabiting the (un)real matter-verse. If you can imagine how a mind (separate) is given (whilst it’s here) input from the senses (via neurons) which are made of matter, then you can see how that mind would be encouraged to think that it is actually just matter (neurons etc).

    The illusion that Einstein was referring to wasn’t because of any lack of reality in the existence of “time”, or even the disconnection between “time” and the other dimensions, it was due to the disconnection between his mind and the matter-verse in its entirety. “He” wasn’t actually part of the (un)iverse he was observing, “He” was looking at it through neurons and matter stuff, the very same stuff of which the matter-verse is made. It’s difficult to conceptualise, but that’s what we all do, including Dawkins. We see through the haze of the material.

    Later, mankind will get to understand this disconnection a bit better. We will understand how we are not bodies, but minds immersed within a matter body, for the period of time we borrow here.

    It’s a dance we are forced to delight in participating in whilst here.

    All the neuro-scientists trying to find out where consciousness lies, all the theologians trying to find out what G-d isn’t (Rollins), all the scientists trying to find out what matter is. They will all end up finding out that it’s an (un)reality, that Descarte’s mind was the real thing. That we are playing a (non)game whilst we are here trying to make out what the matter-verse really is. It’s a distraction. The real activity goes on in the interactions our minds play with each other. The relationships they form, the love they learn (or otherwise).

    “encounter with G-d” – later discussion perhaps

    G-d bless
    Carl

  3. You paint a beautiful picture Carl. ‘Minds immersed in a matter body…’ Yes I think I would go along with that- although might fall back on the word ‘soul’ rather than mind.

    C
    X

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.