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God is so relieved

by Greg Krehbiel on 21 November 2017

Reading between the lines, the discussion about whether there is life on other planets seems to be a kind of proxy for belief in God. Or at least in Christianity.

The idea, in general terms, goes like this. Christianity makes Earth, and humanity, the center of hnau existence. (“Hnau” is the word C.S. Lewis uses in Out of the Silent Planet for a person, irrespective of biology.)

The idea of the centrality of Earth stems not only from the simple fact that the Bible doesn’t mention life on other planets (except maybe angels), but that the Second Person of the Trinity became a human. That puts a pretty high premium on humans. And unless you want to believe that the Son of God was incarnate on other planets in other forms — which would be a challenging idea for Christian theology — then you get the general sense that Christians are not entirely comfortable with the idea of intelligent life on other planets.

So, when a new study casts doubt on the idea of water on Mars, some Christians will breathe a sigh of relief.

But … hey, wait just a minute. Wasn’t Lewis a Christian, and didn’t he not only postulate hnua on other planets, but cast Jesus as a lion?

In other words, while I do believe many Christians are a little nervous about the idea of intelligent life on other planets, it’s probably about the same as the nerves a first-born feels when mommy’s pregnant. (And I don’t mean to imply that humans are the universe’s “first born” hnau.)

I don’t see any contradiction between Christianity and intelligent life on other planets. But that won’t stop some people from acting as if there is one.

2017-11-21  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 9

  1. William
    21 November 2017 @ 8:39 pm

    @Greg, is this sense of Christians being disconcerted about life on other planets something you’ve found from theological study or merely personal speculation? I ask because it’s not something that I’ve heard much about in my theological study and discourse.

    Actually, I’d agree with your conclusion that there isn’t a contradiction between Christianity and intelligent life on other planets. We know from the Bible itself that all knowledge has not been revealed to us (Deut. 29:29, St. John 21:25). Scripture’s silence on a subject doesn’t necessarily prove or disprove a thing. At that point, it typically becomes a matter of faith (with some possible supporting evidence from a difference but reliable source).

  2. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    22 November 2017 @ 7:26 am

    Neither theological study nor personal speculation. Observation.

  3. William
    22 November 2017 @ 11:56 am

    Interesting. Thanks.

  4. smitemouth
    22 November 2017 @ 12:15 pm

    My old pastor at a SBC church out in California used to say with conviction that there is no life outside our planet. According to him, any fool with a bible would come to the same conclusion. Of course, he was a high school dropout with a mail order seminary degree (Luther Rice). I’m sure he was regurgitating something he was taught. I don’t doubt that the belief is widespread in fundamentalist circles.

  5. Robin R.
    22 November 2017 @ 2:54 pm

    Ah, now I know. Smitemouth is Moronikos. I remember the story about the pastor in California who said that you should pray over a can of corn before you buy it.

  6. Robin R.
    22 November 2017 @ 2:54 pm

    Is that the same pastor who said that a Christian could never get cancer?

  7. smitemouth
    22 November 2017 @ 7:08 pm

    Yes. And I heard his wife passed away from cancer.

  8. pentamom
    22 November 2017 @ 10:19 pm

    Hnau, not hnua.

  9. Greg Krehbiel GregK
    22 November 2017 @ 10:32 pm

    Ha. Looks like I spelled it both ways.

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