Thursday, January 26, 2006

Klaatu barada nikto!

According to Jim Still, “There is a unique theological conundrum here for Christians that Jews and Muslims escape: of what value is the incarnation if there are thousands (perhaps millions) of other worlds in the universe with intelligent life? Perhaps there were multiple incarnations—a million deaths on a million crosses—in a sort of macabre cosmological Groundhog Day.”

It’s hard to see how this is supposed to pose any sort of theological conundrum for Christianity. Either the human race would be the only fallen species, or else there would be other fallen species that God did not redeem.

In fact, we have a partial parallel in Scripture between elect angels who never fell, and fallen angels who were never redeemed.

Mr. Still follows this up with a superficial critique of penal substitution. But in so doing he has changed the subject from a theological conundrum allegedly generated by the hypothetical existence of ETs to the inner logic of the atonement. That’s a separate issue entirely.


  1. There's always the Lewis Space Trilogy defense: on Mars evil was a line, and required the benevolent present guidance of the angels to redeem it. On Earth it was a plane, and required the Incarnation. On Venus, if it had happened, it would require something that goes so far beyond the humiliation and exaltation of the Incarnation that we earthlings can't even conceive of it.

    Not exactly exegetical, but certainly clever. *smiles*

  2. Wow, upon rereading this, I think Lewis invented some kind of interstellar dispensationalism.

  3. We can always speculate a 'what if' (as C.S. Lewis in fact did), but we do not live in the world of what might be, but in the world of what is. As decades of searching for other inhabited planets has produced a grand total of none, the supposition that there ARE no other intelligent life forms in the universe is just as valid as the supposition that there are. In other words, yet anoth frivolous objection.

    And now I'll get back to preparing my sermon on Romans 1.18-32 for the Lord's Day.

  4. Even more to the point, we cannot overlook the fact that humanity has been created in the image of God. The Imago Dei separates all of us from the other creatures God has made. This is true, even if there are other sentient creatures out there. What a weak argument!